picnic.jpgNews & Tips for Parents

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For sure, extremely bright children who are “over-reactive” (passionate) or “withdrawn” (introspective) or both, will have difficulty fitting into a traditional classroom.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 Beware of  people who work with your children if they suggest medical diagnoses that are outdated and not within their realm of speciality.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

Do Gifted Children Need a Therapist Who Is a Specialist in Gifted Children?

I am asked over and over, by parents whose children do not respond well to traditional cognitive behavioral therapy or play therapy, “Does my child need a specialist in giftedness for his or her psychotherapy to be successful?”

My answer is, “Maybe.” The therapist you choose for your gifted child should know the behavioral characteristics and emotional issues that gifted children and their parents face at home and at school. It also helps if the therapist you choose is gifted themselves, or the therapist has had experiences in the gifted world. You want to find someone who wants to understand your child’s passions, intensities, emotional behavior struggles, and unique social development.

Not all therapists are interested in emotional issues related to giftedness. Disinterested practitioners can create more problems for your family by ignoring the root cause of your child’s problem. My advice is to try to find a warm and welcoming therapist who thinks outside the box like your child does.

For example, emotional intensity is often seen by traditional therapists as over-reactivity that needs to be eliminated through strict limits or through behavior modification. Say, for instance, that your son only wants to collect dinosaurs. The therapist with insight into giftedness will deliberately promote this interest. An enlightened therapist knows that passion is a part of the gifted child’s identity. Passion creates great minds and profound solutions to all kinds of problems. The traditional therapist will suggest that new avenues of interest are necessary, and tell the parents to put away the dinosaurs.

A hot button for parents who usually think the worst is social interactions. Social problems of precocious children are not symptoms of high functioning autism. Social issues are a result of feeling out of place and misunderstood by same-age peers. Gifted children have to learn how to relate to non-gifted children. Thus, learning goes slowly, because it needs to be experienced with other children.

Obviously, special qualities are important in a therapist for a precocious child. You might ask the therapist you are considering the following questions:
    1.  Do you understand the difference in learning styles between high-achieving and gifted children?
    2.  Do you know what three special experiences gifted children will need at school?
    3.  What are the five challenges of working with giftedness?
    4.  Have you worked with gifted children and their families?
    5.  How are the social differences of gifted children different than those of high-functioning autism?

Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 05:14PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

How Can I Get Along with My Twin?

Twin relationships can be deeply conflicted and also seriously misunderstood by twins, their relatives, close friends and co-workers. Yes, twins often do not understand why they get so angry with each other. Twins do know that anger and fighting is real and intensely upsetting. Parents and close others often suffer confusion and frustration with twin fighting.

Most people believe that twins have an ideal relationship and long for the closeness that twins share with each other. The reality of the twin relationship is more torturous and it is intensely complicated. Even with the best parenting and home conditions, competition between twins creates stress and insecurity; who is the smartest, better looking, more popular, are inevitable problems that create dissension between twins.

Twins who are not given enough love and are not raised to be individuals most definitely have problems with each other later in life. Too much reliance on one another creates an enmeshment that is almost impossible to disentangle. When twins are treated as opposites, estrangement is the natural outcome.
Look into your own feelings, not your twin’s feelings nor any other advisors in your life, about what needs to be worked on. For example, if your twin thinks you are a loser, ask yourself, “Do I agree?” Don’t fight about it. It doesn’t matter who is right – accept your own opinion as legitimate.

I know that’s easier said than done. Still, give it a try. When you stand up for yourself you will gain the respect of your twin and others involved with your twin dramas.

In “Twin Dilemmas” I talk about the maturation of the twin relationship or the development of estrangement. As you read “Twin Dilemmas,” you will gain insight into your twin issues. Insight into yourself will put your twin issues into a perspective that makes them more manageable.

Posted on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 06:04PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Review for "Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Life Span"

Having read Dr. Klein’s book “Alone in the Mirror,” I immediately had to have this one. At first glance it appears to be very accessible and organized in such a way to enable the reader to explore in a focused fashion. Separation, estrangement, parenting, conflict, healing, and many other pertinent issues are thoroughly analyzed. Dr. Klein has put words to my feelings (as a twin) and there are so many “light-bulb” moments of recognition. I know this book is going to help many people begin to understand just how hard it is for twins to function, particularly as they get into adulthood. The complex web and affect of polarization on each twin as an individual is fully explored with the use of many stories, which are fascinating. Dr. Klein’s exploration of patterns and types of relationship outcomes is a crucial study that brings hope to those who suffer without recognition in a world that idealizes the twin relationship.
—Miss C.

Posted on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 05:35PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

A Review for "Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Life Span"

Dr. Klein gives us her latest work, “Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Lifespan.” In this incredibly vulnerable book she opens our eyes to the joys and sadness of being a twin. The great love which twinship holds as well as what happens when loss and separation occur.
       Dr. Klein navigates us through difficult case vignettes, and in an easy to understand way, gives us the emotional and psychological implications of what these patients have been through, why and how they function and in most cases where they are now in their lives.
       Physicians who have twins in their practice will find this stark, emotional and honestly written book an invaluable tool. She shares her conflicts with her own identical twin sister and through her own self discovery leads twins through difficult challenges which effect life long positive change in their lives.
       Hopefully a Pulitzer prize winning book, culminating over 35 years of professional endeavors and successes, it is a must-have, go-to book in your library.
—Vincent Arthurs

Posted on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 05:27PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Another Review for "Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Life Span"

Growing up as a twin can be both a joyous and a complicated issue. In Twin Dilemmas, Dr. Klein very clearly describes the advantages and disadvantages of being a twin. She explains the issues that twins encounter often due to improper parenting or more likely the misunderstanding that singletons have about twins’ relationships. As a fraternal twin who has been completely estranged from his twin for over 36 years, I can say that Dr. Klein completely understands how complex an issue being a twin is. I would suggest that everyone who has a twin in their life—parents, teachers, therapists and others—read Dr. Klein’s book to better understand the complex relationship between twins.
—Keith Bigelow

Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 12:42PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Review for "Twin Dilemmas" 

Twins who have experienced less than ideal relationships with their twin will find comfort and hope in Dr. Klein’s new book “Twin Dilemmas.” This book will make twins feel less alone and will allow them to open up to the idea that many twins live with less-than-ideal memories of being a twin. You will meet twins who are brave enough to share their stories and whom are healing through a therapeutic twin support group. This book is an essential tool for twins and anyone who knows and cares about a twin. Twin relationships are complicated. Dr. Klein has spent her entire career studying the complexities of twin relationships. She offers powerful yet practical suggestions to therapists, parents, and teachers in how to work with twins effectively.

Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 12:40PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

The Struggle Adult Twins Have Finding New Partners

With the prevalence of fertility drugs and older mothers giving birth, parenting twins has become an issue that is frequently addressed in the media, online and in popular books about child development. In contrast, an understanding of the lives of adult twins is almost entirely ignored except for dramatic portrayals of deep entwinement or confusing and horrifying conflicts of good twin versus evil twin. This form of neglect is unfortunate for twins and for those of us interested in the ups and downs of close interpersonal relationships. Twin relationships can over time help curious adults understand how to value intimate emotional relationships.

Twins are born relying on one another, and they experience and learn to respect closeness. Gradual separation is encouraged by parents and also seems to take place in a somewhat mysterious way in childhood. Adolescence is a time for great drama for twins. Differences between twins come to life in full color as twins grow into their twenties. One twin is more of a risk taker with new relationships, while his brother or sister is overly careful. One twin is more interested in financial success while the other twin is interested in artistic self-expression. One twin wants a family and the other twin chooses to not have children. Interests and new friendships that serve as twin replacements are visible to close family and friends.

Cementing the countless separation experiences and unique identities that have been established in baby steps and giant leaps in childhood, the teenage years, and early adulthood is the stressful difficult ongoing developmental chore of adulthood. In order to truly separate from one another, adult twins consciously and unconsciously seek out twin replacements―people who express an inclination to be close and understanding in emotionally charged relationships. Emotionally driven twins in early adulthood have a need for identity that is stronger than any intellectual understanding of separation. The intensity of motivation for unique avenues to explore and new significant others is very different from what siblings experience when they go their own separate ways. The primary attachment that twins share is being added on to―rebuilt and restored to a more up-to-date mature attachment. The “remodeling” of the twin bond is necessary, but it is a long-range problem that adult twins have to work through alone and together. The quality of the attachment that is shared shapes how much independence is actually achieved in adulthood.

Adult twins are eager to find new partners to build their lives with. Unfortunately, they do not have as much emotional experience with non-twins―singletons―as they need in order to separate without the risk of traumatic consequences. Lack of lived experiences leave twins at a disadvantage because they have too many expectations for deep understandings that are verbal and non-verbal. Still to this day I often imagine and wish that the other person could read my mind or finish my sentence.

To further complicate new relationships there is a juxtaposition of high hopes and a need to take care of the new significant other. In general, when twins “leave the gate” and physically separate from their twin they are at a serious disadvantage. Desperation can grow out of their eagerness for love and companionship. Even adult twins who have had some experiences with other partners are blindsided by the lack of input from their absent twin and the hard-to-take reality that non-twins are very different kinds of partners. New partners might love them but not understand them as quickly or deeply as their twin. Sad but too true, in new relationships twins can be lost and wild at the same time. Confusion on the part of the new love object is bound to appear and be extremely disruptive to the future of a relationship. In other words, new boyfriends or girlfriends can feel totally overwhelmed by the expectations of a new twin partner.

In adulthood when new relationships don’t work out for whatever reason, twins turn to each other for advice, comfort, and solace. Finding the next non-twin relationship can be hard because of the serious disappointment in the previous non-twin relationship. For almost all twins, twin replacement takes on different struggles and conflicts. The side effect of a search for emotional intimacy is deep loneliness. Fitting into a new world of closeness with others and sharing your twin is totally “tricky.” Often one twin will feel left out or lag behind. Compassion for your twin’s struggles is important. Learning how to not “go down with the ship” that your twin may be drowning in is a horrendous and complicated journey that requires insight into how you function in relationship to your twin. Being yourself when you think you should be taking care of your twin is hard to do and can only be accomplished with baby steps.

Real differences in lifestyle will spark competition. One twin is richer, more successful at work, or healthier in comparison to their brother or sister. Resolutions of differences are hard to predict but they are always based on understanding how twins are different from one another. Changing the childhood twin identity into an adult twin identity that is mature and pragmatic takes a lot of devotion and work. In most instances one of the twins is more outgoing and stable than the less stable and more negative twin. The stronger twin usually initiates the maturing of the twin attachment and the use of psychotherapy.

Posted on Monday, May 8, 2017 at 05:54PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Please join me at my book signing

Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Life Span

Sunday, June 4
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Barnes and Noble
160 S. Westlake Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 
(805) 446-2820

Other books on twins and gifted children will be available
Talk with the author about your questions and concerns
Thank you, Barbara Klein (310) 443-4182

Posted on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 07:22PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

Dear Twin Friends

Dear Twin Friends,

I am so happy to announce that my new book, “Twin Dilemmas: Changing Relationships Throughout the Lifespan” will be available for purchase through Amazon on May 9, 2017. My hope is that my book helps twins heal the pain of separation and loneliness from their twin.

Writing “Twin Dilemmas” was an act of determination and passion. I gave my all to explain the challenges and rewards of being a twin in a world of non-twins. The heartbreak of separation and loneliness is uncovered in the words of twins. Experiences of: loss through separation, developing an authentic relationship with your twin, and estrangement are told to twins who are looking for edification of their pain.

The strong and enduring connections that twins face with other twins and their own twin if they can resolve their resentments are told and retold throughout the book. Amazingly and understandably, twins who come from different walks of life and different places around the world understand one another very quickly. Healing of past “emotional hurt” is possible through the support of new twin friends.

Issues of attachment to significant others is different for twins. Unique experiences with intimacy can be confusing for others who are close to twins. Why twins long for intense relationships is explained. How to deal with a non-twin is suggested.

I hope you will find time to look at my latest book.

Barbara Klein

Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 03:44PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment