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

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Horus
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06 May 2010, 12:36 pm

Tollorin wrote:
@Horus: I think you are smarter that you give yourself credit for. But your intelligence can't shine fully because of your handicaps and problems.




I wish to "god" I could believe this.


But the facts just don't seem to bear this out.


Just like the facts don't bear out the existence of a personal god IMO.


Actually...I can think of a few decent arguments for the existence of a personal god though I ultimately don't accept them

I can't think of any to suggest i'm smarter than I give myself credit for.



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06 May 2010, 2:52 pm

@ pandd: "Joining you in the region of "off-topic", I have never understood why there would be any debate about this. There is a common phrase "on the tip of my tongue" to describe a common enough circumstance where a person cannot locate the word/s that convey their thoughts. Obviously when this happens they are thinking the thoughts that they cannot remember words for, so it must be true that people can think without words."
Wow...that is a really good example, and I would never have thought of it! What's really weird is that people do study the state of having something on the "tip of the tongue," so why wouldn't people make the connection?

@Zonder "I've read a couple of studies that indicate that sometimes a certain amount of neurological inefficiency can cause the individual to develop unusual abilities because they essentially learn from an early age to work harder than those with more typical neurological development. I've even heard it called a "work ethic" that some with learning differences and higher intellectual capacity develop to learn what others learn more easily. That might contribute to obsession over special interests as Mosaicofminds says."
Actually, I meant something a little different. As I understand it, in gifted kids and savants, obsessive interests start in early childhood, maybe before the child knows there's anything different about him or her. It's totally intrinsically motivated, and intrinsically motivated learning usually feels pretty effortless. It's a strength in itself, and not just a compensation for a weakness.

That said, yeah, people with learning disabilities can definitely develop a great work ethic. I'm just curious why you think that has anything to do with special interests.



Horus
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06 May 2010, 3:32 pm

Mosaicofminds~


I checked out the link you sent me to the main memory lab at Northwestern university. There doesn't seem to be any memory research studies going on there at this time which would involve an MRI or other neuroimaging.

Therefore..i'm not sure if this particular study would really be of much use to me even if I was eligible in the first place.

I can't imagine brain wave experiments alone would tell me much about the thus far "occult" long-term memory impairments I believe I have.

I could be wrong here...but I doubt it.

Do you know of any reason I could be wrong here?

No matter what....thank you VERY much for the link and your advice anyway. :)







"The Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University is devoted to the study of
human cognition and the brain.

People may apply to participate in CNL brain wave experiments as described below. In all experiments, we ask that participants bring their eyeglasses if they wear contact lenses or glasses. Our current rate of pay is $10/hour for brain wave experiments.

Participants are asked to sit in a comfortable reclining chair in a sound-proof chamber. There is an intercom system to provide communication with the experimenter. Visual and auditory cues are presented by computer, and the participant is asked to respond by pressing buttons according to specific instuctions.

Participants have recording sensors temporarily placed on their head in a procedure similar that used in electroencephalography (EEG). We use an elastic cap, much like a swimming cap, which contains small circular sensors. Conductive gel is inserted into the sensors to connect them to the scalp. The procedure is noninvasive and painless. The gel is water-soluble, non-toxic, and similar to petroleum-based hair gel, and it is easily washed out of the hair. The entire experiment typically lasts 2-3 hours. Further details particular to each experiment are given at the time of the experiment."



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06 May 2010, 4:46 pm

This is odd, since I know the professor in question has done imaging experiments on memory as well. I just emailed the professor and asked if he was doing an fMRI study at the moment. I'll let you know what he says.

If you're interested in an fMRI procedural memory study, you should check this out: http://reberlab.psych.northwestern.edu/ The current studies he's doing aren't described in detail on the website, but
I'm pretty sure he's following up on the study described on the Presentations page.

You may be right that brain waves aren't the sort of explanation you're looking for. People look at brainwaves to tell when various processes happen, not to figure out what brain systems are involved. Also, from what I understand, a single person's brainwave gives even less information than a single person's fMRI scan.

I will see my adviser tomorrow. It'll be interesting to hear what he thinks about studying adults with learning disabilities.

Whether or not any of these channels work out, I hope you find a good study! :)



Horus
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06 May 2010, 5:07 pm

Quote:
This is odd, since I know the professor in question has done imaging experiments on memory as well. I just emailed the professor and asked if he was doing an fMRI study at the moment. I'll let you know what he says.

If you're interested in an fMRI procedural memory study, you should check this out: http://reberlab.psych.northwestern.edu/ The current studies he's doing aren't described in detail on the website, but
I'm pretty sure he's following up on the study described on the Presentations page.

You may be right that brain waves aren't the sort of explanation you're looking for. People look at brainwaves to tell when various processes happen, not to figure out what brain systems are involved. Also, from what I understand, a single person's brainwave gives even less information than a single person's fMRI scan.

I will see my adviser tomorrow. It'll be interesting to hear what he thinks about studying adults with learning disabilities.



Ok great...i'm anxious to hear what the professor in question has to say. Thank you again for this :) I'll contact the Reberlab tommorow to see if they might be able to use me for a memory research study involving an MRI. Everything you said here was pretty much my own impression of brain waves studies like EEG in terms of what they can yield about brain systems per se.

If possible...let me know what your advisor thinks about studying adults with learning disabilities. While I believe my memory issues themselves present a much bigger problem than my LD/NVLD, i'd still be willing to participate in a study involving learning disabilites.

For one thing...I really have no way of knowing for certain if *my* NVLD/LD has anything to do with the likely memory problems I have. Considering everything i've read by Rourke and others, it seems like LT memory problems (even with VERBAL memory) MAY be related to NVLD in SOME people with the disorder, but if so, it doesn't seem very common at all. Nor does it seem like NVLD-related memory problems of the kind I believe I have could be very severe.



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06 May 2010, 5:25 pm

Mosaicofminds wrote:
@Zonder "I've read a couple of studies that indicate that sometimes a certain amount of neurological inefficiency can cause the individual to develop unusual abilities because they essentially learn from an early age to work harder than those with more typical neurological development. I've even heard it called a "work ethic" that some with learning differences and higher intellectual capacity develop to learn what others learn more easily. That might contribute to obsession over special interests as Mosaicofminds says."
Actually, I meant something a little different. As I understand it, in gifted kids and savants, obsessive interests start in early childhood, maybe before the child knows there's anything different about him or her. It's totally intrinsically motivated, and intrinsically motivated learning usually feels pretty effortless. It's a strength in itself, and not just a compensation for a weakness.

That said, yeah, people with learning disabilities can definitely develop a great work ethic. I'm just curious why you think that has anything to do with special interests.


From my own experience growing up with encompassing special interests as well as some inefficiency comprehending things (due to weak auditory processing or whatever), it seems to me that special interests are directly tied to neurological inefficiencies. If what is coming into one's neural system overwhelms the system, there is a natural tendency to try to reduce or eliminate the stimuli coming in. Narrowing one's interests and focusing exclusively on just a few things, it seems to me, could be directly related to the need to reduce input. Focusing and becoming proficient in one or two areas can also contribute to a sense of predictability and accomplishment. I remember, when I was young, take pride in the areas I focused on, even though I didn't do so well in other areas.

Z



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06 May 2010, 7:13 pm

@Horus: unfortunately, the professor at the main memory lab is only doing EEG studies right now.

Thanks, Zonder, I think I get what you're saying now. It makes a lot of sense that focusing would help reduce the input to something more manageable. I still think that in ADDITION to that, there's an emotional element, too, this almost magnetic need to know everything about something. Based on the feelings associated with it for me and what I've heard others say about their special interests, I do think that special interests might be a positive need as well as a way of compensating. But I could be wrong since my special interests started when I was very young and my memory could be off. It'd be interesting to hear more about how your special interests worked for you, and maybe more people can weigh in, too?



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06 May 2010, 7:19 pm

Mosaicofminds wrote:
What's really weird is that people do study the state of having something on the "tip of the tongue," so why wouldn't people make the connection?

I have no idea, it really is a complete mystery to me, to the point where any mention of this topic draws out this example from me like some kind of knee jerk reaction. It totally mystifies me. I would be most curious to know what those who advocate and academically study the notion of not being able to think without words believe is going on when someone cannot think of the word/s to communicate a thought they are currently having. Surely they have personally experienced having a word on the "tip of their tongue" at some point, so how do they reconcile this with their view that people cannot think without words? It's just plain odd to me. :?



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06 May 2010, 7:50 pm

Mosaicofminds wrote:

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@Horus: unfortunately, the professor at the main memory lab is only doing EEG studies right now.



Oh well....that was already a foregone conclusion in my mind in any case. Thanks anyway though. I'll still contact the Reberlab tomorrow just on the off chance they might be able to fit me in. If it's not an inconveniece for you, let me know what your adviser says about studying adults with learning disabilities. I'm just going to continue knocking on doors until one opens. I'd really love to participate in a suitable research study and have the results before summer's end. I want to go back to college and I want to start classes no later than January. If at all possible, it would obviously be nice to know more about these learning/memory problems I believe I have before then. I STILL have not received the consent form from the autism research study at the University of Pittsburgh either.

The director told me she would send me another one after the first one she supposedly sent weeks ago never arrived. She told me this last Friday and I KNOW she has my correct address now. She said she was mailing it out on Friday and i'm surprised it's not here by now. I hope i'm not getting some kind of "run-around" from these people. After all, if i'm simply not eligible for the study, I can't imagine they'd be reluctant to tell me that. Still...there's something quite odd about the first consent form mysteriously failing to arrive and the second one taking longer than it should.

Also....my case worker at OVR is sending me to have yet another neuropsychological evaluation because OVR requires one that is less than three years old. This will be the sixth :!: full neuropsych eval i've had in my life. While I doubt it will tell me much, if anything, more than the other five already have, i'm glad she's sending me for one anyway. I feel I have alot more insight and information then I did when I had my last eval three years ago. Therefore....I can go into this eval "armed to teeth" so to speak. I'll try to convince the psychologist administering the eval that I need an MRI. If he/she recommends one, my case worker told me OVR MIGHT be willing to cover the costs of it. So this upcoming neuropsych eval is just a means to a potential end as far as i'm concerned. Yet another door i'll be knocking on in the hopes of getting some neuroimaging done already.



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06 May 2010, 10:51 pm

pandd wrote:
Mosaicofminds wrote:
What's really weird is that people do study the state of having something on the "tip of the tongue," so why wouldn't people make the connection?

I have no idea, it really is a complete mystery to me, to the point where any mention of this topic draws out this example from me like some kind of knee jerk reaction. It totally mystifies me. I would be most curious to know what those who advocate and academically study the notion of not being able to think without words believe is going on when someone cannot think of the word/s to communicate a thought they are currently having. Surely they have personally experienced having a word on the "tip of their tongue" at some point, so how do they reconcile this with their view that people cannot think without words? It's just plain odd to me. :?


i keep puzzling about this. it's very plain to me that words aren't necessary. do these researchers think babies don't think? animals?

do some people think without pictures?


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06 May 2010, 11:57 pm

katzefrau wrote:
i keep puzzling about this. it's very plain to me that words aren't necessary. do these researchers think babies don't think? animals?

do some people think without pictures?

I am going to go somewhat out on a limb here and speculate that many probably do think that non-human animals do not think. It would not surprise me to learn that "they" (whoever "they" are) do not expect babies to think either.

I do not know if I think with pictures. I feel as though I do not, but when I go to describe my thinking the words all seem to be visual (image/model/impression for instance) so I suspect I do think with pictures a little but they are vague and fleeting, and more impressionistic than actually illustrative (if that makes any sense).



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07 May 2010, 12:15 am

pandd wrote:
katzefrau wrote:
do some people think without pictures?


I do not know if I think with pictures. I feel as though I do not, but when I go to describe my thinking the words all seem to be visual (image/model/impression for instance) so I suspect I do think with pictures a little but they are vague and fleeting, and more impressionistic than actually illustrative (if that makes any sense).


i must be unusually right-brained for a suspected aspie. my nephew is similar, but i don't read much of this sort of thing on the board.

almost no words for me, without photographic images first (which doesn't mean, unfortunately, that i have a photographic memory :( )

i've steered this off-topic though, so i'll stop there .. :wink:


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07 May 2010, 12:18 am

@ Horus: Hope the eval will help you get some imaging done.

I'd be happy to ask. However, you have a pretty tight time frame, which I didn't realize. It takes months to prepare a study and apply to the IRB (ethics board), and there's usually pilot testing after that to make sure the study design actually works--especially in a case like this with a new population.

"Still...there's something quite odd about the first consent form mysteriously failing to arrive and the second one taking longer than it should."
Some labs are very...disorganized. In some labs, the people who set up appointments with participants are undergraduate work-study students, and how well it works depends on how on the ball they are. It is odd, but I wouldn't immediately assume they're trying to cut you from the study--in my experience researchers are very up front (though polite) about when they can't use someone. Granted, they're dealing with people who are less desperate for answers, so they'd have no reason to feel guilty about it.
--
"do some people think without pictures?"
I normally do, unless I'm dreaming, reading, playing out some imagined scenario in my head, or obsessively replaying a recent memory to figure out what to do next. The images are very vague and insubstantial--my visual memory is terrible (it's been demonstrated in testing, too) and that probably interferes with my ability to deliberately imagine something vividly. My dreams are utterly lifelike and when I was little, I used to wonder whether something I thought I remembered was actually a dream (and vice versa). For the first 2 or 3 days after an important event, I can play it back like a movie. This is a godsend because I miss a LOT in real time! But yeah, lots of words without pictures, and zero pictures without words here.

"do these researchers think babies don't think? animals?"
Yes.



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07 May 2010, 1:55 am

Sorry for spamming this thread, but I had some more ideas that I'd like to get your feedback on. :) Sorry for the length of this post; this subject just really fascinates me.

One of the most interesting questions that came up here was whether you have to be an early bloomer to be gifted, or conversely, whether being an early bloomer necessarily makes you gifted. For example, penseive was saying she couldn't possibly be gifted because she wasn't an achiever as a kid, and anbuend was saying she wasn't gifted as a kid because she didn't end up fitting the profile as an adult. Gifted programs, checklists, etc. do tend to make these assumptions, but I think giftedness may be more complicated than that, especially when learning disabilities are also involved.

Charles Darwin was an unremarkable kid, but he came up with an idea that changed the world. (Other people were thinking along similar lines at the time, but his was the most well thought out and the one that, deservedly, stuck). Thomas Edison, if he were a child in today's classrooms, would be diagnosed with ADHD, and perhaps conduct disorder. Albert Einstein had a language delay; IIRC he didn't learn to talk until he was 3. No one in their right mind would say these people weren't gifted. (Yes, I know the problems with retrospectively diagnosing famous people, and I don't think there's much validity to it--but I think it IS fair to say not every great adult mind was a precocious child).

At the same time, many child prodigies flame out and never do anything particularly unusual as adults. I don't think it's always because of learning disabilities either, or because people put a lot of pressure on them. As anbuend pointed out, prodigy and genius are very different things. A precocious child is remarkable because of the gap between his ability and his age, not because his ability is all that great. Being several years ahead on milestones is enough to be a prodigy. To be gifted as an adult, you need an altogether different mind. I've written about this subject at some length here (http://mosaicofminds.blogspot.com/2009/ ... art-2.html) and here (http://mosaicofminds.blogspot.com/2009/ ... art-1.html), if you're interested. /shameless plug

At the same time, there really are people like Gauss (the mathematician) and Mozart who transitioned from child prodigies to gifted adults, so the connection isn't entirely false. I just wonder if they're the exception that proves the rule? Your thoughts?

On yet another tangent: several of you mentioned feeling different from other gifted kids in your classes. How would you describe NT gifted kids? Do you see them as the "real" gifted ones, or yourself, or do you think there's just different ways of being gifted?



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07 May 2010, 2:18 am

Mosaicofminds wrote:


Quote:
I'd be happy to ask. However, you have a pretty tight time frame, which I didn't realize. It takes months to prepare a study and apply to the IRB (ethics board), and there's usually pilot testing after that to make sure the study design actually works--especially in a case like this with a new population.


I really wasn't expecting any new studies to materialize within my time frame, but i'd still consider participating in one some time after classes begin. In other words, i'm going to start classes in Jan no matter what. It would just be nice to know what i'm dealing with before that. I should've done this years ago, but I really wasn't considering returning to college until recently. And for whatever reason/s, the learning/memory problems i've always believed I have really weren't troubling me on an emotional level for the past ten years or so. So in this rather ironic sense, severe depression may have been a blessing when I was 30. "Depressive Realism" might
have compelled me to seek the answers i'm currently after and for all I know, I could've had a master's or even a doctorate by now. Contentment has the capacity to be a far worse enemy than despair.



Quote:
Some labs are very...disorganized. In some labs, the people who set up appointments with participants are undergraduate work-study students, and how well it works depends on how on the ball they are. It is odd, but I wouldn't immediately assume they're trying to cut you from the study--in my experience researchers are very up front (though polite) about when they can't use someone. Granted, they're dealing with people who are less desperate for answers, so they'd have no reason to feel guilty about it


Yes....but they weren't setting up an actual appointment for me here. She was merely sending the consent form that they send to every prospective participant. In no uncertain terms, she told me she sent the first (seemingly lost) form to my address and last Friday, she told me she would send out the second one that very day. Perhaps she didn't send it out on Friday for one reason or another. At any rate....i'll give it until Monday to arrive and if it doesn't, i'll call her again. I was thinking that maybe they didn't want to hurt my feelings because i'm desperate (though I tried not to sound desperate and I just described my situation in a very matter-of-fact way) and they somehow sensed my desperation. I also thought that maybe they just saw me as some hypochondriac with pseudoneurological/psychological symptoms who was looking for a free diagnosis. But if that were the case, why would they bother to call me back? What is likely my paranoia and Schizotypal-esque (after all...I WAS also Dx-ed with Schizotypal PD on four out of the five neuropsych evals i've had) suspicions aside, the first form probably got lost in the mail somehow and she probably just didn't get around to mailing the second one last Friday for some reason.

Anyway..i'll get to the bottom of all that sooner or later. In the meantime....I still have a few other research studies to contact at NINDS, the University of San Diego and elsewhere. I'll also try to contact your Reberlab tomorrow. I doubt any of these will accept me, but it never hurts to try. The fact that there's none in my local area is one problem. Some accept non-locals and some don't and many don't specify that on their websites.


Obviously the participant criteria is usually very strict and since I don't have Dx-ed memory disorder of any kind, that's another problem. But the participant criteria is often rather vague and a few studies claim they accept participants who merely THINK they have a memory problem. That was the case with the study at Temple. They provided no phone number to call, only an email address. I sent them an email, explained my situation in it and they never got back to me. The study at NINDS is an example of a rather vague set of participant criteria IMO and here it is:

Types of Participants Needed:


"Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) studying neurobehavior are seeking patients with severe isolated memory disorders due to anoxia, encephalitis, stroke, and other neurological or behavioral disorders. Amnesia patients who are otherwise intellectually unimpaired are especially needed.
Patients should be 18 to 65 years old and without immune, respiratory, renal, hepatic, or gastrointestinal disease. Exceptions to this age range may be made given extraordinary clinical presentation. Only patients residing in the United States are eligible to participate in these studies.

The studies will be conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, and will include neuropsychological testing, neuroimaging, and related evaluations. All study-related expenses will be paid by the NIH".


The bolded part is rather subjective and could mean just about anything from ADHD to Zeusophobia!! ! But unless i'm totally moronic or something... a diagnosed learning disability, personality disorder and mood disorder/s would fit into the bolded criteria somewhere. That said...I really don't feel like an idiot for calling to inquire.