battle of the labels: gifted and AS/HFA/ADHD/NVLD/etc.

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Mosaicofminds
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02 May 2010, 9:16 am

Hello, wonderful people,
I've noticed a lot of people here say they have IQs of 130 or higher--enough to get them labeled "gifted" if they were tested as children. So here are some questions for you guys...

* Did you receive a gifted label as well as an AS/HFA/ADHD/etc. label?
* If so, which did you receive first?
* Which do you identify with more?
* How do you feel other people see you? Do they judge you more on the gifted or more on the disability, or do they know about neither and get confused and angry at your uneven behavior?

DISCLAIMER: Before I get a lot of comments saying "everyone is gifted" or "IQ doesn't mean anything," let me point out that I of all people should know a high IQ has nothing to do with functioning outside of academic pursuits, and doesn't necessarily lead to high functioning even there. I do, however, believe that there is something neurologically and qualitatively different about many people labeled "gifted," just as there is with many people labeled "AS," and just as with "AS," they are quite easy to spot with familiarity. I would see a "gifted" neurological profile as having advantages and disadvantages, rather than being just a global advantage as many people assume. OK, carry on!



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02 May 2010, 9:41 am

I was labelled as gifted about 5 years after my diagnosis...
My mother knew I was intelligent, but no one would take her word for it. :lol: I wouldn't. I'm a huge proponent of empirical evidence.

I think that HFA and ADD shape most of my behavior... I know some people disagree with their own diagnoses but I treat mine as characterizations. Or labels. Call them what you will. It's just a label other people need to understand why I need tasks to be broken up into highly specific steps.

My English teachers have always acted thrilled by how much I read, but by the end of the year even someone as oblivious as I am can tell that they are irritated. They know I am well endowed in the area of linguistics, and yet they feel compelled to take away my books in favor of another book, this one filled with bland, imbecilic explanations of excerpts that are hideously severed from their original works in the name of standardizing education.

They don't mind the 100% test scores, but they do mind what they call "fidgeting" and my inability to function in a work group, and how difficult it is for me to transition activies. They become angry when I look disconnected and they "don't care" if I'm actually listening, they just want me to "sit up and look at them."

Generally, people are more irritated by the discrepancy between my grades and my intelligence. I don't do well in my regular classes (once I got a semester grade of 42% in English :lol: it wasn't funny at the time....) but I get A's in my advanced placement classes.



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02 May 2010, 10:31 am

An IQ in the 130 and above range qualifies as DDA of the brain.



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02 May 2010, 10:38 am

Quote:
* Did you receive a gifted label as well as an AS/HFA/ADHD/etc. label?


I received a gifted label. I received an autism label. I did not receive an AS, HFA, or ADHD label. When I have received any functioning label at all it's been "low functioning" or "severe". (Don't ask which traits prompted it because I don't know.)

Quote:
* If so, which did you receive first?


Gifted. I wasn't told about it though because my parents didn't want my ego tied up in it. I have had three IQ tests in my life. When I was 5, 15, and 22. Only on the first one did I test in the gifted range. My last one I tested on the edge of the borderline intellectual functioning range.

I blame this on a totally different rate and order of skill acquisition. I gained some skills like elements of reading nearly full formed -- I was reading adult books at the age of five. This is a huge accomplishment as a five year old. It is not anything special as an adult. I also lost some skills, including some academic ones, in adolescence. Partly as a result of being pushed too far too fast because my beginning to become too overloaded to handle academics was seen as boredom. So I ended up in college at 14. And then crashed and burned. It was the crash and burn that led to my autism diagnosis although it could have happened a year earlier if I hadn't moved to another state in the middle of neurological and neuropsych testing.

Quote:
* Which do you identify with more?


Autism. Easily. I had nothing in common with the other kids in gifted programs. They sensed this and some of them bullied me mercilessly. Plus as I said the gifted label was more about an unusual timing and order of skill acquisition than anything, I stopped qualifying for it somewhere at or before age 15.

Quote:
* How do you feel other people see you? Do they judge you more on the gifted or more on the disability, or do they know about neither and get confused and angry at your uneven behavior?


More on the disability. People who don't know me often assume I have severe MR based on aspects of my appearance, or they blame my unusual look on a physical impairment sometimes. People who do know me may see me as "smart" but not the way they did when I was checking out and reading the whole astronomy section of the library at the age of five.


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poopylungstuffing
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02 May 2010, 10:41 am

It was acknowledged by school officials that I was dysfunctional before there were any well known labels they could place on me.
I was singled out from an early age, and it wasn't till the end of third grade when I was chosen for special gifted classes that it was acknowledged that I was actually intelligent...I identify more with my dysfunctions than my supposed "gifts"...my mind feels rather atrophied these days...when I was younger though, my "above average" intelligence was one small positive thing I could cling to when it seemed like every other aspect of my being was flawed.

Even though I was chosen for gifted classes, I did not actually make it into gifted classes until 7th grade and this was after being placed back into 3rd grade for having "emotional immaturity"..I had moved to a new school, and I had a nervous breakdown in the 4th grade (the first time)



Mosaicofminds
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02 May 2010, 12:22 pm

Wow, fascinating responses from everyone! I can't wait to have time to really think about what you've said and respond.

* Did you receive a gifted label as well as an AS/HFA/ADHD/etc. label?
Yes

* If so, which did you receive first?
The gifted label, because I taught myself to read at 4 and was also writing my first, middle, and last name on all my drawings in preschool. IIRC I was tested at 5, 7, and 10 (the final time was to qualify for some program or other). I was always told I was smart, but I never found out my score or saw the tests until this past year, when I was undergoing neuropsych evaluations and had to forward the tests to the neurospych. (The neuropsych testing gave me a score that IIRC was about 10 points lower, but in the same ballpark). Because most of the characteristics associated with "gifted," such as asynchrony, have a lot in common with ADHD and NVLD, my parents just assumed all my quirks were part of being a gifted kid and I'd catch up later. In some areas, that never really happened. I discovered I didn't fit in with even most people labeled "gifted" when I went to a school for gifted students 6th-8th grade.

* Which do you identify with more?
I identify with all my labels equally. They have independent and interacting effects on my mind, and they have probably all equally affected my life. If I were to describe myself to you, I would have trouble figuring out where one label begins and the next one ends.

* How do you feel other people see you? Do they judge you more on the gifted or more on the disability, or do they know about neither and get confused and angry at your uneven behavior?
I've spent 20 years being told variations of "If you're so smart why can't you do xyz." I've been told I wasn't listening or paying attention when I really was, because people couldn't comprehend that I really didn't understand what they were saying. I was even told by a professional used to working with children with sensory processing problems that she shouldn't have to repeat her instructions for a visual game because, while she would do it for little kids, I'm a student at a selective university. Apparently she doesn't realize that the kids she works with a) grow up, and b) are smart enough to go to good schools! It's hard to describe just how hurtful and infuriating these remarks are.

I have "hit the wall" several times, when my executive functioning couldn't keep up with the demands of my work and my life. I have felt I was getting "stupider" since age 14. Really, I've been getting smarter and more knowledgeable, but the demands on my perceptual abilities and executive function have grown much faster than my ability to meet them.



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02 May 2010, 12:43 pm

I always knew from school I was smart but I didn't get the IQ-test before my AS-evaluation. So I do have high IQ, but what was interesting was the gap. My lowest scores were on performance (except math) and compared to my verbal score there was a 70 point gap. I was never that interested in IQ, but I'm told that's a pretty big gap. I still wonder what the impact has been because of that.

I guess I identify more with being gifted than being autisic. Being brainy was the one thing I knew I could do growing up. Being autistic is a new concept to me, I always thought I was just me and never figured out why the complexities of human interaction either eluded me or came to me very late.



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02 May 2010, 12:53 pm

* Did you receive a gifted label as well as an AS/HFA/ADHD/etc. label?

Yes.

* If so, which did you receive first?

I don't know--I was pretty much kept ignorant of them. I was allowed to look at the results of my IQ test, and that's about it.

* Which do you identify with more?

Neither. Their elaborate correlation prevents me from prioritizing them individually.

* How do you feel other people see you? Do they judge you more on the gifted or more on the disability, or do they know about neither and get confused and angry at your uneven behavior?

See previous answer. They present as a coherent whole, as far as I can tell.



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02 May 2010, 1:02 pm

Forgot to say; I think most people think of me as gifted, so long as I get to elaborate on something. I'm very verbal so I can leave my mark on an academic discussion. Being gifted also made me better able to cover up my weirdness, or so I'm told.



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02 May 2010, 1:42 pm

This thread brings to mind one thing i've tried to make clear in many of my posts on WP and perhaps i've failed to do so.

That is....my LEARNING problems per se DO NOT seem extremely unusual for many people who fit the NVLD profile. While I was never labeled as "gifted" in school, neither are many other NLD-ers who have managed to succeed at college, careers, etc....Many of these same *non-gifted* NLD-ers have even succeeded in math/science-based majors which are assumed to be very difficult, if not impossible, for *non-gifted* (below a certain IQ number like say, 120) individuals. I recall my guidance counseler in 9th grade telling me I obtained a score of 120 on an IQ test I took. I don't recall if it was Stanford-Binet, WISC, or some other similar test. Whatever the case, that was the last IQ test I had until I was 23 years-old and my results on that one were much lower (FSIQ=94/VIQ=104/PIQ=82). The four others i've taken yielded substantially, and in terms of the most recent one I had, even extremely, higher scores. I obtained high average-above average FSIQ scores (with the characteristic NVLD gap between VIQ and PIQ) on the three I had between the one when I was 23 and my most recent test. I obtained an FSIQ of 143 on my most recent WAIS with VIQ at 155 and PIQ at 111. All of these tests were professionally-administered.

At any rate....i've encountered plenty of NLD-ers (strictly online or in books) whose actual learning problems seem very similar to my own. Many have said they had terrible difficulties with even basic math. To be honest, many have made even more of an effort that I have thus far. I took intro algebra twice in college and dropped it both times. I didn't opt for any tutoring or any sort of outside help. I just tried to grasp it on my own, failed to do so and then opted (regrettably in retrospect) for course substitutions. Many NLD-ers i've encountered claim they took intro algebra (or some other relatively easy math course) as much as 10 times, WITH the help of a tutor, study aides, etc....before they passed it and some of them have yet to do so even after multiple attempts and outside assistance. Furthermore, countless NLD-ers i've encountered claim to be baffled by any tasks involving mechanical reasoning. That has been my experience as well, so again, I don't feel i'm so unusual in this regard. I recently saw a post (not on WP) from an NLD-er who claims to have a PhD in psychology and who works as a practicing psychologist. This same man claims he failed every math and science course he ever took. How he eventually managed to obtain a PhD in psych is anybody's guess (for the obvious reasons...a PhD in psych does require math courses up to college algebra and S & P at least and plenty of science courses as well) and he really wasn't specific about that. He also said he has no mechanical *aptitude* whatsoever and interestingly enough, also complained of significant memory problems (like I do and again he wasn't specific about his own) which he somehow overcame. According to Dr. Rourke, VERBAL memory can also be poor in those with NVLD especially when it comes to "complex and novel" material. Many believe NLD can ONLY come with potential deficits in VISUAL memory, but according to Rourke, that's not the case.


"Memory. Memory for tactile and visual input is poor. Relative deficiencies in these areas tend to increase over the course of development, except for material that is programmatic and overlearned (e.g., spoken natural language). Memory for nonverbal material, whether presented through the auditory, visual, or tactile modalities, is poor if such material is not readily coded in a verbal fashion. Relatively poor memory for complex, meaningful, and/or novel verbal and nonverbal material is typical. Differences between good to excellent memory for rote material and impaired memory for complex material and/or that which is not readily coded in a verbal fashion tend to increase with age".


http://www.nld-bprourke.ca/Content_Dynamics.html




Thus....regardless of IQ and gifted/non-gifted labels.....my defacto LEARNING problems seem very similar, if not identical, to those of many people who fit the general NVLD profile. It is the MEMORY problems I believe I have, specifically in terms of LT declarative memory, (semantic and episodic) and LT implicit (procedural memory) which seem unusual, if not entirely nonexistent, among those *with* NVLD/AS and other ASD/PDDs. Hence the reason i'm trying to get accepted into research studies which include some type of neuroimaging since I cannot currently afford any on my own. I am fully aware of the fact that even neuroimaging may tell me nothing further about the memory problems I believe I have. But i've already had all the standard neuropsych memory tests like Weschler Memory Scales and all these have suggested that both my long-term and short-term memory is perfectly average and even better than average on some measures. Again,....the one exception would be my visual memory and regardless of Rourke's aforementioned claims about VERBAL memory, just about everyone agrees (including Rourke) that deficts in visual memory are common in those *with* NVLD, so nothing unsual about that.

Nonetheless....I have provided a link (many times in my posts) to an article from the Oxford Journal of Neurology which clearly demonstrates the very
likely limitations of all these conventional neuropsych memory tests when it comes to making any ultimate determinations about an individual's long term memory capacity.

Thus...I feel I need to go beyond what the common neuropsych memory tests can offer and see what, if anything, can be gleaned from neuroimaging. As far as I know, neuroimaging is the only option I have left if I want to know anything further about the long-term memory problems I believe i've always had.



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02 May 2010, 2:32 pm

To summarize my previous post, there exists a tremendous incongruity between ALL of the results of my neuropsychological evaluations which are extremely similar to countless people with NVLD/AS and my *functioning* in almost every area of life.


Looking at all my neuropsych results alone....most here might expect me to be a college grad NLD-er with a decent career, financial independence, skills, talents, etc.....

And yet...if most here heard about my life, overall academic performance, vocational history, etc.....without knowing anything about my neuropsych results, they might assume they were dealing with a person with borderline intellectual functioning at least and mild mental retardation at most.

I have no definitive answers to this incongruity...only countless theories (my own and those of other people) and zero conclusions. My own theory regarding a possible neurologically-based (as opposed to a mere product of any unintentional/unconscious exaggeration or imagination on my part) and thus far "occult" memory impairment seems to be the most plausible theory I have at this point.

Such a memory impairment may have no relation whatsoever to my NVLD-related learning, motor and socioemotional deficits.

:?: :?: :?:



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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02 May 2010, 2:45 pm

When I was four, I was evaluated at a University Health Sciences center. The staff who did the evaluating said I was extremely superior (according to my mom, whom I just asked). She said she can't remember the exact words they used because it was a few years ago. I asked her if I was in the gifted range and she said it would be the equivalent of that. The irony is, although all this was revealed after my cognitive evaluation, my mother had to fight to get me into regular kindergarten. The kindergarten center made me take an entrance exam, to my mother's disdain , since she had the written recommendations from the health science center evaluation.
I did terrible on the test the kindergarten staff gave me. I doodled all over the perimeter of the paper which they didn't appreciate. They didn't want to admit me to regular kindergarten, but my mother talked them into it.

You could say I was thought of as gifted, but not in school.

I received my gifted label first, ADHD label second, AS label third (AS wasn't a diagnostic option when I was four, although autism was mentioned and rejected.)



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02 May 2010, 3:15 pm

I was always in gifted classes in school, but they were still kind of dull. They felt average. I'm still working on getting an AS diagnosis, so the gifted is definitely first. I don't know if gifted is the right word, though because I think my conceptualizing of certain types of information and pattern recognition is part of AS.

I also agree that students who are gifted do have special needs in education. In fact, where I teach, in order to work specifically with gifted children, you have to have a special license. In my classes, I have a fair number of gifted students and they definitely have distinct needs that aren't met by the current model of education. Somewhere in my studies for certification we learned about how to recognize giftedness and the issues surrounding it. I can't remember the source, but there are some interesting statistics on higher drop-out rates among gifted students than average or even below average kids.



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02 May 2010, 3:35 pm

Both my brothers are labelled as gifted

when I was first tested at about 6, I was told that although my scores technically fell within the gifted range, due to difficulty with reading, communication and behavioural outbursts going into the gifted program was not advised.

I was labelled as NVLD a number of years later, but always felt that this was never quite complete.

This later caused me to enter the gifted-learning disabled program (genu-dumbass program as described by participants)

Quote:
How do you feel other people see you? Do they judge you more on the gifted or more on the disability, or do they know about neither and get confused and angry at your uneven behavior?


I think most people who hold a sustained conversation with me would recognize both gifted and disabled, although failing that the default would be gifted and weird.

although I never thought that a gifted label really meant anything, in myself or other people I knew with it.



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02 May 2010, 4:17 pm

The following is a link to the article from Oxford Journal of Neurology I mentioned in my previous post:

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/con ... /123/3/472


Aside from this and my own self-observations, I have further evidence to suggest the memory impairments I believe I have may be very real/of genuine neurological etiology.

The following is an excerpt is from a book entitled "Neuropsychological assessment of neuropsychiatric and neuromedical disorders":


"The Category Test is probably the best measure in the Halstead-Reitan battery of abstraction, reasoning and logical analysis abilities which in turn are essential for organized planning. As noted earlier, subjects who perform especially poorly on the category test often complain of having "memory problems". In fact, the category test requires organized memory (as contrasted with the simple reproduction of stimulus material required of most short-term memory tests) and is probably a more meaningful indication of memory in practical, complex, everyday situations than most so-called memory tests especially considering that memory in a purposeful, behaviroal context necessarily depends on relating the various aspects of a situation to another"





I performed "especially poorly" on the Category test in the HRB, I scored in the <1st ("impaired") percentile and obviously, I "complain of having memory problems".


I am not sure of TYPE of "memory problems" the author is referring to here. Aside from what is said about short-term memory tests, i'm not sure if the author is referring to ST memory problems, LT memory problems or both. I also wonder if there is any correlation between what this author is claiming here and what Dr. Rourke said (quoted in my first post in this thread) about NLD-ers often having poor memories for COMPLEX and NOVEL material. It would be interesting to see if any other NLD-ers have performed "especially poorly" on the category tests and if these same NLD-ers also "complain of having memory problems".

Knowing what I know of the white matter model and NVLD, i'm also wondering EXACTLY how the NVLD syndrome could impact ANY type of memory at all. Could some degree of white matter involvement in the right temporal lobe be related to the nonverbal/visual memory deficits many NLD-ers exhibit? Likewise....could some white matter involvement in the left temporal lobe be the cause of the memory deficits some NLD-ers also supposedly exhibit (according to Dr. Rourke, at least) when it comes to "complex and novel" VERBAL material? Most here are probably aware of the role the Hippocampus plays in memory (at least long-term memory). The Fimbria is a large band of white matter along the medial edge of the hippocampus. I wonder if damaged/dysfunctional white matter in this specific region could be the cause of significant impairments in long-term memory? It would seem to me that any of these things might cause, or contribute to, memory impairments of one kind or another. I could be wrong of course, obviously I don't have any expertise in this area. What about executive functioning deficits? To what extent can they impact memory of one kind or another?