Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Different Minds

My current project is that I'm going to be blogging Deirdre Lovecky's Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits. This is a very important and useful book, but by the very nature of the material, it's very difficult to keep all the threads straight in your head. The difficulty is central to the book's subject, since it deals with gifted kids, AD/HD kids, Asperger's kids, gifted kids with AD/HD, gifted kids with Asperger's, and gifted kids with both Asperger's and AD/HD. It also deals with the differences between boys and girls in these categories. Worse yet, it turns out that there are several different categories of giftedness, and each category is somewhat different. In short, if any of these issues are important or relevant to you, this is not the sort of book you can just check out for a week from the library or skim through at the bookstore. Buying a copy and underlining and keeping it for reference is more like it. Did I mention that it's hard?

I'll be working my way through the book as I can. I'm hoping that a fellow blogger will be able to do a chapter or two. As usual, I'm not really a big picture person, especially in an area like this that is so new to me. I'll be mostly pulling out details that interest me.

Here's some stuff from the introduction (quotes are in bold):

  • People with AD/HD and AS have attention deficits; however, they also have attention strengths.
  • This book is about asynchrony. Every gifted child shows asynchrony in at least some ways. Leta Hollingworth...was perhaps the first to make the point that gifted children are not miniature adults, but rather a mixture of ages because development in all areas is not equal...Asynchrony in gifted children covers all areas of functioning: intellectual, emotional, social, creative, and moral.
  • A child may have sophisticated concepts, yet not be able to express them at the level of older children who are studying these concepts. For example, a child may be more like age peers in the amount of homework he or she can do at night, or the amount of material that can be handwritten, even when the child is ready to study material several grade levels ahead. Neither holding the child to the expectations of the older children, nor making him or her do grade-level work is appropriate.
  • Most of the children assessed and treated for problems wrought by the dual exceptionality of attention deficits and giftedness are boys. This is related to a common problem for gifted girls: they blend in all too well, so their giftedness is never noticed. Unless they are disruptive, they fade into the woodwork, daydreaming their time away in unchallenging classrooms.
  • Because there are many hidden girls with high IQs, including those that are also hiding AD/HD, this book will explore some of the needs of gifted girls.
  • Gifted children with AS were rarely given work commensurate with their cognitive and academic strengths unless the AS was so mild that they did not come to the attention of school personnel at all. Thus, those gifted children with AS who were in special education programs usually had little done to accentuate their areas of strength even though these strengths were what will be most useful in adult life. [In another gifted book I was reading, the author warned that academic remediation should be at most 10% of the educational program for a gifted child. I suppose Asperger's kids are a somewhat different case and may need a lot of different kinds of remediation (academic, physical, and social), but the principle stands that playing to a child's strengths is more motivating than focusing on what they struggle with.]

No comments: