标签: 天才儿童 症候群 | 发表时间:2011-08-25 21:41 | 作者:Shophen 岩飞松

来源Autistic or just brilliant?

Plenty of opinion pieces have been published in recent years on the autistic spectrum condition known as Asperger's syndrome.

近几年来,人们对自闭症谱系发表了不同的看法,自闭症谱系指的是亚斯普杰氏症候群(常发生在小学低年级学生中的精神紊乱, 症状为社交能力差和重复性的行为模式)

It has been interesting to see the proliferation of an Asperger's diagnosis of both adults and children throughout this decade, but it has raised serious questions for me when Asperger's is confused with giftedness.


Diagnosis of any psychological, emotional or social condition is made on the basis of the behaviours of individuals and their reporting of their thoughts and feelings. When the same behaviours, thoughts and feelings can be attributed to more than one condition, it can be difficult to determine the cause.


When one significant condition is not well understood, the chances are that the diagnosis will be incomplete. The explanation that is not considered in the case of children and adults of high ability expressing concerns about their social engagement is that they may be gifted.


This is generally because being gifted and its attendant difficulties are not well understood within the medical or educational communities.


For centuries, writers and researchers have observed and recorded how very high ability, particularly in the cognitive domain, leads to asynchronous development in the emotional, social and physical domains.


Long before Dr Asperger identified behaviours related to an inability to relate to others and social difficulties, many gifted individuals had spoken of how their intellectual drive made it difficult to connect with the mundane aspects of life.


They found that connecting to people with whom there was little in common, or sharing ideas which were new, complicated and demanding in a way that others could follow was problematic and made communication awkward.


Gifted children can appear to have the same behaviours as those with Asperger's. They have good language skills and great memories. They have areas of deep interest, and can have great imaginations so are often dreamy and out of tune with what's around them or be so logical and straightforward in their thinking that imagination and pretence are a mystery to them.


Many gifted children fidget, since it can help keep the brain occupied and allow them to organise their thoughts more easily, while others may hum, sing or talk to themselves to achieve the same effect.


They need time to engage in the activities that they are most satisfied by. If there are other children who also enjoy those activities, they will play with them, but most often there are not.


Gifted children will often share, at length, their interests and ideas before recognising the lack of understanding others have in the topic, so seem to be talking at, rather than with, them. They are often difficult to manage when their needs clash with the expectations and needs of others. They are protective of their time and resist being organised into joining in with children or activities they don't relate to.


They are often lost in thought, lost in a book or an activity to the point where they do not register their surroundings.


As their social development progresses, children become aware of others and their own position in the groups in which they move.


Difficulty finding others similar to themselves leads to feelings of isolation. School and family life can be very difficult for these children.


During the 1990s, this unmanageable or inattentive behaviour was diagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and many gifted children were unnecessarily medicated to control it, with all the attendant side effects.


Where the diagnostic confusion comes is a lack of understanding of how highly asynchronous intellectual and social development impacts on a person's sense of themselves and their place.


Adults with late diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, who are writing about their experiences, have stretched the range of what constitutes the condition. When they write of their childhoods, it could be a description of a gifted child's life - confused about social cues, self-conscious and out of kilter with the interests and language of their peers. It is my concern that, in the diagnosis of Asperger's in children, there is too little awareness of how giftedness may affect social interactions and the two conditions require different approaches for remediation.


One way to help determine whether it is a child's advanced intellectual development that is making social interactions difficult is to see how satisfying they find the company of other gifted children.


Social difficulties are often the result of placement with age peers rather than intellectual peers.


Early interactions set the child's beliefs about themselves as a social being and these encounters can create a self- consciousness that may lead to anxiety disorders and social phobia.


In many gifted individuals, there is a strong perfectionist streak and they want to feel successful in all they do.


Unfortunately, social interactions can be difficult to manage, so getting it right all the time is harder. Gifted individuals dwell on this and this makes them more cautious, less spontaneous and harder for others to relate to.


Managing this sensitivity is a valuable skill we can instil when we recognise the problem in gifted children. Meeting other gifted children, being placed appropriately in an accepting and responsive educational environment, and speech and drama opportunities to rehearse social responses can help develop confidence.





Ezra was a very difficult baby. From the start, he would not sleep. He demanded attention all his waking hours. By six months, he was vocalising real words, and at one year, he was speaking in two and three-word sentences. As a preschooler, he had a fascination with books and a passion for subjects such as the night sky, plumbing and explorers.


He would eat only dry, crisp food with any enthusiasm - all meal times were a battle. When playing, he could not be interrupted without a creating a fuss. By five, he could read at a teenage level, spoke like an adult, was worried about peak oil and had been labelled a social isolate.


He adored his nine-year-old neighbour and they played together for hours. At school, his frustration at his inability to make his hands produce the work his head demanded led to tantrums.


He talked over the top of others to get his point across, fidgeted and wandered, could tune out and was bluntly honest to children and adults, often causing offence. By 10, he was finished with school.


He was very happy to be alone. He filled every minute of the day thinking, constructing plans, looking things up on the computer and reading.


The school was frustrated with him and his parents were desperate. When he was eventually psychologically tested, the report surprised the school but not the parents.


Ezra was operating intellectually as a 17-year-old with an IQ above 160. The psychologist found him engaging, quick-witted, deeply knowledgeable and with advanced moral understandings.


He had a low tolerance for ambiguity, was unafraid to tell the truth as he saw it and appreciated straight-talking in return. These attributes were setting him apart from his peers. The psychologist understood he was gifted. He could easily have been diagnosed with Asperger's.









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来源Autistic or just brilliant?. 近几年来,人们对自闭症谱系发表了不同的看法,自闭症谱系指的是亚斯普杰氏症候群(常发生在小学低年级学生中的精神紊乱, 症状为社交能力差和重复性的行为模式). 看到近十年来越来越多的大人、小孩被诊断为亚斯普杰氏症候群是件有意思的事,但是当亚斯普杰氏症候群和天才被混为一谈时,它却引发我一阵忧思.


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