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

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Mosaicofminds
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09 May 2010, 9:01 pm

"About five years ago I took an on-line IQ test that said I had the IQ level of Bill Gates. I didn't believe it because my grades were often really spotty in school. ...So I scheduled and paid for professional educational and intelligence testing"
OK, that makes sense, thanks! And thanks for all the thoughtful replies!

"For instance, are social difficulties the result of having an inability to make connections with those one's age, or that there is too much intellectual disparity and the gifted student just can't relate to others her/his age."
Or even both. :) I mean, if you hate small talk and only want to talk about your special interests, you'll only be able to relate to people of the same sort, but do people get that way because they enjoy intellectual activity and find small talk boring, or because they really don't get the concept of small talk, or both? This is where we get into the question of which traits count as "social skills" and which don't. I've wondered a lot about how to tell the difference, actually. How do you tell the difference, or do you not really worry about it?

Your paper sounds fascinating. I wish I could find free access online--will have to look at the library next time I go.



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09 May 2010, 9:38 pm

Mosaicofminds wrote:
And thanks for all the thoughtful replies!


You're welcome!

"For instance, are social difficulties the result of having an inability to make connections with those one's age, or that there is too much intellectual disparity and the gifted student just can't relate to others her/his age."
Mosaicofminds wrote:
Or even both. :) I mean, if you hate small talk and only want to talk about your special interests, you'll only be able to relate to people of the same sort, but do people get that way because they enjoy intellectual activity and find small talk boring, or because they really don't get the concept of small talk, or both? This is where we get into the question of which traits count as "social skills" and which don't. I've wondered a lot about how to tell the difference, actually. How do you tell the difference, or do you not really worry about it?


Even diagnosticians have problems sorting this out. First, it can be nearly impossible to get into someone's mind and really understand their motivations. I would guess that if an individual has faceblindness, alexithymia (inability to process emotions in self or those of others), as well as auditory processing disorder, those difficulties might make it impossible to relate to others in typical ways. But who can say for sure? In practical terms, a deficit is still a deficit and whether based in neurological/sensory differences or from too much smarts and not being able to relate, sometimes both can benefit from similar assistance or intervention.

I had a lot of difficulty with small talk, knowing what was appropriate to say etc., and eventually figured out that mostly people don't really care about the areas I fixate on (unless I've been asked to give a lecture!). I've practiced for so long to suppress talking about my stuff, and forcing myself to ask people about themselves etc., that now I'm quite natural at it. But down deep, (and often still with my family), I just want to go off on a monologue about my interests. It's really only a social problem if you can't turn it off or if you can't recognize that others really would rather not have a 45 minute private lecture about 19th century gas lighting technology.

Mosaicofminds wrote:
Your paper sounds fascinating. I wish I could find free access online--will have to look at the library next time I go.


Quite a while ago I posted a pre-final edit version on WP here

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09 May 2010, 9:39 pm

Double post :?



Last edited by Zonder on 09 May 2010, 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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09 May 2010, 9:39 pm

Mosaicofminds wrote:
"At the bottom, gifted children are children like any other children. They have a lot of expectations placed on them because of their giftedness, and people forget that they need the same things that other children do."
Hmm...yes and no... My major problem with this is, if you replace the word "gifted" with the word "AS" or "autism" or "ADHD," would you still say that's true? 8O

we all have the same emotions, we all need food and water and a roof over our heads and acceptance from others and something to keep our minds occupied...I don't think I've met many people who feel like their brains are shutting off and it's actually painful when they're bored and not learning something, though. Which, to me, is the main justification for gifted programs. ::shrug::



Yes, I would say the same of children with an ASD or similar. People often see the differences and forget the child. In gifted children, they see the intellectual gifts and expect the child's emotional development to be the same as their cognitive development. In children with an ASD, people sometimes see the child as a bunch of deficits to be remedied, and they forget that they are dealing with a person, not a list of traits to either be encouraged or wiped out. It manifests differently, but if a person is different, all too often others will focus on the differences and not on the fact that they are a human like other humans.
I've had first-hand experience with both ways of having my differences focussed on. It's very rare for people to try to just relate to me as a person: I'm either someone who doesn't quite get things and needs things explained and to be looked after (even when I can fend for myself perfectly well), or I'm some kind of super-talented genius to be revered. It's apparently very difficult to be balanced in one's view of me.


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09 May 2010, 9:49 pm

I know in my case that trouble with social interaction wasn't due to being gifted. One, I had the same trouble with gifted kids if not more. Two, my interests have never been solely intellectual. Many of them involved things like climbing trees, playing with very simple objects, and watching retinal fuzz in the air.


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Mosaicofminds
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10 May 2010, 12:10 am

Just read your article, and...wow. So much insight there, not sure where to even start commenting.

A quote that particularly stuck out to me was:
"Compensation breaks down when you’re stressed, tired, ill, injured, anxious, or encountering new situations. When compensation works, you feel like an imposter, and when it fails, you feel incompetent. Am I smart or am I stupid? Not a great basis for building self-esteem or setting high aspirations (Silverman, 2002, pp. 169-170).

'Am I smart or am I stupid?' Until recently that question was always there, a varyingly conscious thought in my mind and no doubt in the minds of many who are gifted and have developmental, learning, or autism spectrum differences."
::jaw drops:: You just described a huge piece of my emotional life.

"In practical terms, a deficit is still a deficit and whether based in neurological/sensory differences or from too much smarts and not being able to relate, sometimes both can benefit from similar assistance or intervention."
Surely the type of deficit would affect the remedy required? If your sensory differences literally make most social cues invisible to you, I'm not sure how beneficial typical social skills training would be; Irlen lenses or something might be more helpful. If you're alexithymic, training in the physical signs and vocabulary of emotions (lessons in "emotional intelligence") would seem to make sense. If you're too smart to relate, it might be helpful to be argued into the understanding that yes, you can't be yourself around most people, no, life ain't fair, now are you going to angst about it or are you going to learn how to make small talk?

Or is there some sort of all-purpose social skills training I just don't know about? If so, please enlighten me!



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10 May 2010, 12:28 am

I just wanted to add...it's hard to find people who even know these sorts of issues exist. So thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's good to talk to you all...I feel more like I belong, and I hope the same is true for you.



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10 May 2010, 7:55 am

Mosaicofminds wrote:
Just read your article, and...wow. So much insight there, not sure where to even start commenting.


Thanks Mosaicofminds . . . when I started researching the subject six years ago I wasn't sure that anyone would find it interesting. So happy that you relate!

"In practical terms, a deficit is still a deficit and whether based in neurological/sensory differences or from too much smarts and not being able to relate, sometimes both can benefit from similar assistance or intervention."
Mosaicofminds wrote:
Surely the type of deficit would affect the remedy required? If your sensory differences literally make most social cues invisible to you, I'm not sure how beneficial typical social skills training would be; Irlen lenses or something might be more helpful. If you're alexithymic, training in the physical signs and vocabulary of emotions (lessons in "emotional intelligence") would seem to make sense. If you're too smart to relate, it might be helpful to be argued into the understanding that yes, you can't be yourself around most people, no, life ain't fair, now are you going to angst about it or are you going to learn how to make small talk?

Or is there some sort of all-purpose social skills training I just don't know about? If so, please enlighten me!


I can't comment on specific programs, but said another way, training programs, such as in social skills, developed for those on the autism spectrum, might benefit those who are gifted and have social difficulties. Unfortunately, some see the term "autism" in such a negative way, that they wouldn't consider using anything developed for those on the spectrum. It seems to come down to avoiding what is seen as a negative label rather than using what could be helpful. It's what Dutch researcher Agnes Burger-Veltmeijer discusses in her investigation of the discrepancy between cognitive and emotional development in some who are gifted.

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10 May 2010, 8:40 am

Mosaicofminds wrote:
A quote that particularly stuck out to me was:
"Compensation breaks down when you’re stressed, tired, ill, injured, anxious, or encountering new situations. When compensation works, you feel like an imposter, and when it fails, you feel incompetent. Am I smart or am I stupid? Not a great basis for building self-esteem or setting high aspirations (Silverman, 2002, pp. 169-170).

'Am I smart or am I stupid?' Until recently that question was always there, a varyingly conscious thought in my mind and no doubt in the minds of many who are gifted and have developmental, learning, or autism spectrum differences."
::jaw drops:: You just described a huge piece of my emotional life.


A huge piece of mine as well. When I finally began to understand that intelligence and "mechanical problems in the functioning of my brain" are two different things, I could begin to accept both my intelligence and learning difficulties, and come to terms with them. I have to say that now I'm much more comfortable with myself.

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10 May 2010, 3:46 pm

Mosaicofminds wrote:
Was there any pattern to the results? For me, the closer the task was to pure perceptual, the worse I was. The more I could think it through, the better I did (so, the subtest with the weights and measures was a LOT easier than the block design one). That, and the fact that I improved significantly when given extra time, were probably the most meaningful things I learned from the IQ test. Too bad the real world doesn't give you extra time.


yes there was. my highest score was on a test where you have to find patterns between numbers and shapes. my lowest score was on picture arrangement.

Mosaicofminds wrote:
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?


good question. most people have seen me as neither gifted nor disabled. most people used to simply judge me as being difficult, rude, poorly raised, immature, manipulative, thick headed, you name it. most people would judge me as being inconsistent now, yet before, most adults, with the exception of my mom, had consistently negative opinions of me, which is essentially how i came to distrust people. i even remember how i always made the honor roll in elementary school, yet my name was never posted along with the other honor students because the principle, who was a prick, never beleived that an autistic student could succeed. if it were not for my parents, the discrimination that went on in that school would have been worse and would have had real effects.