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Does My Gifted Child Have Asperger’s?

The most troubling and frequently asked questions from parents is, “Is my child on the autistic spectrum? Does he or she have Asperger syndrome?”

This question troubles me because (since 2013) Asperger’s is no longer considered a diagnostic category on the DSM-V. So the people asking the question or presenting the idea are just talking without adequate knowledge, which is harmful in and of itself. When teachers and principals act as experts they are seriously misleading parents and inaccurately labelling children.

I seriously ask myself, “Why is diagnosis so important to parents and teachers?” I guess, because a diagnosis is an introduction—a general statement about the cause of their son’s or daughter’s social problems at school and at home. But from my decades of experience I know that diagnosis is really just an opening statement. Beginning therapists are trained to make a diagnosis as a tool to understanding in order to make a treatment plan. Diagnosis should never be used as a way of labelling a child for the rest of their life. A child who is articulate, bright, precocious, strong willed and highly emotional with social awkwardness is most likely gifted.

For sure, extremely bright children who are “over-reactive” (passionate) or “withdrawn” (introspective) or both, will have difficulty fitting into a traditional classroom. As smart as a child might be also determines how sensitive and intense they will be “in the live.” Understanding how intensities and sensitivities are played out in the classroom is most valuable for parents and teachers. Labelling a child does the child a disservice. Beware of  people who work with your children if they suggest medical diagnoses that are outdated and not within their realm of speciality.

Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 05:24PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

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