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

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anbuend
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07 May 2010, 8:35 pm

I don't think I meant "I wasn't gifted as a kid because I didn't meet the description as an adult". I think I was discussing Horus's definitions and going by those. Personally, if I think giftedness is a meaningful concept at all, then I see myself as outside it. Outside it not as in "not gifted", but as in "the idea of giftedness and lack thereof doesn't account for people like me if it accounts for anyone".

Sorry I haven't gotten to your other questions yet. I will. I'm just wiped out because I'm preparing for a medical procedure next week and have had so many appointments this week to prepare for it that my head feels like it's vibrating from overload.


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08 May 2010, 9:14 am

@Horus: Congrats!! !

@Brittany: "I don't tell people I'm gifted or that I have AS. However people often comment on my intelligence rather than my social differences so I presume that they judge me more on the former."
Interesting. I'm in a fairly similar situation and I always wonder, do people really notice the intelligence more, or is it just considered rude to comment on awkwardness?

@anbuend: Sorry for misunderstanding you, and don't worry about commenting right away. Good luck with the medical procedure!

@petitsouris: "i think the highest performance score i ever received was actually off the charts and the lowest performance score i ever got was as abysmal as it gets."
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. :D



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08 May 2010, 9:43 am

I think I was the opposite with performance to what you just described. (For me, performance was higher than verbal but within performance my scores ranged from slightly high to near the bottom.) My best score was Block Design, followed by Matrix Reasoning. My worst score was called Digit Symbol or Symbol Coding or something like that followed by the one where there was a picture and they ask what's missing.


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09 May 2010, 1:57 pm

In case anyone was still interested in the questions that came up here, but didn't have time to answer:

* 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?

* How does giftedness relate to autism?
* Does giftedness always make autism less obvious?
* Does giftedness have anything to do with why some people cope better than others?
* How do you see 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?
* Where do special interests come from?
(Is that everything?)



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09 May 2010, 4:01 pm

I've answered some of the questions, but I'll answer them all at once now.

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

It was suggested but never officially confirmed by IQ tests.


* If so, which did you receive first?

Gifted.


* Which do you identify with more?

Both equally.

* 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?

Even when they know about both, they get confused and/or angry at my uneven behaviour.

* How does giftedness relate to autism?

I don't know.

* Does giftedness always make autism less obvious?

I have used my intelligence to work a lot of things out, but I slip up all the time. Also, my AS is obvious to those who know what to look for.

* Does giftedness have anything to do with why some people cope better than others?

It probably plays a factor.


* How do you see 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?


Different ways of being gifted. Also, 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.


* Where do special interests come from?

Things being awesome. :P


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09 May 2010, 4:31 pm

"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::

"Where do special interests come from? Things being awesome." LOL! So true.



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09 May 2010, 5:08 pm

My perspective is a little different as I didn't know I was "gifted" until I was in my 40s.

* Did you receive a gifted label as well as an AS/HFA/ADHD/etc. label?
No labels at all except for "lazy," "not applying yourself," and "you could do anything if you wanted to."

* If so, which did you receive first?
Gifted first (as I said, in my 40s), and subsequent research indicated that I'm somewhere on the autism spectrum and it appears that I have an auditory processing difference.

* Which do you identify with more?
Identify a bit more with giftedness because of my abilities to research and focus on things for long periods of time. However, sometimes social difficulties and anxiety impact my thinking more than my abilities.

* 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 others often see me as smart and aloof. They are probably also confused by me because because I appear to be highly capable, but I really struggle with socializing and struggled with a number of attention and coordination aspects of my former job.

* How does giftedness relate to autism?
The two can be very hard to "tease out." There seems to be quite a bit of overlap between giftedness and the autism spectrum.

* Does giftedness always make autism less obvious?
High intellectual capacity can allow an individual to compensate for some autism differences, however if the individual is overwhelmed by sensory issues or has significant communication deficits, intellectual capacity can have limited effect on appearing to be more neurotypical.

* Does giftedness have anything to do with why some people cope better than others?
It can help to develop coping strategies and compensation.

* How do you see 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?
I don't believe that there enough accurate and diverse measures of giftedness. The measurements currently used miss those who have significant high capacities and gifts. For myself, I sensed that I had some significant abilities, but they weren't adequately measured, and therefore for most of my life, my parents and I thought that I was average (and my parents were both school teachers - even they didn't really have a good sense of giftedness).

* Where do special interests come from?
I think that special interests come from a need to learn and excel, and at the same time focus on just a few things at a time to make them manageable. I've had basically the same interest since kindergarten, and I was able to make that interest my career.

Z



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09 May 2010, 5:39 pm

"No labels at all except for "lazy," "not applying yourself," and "you could do anything if you wanted to.""
OUCH. Especially that last one.

I haven't heard of someone being diagnosed gifted as an adult...how did it work, for you?

"The two can be very hard to "tease out." There seems to be quite a bit of overlap between giftedness and the autism spectrum."
Yeah. If you have more thoughts about this, I'd love to hear 'em. :)

"I've had basically the same interest since kindergarten, and I was able to make that interest my career."
Wow, very cool! What was your interest, and how were you able to make a career out of it? Not everyone is able to figure out how!



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09 May 2010, 8:19 pm

Thanks for the questions, Mosaicofminds! I'll try to answer them.

Mosaicofminds wrote:
I haven't heard of someone being diagnosed gifted as an adult...how did it work, for you?


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. I asked my mom if she ever thought I was gifted and she said, "Noooo, your dad and I thought you were average." So I scheduled and paid for professional educational and intelligence testing. My performance IQ was the highest and verbal was 18 points lower - more than one standard deviation. My highest individual test scores were for block design and picture arrangement (at 99%) and lowest were arithmetic and letter-number sequencing (at 49%). That's a difference of 50 points - greater than three standard deviations. I was also lower in working memory capacity and processing speed. Because all of my scores were average or above, they said I didn't have a diagnosable learning disability. Since then I've done more research and had more input and I appear to fit the criteria of twice-exceptional - gifted with either mild autism spectrum disorder or other learning difficulty.

Mosaicofminds wrote:
"The two can be very hard to "tease out." There seems to be quite a bit of overlap between giftedness and the autism spectrum."
Yeah. If you have more thoughts about this, I'd love to hear 'em. :)

There are many similarities that others have mentioned. The difference seems to be qualitative. 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. I do believe, however, that the differences are not at all clear-cut, and that some "neurotypical gifted" could benefit from the same assistance as "twice-exceptional gifted" students on the autism spectrum.

Mosaicofminds wrote:
What was your interest, and how were you able to make a career out of it? Not everyone is able to figure out how!


History and objects. I started collecting historic things in kindergarten and became a museum curator when I was 30, after graduate school. I've pretty much always stuck to learning about things that are related to my interest and have developed quite a database of information in my brain. I'm a real history geek.

A paper I wrote on discovering my own giftedness and learning differences was recently published. It is the first article in the journal found here.

Z



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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

Z



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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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anbuend
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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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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.