Asperger’s or gifted?

A few days ago, I received a link to this article:  10 Signs Your Child May Have Asperger’s Syndrome.  I know a couple kids who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s, so I thought it might be good to read.  About halfway through the article, I thought, “Wow, if I had grown up in this decade, I might have been diagnosed with Asperger’s!”  I continued to read and wondered about my own daughters as well.  I’ll be honest…I got a little freaked out.

At the end of the article was a link to this article: 20 Signs Your Child May Be Gifted.  Since both my daughters have been involved in gifted programs at school, I thought this would be a good read also.  The girls definitely fit in this list, and I felt relieved.  Yet, it bothered me how many characteristics were similar on these two lists.

After some research, I discovered there is indeed a frequent mis-diagnosis of gifted and talented youth.  Licensed clinical psychologist Edward Amend says, “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.”

According to Amend, if professionals are unaware how characteristics of gifted children may appear similar to clinical syndromes, many gifted children will continue to be mis-labeled.  I thought it was worthwhile to share this information with my readers in case any of you might have a child who falls into this category.

Of course, the primary lesson here is not to rely on lists such as these.  They are merely a tool to guide you, but leave the diagnosing to the professionals.  Still, even the pros can make a mistake, so the secondary lesson is to be informed and make sure your health professionals are informed as well.

To read Dr. Amend’s article in its entirety, click here:  Misdiagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder in Gifted Youth


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