Parents of gifted children stereotyping Aspergers?

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Shadi2
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13 Dec 2010, 6:00 am

In the same order of idea as my previous thread, I found this forum where they were discussing Evan O'Dorney, winner of Scripps 2007 national spelling bee. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFGz0Ikf ... re=related

and as I was reading the messages of most people I noticed there is, again, a stereotyped idea of Asperger Syndrome, and they seem to be very eager to say "my child doesn't have it" ... their attitude bothered me because they sounded as if for them "gifted"=good "Asperger"=bad, eventho their children seem to have the same social skills difficulties, and many other characteristics of AS.
http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/ ... 455/2.html

Here are a few quotes from a message of a woman who's child seems to have some AS characteristics, some of them which the doctor diagnosed as dispraxia. It seems to me they think everything else is ok but omg not Aspergers, now that would be really bad.

Quote:
My son watched the videos. He saw one of them not too long after the boy won the spelling bee and we read comments on teachers.net that made me wonder if we should reconsider trying out for our spelling bee. This came at a time when my son was talking about feeling that some people thought he was a "freak and a geek" ...


Quote:
While he was sitting there she (the mother's sister) said he must have Asperger's because she had read an article in Time magazine and she thought it sounded like him. He calmly told her that he had read the same article and that he knew he had some similarities but that he did not have it. We told my sister that the doctor said he did not have it and she said the doctor must be wrong. ...


here I must ask: which doctor? did he/she have expertise with Aspergers?

Quote:
The kids in the gifted classes at our public school are not doing some of the things at the levels my son did and then he had the sensory based motor issues on top of that so I can see why people might think my son has Asperger's.


Quote:
At one point he said he might just add Asperger's to the list of disorders that he tells people he has when trying to explain his differences, even though he knows that he does not have it, just to make things easier, because more people have heard of Asperger's and he has some similar issues. Most people have not heard of motor dyspraxia.


Quote:
My son realized that he made some people uncomfortable with questions that were not easily answered or when he pointed out exceptions to the rules that he noticed.


P.S.: From my experience parents can be the best ... or the worse, at detecting Aspergers (assuming they would know what Aspergers is), because if they are not willing to see certain traits that are not as positive (as for example, a talent with music versus difficulty with theory of mind) they just don't see it.


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wavefreak58
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13 Dec 2010, 7:29 am

All is well and good if the gifted child is succeeding, is well adjusted and content. Denying the presence of Asperger's is only a problem if the child is having sufficient difficulties that it impedes their progress. In fact, if the child is doing well, then Asperger's is contraindicated. That's why it is called a disorder. You need to be under stress before it is even considered as a possibility.

You want to know what torment is? Trap a gifted mind inside a body that can't interact with the rest of the world. Temple Grandin and Stephen Hawking are the rare exceptions of people that found a way out of the maze.


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J0lt
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13 Dec 2010, 8:59 am

wavefreak58 wrote:
All is well and good if the gifted child is succeeding, is well adjusted and content. Denying the presence of Asperger's is only a problem if the child is having sufficient difficulties that it impedes their progress. In fact, if the child is doing well, then Asperger's is contraindicated. That's why it is called a disorder. You need to be under stress before it is even considered as a possibility.

You want to know what torment is? Trap a gifted mind inside a body that can't interact with the rest of the world. Temple Grandin and Stephen Hawking are the rare exceptions of people that found a way out of the maze.


There are all sorts of 'doing well', and you can be successful in some ways and an AS diagnosis could be useful all at the same time. I was the top of my class all throughout k-12 schooling. I got a 690V 510M in SAT Midwest Talent Search in 7th grade. I got National Merit. I got in to Simon's Rock (I turned it down because the scholarship was only for 2 years and I knew I could get a regular college to pay my way for 4 years). I got one of the 10 academic university-wide full rides my university gives out. However, in k-12, I was often miserable because I was an easy target for the nasty bullies that were in my class. I didn't know how to tell that they were just trying to manipulate me when they would apologize and want to 'be my friend' again.

In college, exams are short enough that auditory distractions are significant enough of a burden that a distraction-free room would be useful to me. While I've been told by one of the people who helps people who got the scholarship I got that everyone has issues and starts to break down at this level of work, I know that they way I manifest this is unique and could be an issue, especially if people don't know I'm different and don't account for that.

I consider myself rather successful, but I don't think that success is a contraindication to being AS, because it's not about lack of success. It's about having certain issues that normal people don't have. You can be successful and still have those issues and want to address them in productive ways, like testing in a distraction-free room or knowing when you're likely to shutdown and being able to take yourself out of the situation, or having an AAC app on your phone in case speaking gets too hard.



Shadi2
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13 Dec 2010, 10:44 am

wavefreak58 wrote:
All is well and good if the gifted child is succeeding, is well adjusted and content. Denying the presence of Asperger's is only a problem if the child is having sufficient difficulties that it impedes their progress. In fact, if the child is doing well, then Asperger's is contraindicated. That's why it is called a disorder. You need to be under stress before it is even considered as a possibility.

You want to know what torment is? Trap a gifted mind inside a body that can't interact with the rest of the world. Temple Grandin and Stephen Hawking are the rare exceptions of people that found a way out of the maze.


The point tho is how negatively Aspergers (and autism generally) is perceived, whatever diagnosis the children ended up with doesn't change who they are, and which issues they do or don't have. Reading the messages (in the forum I linked in my 1st message) it seemed to me that some people are satisfied with a diagnosis of dyspraxia for example, but if someone suggests their child may have Aspergers/autism their reaction is to be upset and somewhat insulted, eventho the child actually seems to have quite a few AS traits. And I see the same attitude towards AS in the article I linked in my other post ( http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt145806.html ), with this psychologist describing children with many AS traits and concluding that they are just "gifted", while basing his conclusion/diagnosis on stereotypes of Aspergers, using these stereotypes to explain why he doesn't think they have AS.

So this is what bothered me, the perception of autism and Aspergers, even among psychologists (who shouldn't base their diagnosis on such stereotypes, we are all humans and we are all different, most Aspies don't have all the possible traits), and even among parents of gifted children, and gifted children who describes themselves as "freaks and geeks".

The psychologist also states that many gifted children have been mis-diagnosed with Aspergers, and I wonder if it could be the other way around, if it is not he, who may have mis-diagnosed children because of his stereotyped - and negative - concept of Aspergers.

This also shows that when someone suspect their child has Aspergers and decide to get a diagnosis, it is important to see someone who is experienced with Aspergers or else they may very well get mis-diagnosed.


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theexternvoid
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13 Dec 2010, 11:11 am

I second that last post. Everyone thought that I was doing well in school: salutatorian, 800m / 720v SAT, college scholarships, etc. But being the easy target of grade school bullies for 9 years straight wasn't fun. I don't believe that I'm diagnosable today due to having a wonderful life now (so no "clinically significant" impairment in quality of life), but I probably would have been back then despite performing well in school and seeming well adjusted in activities like Boy Scouts if it were believed that such was the reason why I was always picked on in school.

That example shows that it would definitely be a bad thing if a gifted aspie were not diagnosed by his parents on the ground that he does well in school. Though not the worst thing. I think if it's not bad enough to be noticeable by the parents then he'll probably do well enough once he gets out of the school and into the adult world.



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13 Dec 2010, 11:13 am

Clearly the kid is profoundly gifted, so smart that even among gifted kids he's too smart. So smart that he's a "freak" from the perspective of other kids.

Quote:
When my son was eight, my own sister who thought she had to be smarter because she has a college degree, seemed very irritated at a family dinner when my son knew something that she did not and said something that she disagreed with. My son was right and she was wrong. While he was sitting there she said he must have Asperger's because she had read an article in Time magazine and she thought it sounded like him. He calmly told her that he had read the same article and that he knew he had some similarities but that he did not have it. We told my sister that the doctor said he did not have it and she said the doctor must be wrong.

Very impressive for a eight years old. I couln't have analysed things like that at this age. We may trust the kid here.


Quote:
He is different from the normal gifted kids at our school. To me, he seems more articulate and verbal and at a higher mental age than the gifted kids his age that I have seen.

Basically he's smarter. Mean nothing about if he's asperger or not.

Quote:
People have told me he must have Asperger's when they found out that he read at 2 and that he memorized things very quickly and he talked more like an adult.

So again he's smart, I wouldn't say someone is asperger based on that.

We must keep in mind that giftedness and asperger share many characteristics, and thus asperger should be more considered from a lack of ability to read social rules and situations, or rigidity of mind.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFGz0IkfP30&feature=related[/youtube]

Sound like a very smart kid. Because he's good with math and music don't mean he's asperger. He's obviously gifted, but we don't have enough indications to say "he's asperger".



Shadi2
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13 Dec 2010, 11:56 am

Tollorin wrote:
Clearly the kid is profoundly gifted, so smart that even among gifted kids he's too smart. So smart that he's a "freak" from the perspective of other kids.

Quote:
When my son was eight, my own sister who thought she had to be smarter because she has a college degree, seemed very irritated at a family dinner when my son knew something that she did not and said something that she disagreed with. My son was right and she was wrong. While he was sitting there she said he must have Asperger's because she had read an article in Time magazine and she thought it sounded like him. He calmly told her that he had read the same article and that he knew he had some similarities but that he did not have it. We told my sister that the doctor said he did not have it and she said the doctor must be wrong.

Very impressive for a eight years old. I couln't have analysed things like that at this age. We may trust the kid here.


Quote:
He is different from the normal gifted kids at our school. To me, he seems more articulate and verbal and at a higher mental age than the gifted kids his age that I have seen.

Basically he's smarter. Mean nothing about if he's asperger or not.

Quote:
People have told me he must have Asperger's when they found out that he read at 2 and that he memorized things very quickly and he talked more like an adult.

So again he's smart, I wouldn't say someone is asperger based on that.

We must keep in mind that giftedness and asperger share many characteristics, and thus asperger should be more considered from a lack of ability to read social rules and situations, or rigidity of mind.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFGz0IkfP30&feature=related[/youtube]

Sound like a very smart kid. Because he's good with math and music don't mean he's asperger. He's obviously gifted, but we don't have enough indications to say "he's asperger".


I agree that he may or may not have Aspergers (note that the quotes are not from Evan's mother, it is another woman who was talking about her son), we don't know of course, only a therapist who has experience with aspergers could tell, but it is the reaction to the suggestion that he might have Aspergers that I find disturbing, as if it was an insult.

I don't know her son and I don't know her, but I can tell you from experience that sometimes parents are in denial concerning the less positive traits their child may have (for example issue with the theory of mind, difficulty solving certain types of problems, etc), while if they indeed have AS a correct diagnosis could be helpful.


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13 Dec 2010, 6:03 pm

wavefreak58 wrote:
All is well and good if the gifted child is succeeding, is well adjusted and content.


J0lt wrote:
There are all sorts of 'doing well', and you can be successful in some ways and an AS diagnosis could be useful all at the same time. I was the top of my class all throughout k-12 schooling.

[snip]
J0lt wrote:
I was often miserable because I was an easy target for the nasty bullies that were in my class. I didn't know how to tell that they were just trying to manipulate me when they would apologize and want to 'be my friend' again.


I think I missed something because it doesn't sound like you were "suceeding, [...] well adjusted and content."

Which, I think, means that you are making wavefreak58's point rather than refuting it.


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13 Dec 2010, 9:47 pm

What I was tying to say is that there are multiple types of success, and just because you are successful for some measure of success doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from help in other ways. This started with a statement that being successful and having aspie traits that need addressing are contradictory, to the extent that Grandin was given as an exception that proves the rule, and I think that's over the top. Yes, I have problems, but so do 'normal' people, and I am successful for many measures of success. I don't see my life as stressful just because I have some stress. I am mostly happy, but I still think I benefit from my identification as having AS. (As I have mentioned in a previous post, ignore the undiagnosed in my profile, as I am battling my insurance company to pay for testing, and my psych who specializes in ASDs is rather confidant that I do have AS but testing is necessary to give to my university for 'proof'.)



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13 Dec 2010, 10:39 pm

J0lt wrote:
What I was tying to say is that there are multiple types of success, and just because you are successful for some measure of success doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from help in other ways. This started with a statement that being successful and having aspie traits that need addressing are contradictory, to the extent that Grandin was given as an exception that proves the rule, and I think that's over the top.


I thought it started with the comment that if you have no problems -- in other words, if you are successful, well-adjusted, and content -- it precludes a developmental disorder diagnosis. If one is successful in one way and struggling in another, then they are not in the position of being "successful, well-adjusted, and content" so the comment was not addressing their lives.

The exception Grandin was cited as was an exception to the condition most find themselves in when they have a brilliant mind that is trapped behind great disability. I agree with the original poster -- most of us with brilliant minds and strong disabilities do not get the chance to contribute to society in the measure we could. The sort of success that Grandin and Hawking have found has eluded me my entire life. I have a good mind but my disability stands between it and the rest of the world and so far I've found that challenge insurmountable.

Quote:
Yes, I have problems, but so do 'normal' people, and I am successful for many measures of success. I don't see my life as stressful just because I have some stress. I am mostly happy, but I still think I benefit from my identification as having AS. (As I have mentioned in a previous post, ignore the undiagnosed in my profile, as I am battling my insurance company to pay for testing, and my psych who specializes in ASDs is rather confidant that I do have AS but testing is necessary to give to my university for 'proof'.)


I'm not sure any of this relates to what was being discussed.


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13 Dec 2010, 11:03 pm

I remember the kids from the gifted classes they were always more f'd up than the kids in the special education classes. The bullies that picked on them for it just about every day. One of them pooped their pants when we playing hockey and he got checked into the wall devloped the nickname shot gun after that. :roll: They always came off as strange and uncoordinated, I would have to say a good number of those kids were somwewhere on the spectrum. I knew some of them from Dungeons and Dragons they were always doing something with their characters that was jaw droppingly stupid. Much to the delight of the jocks that were in our gaming group.


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Shadi2
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14 Dec 2010, 8:59 am

J0lt wrote:
What I was tying to say is that there are multiple types of success, and just because you are successful for some measure of success doesn't mean that you wouldn't benefit from help in other ways. This started with a statement that being successful and having aspie traits that need addressing are contradictory, to the extent that Grandin was given as an exception that proves the rule, and I think that's over the top. Yes, I have problems, but so do 'normal' people, and I am successful for many measures of success.


Exactly! NTs have issues too.

And I just thought of the movie Ben X, and the bullies in that movie. Yeah sure Ben has difficulty communicating, but the bullies sure have big issues themselves to enjoy harassing him like that.


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