One child with Aspergers, another gifted/High IQ

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Shellfish
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11 Oct 2012, 6:29 pm

Hi,

Just wanting opinions on this...when DS was younger we were aware of some really amazing talents however we were aware that these were splinter skills and that there were areas that are also lacking. Our daughter appears to also to have some really impressive skills-she isn't yet two but knows her alphabet, numbers, all her colours, she has an amazing memory, she is articulate and seems to understand almost any instruction that we give her. So, in a nutshell very much like our son at the same age, except that she is very socially aware - she always greets people that she knows, is very aware of body language etc etc.

Does anyone know whether there is any link between having a child with Aspergers, and another that has 'just a high IQ'?


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Callista
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11 Oct 2012, 6:38 pm

Giftedness and AS run in the same families. Sometimes they're found in the same people. Some gifted people have traits of AS but not the full-blown syndrome.

That said, even if you picked your daughter's genes out of a hat completely randomly, she'd still have about a one-in-twenty chance of being gifted (top 5%; two standard deviations above the mean). Giftedness isn't really that unusual.

Regarding splinter skills and IQ: As you probably know, measuring your son's IQ makes very little sense because of those splinter skills. He's got some extreme talents and some significant deficits; so the overall score would come out somewhere in the middle--and say absolutely nothing about how his mind works. This is very normal for autistic people. My own subscores have a range of 55 percentiles, making the results not particularly useful. In a way, I am gifted at some things and intellectually disabled at other things... Averaging it out like that doesn't give you any real information.

It's probably a good thing that she's gifted. She'll share the experience of not being neurotypical with your son. Gifted kids can end up on the outside of social circles because they are academically far ahead of their same-age peers, but much younger than their academic peers. Ironically, gifted kids share a lot of experiences with disabled kids; not to mention that there are a lot of kids who are both gifted and disabled. Maybe it'll strengthen their sibling bond; who knows?


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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11 Oct 2012, 7:04 pm

Because of science fairs and judo, through 10th grade (age 16), I was treated as the hero of the family, then I was treated as the goat. I would have rather just been treated as a person.



dajand8
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11 Oct 2012, 7:10 pm

many Aspies are very intelligent with high iq's. The higher the iq of the Aspie, generally the more they can function in society. The aspergers is less of a problem and more of an advantage even. MANY CHILDREN IN GIFTED PROGRAMS ARE ASPIES



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11 Oct 2012, 7:11 pm

Asperger's is not a "disability."



Callista
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11 Oct 2012, 7:22 pm

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
Because of science fairs and judo, through 10th grade (age 16), I was treated as the hero of the family, then I was treated as the goat. I would have rather just been treated as a person.
This. So much this. I grew up "twice exceptional", and I was constantly judged. Either I was smart and wonderful; or I was badly-behaved, rebellious, unacceptable. I was compared to my sister (who is NT) either because I was good at things she wasn't, or because I wasn't good at the things she was good at. I was basically taught that my value as a person depended on what I was capable of doing. That's one of the worst things in the world to teach a gifted child. It makes them fear failure so much that the pleasure of learning starts to diminish; they grow anxious or perhaps arrogant in an attempt to "prove" their superiority... They learn that you're either better than somebody else or worse; equality vanishes into the drive to prove that you're valuable because you're smart.

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Asperger's is not a "disability."
Yes, it is; it creates a situation where one or more skills is not at the level society expects of you, so it's a disability. It's just that "disability" isn't necessarily severe or obvious, doesn't imply tragedy, doesn't imply incompetence, and doesn't prevent you from being successful, nor talented in other areas. Disabled people date, have families, have careers, get college degrees, provide for themselves, etc., etc., and more and more often now that the disability rights movement is increasing accommodations and equality.

If you ever catch yourself saying, "It's okay to have AS because I'm smart," then watch yourself, because you've just implied that if you're NOT smart, then it's not okay to have AS--that being disabled is not okay; that having deficits is not okay; that you have to be superior, have to justify your existence. And that is a very, very dangerous trap to fall into.


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Keyman
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11 Oct 2012, 7:35 pm

More IQ and experience makes it easier to deal with the social game in a way indistinguishable from NTs.

And asperger is more a way a person function.

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
Because of science fairs and judo, through 10th grade (age 16), I was treated as the hero of the family, then I was treated as the goat. I would have rather just been treated as a person.


How come you went from hero to goat?
(perhaps black sheep is the common term?)



Shellfish
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11 Oct 2012, 9:27 pm

Callista wrote:
I was basically taught that my value as a person depended on what I was capable of doing. That's one of the worst things in the world to teach a gifted child. It makes them fear failure so much that the pleasure of learning starts to diminish; they grow anxious or perhaps arrogant in an attempt to "prove" their superiority... They learn that you're either better than somebody else or worse; equality vanishes into the drive to prove that you're valuable because you're smart.


I like to 'talk up' my son's ability to help him feel good about himself. Growing up, my parents (like many parents of those times) were pretty underwhelming with their affection and encouragement, and I always swore I would not be like that. His drawings are really impressive, it's hard not to comment.
I like to think that I encourage him no matter what he's doing (although, he pretty much only draws or plays computer games at home). He knows he is loved because I tell him every day...
What do you think I should do differently?


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Shellfish
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11 Oct 2012, 9:27 pm

dajand8 wrote:
Asperger's is not a "disability."

I think that very much depends on who you ask...


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11 Oct 2012, 10:57 pm

Shellfish wrote:
Does anyone know whether there is any link between having a child with Aspergers, and another that has 'just a high IQ'?


It sounds as if your son has Asperger's and your daughter is your average neurotypical girl.

I guess it's good you noticed these things in your son. Although you mean well, try to lay off patronizing him too much. As he gets older he may actually find it condescending and come to resent you. And if that happens, don't take it personally. Though your intentions are good, as he grows he'll see being patronized as downright insulting and counter-productive.



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11 Oct 2012, 11:08 pm

It's possible she is in the broad aspergian phenotype. These are people who sort of straddle the line. They may not have any of the negative aspects of AS but some of the positive aspects.

It's also possible she is not in the BAP or on the spectrum and is just a smart child. :)

Nurture her gifts.



LordExiron
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11 Oct 2012, 11:50 pm

I have a very high IQ and was in gifted when I was a kid, and my brother has very profound autism. Growing up, there were two guys in my gifted class with brothers in my brothers special ed class. Idk what the real connection is though.



dazedorconfused
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12 Oct 2012, 12:13 am

Shellfish wrote:
Hi,

Just wanting opinions on this...when DS was younger we were aware of some really amazing talents however we were aware that these were splinter skills and that there were areas that are also lacking. Our daughter appears to also to have some really impressive skills-she isn't yet two but knows her alphabet, numbers, all her colours, she has an amazing memory, she is articulate and seems to understand almost any instruction that we give her. So, in a nutshell very much like our son at the same age, except that she is very socially aware - she always greets people that she knows, is very aware of body language etc etc.

Does anyone know whether there is any link between having a child with Aspergers, and another that has 'just a high IQ'?


The genetic link of both is well established (individually). It is very possible to have both. This is known as 2E and with aspergers is largely assumed to be the combination that has lead to most scientific discoveries.

After all how do you spend the 10,000 hours on a subject required to make a real breakthrough if you are spending so much time socializing...

That said it is very possible to transfer some of the traits of one and not the other if the parents have them. So if one child is both it is more likely that the other child will be at least one of the 2. Attwood explains this much better than me and he is standing on the shoulders of others (admittedly) so going to the base material might be best for you to explore this.



dazedorconfused
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12 Oct 2012, 12:19 am

Shellfish wrote:
I like to 'talk up' my son's ability to help him feel good about himself. Growing up, my parents (like many parents of those times) were pretty underwhelming with their affection and encouragement, and I always swore I would not be like that. His drawings are really impressive, it's hard not to comment.
I like to think that I encourage him no matter what he's doing (although, he pretty much only draws or plays computer games at home). He knows he is loved because I tell him every day...
What do you think I should do differently?


I wasn't going to comment as this is very close to home and what I am still dealing with in accepting myself. That said I am going to comment as it may help the most and I apologize if I go off a little here. Put it through your own filter...it is better than mine. I wouldn't mind comments on what yall think though.

Assuming your son truly is 2E and not just functioning averagely (meaning his AVERAGE IQ is in the 140+ range and specific cognitive abilities are much higher but others are lower).

You need to stop right now thinking in things your way. He is going to have to deal with the fact that he is different in almost every way possible. He will not relate emotionally, he will not relate on topics to his peers, he will not have similar interests, he will be lost. Period end of story... And the worst part is he is smart enough to see it happening in his head but too dumb to realize it isn't this way for everyone.

Can you see how confusing this is?

I can only relate it this way. Take a topic you are very knowledgeable on. Now be interviewed on it (be asked some questions) while wearing glasses that make everyone's face fuzzy, with a super powerful hearing aid picking up background noise, and speaking in a pirate accent. You are acutely aware that no one really understands what you are saying and that it is your fault cause it is so clear in your head.

He will have to deal with the fact that he can accomplish almost anything and yet the next minute he will be walking into class and cant look at the teacher when she says hello. He KNOWS he is suppose to but just can't do it. When he forces himself to look then his voice just won't work. Internally this will be horrible for him... But he WILL figure out how to do it and hide it. And he will do that because he will be told by everyone in his life that he is just acting out and is doing it on purpose. Even today, despite all the science, it isn't accepted that gifted people ever have problems. They are suppose to have these perfect little lives with no mental difficulty.

Here is the problem. He will not be happy with himself. He will constantly be wondering why.

This is where you come in.

1. Let him know that it isn't him doing it on purpose. Relate it to him that others may be trying to be as smart as him but it is difficult for them. It isn't their fault as long as they are trying and are making progress. In counter point he may not be as good at understanding faces, unsaid signals, and the undertones of life. however, as long as he is trying and making progress YOU WILL NOT JUDGE HIM NEGATIVELY.

2. you have to do the above clearly and distinctly with language and physical means. When you do something great you want a hug and others to share in the triumph with you through emotion... He'll miss it... Don't get me wrong he will crave physical attention but it doesn't mean the same to him as to you. When you want to congratulate him give him a measurable and quantifiable item appropriate for his mental capacity over time. When young this may be as simple as an extra cookie, new football, etc. Relate it to him making progress at understanding the relationships but do not reward with them. For him a hug is work at understanding the meaning of it... don't reward progress with work.

3. give him space and support it. If he wants some alone time to pursue his own constructive endeavors make sure you accommodate for that. There will be literally no one he is developing along with. The odds of another 2E child being his age and in the same geographical area is unlikely.

4. Learn with him. He will branch out into areas you don't expect. It is an amazing opportunity for him to take a liking in something you don't know about. This will basically be his only opportunity to learn with someone at his level. (you are actually well above his level overall because of wisdom but you will be surprised how fast he understands the logic)

5. Make sure he knows you are on his side. Do not let him lie but do not assume what he tells you is a lie. Imagine how hard it could be for him to tell you he wants a chemistry set at 8 or a copy of war and peace at 7. Do not put yourself on the other side saying "oh honey wouldn't you rather have a GI joe". Make room for the child in him and the adult at the same time.

I am not a medical professional but I can say those things would have made things so much better for me. I literally spend 10 years thinking my parents hated me. I thought I was retarded but logically knew that was wrong (talk about confusing emotions when you function primarily cognitively and it doesn't agree with the natural side of your psyche). I just thought I was being punished for being different and tried to hide it. I still fight that today pretending to be dumb, asking people to explain things I already know so I can make a blank face and disarm their attack about me being "smart" before they even make it.

Anyone see what I am saying here?



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12 Oct 2012, 12:27 am

I think that it is wrong to refer to the natural talents of autistic children as "splinter skills", regardless of what deficits they have in other areas. This term makes me want to vomit. The term for talent that keeps the food down is "talent".

Most neurotypical people have gawdawful Alzheimer's-level memories compared to mine, and many neurotypical people have eggsellent verbal skills, but I don't refer to their verbal talents as "splinter skills" inspite of their having such profound memory deficits that require them to write things down and do all that weird stuff like that.



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12 Oct 2012, 12:38 am

I don't think it's meant as pejorative; just that this particular skill is much higher than all your other skills. There are other words, but none of them quite fit the bill: "Talent" is a broader area of expertise; "savant skill" is more extreme; "prodigy" just refers to an unusually early skill acquisition.

The problem with labeling things "splinter skills" is not with the term itself. It's that if you label them "splinter skills" as a way of saying they don't matter, or even should be discouraged because they are part of someone's pathology, then you're doing that person a disservice. Splinter skills are useful just like any other notable strength, and should be developed and encouraged similarly.


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