Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are truly
an interesting population. Gifted individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are even more fascinating--and confusing. Children
with this disability are sometimes described as "little professors who can't understand social cues." (Safran, 2001, p. 1)
They are highly verbal, have obsessive interests in certain subjects, have exceptional memories, usually have above average
IQ's, are hypersensitive to sensory stimuli and experience social isolation. (Neihart, 2000). Gifted individuals can manifest
these behaviors as well. However, even though children with Asperger's Syndrome manifest behaviors that are very similar to
gifted children, upon closer examination, the motivation for the behaviors is quite different. For example, both gifted
children and children with Asperger's Syndrome are highly verbal. Both populations usually have extremely advanced vocabularies
and love to talk about their interests. The difference is that children with Asperger's are very literal and have a difficult
time with abstract thought. This is not the case with the gifted child. The child with Asperger's will memorize a vast number
of facts and parrot them back. The gifted child on the other hand, understands the concepts behind the words.
This page, provided by the Hoagies Gifted Website has some great links to articles and
books on Asperger's Syndrome. I highly recommend it!
For further information on Asperger's Sydrome and High Functioning Autism, I encourage
you to visit this site: http://www.autism.org/contents.html#temple It contains numerous articles by Dr. Temple Grandin, an associate professor at Colorado
State University. Her book, Thinking in Pictures chronicles her life as a highly functioning autistic.
Did you know...Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. president and author of the Declaration
of Independence may have had Asperger's Syndrome? For further information, go to www.amazon.com and look up the book, Diagnosing Jefferson.