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Does giftedness often co-occur with Aspergers?

Do these co-occur or not?

  • Yes, they do

    Votes: 14 45.2%
  • No, they don’t

    Votes: 17 54.8%

  • Total voters


Active Member
Hi, I’m just wondering if giftedness has any co-occurring relationship with Aspergers? I know a few gifted people with AS/HFA, so would there be any connection? I’m level 5 gifted (search if you don’t know), and have close to all Aspergers traits ( extremely likely Aspergers ) and thought that maybe those were related. When tested in yr3, got the highest possible testing results- as it only tested up to certain year levels but would likely be further ahead than the tests could measure. 6 years in reading, 3 in math although it is probably more like 9-10 and 7 -8 (just an estimate).
The title of your post, and the poll are asking two different questions. Plus, if you can't be bothered to explain level five giftedness... then maybe we can't be bothered to look it up.

Giftedness is comparatively rare, so it probably doesn't occur with Asperger's more often than with any general population. Giftedness is not one of the criteria for Asperger's and neither is it considered to be co-occurring.
Heres what i find reg this levels (and i have NEVER heard of it either :confused: )

( Five Levels of Giftedness: The Scores & a Summary of What They Mean*
Level One: Moderately Gifted to Gifted

  • IQ scores of 120-129 represent the 90th-98th percentiles
  • what most of us think of as bright
  • make up a large proportion of students in gifted programs
  • like being read to before age one
  • can do simple addition and subtraction before age four
  • reading 2-3 years beyond grade level by age seven
  • parents realize children are not being challenged and contact someone for help between grades two and four
Level Two: Highly Gifted

  • IQ scores of 130-135 represent approximately 98th – 99th percentiles
  • can pay attention while being read to by five to nine months
  • can count to 5 (or higher) by age two
  • know many sight words and may be reading by age four
  • master most kindergarten skills by age four
  • are independent on the computer by age four and a half
  • are impatient with the repetition and slow pace of school by age six to seven
Level Three: Exceptionally Gifted

  • IQ scores of 136-140 represent approximately 98th – 99th percentiles
  • independently look at and turn pages of books before ten months
  • question Santa or the tooth fairy by age three or four
  • rarely go through any stage of phonetically sounding out words
  • intense interest in mazes between ages four and five
  • spontaneously read (with or without instruction) before kindergarten
  • read 2-5 years beyond grade level by age six
Level Four: Exceptionally to Profoundly Gifted

  • IQ scores of 141+ represent the 99th percentile
  • books are a favorite interest by three to four months
  • knows the entire alphabet by fifteen to twenty-two months
  • at four or five years can perform many academic and intellectual functions of an eight-year-old
  • reading for pleasure and information by age five
  • can play adult level card games and board games by age five and a half
  • most are capable of completing all academic work through 8th grade by 3rd or 4th grade
  • these are the kids that attend college at ages ten, eleven, and twelve
Level Five: Exceptionally to Profoundly Gifted

  • IQ scores of 141+ represent the 99th percentile
  • knows numbers, letters, colors, and shapes before they can talk
  • can speak in full, complex sentences by fifteen months
  • have kindergarten skills by age two
  • spontaneously reads, understand fairly complex math problems, and has existential concerns by ages four to five (with or without instruction)
  • frequently one parent must postpone their career to advocate for their child’s education)

And in answer to youre question NO dear as far as i know IQ has NOTHING to do with ASD just as with N ts theres those that score high and those as me fore ex that scores WAY lower then average and those that scores in between ;)

Btw THANK you for clearing this " gifted " thing up for me as i suspected it from day one based on how you communicate & express youre self as a 12 year old. + youre Avatar as well ;)
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As @Sarah S says, people with ASD can have varying IQs and abilities and I don't think that there is a correlation. When Asperger's was a separate diagnosis from ASD, one of the criteria which separated it from 'classic' autism was that one had to have at least average intelligence, and that meant that a statistically higher percentage of gifted people for that group, but the ASD diagnosis allows for the full range of intelligence levels (if such a thing can really, truly be accurately measured).
If you dig deep enough into this forum you'll find many discussions about IQ results. Equally with most of us on the spectrum agreeing that having a high IQ in no way guarantees that one is successful in life whether socially or occupationally speaking.

In essence, here you'll find people with ASD all over the map regarding their IQ scores.
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I’m gonna go with no. It doesn’t occur more often than it does in the general population with above average IQ.
Ok, a few things: First of all, the textbook definition of gifted verses what is commonly intuited as gifted are not mutually exclusive. I'm not sure the textbook definition of "giftedness" has much relevance. Its looking in too narrow of a range or traits and skills (i.e. within a "box"). I find it arbitrary in comparison to the more broad observation that someone excels to an unusually high degree in one particular area. After all, that is a highly common trait on the spectrum, and one that is dramatically over-represented compared to NT's. It is also not the same as the defined term of "giftedness."

By mere observation, I'm going to say yes, being gifted co-occurs with a higher rate than the rest of the population. You can argue about the definitions all day, though. You can also argue about the "value" or "usefulness" of said gifts. But there are way too many examples of extremely brilliant, high performers that are clearly on the spectrum to think its mere coincidence, especially given the statistical odds.

I will also emphasize: When someone comments that someone is "gifted," they are not referring to the textbook definition. And, in fact, I think what they are describing is closer to reality anyway.
In one discussion of IQ scores I was reminded of someone somewhat depressed by their score in the 90s. Yet he went on to intelligently discuss automobile mechanics on a level that was far beyond my own understanding. It was I who was learning from him!

Making in my opinion, his IQ score- and mine a very moot point indeed.
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My partner fits all of the descriptions of level 5. She does need a lot of support for ASD due to childhood trauma, had to give up her career. I still get to hear about physics, which is wonderful, but she really should have been a professor. I tend not to put too much weight in IQ scores. I think they give a general sense of academic ability but can be studied for, and have too large a standard deviation to support some of the claims I've seen. For example, a meta-analysis of the benefits of breast milk I read a few years ago claimed that it had a causal relationship with IQ. Digging into the actual numbers it worked out to one IQ point. The standard deviation for IQ scores is 15.

Then there's the way they tend to get used to promote ableism. It's especially disturbing when the skills of people that score low are ignored and their basic humanity denied.
I have never felt gifted in any practical way, but I believe that it's not unusual for people on the spectrum to have insight or abilities that fall outside of the norm. It's the idea of "norm" that makes us compare ourselves to the majority average. Society has age/grade expectations, so if you fall below, you are considered a dullard, but if you exceed expectations, you are some kind of genius. This is a scale designed to find the proper pace for educating society. We have to move collectively like a herd of cattle. "Get along little dogie".

You have to live with your "special superpower" before you recognize it as a superpower. These superpowers can be slight, but clearly superior to the norm. At the same time, we focus on how we "can't" do what everyone else can do. We are comparing ourselves to the herd once again, yet denying the small, precious elements that make us "special".

Humans are competitive by nature, and we expect to win the contests and races that crowd our lives from childhood. I find it funny that I still take pride in winning an award for being the fastest base runner on my little league baseball team. I'm 62. That's either cute or pathetic. I lean toward pathetic. Would my life be any different had I not won that prize? Why should I attach pride to being the fastest runner? All the other kids lost. Were they distraught and did they become career criminals? No, except for one or two, but it had nothing to do with baseball.

In my opinion, we tend to follow the crowd. Everyone's life "norm" is different and we have to adjust ourselves to the world as it presents itself to us. We are always comparing, and we feel that we are nothing if we aren't the best. This competitive spirit keeps society invigorated, but I know that those on the spectrum have to adjust their interpretation of being part of the herd. We find it hard to accept our abilities and deficiencies without some kind of sadness, frustration, or anger. We're never good enough.

I remember reading that children with Aspergers feel frustration often. I don't understand psychology well enough to know if this frustration is a major contributor to anxiety and depression. I sense that this might be true for me, but I am only one person who still clings to his base-running abilities. We defeat ourselves by making comparisons and rating the value of our triumphs according to a "common average". One person wins, the rest are losers. If I had not been on the team, some other kid would have won, and I would have become the career criminal. Can you see how ridiculous this is? We are all on both the upper and the lower parts of the "value" scale. We shouldn't be rating ourselves this way. It's a losing proposition and it does nothing to help society or humanity. We put too much pressure on the outcome of our silly contests.

Our special skills are just skills - like people who can pack the trunk of a car like a jigsaw puzzle. We all have our stronger points and our weaker ones. Admittedly, we all want to strangle the person who puts the Thanksgiving turkey in the over at 6:00 am, but forgets to turn it on. These behaviors are found everywhere. We don't have a monopoly on packing, and university PhDs can misplace their office keys, for the 4th time this year. For as negative as we can be about our shortcomings, we have to embrace the added value we bring to the world and to our personal lives. Some of it the result of ASD. We know because we feel it. The rest of it is just who we are, regardless of a category. Our abilities and short-comings are just more pronounced because of herd expectations. The herd is not qualified to judge anyone.
I've always thought its named should be changed, as it doesn't exactly seem like a "gift" to me. It has good to it, but "gifted" makes it sound all good.

And some of the criteria is funny, like the one about Santa Claus. I'm definitely not "exceptionally gifted," I remember believing in Santa Claus until somewhere around second or third grade! :p

And I'm still not completely convinced! :D
I'd say no, you are as equally possible to be gifted as a NT or an Autistic person. Perhaps less possibly of being gifted if you are autistic. In my experience with myself and also my son and his peers.
If someone's idea of giftedness is being extremely good at one or a few things, the I'd say yes. It's said often that Aspies usually have a more spiky skill pattern than NTs. Amazing at certain things, terrible at others. More so than NTs.

I've been told by many people that I'm the smartest person they know, a wizard, a genius. They notice the things I am good at that are useful, like being one with a mechanical device and intuitively knowing how it works and what might be wrong with it. Visualizing and designing things in my head. Being able to make something out of junk if needed. A lot of people don't have that ability and it ends up costing them a lot of money and time and trouble, and they notice how it is so easy for me.

But a lot of people are good at it, I'm far from the only one. And while it's a skill set that covers many things in everyday life, it's still a narrow skill set. There are still a LOT of things that I'm terrible at, things like reading people, being social, creating and understanding fiction, things I think most NTs are good at. I don't feel gifted at all, nor do I feel bad about it.
I second @tlc's point. A lot of people call me a "genius" or say I'm super smart, or strong, or on "another level" and it always made me uncomfortable. By the list that @Sarah S posted, I'd be like 1st or 2nd level "gifted" but it rarely feels like a "gift."

Sometimes when I talk in depth with people who have less education than I do I feel really bad for them because it shows me how much I rely on my mind and education to get through my day. I think, what would I do if I wasn't this smart??? But then hanging out here has shown me that many people with "lower intelligence" or less education don't have to fight the same battles I do every day. To many of the people who gawk and fawn over my brain, it appears like I have more than they do. I don't. I just have different and my brain's higher RPMs come at a cost.

Maybe the whole IQ/Aspergers correlation is just an illusion that comes from the Forgetful Professor trope we see so often in movies and tv?

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