Differences between giftedness and Asperger

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Kiley
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24 Jun 2010, 4:00 pm

Marshall,

The same is true of most children who are gifted enough to be noticably different. My little guy doesn't mean to be smarter than other people, he isn't showing off, he doesn't think he's better than anybody, he just figures things out a lot faster than pretty much anybody he's ever likely to meet outside of settings of higher education...possibly. He wasn't ever picked on because he's so friendly and nice, until he met a teacher who couldn't handle it. After he politely corrected her mistakes a couple of times she had it in for him. She had it in for all the gifted kids anyway and would teach the hardest stuff while they were at their gifted program, then refuse to teach it again to them. Her bad attitude caught like wildfire in the class and he was picked on all year as were some of the other gifted kids. Anything we did to address the problem led to her doing things like taking away the kids recess because of him, and naming him as the cause, so the bullying would escalate. If she hadn't interferred he'd still be happily oblivious to how much smarter he is and so would most of the other kids at school.

An Aspie could easily get in trouble with this lady for the same reason without being necessarily gifted. She never taught either of my older kids who are Aspies, for which I'm gratful.



OddDuckNash99
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26 Jun 2010, 8:03 am

While I do think that some gifted children may be misdiagnosed (mainly because AS is the "in" diagnosis now), the result is also true- many Aspies are just thought to be "gifted." I am one of these Aspies, and that is the main reason I fell through the cracks for so many years. The book they are citing is a bunch of hogwash. I own the book. I have read the book. Their depiction of Asperger's is abominable. I read this book in the fall of 2005, when the possibility of AS was first mentioned to me by my CBT therapist. It made me fully reject the notion until five months later when my CBT therapist once again mentioned AS and then proceeded to take out the DSM and give me a preliminary diagnosis. In short, this book is one that made me severely question my diagnosis for months, making myself feel like an AS poseur, even though Tony Atwood's books could have been written about my life.

What made me hate this book after my official diagnosis and proper AS education? The book has the gall to say that you don't have AS (you are merely gifted) if you enjoy socializing with people who share your special interest. The book paints the picture of AS as the stereotype we have all heard and seen so many times in the media. Plus, I would argue that almost all, if NOT all, Aspies are gifted, making the book's claim moot. Do not buy this book. It is garbage.
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26 Jun 2010, 8:26 am

buryuntime wrote:
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AS children know they are different.

It's a different kind of sense of different. They might sense that they are different than their peers, but will probably not know why.


I think that's accurate. I was tested "gifted" when I was a child. I definitely knew I was different from when I was very young but didn't know why. Until about 6 or 7 years ago I still didn't really know why (that's when I started to suspect I had AS). Everyone always told me it was because of my intelligence but I never really thought that was all there was to it. I think it's total hogwash that AS children don't know they're different. I see lots of them in my work and most of them *do* know, even if they can't describe why. Also, many have interests that are not overtly "weird".

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26 Jun 2010, 8:28 am

Kiley wrote:
Marshall,

The same is true of most children who are gifted enough to be noticably different. My little guy doesn't mean to be smarter than other people, he isn't showing off, he doesn't think he's better than anybody, he just figures things out a lot faster than pretty much anybody he's ever likely to meet outside of settings of higher education...possibly. He wasn't ever picked on because he's so friendly and nice, until he met a teacher who couldn't handle it. After he politely corrected her mistakes a couple of times she had it in for him. She had it in for all the gifted kids anyway and would teach the hardest stuff while they were at their gifted program, then refuse to teach it again to them. Her bad attitude caught like wildfire in the class and he was picked on all year as were some of the other gifted kids. Anything we did to address the problem led to her doing things like taking away the kids recess because of him, and naming him as the cause, so the bullying would escalate. If she hadn't interferred he'd still be happily oblivious to how much smarter he is and so would most of the other kids at school.

An Aspie could easily get in trouble with this lady for the same reason without being necessarily gifted. She never taught either of my older kids who are Aspies, for which I'm gratful.


I'd love to meet your son and have a word with that woman now that I'm in my 40s...I had teachers like that ;)

~Kate


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26 Jun 2010, 8:40 am

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
While I do think that some gifted children may be misdiagnosed (mainly because AS is the "in" diagnosis now), the result is also true- many Aspies are just thought to be "gifted." I am one of these Aspies, and that is the main reason I fell through the cracks for so many years. The book they are citing is a bunch of hogwash. I own the book. I have read the book. Their depiction of Asperger's is abominable. I read this book in the fall of 2005, when the possibility of AS was first mentioned to me by my CBT therapist. It made me fully reject the notion until five months later when my CBT therapist once again mentioned AS and then proceeded to take out the DSM and give me a preliminary diagnosis. In short, this book is one that made me severely question my diagnosis for months, making myself feel like an AS poseur, even though Tony Atwood's books could have been written about my life.

What made me hate this book after my official diagnosis and proper AS education? The book has the gall to say that you don't have AS (you are merely gifted) if you enjoy socializing with people who share your special interest. The book paints the picture of AS as the stereotype we have all heard and seen so many times in the media. Plus, I would argue that almost all, if NOT all, Aspies are gifted, making the book's claim moot. Do not buy this book. It is garbage.
-OddDuckNash99-


On the strength of this thread I went to Amazon to see what other people had to say. Amongst the 2 and 3 star reviews were some that had a similar criticism. One reviewer said, "I don't like the attitude that giftedeness is ok but no other difference is ok."



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26 Jun 2010, 9:08 am

OddDuckNash99 wrote:
While I do think that some gifted children may be misdiagnosed (mainly because AS is the "in" diagnosis now), the result is also true- many Aspies are just thought to be "gifted." I am one of these Aspies, and that is the main reason I fell through the cracks for so many years. The book they are citing is a bunch of hogwash. I own the book. I have read the book. Their depiction of Asperger's is abominable. I read this book in the fall of 2005, when the possibility of AS was first mentioned to me by my CBT therapist. It made me fully reject the notion until five months later when my CBT therapist once again mentioned AS and then proceeded to take out the DSM and give me a preliminary diagnosis. In short, this book is one that made me severely question my diagnosis for months, making myself feel like an AS poseur, even though Tony Atwood's books could have been written about my life.

What made me hate this book after my official diagnosis and proper AS education? The book has the gall to say that you don't have AS (you are merely gifted) if you enjoy socializing with people who share your special interest. The book paints the picture of AS as the stereotype we have all heard and seen so many times in the media. Plus, I would argue that almost all, if NOT all, Aspies are gifted, making the book's claim moot. Do not buy this book. It is garbage.
-OddDuckNash99-


Thanks for posting this. I actually had a similar suspicion about this book from what I've read, but I didn't want to state it in my original post to keep this thread unbiased.



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26 Jun 2010, 9:13 am

Mysty wrote:
I dislike the rather back and white view. It's like, we note people with similar traits, we give them a label, and we assume the label represents a thing. But maybe it doesn't. Maybe Asperger's and gifted aren't really two different things, but overlapping sections of a single multidimensional continuum.

And it's unfortunate that one is labeled as a disorder, and the other as something good, and yet, people with each have their plusses and their challenges.


i have not given the matter any substantial consideration, but i was considered "talented" in narrow areas, while substandard in many others.

i was told that the difference between "giftedness" and "talentedness" was that gifted people can apply their minds to almost anything that is presented to them, whereas talented people are advanced in only the areas that are of interest to them.

it is like gifted people are jacks of all schools of thought, and talented people are masters of one.

i think my own situation is a disorder, because i have many driving insights into what i personally consider, but i am not inclined to spend any time trying to word those insights so that others can understand.
i will say what i have crudely verbalized about what i see, but i can not and do not desire to craft a description that will appeal to the masses.
i do not understand what form of stylization is necessary in order to make people attracted to my ideas, and even if i did, i would consider it a chore to translate into "general public" language what i think.

if someone asks me a question in real life about something i have thought about, then i will start from the beginning of my contemplation, and serially narrate all the developmental stages of the progressions of my reasonings to my final ideas about the matter, and that takes too long, and people are not interested to sit and watch a "movie" where they are not a participant.

i am not really interested in hearing what the person who asked the question has thought about concerning the matter they ask me about.
i am not good at listening to people talk because the words are not coming from me, and i have no idea where they were launched from, and so i just continue to say what my answer is until i am finished, or until they lose interest and say "yeah yeah ok! i got it!"

i think the difference between me and a gifted person is that i may work out something in my mind and never express it in a way that is acceptable to other people, and i will die with my insight still inside my mind , never having been released.
a gifted non autistic person is more likely to successfully express what they have found, and it will become part of the general school of thought that will endure after they die.

that is why i do consider autism a disorder.

just imagine if a blowfly worked out how to jump to hyperspace.
i leave the rest of that concept to your consideration.



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26 Jun 2010, 9:46 am

This is a very interesting discussion. I am 56 and just starting to explore the possibility that I might be an aspie. All of the things on the list in Alexptrans' post apply to me. I'm smart, I am happily employed, I get along with most people, I adopted two children. And yet . . . I have no friends outside of my job. I never married and rarely dated. I talk to myself a lot and "twiddle" my fingers subconsciously. I get very nervous in large crowds. I get nervous when people come to my house. I'm terrible at chit-chatting. If I see someone I know in the grocery store or somewhere, I avoid them so I don't have to talk to them. Etc, etc. I'm not sure I can see what any of this has to do with being "gifted". I think maybe my "condition" is just so mild that I can manage it and hide it (for example, nobody but you knows that I hide from people I know in the grocery store). I might be so mild that I'm not diagnosible (sp?), but I've often thought it ironic that other people try so hard to be different, when I have to try so hard to be normal.



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26 Jun 2010, 10:05 am

LingLing wrote:
This is a very interesting discussion. I am 56 and just starting to explore the possibility that I might be an aspie. All of the things on the list in Alexptrans' post apply to me. I'm smart, I am happily employed, I get along with most people, I adopted two children. And yet . . . I have no friends outside of my job. I never married and rarely dated. I talk to myself a lot and "twiddle" my fingers subconsciously. I get very nervous in large crowds. I get nervous when people come to my house. I'm terrible at chit-chatting. If I see someone I know in the grocery store or somewhere, I avoid them so I don't have to talk to them. Etc, etc. I'm not sure I can see what any of this has to do with being "gifted". I think maybe my "condition" is just so mild that I can manage it and hide it (for example, nobody but you knows that I hide from people I know in the grocery store). I might be so mild that I'm not diagnosible (sp?), but I've often thought it ironic that other people try so hard to be different, when I have to try so hard to be normal.


Sounds familiar. I always hide from my neighbors to avoid riding in the elevator with them. I absolutely can't stand riding in the elevator with other people.



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26 Jun 2010, 11:38 am

LingLing wrote:
This is a very interesting discussion. I am 56 and just starting to explore the possibility that I might be an aspie. All of the things on the list in Alexptrans' post apply to me. I'm smart, I am happily employed, I get along with most people, I adopted two children. And yet . . . I have no friends outside of my job. I never married and rarely dated. I talk to myself a lot and "twiddle" my fingers subconsciously. I get very nervous in large crowds. I get nervous when people come to my house. I'm terrible at chit-chatting. If I see someone I know in the grocery store or somewhere, I avoid them so I don't have to talk to them. Etc, etc. I'm not sure I can see what any of this has to do with being "gifted". I think maybe my "condition" is just so mild that I can manage it and hide it (for example, nobody but you knows that I hide from people I know in the grocery store). I might be so mild that I'm not diagnosible (sp?), but I've often thought it ironic that other people try so hard to be different, when I have to try so hard to be normal.


This sounds like me, though I'm quite a bit younger and in my case I am very daunted by the idea of dating. I don't think I make the threshold for true AS, but I DO think there's something besides just ADHD going on, because I can see the difference between myself and my father, who is a pretty classic case of ADHD.

For me I'm torn between wanting people I can talk to IRL, and wanting relationships, and needing a LOT of alone time because I don't relate to what most people want to do and talk about. I can fake it very well, and I can see the good in people I work with and enjoy interacting sometimes, but I feel very awkward a lot of times. Stuff like telling when a conversation is over, when someone is being sarcastic, etc. isn't easy for me, or recognizing people's faces until I see them several times. And there are things I did and said, especially in college, where I look back and I think I was more than just awkward.

But I see different definitions of AS and it's hard to tell if I am just gifted or if there is something beyond that. People tried to test my IQ twice when I was little and both times I apparently got to just above 130 (which we know because that's the level you had to make in order to make the cutoff for the gifted program) and refused to finish the test for varying reasons--once, because of a fire drill in the hospital and I absolutely could not tolerate the noise and had a nice little freak-out. (The other time it was my birthday, and I couldn't keep my mind on my work. Or was that the day I was losing a tooth?) So it could be just giftedness.

I can write stories involving characters' mental states and interactions, but I've seen an Aspie friend of mine do that as well and be pretty convincing. Something intellectualized like that, in a no-pressure setting works out. IRL I am very clunky even if it can't always be seen.

So yeah, pretty confused little neuromutt here. ;)


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26 Jun 2010, 3:58 pm

Maybe it's just me being "literal" but to me comparing "giftedness an Asperger's" is like comparing birds and string.

Some birds use string to build their nests. Some don't. Do we compare string and birds?

Some Aspies are gifted. A lot of NT's are gifted too.

I can't get past that. How can the two be "compared?"

It doesn't make any sense to me so I haven't even bothered to read the article.


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26 Jun 2010, 4:07 pm

MrXxx wrote:
Maybe it's just me being "literal" but to me comparing "giftedness an Asperger's" is like comparing birds and string.

Some birds use string to build their nests. Some don't. Do we compare string and birds?

Some Aspies are gifted. A lot of NT's are gifted too.

I can't get past that. How can the two be "compared?"

It doesn't make any sense to me so I haven't even bothered to read the article.

Because people that are gifted sometimes experience AS-like traits. Perhaps the stereotype that all people with Asperger's are smart is a part of this-- gifted people being misdiagnosed with asperger's syndrome.

For the record I've never been labeled as gifted. I have a sister that is, however. I can't put much stock in, I think she's really ignorant. I think they pretty much set up "gifted" kids for some social failure anyway: they are isolated and put with older groups in highschool for lunch, etc. In younger grades they skip so many grade levels for subjects, and then they have to end up doing them over and over when they have nothing else to teach.



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26 Jun 2010, 4:25 pm

MrXxx wrote:
Maybe it's just me being "literal" but to me comparing "giftedness an Asperger's" is like comparing birds and string.

Some birds use string to build their nests. Some don't. Do we compare string and birds?

Some Aspies are gifted. A lot of NT's are gifted too.

I can't get past that. How can the two be "compared?"

It doesn't make any sense to me so I haven't even bothered to read the article.


Very smart people tend to be more socially awkward - at least it happens at a higher rate than it does in the general population. It's probably most prevalent with people in scientific/mathematical fields. If you don't believe me you probably haven't interacted with enough science/math professors. In my experience probably one in four aren't socially "normal".

That said, I also think a lot of people on the spectrum overstate the relationship between giftedness / high IQ and being on the autism spectrum. People do this for obvious reasons. Everyone wants to be perceived as "gifted" in some area rather than being perceived as merely "disabled". But just because people exaggerate the relationship between ASDs and giftednes doesn't mean there is no relationship whatsoever. It's true only a minority of all gifted people are "different" enough to be potentially diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, but this doesn't prove that the two are totally unrelated. I strongly suspect that there is a relationship.



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26 Jun 2010, 4:34 pm

I get what you are both saying. It's just that what you've stated already seems to obvious to me, it doesn't seem worth thinking about.

Like birds and string. Yes, some birds use string to build their nests. Yes it may be that some species tend to use string more than others. You could look at which do, and which don't and talk about why there are differences between the two, but you aren't really comparing birds and string then. You're comparing different species of birds and how they use string.

Same thing with giftedness and Asperger's. The discussion isn't really about comparing the two, but comparing those with Asperger's who are gifted with those without who are gifted, and those with AS who are not gifted.

I guess, for me, the discussion is kind of moot. Aspeger's doesn't not preclude giftedness, and giftedness does not preclude Asperger's. Those seem to be fairly obvious truths that don't even make sense to debate.

So then why am I here?

Good point! :lol:

Sorry for the distraction. Carry on without me. 8)


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26 Jun 2010, 5:11 pm

buryuntime wrote:
MrXxx wrote:
Some Aspies are gifted. A lot of NT's are gifted too.

I can't get past that. How can the two be "compared?"


Because people that are gifted sometimes experience AS-like traits.


some non-gifted people also have traits. but if someone is gifted, it's the giftedness that is responsible for the traits? what can we attribute it to in the non-gifted population?

i know it's true the more intelligent someone is, the harder it is for them to relate to peers. this is not at all the same thing.

my gifted nephew is an aspie and also has been diagnosed with ADHD. my brother and his wife attribute all of his assets to his giftedness and all of his difficulties to ADHD. they are ignoring reality. they don't want to see that was has given him his gifts has also given him an inability to have a two-way phone conversation.

i attribute this "giftedness can look like AS" idea to the following:

1. it's a spectrum. some people will fall outside of diagnosis range.

2. parents want to think of their kids as genius, not as impaired. they are more interested in how the children reflect on them as parents than what's good for the children. therefore they will opt for a label that doesn't have a stigma when possible. also they want their children's intellect to stand on its own (which, probably it does. AS does not give someone intelligence, just a particular sort of focus)

sorry to parents on this thread. i know a lot of the parents who post here really do a very good job of accepting and accommodating their kids. but not all do. to some people parenting is a job / title. to some it is about their children. (thus the word "parenting" makes me want to vomit)


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26 Jun 2010, 7:07 pm

I think that a big problem in this kind of discussions is that AS is largely defined by behavior (and not by the causes of the behavior, that are still polemic and, for all practical effects, unknown - "lack of theory of mind"? "weak central coherence"? "executive dysfunction"?).

Because that, determining if some type of behavior is caused by AS or by other cause is almost impossible.