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gretchyn
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12 Nov 2012, 12:00 pm

I was considered gifted as a child, and now I am being tested for Asperger's.



Mummy_of_Peanut
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12 Nov 2012, 3:16 pm

The term 'gifted' does not get used in Scotland's schools, although I've heard English mums, on parenting forums, saying that their child has been identified as 'gifted and talented'. Here, it will be noticed by teachers, etc, that children are good at X or Y, but they don't go any lists or get pushed or skip a year, etc. So, for me to say that my daughter is gifted, the label would be coming from me.

Anyway, that aside, my daughter's teachers have noted that she is highly creative and has shown talent, way beyond what would be expected of a 6yr old, in art. She's also very interested in science and her knowledge and understanding of anything scientific is more akin to a child double her age. Alongside this, she has an Aspergers diagnosis which, although clear cut at the time, is now almost undetectable. The diagnosis was less than 3 months ago and she was showing a lot of traits, although she wasn't obvious to most. But, since then, we have seen dramatic improvements in her behaviour. One of the teachers, at a singing workshop she has been attending for 2 years, said that he can't see any autistic traits now, whereas she had been very difficult to manage up until the summer. She's just blossomed there, as well as at home and at an athletics class she goes to. I knew she was doing well and I thought this was happening despite (or maybe even due to) the Aspergers.

I'm now beginning to question the diagnosis. Is she just gifted? She definitely has sensory processing issues, just as I do. However, instead of complaining about them, screaming and having tantrums/meltdowns, she's learning to put up with them or to deal with her discomfort in more emotionally mature ways (she has even told me that she's finding this or that to be not nice, but she's not going to complain or moan about it). She has concentration difficulties, which are clearly due to sensory issues. Could she be gifted, along with having sensory processing disorder?


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Tuttle
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12 Nov 2012, 8:33 pm

Giftedness and being autistic aren't mutually exclusive, it is possible to be both...

in that case the label twice exceptional is used.



MrStewart
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12 Nov 2012, 9:29 pm

Tuttle wrote:
That's not nearly all there is to giftedness. If you want to know more, look into the idea of overexcitabilities.


Very interesting. I read a short article on the concept just now. Entirely new information to me. Thank you for posting this reply. :idea:



MissMoneypenny
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13 Nov 2012, 9:38 am

I recommend "Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults" by James T. Webb PhD.

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/M ... edir_esc=y



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13 Nov 2012, 1:27 pm

I am gifted and autistic.

To people who say talents have nothing to do with autism, I disagree. I don't think it makes any sense to split up my talents and my difficulties as separate things, when they come out of the same underlying traits.

I see my creative giftedness and executive dysfunction as two sides of the same coin, for example. I am uninhibited, which means I don't worry about whether it's any good while the creative flow is there, but also means I talk about personal details with random strangers, and have no ability to hide what I'm really feeling. And I'm disorganized, so I tend to forget things, and don't remember them in the right context, but when I do remember them I'm more likely to make unexpected connections between different things.

For another example, I have intense interests, which are an autistic trait, but also a gifted trait. It's hard for me to focus on or learn about something that doesn't hold my interest, which is a negative aspect of it. But at the same time, my interest leads me to research topics, which I understand in depth and come to insights about. In university, having an intense interest in the topic of your major is a big advantage. And the fact that I was researching psychology and genetics for fun as a kid means I'm way ahead of other undergraduate students in my understanding of what I'm studying.

Also, autistic traits are more common at either extreme of intelligence. Both cognitively disabled and gifted kids have a higher rate of autistic traits than those of average intelligence.



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13 Nov 2012, 1:53 pm

I'd rather be diagnosed with Asperger's than never diagnosed with giftedness if I had the same problems.



Mummy_of_Peanut
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14 Nov 2012, 6:03 am

I'm also considering that my daughter's 'issues' with other kids her age might be compounded by the fact that she's so much brighter than a lot of them. She was speaking with her 2 friends (well it's on and off, but they're the best female friends she has in school). She was talking about Hurricane Sandy and they were arguing with her that it wasn't real. I swear, these 7yr old girls (actually a fair bit older than my daughter) thought the story was like a fairytale. She ended up arguing with them about it and got really annoyed. So, it looks like she's the one with the problem, when the truth of the matter is that she felt she was hitting her head against a brick wall. I remember having similar conversations with kids, when I was younger too.


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NewDawn
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14 Nov 2012, 6:28 am

Mummy_of_Peanut wrote:
She was talking about Hurricane Sandy and they were arguing with her that it wasn't real. I swear, these 7yr old girls (actually a fair bit older than my daughter) thought the story was like a fairytale. She ended up arguing with them about it and got really annoyed. So, it looks like she's the one with the problem, when the truth of the matter is that she felt she was hitting her head against a brick wall. I remember having similar conversations with kids, when I was younger too.


Same thing with me when I was young. I still have the urge to set things straigth, but over time I have learned to be a bit more diplomatic about it.

Being cognitively gifted doesn't mean being socially gifted as well, but because these kids are so bright, people expect them to be socially skilled and have excellent executive functioning. It's the most common misconception about being gifted I that I still have to deal with from time to time (if you're so smart why a) is your house such a mess b) aren't you rich c) don't you have an important job d) don't you know important people.)

Socially, gifted children have a normal development or are lagging behind because they invest so much time in their special interests and have fewer opportunities to practice and learn social skills because of the cognitive gap between them and their age group. That can easily be mistaken for the social akwardness of children on the spectrum.



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14 Nov 2012, 6:36 am

I'm gifted and autistic. I think one of the most frustrating things about it for me was that my problems were denied and derided as just me being lazy (among many other insults and insulting characterizations), and my mother insisted that being gifted meant no cognitive difficulties, even though the evidence was right there all along.

It happens online as well, as people have very rigid ideas about what being gifted means, and that I have cognitive abilities I do not actually have (or at least developed much later than is typical) or that I have never had particular experiences that I have actually had.



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14 Nov 2012, 8:59 pm

TheRedPedant93 wrote:
Indeed there are similitudes of Asperger's syndrome and giftedness, they are not mutually exclusive and scientific research has suggested a moderate correlation between ASD’s, giftedness and prodigiousness; nevertheless, there are potential disparities that will help disambiguate anything uncertain in association with these diagnostic entities. It will also substantiate how deceptive the frequent misconceptions (e.g. the media's stereotype) really are. They often imply that all aspies are intellectually superior or academically successful or that they exhibit prodigious capabilities in an artistic or creative area of discipline.

Resemblances of AS and intellectually gifted children

• Both AS and gifted children show a fascination with numerical digits or letters and may indulge memorizing intricate and factual information at some point during early childhood.
• Both have a propensity to show an excessively absorbed interest in a specialized topic and acquire cumulated amounts of informative data, facts and figures associated with it.
• Miscellaneous aspects of AS and giftedness that correspond with both entities include sufficient articulation, verbal eloquence, exceptional memory capacities (e.g. eidetic recall), hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, and a total lack of interaction with other peers.

Distinguishable characteristics that deviate normally gifted children from gifted children with Asperger’s syndrome

Speech patterns are normal in non-autistic gifted children, but it tends to be assertive and matches someone beyond the child’s chronological age. Gifted AS children are linguistically pedantic and coherent.
• Gifted/AS children show a strict adherence to routine, therefore they are unlikely to tolerate any unanticipated changes and may be susceptible to respond with aggressive outbursts or agitation. Normally gifted children may resist in a passive manner, but are likely to go along with it.
• Normally gifted children are able to engage social reciprocal humour, thus capable of peer interaction despite their proclivities to being aloof, awkward and seclusive; whereas gifted AS children don’t typically grasp the concept of humour due to a lack of reciprocity development, this marked deficit partially contributes to their social ineptness.
• Most gifted children without AS acquire adequate motor skills, whereas a huge proportion of gifted/AS children exhibits the manifesting signs of physical clumsiness.
Attention disturbance is generally externalised if present in normally gifted children. In gifted/AS children, it is predominantly internal.
• Impairment in nonverbal communication (e.g. difficulty interpreting body language or grasping the conception of social rules or conventions) is not defined as an intrinsic characteristic of normally gifted children.


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Your diction and grasp of these facts is very impressive. :D :D



lonelyguy
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15 Nov 2012, 1:19 am

I feel that giftedness plays no part in autisim...lots of people are gifted..and on the other hand others are not.
there is so much talk about how people with autisim are gifted in some ways...i am not gifted in any way but still suffer the same issues as the rest of autistic people.
sometimes autistic people concentrate on things that make them happy..it could be a hobby or a subject that interests them...so give them the impression of being gifted...but just like normal people there is a lot of people can be gifted in certain subjects.

Autisim effects us all in different ways....but being gifted is not one of my so called traits of autisim.



btbnnyr
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15 Nov 2012, 1:24 am

I wonder if giftedness makes autistic traits moar severe, like social functioning is even worse amongst gifted autistic children, or gifted autistic children are even moar rigid.



Moriel
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03 Feb 2013, 5:18 pm

shyengineer wrote:
physicsnut42 wrote:
Giftedness just means you are above average intelligence by a certain margin.


No it's doesn't. Most giftedness and asperger's traits overlap including sensitivity, hyper-focus and strict adherence to routine. Gifted people can have social issues because they are on a different level than their peers [edit: the test Jat mentions is applicable here] . This can lead to social awkwardness and isolation and thus the appearance of asperger's*. Autistic people have social issues because they just don't "get it" - reading body language, social cues, talking in turn etc. This a bit of a simplification, but it's the most common idea.

Many professionals have a hard time distinguishing people that are so close to being one or the other. Some say it can be co-morbid, some say it can't. Because there is no DSM criteria for giftedness, it's hard to tell. Take a look an article such as this, particularly the case study, and you will probably be left scratching your head:

Part of it is also a parental bias towards gifted=good, asperger's=bad. I'm in a similar position, blue1skies. I was 'diagnosed' as gifted as a child. As I grew older I had more and more social problems. Were those caused by disinterest and not learning those skills as a child or teen? Or is it a fundamental difference? I don't know as of yet. I am building social skills and scripts to use, but they do not come naturally and are slow for me to learn. Is this a part of the learning process? Are people predictable because we learn these scripts as children? Are people so used to it they don't know it? These are the things I think about...

I think it's more important to focus on the strengths and issues you have rather than grouping them all and sticking a label on it.

*If it appears to be asperger's is it not asperger's? Does it appear to be giftedness as a child which is then revealed as truly asperger's as ones social development is halted? Is giftedness next to asperger's on the spectrum?


I completly agree with shyengineer. In fact my husband is one of those people you cant't actually tell if they're gifted, aspergian, or twice exceptional. He's a top notch computer scientist and programmer, who is also a workaholic. And as a young boy, he did quite poorly at school, while he could code his own computer games before he turned 10. His IQ is very high, but he doesn't "look smart", and is an extremely humble and honest person.

We started suspecting he's in fact an aspie after our son got a PDD-NOS dx. But even if he can pass as socially awkward or just shy, I get puzzled at his overdeveloped sense of smell, taste, and hearing. And the fact that he can solve complex problems, and yet not being able to explain how he does it. He's also very good at fixing stuff (especially electronic devices), but got his driver permit after turning 32, and is not a good driver at all, since he has issues with reaction, distance, and gets easily distracted with lights and sunlight.

My personal belief -based on our experience- is that asperger (autism) and giftedness is on the same continuum.


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