A young handicapped Utah man, inspiration for the movie "Rain Man," starring Dustin Hoffman, was honored Tuesday by educators as a man of great accomplishment.
Kim, as he is known in the Utah media, was recently featured in a Deseret News article by social services writer Lois M. Collins.Kim received an honorary high school diploma from Murray School District Superintendent Ron Stephens, who complimented him "for his great love of learning."
Kim was born with major brain abnormalities that cause him to learn differently from most people. Once thought to be retarded, Kim has been diagnosed as a savant, with an ability to learn and retain information in more than 12 areas including math, phone numbers, history and literature.
His ability allows him to "absorb and maintain everything he sees and hears, but without the ability to screen out extraneous material," said Dr. Keith Checketts, president of the State Board of Education. The board also honored Kim.
A plaque presented by the board featured a comment made by Hoffman to the Utah man - "I may be the star, but you are the heavens." In response, Kim said the movie "has brought me into the world."
The movie, which opens in U.S. theaters Friday, is based upon Kim's abilities and disabilities, but not on his actual life.