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Is it normal for people with high functioning autism not to be very smart?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Ruby, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

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    I'm not that smart but others with high functioning autism seem way more clever, have more knowledge, get fantastic grades, get lots of awards and they're way more successful than me. I don't usually remember stuff that I learn. I also don't know many words. Is it normal to be this way? How are some people so smart? How do they remember things they've learnt, meanings of words and general knowledge?
     
  2. King_Oni

    King_Oni Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    What defines "being smart"? I don't know if I should measure my own knowledge to that of others to claim I'm smart. Or dumb for that matter.

    I think there's a lot that has to do with "being able to connect to things" if we're talking "remembering what you've learned".

    Speaking for myself I always had a hard time in connecting with "general" stuff, and even more so if I look at how schools want to teach me stuff. That never went over well with me. Suffice to say besides high school I never achieved anything in terms of education.

    I don't know if it's normal or abnormal, even for the autism spectrum. I always frown when I speak to people that know a bit of everything, but nothing in great detail. It makes them sound rather superficial, but that might just be me.

    Yet, I do sometimes wonder why I remember some things. I have little problems in picking up languages and connecting languages to other ones to see where it stems from. And there's a few other things I'm probably good at. On the down side, there is stuff I"m terrible at and don't remember at all. Example; I was/am good in topography (naming cities on a map) in the geography classes, but the entire notion of geology never caught on to me. In high school I didn't relate to anything in biology class either. For some reason it just decided to leave my brain as soon as it got the chance.

    Like I said, I don't think you should measure others' success to yours. You are not your grades and not the awards you get. Success is relative as well. At some point you'll find something your good at and people will wonder "how'd that happen?"
     
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  3. Dragon's Tooth

    Dragon's Tooth Well-Known Member

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    everyone is intelligent in their own way. Unfortunately our education system is not set up for those of us who do not fit their standard models. The vast majority of people in this world are visual learners therefore most school systems cater to this learning style (I think its around the 60% mark but don't quote me on that). For people like me who learn by doing (around 10% of the population if I remember correctly) this style is like banging your head against a wall. It makes you look dumb when you really aren't. And most education providers have so many things to deal with people who don't fit their modelling fall through the cracks.

    Most people would call me intelligent but I know I have fallen short of what I could have achieved even though I have completed a bachelors degree. I have excellent spacial awareness (uncommon in girls) but poor language skills (which is common in girls). I can visualise complex maps and routes in my head to navigate (I liken it to a GPS) so I'm fairly good at navigation but my husband is terrible at it (I can't even give him a GPS with the instructions being read out because he will get it wrong). So as you can see in some areas some people excel and in others people fall down.

    A lot of people aren't necessarily intelligent by society's definition either. A wide general knowledge isn't intelligence, it just means they are well read or spend a lot of time expanding their knowledge. You really don't need a high level of intelligence to do that. But you do need a high intelligence to take that information and construct an argument.

    Also a lot of people that get good grades work their butts off for it. They have a bit of natural talent then they slog their guts out for the rest. But you have to identify what is your best and live to that standard. For some people an A+ is the grade they can walk away from knowing they put in 100% effort. For others it might be a B or a C. If you can walk away from something knowing you've put in your best effort then you should be proud of what ever result you get. But if you know in your heart you fluffed around then you just have to take the results you get.

    You can try seeking help from someone to learn ways to study that fit with you learning styles. There is a heap of information on the internet about such a subject. Also many many tests. The VARK test is the best one as most education systems are based off this. There is also a heap of research done around this model. Usually most schools have someone you can ask directly about this as well.

    Just remember we all have our strengths. No two people are a like. Measure your own success not your success in relation to others. And don't let people tell you you should be a certain way because of your aspergers. It only puts pressure on you to be something you might not be.
     
  4. WildCat

    WildCat V.I.P Member

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    The problems with language are usually a given in autism - that much you needn't worry about. I'm diagnosed with high functioning autism as well and, honestly, I'm no more clever than many people I've met. Matter of fact, I'm actually quite stupid sometimes or lack common sense, but every day passing is an opportunity to correct my mistakes and build upon my existing intelligence. Having issues with language doesn't imply anything at all about your intelligence nor should it, you probably just need to find your niche in life. Smarts don't necessarily need to stem from the books, and if you want my opinion most of it is fluff you're probably never going to fully utilize in real life anyways, so don't put yourself down until you've had a chance to truly shine. I've forgotten nearly everything I've been taught in high school and the few classes of college I took...as do many other people I'm sure. None of it was really relevant to my interests at all, it was just another class and a pain in the ass to deal with, but that doesn't imply a lack of intelligence altogether in any way. Everything that I have retained to this point has been mostly the result of self-teaching myself and even then I find myself having to re-learn things over again after so long, and everything I tried to learn in school has just almost completely slipped my mind. It doesn't matter to me, I'm doing relatively well in life right now even if I'm not totally independent and that's really all that matters right now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  5. smith2267

    smith2267 Well-Known Member

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    I think by definition AS/HFA means you have an IQ above the norm--not necessarily by a lot though.
    More importantly, your brain works differently than NT's. Not necessarily always better or worse; more like sideways vs. their straight ahead thinking. Sometimes this will allow you to see solutions others can't see. The thing to do is think about things and figure things out for yourself, once you start doing that you will find ways that your autism can make you of benefit to others and yourself.

    PS, most of us aren't rain man. :) Take pleasure in small accomplishments. For example, I am very good at making people laugh.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
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  6. Soup

    Soup Well-Known Member

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    Even the term high functioning can be misleading because it hinges on what is valued as 'productive' in mainstream society. For instance, an Aspie who manages to work at a grocery store, waiting on tables, as a stocker etc. & maintain it will be considered by many to be high functioning. How does that compare to an unemployed white collar NT mid level manager who lost his job when his company downsized or moved to Asia. He may have turned to drink & be living on unemployment & burning through his savings. Is he now low functioning? Is he considered unintelligent or just another unfortunate victim of the economic crisis? Is the Aspie grocery store cashier now smarter & higher functioning?

    When it comes to memory tasks, many (not all) Aspies excel. Many have very high above avg IQs & can easily recall & recite detailed lists of facts. Many of these same people, however, are unable to parley those skills into anything profitable or handle a job (let alone a career) due to social/sensory/anxiety related challenges. Is this person smarter than the Aspie above who maybe does not have a stellar vocabulary, much formal education & a mediocre IQ BUT who manages to get up, go to work pay taxes & contribute to society? I have yet to come across a definition of intelligence that is truly scientifically valid.

    Intelligence tests are always biased towards what is valued by those designing the test & what their culture deems to be 'signs' of intelligence. Knowledge & memory skills can masquerade as intelligence BUT that same person may be very low functioning by other measures. Those designing the test are also influenced by whatever institutions & foundations etc. are funding them. When the role of woman as submissive & home-maker/mother was considered to be natural & the only healthy path for females to pursue, women who chose a career path were considered to be mentally ill & suffering from a disorder. BOTH Carl Jung & Freud agreed that even when the woman excelled in such a career (like medicine or business) it should be seen as a manifestation of severe symptoms rather than evidence that the original assumptions about women were wrong!

    Society often makes the mistake of confounding a very high income with great intelligence. If a person's fame & material wealth are a measure of their value, success & intelligence, Justin Bieber, who made 53 million last year (& a similar staggering amount the previous 3 consecutive years) is more successful & smarter than a neurosurgeon who will earn a small fraction of what Bieber did. Society often values & rewards the wrong things & is suffering from a bad case of skewed values.
     
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  7. smith2267

    smith2267 Well-Known Member

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    Always listen to Soup. She is very wise, moreso than I am.
     
  8. Needtobreathe

    Needtobreathe Well-Known Member

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    No offense: but me, my brother, and a kid on my Academic team all have hfa, and are extremely smart. Me and the other guy captain (iirc the JV and V teams respectively. And my brother is almost as smart as me, but doesnt thrive under pressure, while i do somewhat. So not really.
     
  9. Soup

    Soup Well-Known Member

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    @ Smith: thanks for the support!

    @ Needtobreathe: Why would anyone take any offence? A question was posed & you showed up, tossed in your 2 cents & provided an honest answer. Many of us here are high IQ, high functioning BUT in very specific areas. I friendliness & having an extensive social network of people to whom we are close & get together with was a measure of functioning, both my husband & I would have a lower score than the average seagull. Heck: unlike many Aspies here, I don't even have the EQ to even MISS or WANT a network of friends!

    When I mentioned this to a shrink, she tried to sell me the idea that I was depressed. DEPRESSED?!? I'm not even mildly sad! I just don't want what society says I should want. My Aspieness manifests as different wiring when it comes to socializing.
     
  10. Dragon's Tooth

    Dragon's Tooth Well-Known Member

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    I think we can all name a few celebrities or sports people who fall into this category.

    I think this kind of makes my point Way to Suck, Society! - Cheezburger

    Society defines intelligence by how much general knowledge a person can spit out under pressure (essentially an exam). Watch who wants to be a millionare ... that is also another good example. When I was last at uni we had endless arguments with the lecturers over how pointless an exam is because in the real world we have google. The only real argument we had no come back for was that you can cheat on an assignment but you are on your own in an exam. You have to prove you know what your doing then. Especially for things like maths. BTW ... maths ... the one subject you should slog your guts out for ... I regret not doing that when I was in high school because maths ... no matter what you do in life ... will find a way to bite you on the behind if you don't pay attention to it early on.

    We could take my dad and my brother. both are terrible at writing things down, neither could read a book to save their lives, or write an essay. They have limited general knowledge. But put some tools in their hands and the things they produce is unbelievable. My dad restores classic cars ... he fabricates parts that are no longer available from scratch. My brother is a builder ... he builds things without plans. I saw the dog kennel my brother put together as a christmas present for my dad. I watched him in part build it. The intelligence needed to do these tasks is quite high. And they show that they have skills in areas that in a standard school system would only show them up as under achievers. You can't even define intelligence by measuring two people against each other because each person is intelligent in their own way.

    I may have got a bachelors degree ... but I am more like my father and brother. I create things but I use sewing, crochet and so on to do it. And I bake. I'm a member of the quilting guild in my area and they were all stunned I managed to make 4 baby quilts (about 1.5m x 1.2m in dimensions) in about three months. Few of them could equal that (most of them will take at least 6 months on a queen quilt (2.2m x 2.2m) and a number of quilts I've seen have been several years in progress). And I just sat down and made them, without a pattern and produced work that most people would struggle to equal.

    I'm just trying to show how some people excel in ways that are different to others.
     
  11. Undiagnosed

    Undiagnosed Well-Known Member

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    Everyone seems to know people with autism. Around here no body has autism/Asperger's. I don't think anybody even knows what it is includeing doctors and people who work at the schools ...teachers, principals, school phycologists...
     
  12. CarefullyChaotic

    CarefullyChaotic New Member

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    Same where I live. I mentioned it to a couple people at work, They looked at me completely baffled. Asked what is it? *sigh* I am working. I do what they ask of me to the best of my ability but it always seem they want more. I deal with being around people all day, with not being home, getting touched on the arms sometimes fingers... Its exhausting. Now my bosses keep trying to change my lunch and break times! I try to tell myself Its just break, its no big deal. Then I think, "But lunch is always at 6 pm! OMG you sound like rainman now." bla

    On topic maybe, I think I'm pretty smart. No idea what my IQ is but I can learn things very quickly. I cant spell very well and my vocabulary isn't huge but I think I'm a tiny bit above average. Altho the people I work with and some friends that I grew up with thought I was slow. I think that's because I am slow to respond to things or slow to get conversations at times... I cant prove I'm very smart with this at all, I'm still rattled from work, they sent a coworker to tell me that break is 10 pm. It's usually 9. This has me still very upset.. I feel like a whiney child, sorry guys :( I just needed to say it to someone that might understand instead of saying, You're upset about a break time? really?"
     
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  13. NovaScotia Aspie

    NovaScotia Aspie Active Member

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    I am not sure if people with HFA are smarter than average. I know personally I have a much narrower range of interests so I always know subjects that I like in great detail.
     
  14. superawesomeme

    superawesomeme Well-Known Member

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    I'm high functioning - apparently. I don't consider myself "smart", however others around me do and I do get easily frustrated at other people's lack of intelligence/education. I was tested by Mensa and, according to the results, I have an incredibly high IQ (despite having terrible spelling).

    Perhaps I just self-deprecate because I focus on my inadequacies of not having the drive (or confidence) to push myself and achieve more in my life, especially in my career.

    I am a teacher and it gives me pleasure to share my knowledge with others. I've achieved quite a bit but I wouldn't say any of it was remarkable or world changing.

    I guess "smart" is subjective. You can be knowledgeable, which I would probably say I was, but to truly be "smart" you need to apply it and that's where I fall just short of the finishing line.