Possibly Gifted with Autism/Asperger's Syndrome
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My eldest daughter, now 10 has got in to the PEAC programme at school
and scored 99% in the IQ testing. Her younger sister now 6 has never
been quote "mainstream". She is an introvert, is obsessive about order,
colours etc, she has a few great friends and plays well but is never
"Miss. Sociable", she has a poor concentration span an always says she
is bored at school.
When told to do a task she often starts but does not follow through. She
loves the computer and puzzles and can play happily in her own world for
ages. The teachers say that she is very bright but struggle to get her
to focus when necessary. She can get very upset and shows huge emotion
when hurt, we have always called her our "onion" as she has so many
layers. She is also more sensitive than her siblings to loud noise,
taste and smell. I just want her to be happy and to do the best for her.
Should i have her IQ tested or just let the teachers continue with their
behaviour sticker charts???
From your description, I would suspect a condition in the Autism
Spectrum Disorder but you would need a proper diagnosis to rule that out
or determine the condition. It is also possible that she may be gifted
just by looking at her sister as it is found that when one child in the
family is identified as gifted, the chances are great that other members
of the family are gifted (siblings are usually within 5-10 points of
measured ability). Furthermore, her teachers agreed that she is very
Having said that, the symptoms of being in the Autism Spectrum is rather
evident, possibly placing her in the category of being twice
exceptional. By definition, individuals with Asperger's will also have a
normal or above normal IQ. In spite of this, however, they nearly always
have an understandably difficult time with regular classroom routines
and social interactions.
There are some similarities between being gifted and Asperger's but some
distinct differences are also apparent. The main characteristics of an
Asperger's child is a lack of social or emotional reciprocity is while
gifted children most often show a tremendous concern for others. They
may not always know how to express it appropriately, but the concern is
at least evident. There is also an abnormal preoccupation/interest in
something either in intensity or focus. This intense fascination may
come and go, but will also dominate the child's free time and
conversation. Children with Asperger's may also show an uneven profile
of abilities with remarkable long-term memory, exceptional concentration
(only when engaged in subject of deep interest), and an original method
of problem solving. However, they may also show motor clumsiness, and a
lack of motivation and attention for activities that would normally
engage age-peers. Social withdrawal, teasing by peers, and problems
relating to others in an “age-appropriate” manner are other markers for
Asperger's Syndrome. Of course, someone knowledgeable about giftedness
could see these differences much more easily and readily than those who
are not familiar. Regular teachers are usually not trained to determine
either of the conditions.
It is best that you get her diagnosed for this and an IQ test would also
be advisable to gauge her strengths and weaknesses in terms of ability.
Please do this as soon as possible as any delay or allowing teachers to
continue with their behaviour sticker charts would only hold her back
further and not deal with the underlying concern. She probably needs an
individualised educational programme to cater for her learning needs and
I believe that she would flourish with proper intervention.
Readings that may be of help:
Gifted Children with Asperger's Syndrome
Wishing you all the best.