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PoseyBuster88
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31 Mar 2019, 10:15 pm

Do you think having a high IQ exacerbates the social isolation of being an Aspie, or do you think it is an asset in some way socially? Or does it perhaps vary depending on where you are on the spectrum? For those who like terms defined, let's say "high IQ" is 130 or higher, since that is the cut off for the gifted program in US public schools.

If we have any official geniuses on here though, I'd welcome your perspectives in particular, since your especially high IQ would probably emphasize the effect even more.

I could see if both ways - the higher IQ would mean another layer of "masking" to interact with an average IQ NT person, but perhaps the high IQ means more brain power to work with when masking and making all those quick social decisions. Like having a faster processor in your computer so to speak. And does the high IQ alienate you from some of your aspie/ASD peers?

Anyway, these are the things I mull over in the evenings.


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31 Mar 2019, 10:37 pm

My FSIQ is 129 but that's brought down by my average working memory and processing speed. My GAI from the same test is something like 140, so if inclined I could qualify for Mensa based on that. My GAI on the Otis Lennon test in 1st grade was 146, so I was shuttled into a gifted program, and took accelerated courses for my entire schooling. So while I'm technically below your cut-off I think I'm the kind of person you're wondering about.

In general I think high intellectual ability was more helpful than not. For one prior to my diagnosis it gave me "a reason" for being different that both I and my peers could accept. Also because I was doing well in academic subjects I was given a lot of encouragement to pursue those and not so much to be social.

Specifically for masking, I know I'm good enough that I didn't get diagnosed for 20+ years. Maybe it's because the mask I wear is closer to my true self than some other autistics have to wear. Maybe it's because my autism is on the mild end of the spectrum.


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PoseyBuster88
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31 Mar 2019, 11:12 pm

Thanks, Antrax. I think you definitely qualify based on the fact you made it into the gifted program. I don't actually know my IQ - my parents didn't think that piece of data was worth recording or remembering, but they thought it was around 150, and I did get into the gifted program, so it was at least 130.

You touched on something I'd thought myself - I am not formally diagnosed, and only very recently heard about female symptoms, masking, etc. Prior to that, I assumed my "oddities" and how I always was monitoring my social behavior were just a function of being a "shy" or introverted person and my IQ. I was put into the gifted program in Kindergarten, so most of my memories I was "nerdy" or "the smart kid," and any odd behaviors were written off because of that or being a quiet kid. And I suppose being weird because you are smart/nerdy is a bit easier socially - if nothing else, people talk to you when they want help with their homework!

But I remember learning about social things, and analyzing behaviors so I could implement them. For instance, I remember learning by listening to conversations that, especially when speaking to females, it is better to say "I feel like" than "I think that." For example, "I feel like you are mad at me" goes over better than "I think that you are mad at me." That would not have occurred to me naturally. I used to start all my sentences like that with "I think."

Anyway, that's just an example, and I'm relatively sure most people don't actively have to figure out things like that. They just get it. They don't look up how eye contact works, or the differences between a "genuine" smile and a "fake" smile - in order to fake a "genuine" smile (hah!). But I wasn't bullied a ton...made fun of sometimes for always reading or being a big nerd, but I think being surrounded by honors/AP kids was helpful. We were all "weirdos." So that was a definite benefit (assuming I am ASD).

But it seems like the dark side could be that a high IQ hides or explains away many aspie symptoms? So although it may mean you are accepted as a "quirky professor" type, it also means internally you are wondering why you are always so exhausted and sometimes feel so stupid. I have to make lists for pretty much everything important, and I have lots of "rules" for where I put important things so I don't lose my keys, wallet, etc. I am always wondering if a "did a good job" after social events, meetings, and phone calls. And I honestly didn't know that it isn't normal to completely break down after too many social events in one week.

I have found this forum to be incredibly helpful, because it makes me feel normal for disliking loud music, bright lights, crowds, etc, and offers tips to cope. I wish I'd found it sooner, but until very recently I wrote off any symptoms as "nerdy introvert." And being female compounds the issue from what I've read.

Anyway, would be interested in hearing from others to see if there is a general consensus.


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31 Mar 2019, 11:28 pm

I can offer a bit of insight about my own experience as a student before my ASD diagnosis.

I don't recall that there was such a thing as "gifted" programs when I was in school. I actually never heard of that until about fifteen years ago. Regardless I was a high achiever and a bookworm my whole life, except for a few high school classes that I failed miserably / on purpose (e.g., I refused to dissect anything in Biology so I cut classes and failed, I thought Home Economics was sexist so I cut class and failed). The rest of my grades were near perfect in Math, Physics, Chemistry, English and Humanities. Moving countries in the midst of high school didn't help my attitude, but I was always considered quiet, polite and studious.

I did have difficulty with some of the executive function so I worked extra hard and burned myself out.

I went to Uni and earned two degrees with distinction, again nearly killing myself without accommodations or knowing that I was autistic. I spent all my time hiding in libraries because I was so shy and anxious that I didn't make social connections. Even among my Uni peers I was seen as somewhat geeky and overly studious. I felt like an outsider.

I wasn't assessed ASD until last year and although levels aren't formally assigned any more I was assessed as Level 2.

I'm confident in my diagnosis but frustrated that many people equate L2 with lower intelligence. I am a very intelligent person and the IQ test I did online (recently) placed me in the mid 130s. This is despite having a stroke and a full year of cognitive rehab (2015). I'm sure I would have been higher before my stroke which caused cognitive impairment.

My assessment itself doesn't seem to have a general IQ number, but my nonverbal was 8th percentile and my verbal was 25th. This reflects the fact I am selective mute.

I hope this helps.



wrongcitizen
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01 Apr 2019, 12:21 am

I don't think severity of an ASD directly changes IQ but instead specifically alters ones capacity to socialize or connect with others, and over decades to learn and develop from childhood. A very low functioning Autistic person might still be able to learn, and often communicates somewhat through software, but struggles with social connection. Though I think having a high IQ and being high functioning will allow one to adapt best to an ASD because the person has the ability to recognize the relationship between ambiguous neurotypical social cues and create a simulated social concept that would otherwise be lacking.

I don't want to share my IQ here (Lets just say above 100 to be safe) but all I can say is that the higher the IQ the more problems come along that don't necessarily relate to ASDs either. A person with a high IQ becomes isolated in general, with or without Asperger's, because they end up questioning confusing or unnecessary social behavior while they still might be able to understand it, while someone closer to the average wouldn't notice anything. It's very isolating and the depth of thought in conversation generally sinks lower from the perspective of a person the further up they go.

Also, I can't confirm this but I always thought that the more intelligent someone is the harder it is to regulate their thoughts and emotions, so they end up with long term fatigue, exhaustion, and avoidance, finding solace in themselves rather than in others. This is not often the case, if not even the majority.

Of course, there's lots of different ways people display intelligence. Some are good bookworm types but struggle with social sense, others are very obsessed with one thing but are uninterested in more topics so they don't diversify, some are very witty and adaptable but struggle to stay consistently with one thing, etc. Most people are all over in terms of behavior in general but social norms regulate the extremes of individual expression.



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01 Apr 2019, 1:21 am

Honestly, I think it hurt me just as much as it helped me.

On one hand, being intelligent is a gift.
But on the other hand, it placed some serious pressure on me. Im the only kid in the family who knows their IQ. (I got mine done professionally when I was a kid, but I dont think they really change right?) However, since my parents knew how "intelligent" I was, I had MASSIVE expectations to live up to. The core argument in literally every conversation I had with them was "you're too smart to be doing _____/to not be doing _______". No grades, test scores, or awards were good enough for them. I had to be in the hardest classes, get the best grades, the highest scores, win every competition, and get into the best schools. They didnt care that I was struggling with school because of course I could do better I was "just too smart not to". They naturally assumed I was going to be gifted in certain areas and didnt understand why when I wasnt. My intelligence was used against me my whole life. Honestly it was such a burden.

Plus, it does make it harder to fit in. I was never "nerdy" or real flashy about my intelligence, but a lot of adults Ive met have told me "it was obvious". The way I speak or something, I guess. So even my teachers and peers expected better of me. And I hate to admit it, but its super hard for me to have conversations with people of lower intelligence. Because honestly I tend to get really frustrated when they cant understand me or make the same mental leaps. Theyre always a beat behind and I get tired of waiting for them to catch up. I know it sounds really harsh and I do feel kinda guilty, but Ive learned I need to dumb things down a lot for my friends. Ugh, and they always want me to tutor them! Its annoying cause Im such a crappy teacher. Their brains dont work like mine and I dont know how else to explain it so we both end up frustrated.
It also made school really tough. Ive never actually done that well in school. My teachers and parents never understood why. For one, I could never learn anything from lectures or powerpoints or talking. So I mostly taught myself the material. But I was usually ahead of the teacher and was bored and distracted in class. When I was in elementary school, I aced everything. But I was also disruptive cause I finished too quickly and got distracted doing other things. I was pretty ADHD too, so I was spazzing all over the place and got kicked out of class. I hated it when teachers dumbed down their teaching and took too long going over basic concepts and it made me angry and annoyed. I often got scolded for doing problems "the wrong way" even though I got the answer right. I sucked at any subject I wasnt legitimately interested in- which was most. I could never get myself to remember anything I read if I wasnt really into it. (would literally read a passage 100 times and cry because I still couldnt answer the damn questions) My teachers hated when I spoke up because I asked questions that were too in depth or that they didnt know the answer to or were kinda off topic. They doubly hated when I corrected them or reached a conclusion too fast. Math teachers hated me because I skipped steps and didnt show my full work. I didnt get full credit because of that and it confused me because I did those steps in my head not on paper so why should I write it down? And I was also accused of cheating several times. I took the SATs and ACTs without a calculator and no joke got called to the office to discuss whether I cheated because my scores didnt match my GPA. (Ive always been an amazing test taker in multiple choice) But the worst part was I never got any credit for my intelligence. Whenever I did an impressive job it was always brushed off because Im Asian.


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01 Apr 2019, 2:33 am

PoseyBuster88 wrote:
Thanks, Antrax. I think you definitely qualify based on the fact you made it into the gifted program. I don't actually know my IQ - my parents didn't think that piece of data was worth recording or remembering, but they thought it was around 150, and I did get into the gifted program, so it was at least 130.

You touched on something I'd thought myself - I am not formally diagnosed, and only very recently heard about female symptoms, masking, etc. Prior to that, I assumed my "oddities" and how I always was monitoring my social behavior were just a function of being a "shy" or introverted person and my IQ. I was put into the gifted program in Kindergarten, so most of my memories I was "nerdy" or "the smart kid," and any odd behaviors were written off because of that or being a quiet kid. And I suppose being weird because you are smart/nerdy is a bit easier socially - if nothing else, people talk to you when they want help with their homework!

But I remember learning about social things, and analyzing behaviors so I could implement them. For instance, I remember learning by listening to conversations that, especially when speaking to females, it is better to say "I feel like" than "I think that." For example, "I feel like you are mad at me" goes over better than "I think that you are mad at me." That would not have occurred to me naturally. I used to start all my sentences like that with "I think."

Anyway, that's just an example, and I'm relatively sure most people don't actively have to figure out things like that. They just get it. They don't look up how eye contact works, or the differences between a "genuine" smile and a "fake" smile - in order to fake a "genuine" smile (hah!). But I wasn't bullied a ton...made fun of sometimes for always reading or being a big nerd, but I think being surrounded by honors/AP kids was helpful. We were all "weirdos." So that was a definite benefit (assuming I am ASD).

But it seems like the dark side could be that a high IQ hides or explains away many aspie symptoms? So although it may mean you are accepted as a "quirky professor" type, it also means internally you are wondering why you are always so exhausted and sometimes feel so stupid. I have to make lists for pretty much everything important, and I have lots of "rules" for where I put important things so I don't lose my keys, wallet, etc. I am always wondering if a "did a good job" after social events, meetings, and phone calls. And I honestly didn't know that it isn't normal to completely break down after too many social events in one week.

I have found this forum to be incredibly helpful, because it makes me feel normal for disliking loud music, bright lights, crowds, etc, and offers tips to cope. I wish I'd found it sooner, but until very recently I wrote off any symptoms as "nerdy introvert." And being female compounds the issue from what I've read.

Anyway, would be interested in hearing from others to see if there is a general consensus.



My IQ and Autism has been a conflicting mix, sometimes there is a compliment and others a clash.

My IQ is what you would consider "high" or "gifted" at 140, but far from genius level. I was diagnosed later in life (my 30's) mainly due to my masking ability and seemingly outward "mild" autism, with my lack of any academic issues. As already mentioned there is an overlap with some behaviors, and certainly with people at or approaching the genius level, that can lead people to believe they are one or another.

My ability to mask has categorically been helped by my IQ level; whilst my brain is running nearly flat out during social conversations, trying to plan and respond to dialogue and work out the other persons meaning/intentions, having quicker processing makes it easier - exhausting and a whirlwind internally, but externally quite passable. Also, being able to understand and process data from a wide range of subjects quickly helps me to formulate a response in a given area, most of the time.

Unfortunately the clash has come with my academic work. I didn't achieve what I was capable of at school mainly because I found a lot of it boring, and as I was able to get good grades with little effort.....I put in little effort. Had I actually applied myself better then I have no doubt my grades would have been the best they could be. I also found that a lot of the time I was misinterpreting questions - I struggled with exams because of this. I would answer the questions very well, but frequently the question I was answering was not the question being asked, so would score badly! When I was at school there wasn't much awareness of autism and I was so far beyond needing special educational needs (that was the only thing available) that I just didn't get the help I needed.

Unfortunately, having a highly analytical mind, twinned with autism, does exasperate some issues such as my overthinking and getting stuck in a mental loop of questioning and analysing, even when I've come to a conclusion - it's a right pain the bum. I need to know how and why things are or do what they do, and I can't move on until I've investigated and understood it.


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01 Apr 2019, 8:39 am

High IQ can work both ways. On the plus side, it gives you the facility to research your problems and some solutions. Having worked for a while as a therapist, though, I have seen that the highly intelligent can be surprisingly resistant to therapy; they construct amazing defenses, and can be adept at resisting any intervention. Had I stayed active in that field very long, perhaps I would have developed some strategies to circumvent this tendency, but I think it would always have been a tough slog.

For the record, my IQ tests were between 140 and 150. I have met a small number of genuine geniuses, but don't consider myself one.


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01 Apr 2019, 9:07 am

wrongcitizen wrote:

I don't want to share my IQ here (Lets just say above 100 to be safe) but all I can say is that the higher the IQ the more problems come along that don't necessarily relate to ASDs either. A person with a high IQ becomes isolated in general, with or without Asperger's, because they end up questioning confusing or unnecessary social behavior while they still might be able to understand it, while someone closer to the average wouldn't notice anything. It's very isolating and the depth of thought in conversation generally sinks lower from the perspective of a person the further up they go.


There is also a disconnect that can happen between people if the difference in IQ is quite large. This is not always the case, but it does exist. It becomes extremely hard to relate to one another in that situation regardless if AS is involved. I faced this issue countless time back in school and learned to just keep to myself because no one else could understand what I already knew. I had learned a majority of my knowledge base on poisons by that point in time, things that are not normal for a kid at that age to be interested in.

I still experience this situation now and again at the university that I teach at. While most of my coworkers have the same chemical PhD education that I have, many of them do not understand some of the material at my level. I just keep what I know to myself and let them play on thinking that they are the best at it. My conversations with them are unfulfilling to say the least. I can mask the difference to a point, but lately I have just given up trying to hide it.



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01 Apr 2019, 9:46 am

I will give my impressions. Sometimes people with high IQs are fairly timid and do not often explain themselves and put themselves out there. One of my coworkers was fairly smart. She was a member of Mensa. In order to be inducted into Mensa, you had to have an IQ that was at or above the 98 percentile on the standard test of intelligence (around 130 IQ or higher). They have an on-line tests to qualify.

Source: About Mensa International

I am not timid and as a result, my thoughts would often gain more traction because I put them out there whereas she often didn't. Growing up if you are rather intelligent, your classmates may be offended and you are subjected to more bullying so we practice selective mutism. As adults we need to relearn our self-worth and learn to speak again and gain back our voices.


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01 Apr 2019, 10:12 am

I supposedly have a high IQ(according to mental health professionals over the years) . I'm not consciously aware though of ever masking. I can't say the supposed 'high IQ' has been a boon . This could be because although I'm supposedly highly intelligent I have a spiky profile(much better verbally than non-verbally) and my common sense/practical intelligence is not good.


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01 Apr 2019, 11:34 am

I have an IQ in the 99th percentile and I am good at masking. Also the other high IQ aspies I've met, especially women, are excellent at seeming neurotypical, to the level that some of them actually seem very socially intelligent. Highly intelligent men are less good at masking I've noticed, but their high IQ does help with masking to some degree. (By the way the gender difference is just my personal observation and won't fit everyone, please don't get upset.)


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01 Apr 2019, 11:47 am

PoseyBuster88 wrote:
I could see if both ways - the higher IQ would mean another layer of "masking" to interact with an average IQ NT person, but perhaps the high IQ means more brain power to work with when masking and making all those quick social decisions. Like having a faster processor in your computer so to speak.

I remember someone (Eric Raymond?) once saying that he thought people at the very high end could do pretty well socially because they had enough processing power that they could effectively run a simultaneous simulation that would tell them what they were supposed do in various social situations. :D


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01 Apr 2019, 11:52 am

Darmok wrote:
PoseyBuster88 wrote:
I could see if both ways - the higher IQ would mean another layer of "masking" to interact with an average IQ NT person, but perhaps the high IQ means more brain power to work with when masking and making all those quick social decisions. Like having a faster processor in your computer so to speak.

I remember someone (Eric Raymond?) once saying that he thought people at the very high end could do pretty well socially because they had enough processing power that they could effectively run a simultaneous simulation that would tell them what they were supposed do in various social situations. :D

Me and someone I know do that.


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01 Apr 2019, 1:35 pm

My IQ was 160+. Dunno if it still is. It's been useful in that it's helped me learn to mask well, almost to a level most people can't tell if I have Asperger's as long as I'm not stressed out.

That's the problem though, once I'm stressed and the signs start showing, it doesn't end well. This has been the case regardless of my situation, whether it be a job, a relationship, a friendship, or issues with family.

Another problem is interests. My interests differ so much from most people. Ethnicity's been another big issue. I'm half-Asian so most people just don't take any issues I have seriously because of it. Doesn't help that I've had peers my entire life tell me how much of a curse intelligence is so after I turned around my early 20's I kind of lost interest in exercising my brain until recently.


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01 Apr 2019, 2:21 pm

My verbal IQ came out at 129 as a kid but Performance was at the high end of normal. But for some reason everyone thinks I am this super genius... People start expecting you to know the answer to EVERYTHING...
As a kid I had severe problems with social skills but now I pretty much got the basic social rules down, and maybe intelligence is a factor in that.


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