Is Giftedness Part Of The Autism Spectrum?
Linda Wechter-Ashkin PhD NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD-CCSP
Gifted children have so many characteristics that are unique to them. They are often defined as quirky, as beating to their own drum, as being very sensitive to sensory input, as viewing humor differently than their peers, as having a strict set of rules that they adhere to and as preferring specific routines, and as having difficulty socializing with same aged peers. Although many gifted children are well-adjusted high achievers, many underachieve, are excitable, and seem to be emotionally dysregulated.
It is true that gifted children and children with autism often have some of the same qualities but when they are mutually exclusive there are differences. Gifted children may be described as having unique interests while autistic children are described more as having obsessive interests that they hyper-focus on. Gifted children often have difficulty appropriately expressing their emotions and are often oversensitive, while autistic children are more typically less aware of the reactions of others. Gifted children due to higher levels of maturity often prefer adults but have a better understanding of how to interact effectively if they choose to do so than children with autism. Gifted children tend to be highly sensitive to everything including sensory input, but usually do not have the hyper or hypo reactions that autistic children do. Gifted children tend to have exceeded early milestones while many children with autism have delays especially in speech. There are differences but every child is different, and it can be very confusing to a parent.
This leads parents to question whether they are missing something. They know their child is gifted but can they also be autistic? It is possible because these atypical brain-based differences often coexist? The answer is often a more extensive psychoeducational evaluation by a psychologist who specializes in both giftedness and autism to see if your child might be twice exceptional. Give Kelly a call at 561-767-6802 to get the answers you need. There is nothing to fear only answers to find and action plans to develop. We can help you with that.