Bright Child with Aspergers

“Advocates for Asperger's/gifted (AG) children are eager to have them appreciated as wonderful, special children. The presence of dual exceptionality always casts a shadow over this goal. So much of Asperger's Syndrome echoes the behaviors of healthy highly gifted children that some of the first discussions of AS in the gifted community are cautions not to mistake giftedness for Asperger's Syndrome.” From http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/fact/asperger.pdf

In the 3rd grade, my little Aspie struggled with school. “Needs Improvement” and failing grades were common. She would forget to bring home assignments, she’d forget to take them back, or forget to even take them out of her backpack. She’d work extremely hard, only to accomplish a third of what her classmates were completing in the same amount of time.

Can you imagine our surprise when we received a letter congratulating us on our bright child and welcoming her to the ACT Explore program’s equivalent for elementary grade children?

Truly, that was one of the major things that lead us to pursuing the proper testing and diagnosis of our daughter. How could she be so creative, so artistic, struggle so much in school and with common sense, but then score one of the highest scores in her grade for reading competencies?

The child bounces between reading Pokeman and Journey to the Center of the Earth, though, now she’s reading the Lightning Thief series.

Consistently, her teachers told us how bright she was. How quick she could be, but on paper, test after test, she would fail. It wasn’t until we started understanding how her mind works and discovering where she is so talented and where she struggles.

It took a qualified pediatric nueropsych professional to properly evaluate, test and then diagnose our daughter. I can’t tell you of the confusion, angst, and frustration we have experienced over the years before we properly understood her type of mental pattern.

“In addition to the clinical syndromes outlined by Dr. Webb, Asperger's Disorder is another that is becoming commonly mis-diagnosed in gifted youth. Although there can be similarities between a gifted child and a child with Asperger's Disorder, there are very clear differences. Thorough evaluation is necessary to distinguish gifted children's sometimes unusual and sometimes unique social interactions from Asperger's Disorder. In the same way, thorough evaluation is also necessary to distinguish Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from behavioral problems and inattention that result from other causes such as anxiety, traumatic experiences (e.g., abuse), inappropriate curriculum, or even poor parenting.” From http://www.sengifted.org/articles_counseling/Amend_MisdiagnosisOfAspergersDisorder.shtml

She is a delight and a joy and our lives are much easier to manage now that we have the information we need. Luckily, our school system was very supportive and after running a whole slew of their own tests, they narrowed down the items that are most troubling to her in school. With our IEP plan in hand, we begin the 4th grade with a sense of excitement, anxiety, and hope.



Here is to a year where she will feel success and confidence!

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