#043 The Complexity of Giftedness with authors Kathleen Humble & Dr Rebecca Farley

We dive into the complexities of giftedness with two of the authors from Perspectives on Giftedness, recently published by GHF Press. Kathleen Humble & Dr Rebecca Farley share their journey as parents as we dive into the many complexities of being neuro-divergent and parenting gifted kids.

In the episode you’ll hear:

  • 12:28 definitions of giftedness
  • 17:36 asynchronous development, ADHD & letting go
  • 32:08 being twice-exceptional, finding out
  • 37:25 the absence of girls in ADHD & ASD research

Hit play and let’s get started!


Bio – Kathleen Humble

Kathleen Humble is an author and homeschooling mum with ADHD , she has two wonderful twice-exceptional children and in a past life, she was also a mathematician, computer programmer,  and children’s entertainer.

She has a number of publications, including  “Gifted Myths: An Easy-to-Read Guide to the Myths, Science and History of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional” and her website Yellow Readis combines two of her great passions: writing and advocating for home-schooling gifted/2E children.

Bio – Dr Rebecca Farley

Dr Rebecca Farley is an avid writer, with Masters and Doctoral degrees in Media and Cultural Studies, she been a teacher, researcher and editor in Australia and the UK.

All of which shifted when she became a mum of, in her words ‘ two anarchists’ and after ten years has realised that she’s learning, growing and having way more fun than she ever did at Uni and has found that she doesn’t need those qualifications to speak and justify her writing.

Perspectives on Giftedness: Sound Advice from Parents and Professionals book by GHF Press

What’s giftedness all about? Some of the most popular writers in the gifted community aim to answer aspects of that very question in this book.

This volume presents essays from parents who have been there, educators who are working to get it right, and psychologists and other professionals who understand the rich complexity that is so often part and parcel of giftedness. With a plethora of wisdom, a touch of wit, and oodles of compassion, the writers cover a range of topics related to giftedness, gifted children, gifted education, twice-exceptionality, and gifted adults.


[00:00:00] Sophia: Today we’re talking to two contributors from a new book out of the GHF press perspectives on giftedness sound advice from parents and professionals. And it talks about what is gifted all about some of the most popular writers in the gifted community. Aim to answer aspects of that question in this book.

[00:00:18] And I have read it and I have to say it is brilliant. The chapters or articles tend to be about, you know, a 10 minute read or something and they pack a punch. And I don’t think I’ve walked away from an article without going, oh my God. Yes. Or just finding that thing that someone else says that really resonates with you.

[00:00:40] And it’s kind of like, there it is in writing and reference it. It’s like, that’s amazing. So the book is essays from parents who have been there, educators who are working to get it right. And psychologists and other professionals who understand that rich complexity that is so often part and parcel of giftedness.

[00:00:59] So wisdom went oodles of compassion. The writers cover all sorts of topics. And I’d like to introduce two of our writers today. Firstly. Kathleen humble, who is an author and homeschooling mum with ADHD. She has two wonderful twice exceptional children and in a past life, she was also a mathematician computer programmer and a children’s entertainer.

[00:01:26] She has a number of publications, including gifted myths and easy to read guide to the myths science and history of the gifted and twice exceptional. And her website, yellow Redis combines two of her great passions, writing and advocating for homeschooling gifted and to each children. So Kathleen, welcome to the podcast.

[00:01:47] And I’ve got to say that your book is now on my to read list because when I saw that it explored the history I was like, yes. Cause I read NeuroTribes recently, which is a great history of autism. And I was like, someone needs to do this for giftedness. I’m like, great. Kathleen’s done it. I can’t wait to read.

[00:02:05] Thank

[00:02:06] Kathleen: you I’ll hopefully you’ll enjoy the read. Yeah. I can’t say it’s as extensive as NeuroTribes, which is an amazing, amazing

[00:02:15] Sophia: book. A few books are as extensive as that book, but now it’d be great to read a bit of about the history of giftedness. So thank you very much for joining us today. Oh, you’re

[00:02:25] Kathleen: welcome.

[00:02:26] Thank you, sir. I’m wonderful program.

[00:02:30] Sophia: And Rebecca folly is an avid writer with a master’s and doctoral degrees in media and cultural studies. She’s been a teacher, researcher and editor in Australia, in the UK. All of which shifted when she became a mum of, in her words to anarchists. And after 10 years has realized that she’s learning growing and having way more fun than she ever did at uni and has found that she doesn’t need those qualifications to speak and justify her writing.

[00:02:58] And so Rebecca huge welcome. And I’ve got to say that when I interview people for the podcast, I’m never quite sure you know, who I’m going to get. And I’ve always been a bit awkward in meeting new people. Yeah. But firstly, every podcast guest I’ve ever had has been so lovely.

[00:03:17] But secondly, when I read that your blog about your challenges with executive function that describes the carnage of your house, I thought I’m going to be fine. These are my people

[00:03:29] Rebecca: I’ve

[00:03:30] Sophia: been decluttering for the entire seven years. I’ve been in this house. And this podcast is very much about that question of finding my voice and combating that feeling of needing permission or the external validation through qualifications to, to talk and discuss these issues.

[00:03:47] So thank you very much. That’s really empowering and welcome.

[00:03:52] Rebecca: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be

[00:03:54] Sophia: here. So that’s enough of me talking, let’s get started with perhaps you guys just telling us a little bit about yourselves, how did you get into the gifted thing? What you’re currently out to aside from writing chapters four perspectives.

[00:04:09] And yeah, I’ll just throw it over to Kathleen. Do you want to start us off?

[00:04:13] Kathleen: Okay. Yeah, so, well, I didn’t intend to get involved in the gifted community. I don’t think there are many parents who actually do but it started when my son was very young. He was a toddler and he started doing things that were way out of the norm.

[00:04:33] They’re very much completely out of the norm, you know, a reading at two and writing two and a half and finding him reading biology textbooks before it hits school university biology textbooks. And along with that, he has a range of different disabilities as well, which are an arm long. And actually go outside of my ability to remember the list of all the things he’s been diagnosed with over the years.

[00:05:01] So, I kind of crashed dived into it because he didn’t fit any of the expectations of all of the parent books that I’d had. And I had nowhere to go not the way, no idea what I was doing. And then I started reading about gifted dentists. And then when my daughter came along things came to a head.

[00:05:23] I realized I had two children who had just outside the norm and I started our homeschool. My son. And that’s when I started writing about it. That’s where the blog started it. I think I used to call it gluten-free mom, but it’s always feed yellow readers, but it’s the title was gluten-free mom. It was Ned to be a recipe blog.

[00:05:47] No, it didn’t stay that way. It ended up being homeschooling and twice exceptional and gifted stuff because that’s where we ended up. And yeah, over the years, I’ve roped in my research skills from when I was failing to do my PhD and, is able to do the kind of things that I realized I had skills that other parents didn’t have in terms of being able to read through a journal article or, and, and know how to find, systemic reviews and know where to look and how to extract things.

[00:06:24] That’s the skillset most people didn’t have. And I started to write about what those things would say, and also what they weren’t saying and where the gap was and ended up with GHF eventually. So that’s kind of where I am. I, I ended up, I started working in mathematics homeschooled, and then ended up a writer by accident.

[00:06:49] Sophia: I love lights accidents though. That’s always the interesting thing where you ended up, I can guarantee you, this was never in my plan podcast on giftedness.

[00:07:02] So Rebecca, how about, how about you tell us a little bit about you.

[00:07:05] Rebecca: My, when I look back, I can say all kinds of markers in my kids early years, but I just did not, I had not enough experience with children. So I didn’t know that they were doing anything mod until. You know, I can remember my two year old on my hip at a petting zoo and she pointed at a baby calf and she said, that is my favorite.

[00:07:33] It is the most adorable creature. This grandmother who was standing beside me, pulled a face. And she said, how old is she? And I said, well, she just turned two last month. And they said, she said, she’s young for words like that. And I kind of remember filing it away thinking, well, who makes those rules?

[00:07:55] They’re stupid. But I ignored everything because I was just coping. And then when we got to school, one of the teachers at school, actually, she was a teacher had gone away to have babies. And then we come back to teaching again, but her oldest had started up the school and she used to be there a lot because he had anxiety and she saw my kids and she said, I don’t remember how the conversation started, but she said your kids are so gifted.

[00:08:28] And I said, no, they’re not. And she said, trust me, I did not know she had an amazing gifted education. And she said that some kids, we wonder a base with you always it’s really clear. I don’t really want to hear that. I had a friend whose children were exactly the same as mine, and you could put all four children in a room and we used to joke about it was just a bag of traits that they’d all be swimming around in.

[00:08:56] And there were some differences. My child had chronic illness that meant he just hated school. Whereas her oldest she’s quite. Classically autistic. She’ll sit down to have a conversation with you. And, and her mom has, I remember we hired people that were talking a lot about eye contact, but just even body orientation.

[00:09:21] But apart from that, when you got them together, the sense of humor, the way they zinged ideas off each other, out there, ness of the ideas, and this mom was getting her kids tested and coming up with results that I was just had my fingers in my ears about. And, and I think we were a couple of years into school and it was just that you battle and so pear shaped and I could not figure it out.

[00:09:50] And one day I thought, oh, a better. I better find out something about this gifted malarkey. So I looked up a YouTube video, hi to class Gables, find about gifted young children and creativity. And that was not just about my kids. It was about. So much, it gave me a fright, slammed the laptop shut. And the reason that I’d had my fingers in my ears metaphorically for a couple of years was I was identified as a gifted kid.

[00:10:22] And that had been a miserable experience. It was all about you’re really smart. Therefore you must achieve. And I did not want that for my kids. And I did not want my kids to have that kind of expectation when they were also had all this weird emotional stuff going on all the time. And that intensity Gable talks about that stuff.

[00:10:48] And that’s where I was going. Oh, you mean these two things go together. And that’s when I started to read yeah, I can’t even remember what I started to read, but the more I read the more, but this is us. This is us. And now. My son is now 14 and my daughter is 12 and I’ve been looking and looking. I think we are too E I think I am ADHD.

[00:11:14] I think my daughter is ADHD. Those are revelations. I absolutely hear you with 52 years old going. I mean, there’s a reason I’ve been struggling all my life.

[00:11:31] It is. Yeah. It’s a really good way to get imposter syndrome is to know while everybody says smart, but yet I cannot keep the same thought in my head for 10 minutes at a time what’s going on there. So I wanted to get into writing about the chaos. Intensity of the emotional stuff, because everybody looks at the high achieving and the educational stuff and says, that’s what gifted is.

[00:12:03] But actually the emotional stuff, the sensitivities and the imagination for us, that’s the stuff that’s in your face far more than the intelligence. So Kathleen’s chapter on gifted versus gifted with art on, it was one of the first things I read when it was a blog post. And I thought, oh yes, this person gets it.

[00:12:28] Sophia: Yeah. A hundred percent. And that was actually my next question. Well, let’s just say that. So between the two of you, you’ve written five chapters or articles within the book perspectives on giftedness. And so collectively there are about what is gifted, what is a synchronous development and what it’s like living with.

[00:12:47] Twice, exceptional being hard to diagnose, particularly ADHD and autism and gifted kids. And that most gifted kids, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds have never been studied. So within your articles, there’s quite a breadth of issues there. And, and so let’s kind of start with what Rebecca has said there, because Kathleen in your article, gifted versus gifted, I love that you sort of kind of say actually when we’re not all talking about the same group of kids, that your first step is actually to go, right.

[00:13:20] What, who are we talking about? Can you elaborate, start us off and elaborate a bit on that?

[00:13:28] Kathleen: Yeah, so, I think this really started for me when I actually I started talking to researchers articular. I went to a gifted conference that was in Sydney quite a few years back. And I noticed that the the though everyone in the conference was there for gifted things.

[00:13:45] They actually streamed it. So there were two completely separate streams. And then I’d also when I was reading through the papers that I was, I was researching for various things. I noticed that every single research paper would start out with, there are many definitions of gifted us and that’s always confusing, blah, blah, blah.

[00:14:06] And then they’d go. And for our paper, we will use this. Every time that this was only one of three or maybe four different definitions. And so you had what I called the educationally gifted, which is your aid gifted, which is usually what they talk about in schools. It’s the top 10% of kids that Excel really, really good at academics.

[00:14:34] There are some good studies to say, they’ll do well in life that well-rounded, and that’s one group of gifted kids, but that’s got very little of anything to do with IQ tests. Then you had the, what I call the psychologically gifted, which is the stuff that psychologists study. So they’ve created, dozens of different IQ tests and they trying to figure out how the brain works and all the different, visual spatial versus, auditory.

[00:15:04] Processing, different ways that your brain works. And when they’re talking gifted, it’s a completely different group of kids. , they need acceleration, particularly if they’re highly D profoundly gifted and they tend to not necessarily do well in school. And I thought that was fascinating when you actually doing.

[00:15:24] , you’ve got one group saying gifted kids are disadvantaged. They’re not given, , a chance to do well. They’re held back and then you’ve got another group saying they’re well-rounded and they do well. And you go, how do these two things mesh? And the answer is for the most part, they don’t, except for that little bit in the middle, which is where we actually get our long term longitudinal studies where they actually follow a large group of children for a long time term.

[00:15:54] And of course the first one, but all of those studies, they start with the teacher picking out the kids and then they’ll run IQ tests on them and take the ones with a higher IQ out. So they’re both equally. And pay gifted. And that’s pretty much where all of the research on higher IQ being high-achieving comes from.

[00:16:17] And then outside of all of those, you’ve got to eat, which is gifted and disabled. So they have , a mental or physical disability or both, and that impacts on their ability to show their giftedness in, in many situations. So you’ll like, can MOSCOT where the giftedness hides the disability because.

[00:16:43] They don’t, you know, they look average or it can destructively interact where the say the poor executive functioning on emotional regulation and the giftedness Brian, which has a more emotional reaction to stimuli clash. You know, I think I said it was like the Ferrari with no brakes, which I borrowed from.

[00:17:04] One of the researchers in there, us use that in a talk I went to and I felt that is perfect. Yeah. So yeah, when you actually have a look at all of those, you can’t just go gifted. You can go, which gifted, because until you know, that. You can’t know how to help those kids. It’s not necessarily one group is more important or less important the other, but you can’t just lump them all in and give them the same program because it’s not going to work

[00:17:35] Sophia: a hundred percent.

[00:17:36] Yeah. I could not agree more. When I first got on this kind of gifted journey, it’s very hard to, to figure it out because like you say, people are talking about actually different groups of kids.

[00:17:50] And so as a parent, when you’re looking for those answers out there, you’ve actually got to be lucky enough to, I think, see yourself in other people’s stories and go, actually, that’s, that’s the group we’re in. I don’t know what that’s called, but I resonate with that story, that journey. And Rebecca, in your article, you talk about the asynchronicity of the development of gifted kids.

[00:18:16] And I’ve actually, I’ve got a section here that I might read out if that’s okay. Cause it’s just says it so well. I think it’s actually three little bits that I’ve taken, but so Rebecca, you say. No. I only had, I walloped my sisters and the fact that I could wallet. My sisters came as a giant shock to all of us.

[00:18:36] It terrified the crap out of me. And I burst into tears every bit, as loud as theirs. I was a monster that’s asynchronous development. That’s the reason parents of gifted kids clutch their gin at any moment. Your head-to-toe rational, advanced and well adjusted child may suddenly be taken over by a foaming Poltergeist of their much younger selves.

[00:18:58] Or as in my case, a developmental stage they’d seemingly skipped altogether. And it’s like,

[00:19:05] Rebecca: oh yeah.

[00:19:09] And I, you know,

[00:19:09] Sophia: and, and there in lies the challenge. And like you say, the complexity of giftedness it’s that asynchronicity. And so often people are talking about the, the educationally gifted or the gifted that you were talking about Kathleen, but, but not understanding. You know, the psychologically gifted actually there’s this whole myriad of challenges that confront that.

[00:19:36] Yeah. Rebecca, did you want to share with us some of your thoughts about the asynchronous development?

[00:19:41] Rebecca: I’ve got two shorts and they’re quite contradictory. The first one is I wrote that and since I submitted it I’ve come across festive Barclays where it causes ADHD. And I don’t even remember what video it was, but I still, where he talked about.

[00:19:59] , mad flashes of temper. Just ask if the blue and how it’s very hard for people with ADHD to manage it because they don’t even see it coming. They just blindsided, as I thought, actually, that probably sounds a lot like what happened to me? I was nine. So I remember that night pretty well. I really didn’t see it coming.

[00:20:23] It wasn’t like, you know, I had the time to go, okay, take some deep breaths or remove yourself from the scene. It’s just, you know, somebody said the wrong thing. The next thing I know I was beating my sister’s head with the brain. So I, I’m more confused now. I mean the line between giftedness and other neurodiverse traits, it’s a wide and fuzzy border.

[00:20:50] And now I wonder how much is that? Hey synchronicity. And how much of that is what I think I’m probably now looking at it. I made the HD, but having said that, going back to Kathleen’s points, you know, for my kids, they made her early and easily, not as early as Kathleen, but early in easily. They could in their first term at school that were both identified as, okay, you guys are reading, it’s a level we expect you to read when you leave school that they didn’t want to, they didn’t want to go to school.

[00:21:27] They didn’t want to do, but anyone else asks them to, they emotionally way behind what their brain said they could do. And that for me was always the really biggest struggle was trying to. That’s the way you should be going to school. You should want to play with other children. Why do you still want to sit on my lap all day?

[00:21:53] That asynchronous development, that constant juggling between where their emotions are and where their brains are? That has been the biggest challenge for me, because

[00:22:08] all of society has this idea. That development is quite concrete and quite, you know, PIJ with his developmental stages, this happens. And then this happened, then this happened and by 12, he magically don’t meet to play anymore and you don’t eat this. And that’s just so much not what was happening in my house.

[00:22:30] I had people who were scared of the dark until they were over 10. I had people who. We’re scared of being anywhere without me, way past the age, where I thought that should be a thing and taking my expectations from society out of it and just going, oh, okay. This is where you are. I have to meet you where you are.

[00:22:57] That has been the biggest challenge being where they are not where school or psychologist tells me I should be because they’re not, sometimes they are, or in some ways they are, no, I had a nine year old who wanted to know everything about the first crusade. And to point like refused to go to a friend’s house for a play date.

[00:23:26] Even though he liked the people, knew the parents well liked. The friends did not want to go and that stuff is waste the hard stuff for me. Yeah.

[00:23:36] Sophia: Yeah. And that is really the hard stuff. I think, I don’t know, in my experience, especially when you have a child who is, you know, in that kind of profoundly gifted so that, you know, cognitively in some areas they’re just like off and running, but then you get that asynchronicity in terms of their social or emotional.

[00:24:00] And it’s sort of like, it’s really hard to find a way to meet the needs of both, you know? Cause the last thing you want to do is put too much pressure expectation supporting, you know, cause you want to support the strength, you know, of course. And it’s like doing that in a way that isn’t. You know, raising those expectations, isn’t kind of pushing them, but it’s just acknowledging that, you know, even though they’re these kind of amazing kids a psychologist once said to me, it doesn’t matter if they read the same textbook at five, six, and then seven, because my child was complaining.

[00:24:41] He’d read all the books in the house. And because at five, they’re going to get something different out of it compared to when they’re six compared to when they’re seven, because there’s so much going on in these complex brains and where they are emotionally and socially and all this other stuff that we don’t have to feel so much pressure parenting because you get that pressure of having to fill the cup.

[00:25:06] That’s like, oh, we better do lectures and workshops to do this stuff without kind of realized, actually it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter if they revisit, they’re going to get something different one year from the next. And that was quite liberating for me as a parent. So what you say there about. You know, still wanting to co-sleep and being afraid of that.

[00:25:27] I can definitely resonate. It’s just I, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. We have to kind of lower the expectations of where everyone tells us they should be what should happen and just kind of go, well, where are you at? Yeah,

[00:25:41] Rebecca: also I think remembering that the two things, if you think about it really does make sense because they have a brain that is constantly taking in all the information all the time from everywhere.

[00:25:56] So as I can hear a cat yell down the street sounds awful and they can hear the passage on the roof. And they’re remembering a news story that was on in the shop that we walked through and all of that present all the time. So it kind of makes sense for them to be wow. How do I deal with all of that? I think it must be easier to grow up when you deal with clean less, when you have less to process.

[00:26:34] And then on top of that, they have big emotional responses to that. As you realize, Kathleen said, Also, it takes a lot of processing to get a handle of it to get, not let it beat you up every time.

[00:26:49] Sophia: Yeah. Very, yeah, absolutely. Kathleen, did you want to jump in there?

[00:26:54] Kathleen: Oh no. I’m going, going to agree with Rebecca.

[00:26:58] What you stuff that I, yeah, I’ve dealt with that myself and I’ve heard so many other parents, you know, stories from parents who had the same thing. It’s just the, the actual hierarchy of the way things are supposed to develop. You know, this, then this, then this, then this I’ve. I often say you give me two different developmental milestones and I’ll, I’ll show you a kid who’s reversed those particular to anything you can name.

[00:27:32] There’ll be a kid out there who. Hasn’t done it that way and that’s the way they need to develop. I mean, so I I’ve it’s taken me a long time to let go of those expectations of what should I just live with? What is those? Sometimes that means they’re way ahead. And sometimes that means they’re not wanting to leave the house.

[00:28:01] Never that’s the way it is. And you do what you can with the help and support that you can with medical and friends and family, and finding things that work for the child. But you don’t. I was going mad trying to make my kids something close. To what they should be. And my own mental health was suffering.

[00:28:31] And when I let go of that and just went, they are who they are. They’ll develop the way they develop. And I don’t have to hold onto that anxiety that my children will never be able to be adults in the adult world. And it’s just like, well, if I can’t, well, then we’ll support them. But if they care. I’ll get there in their own time and in their own way,

[00:28:56] Rebecca: same testing so much the say it was about me letting go of will they ever be able to, they feel when they’re ready and, and also the more I pushed, the harder they gave me your heels.

[00:29:17] Sophia: I couldn’t agree more. I remember vividly the moment that I let go of that. Desire or expectation to have a, I don’t know, normal in you know, air quotes family dinner at a table where people sat on chairs and ate with cutlery and ate like what was given to them. And like they all have it. Dinner is, and I just kind of went, you know what, it’s it’s me then.

[00:29:47] I don’t know. I mean, the dinners weren’t like that when I was a kid, it was totally dysfunctional, but I sort of thought this was something that I kind of valued as a parent. It’s something that I wanted to give to my kids, but then I’m like, actually who does that? This is just I’m sure. No one actually pulls this off.

[00:30:05] So dinner for us is there are chairs people. I try to encourage the bottoms to be on the chairs, but I mean, I’ve had a child go from sitting there too to being on the ground. And I’m like, how did that happen? You know, and, and we’ve got lots of food, sensitivities and quirks, and one loves Ronnie cheese.

[00:30:28] One won’t eat any cheese, all this food. Can’t touch that food. So I now do my, my latest strategy is a bit of a buffet style, like I’ll deconstruct dinner. So for example, like this, the humble bangers and mash will say meat sausages, vegetarian sausages, mashed potato, separated from the ingestibles and separated from gravy.

[00:30:55] And then people pick what they will eat. And it’s just like, what other now? I’m like, what other meals can I present like this with children variously falling off and getting off their chairs?

[00:31:11] Kathleen: I must admit as solution has been to my youngest. 10. And she basically makes her own dinner cause she never likes what we do, but I got some bento boxes.

[00:31:25] Oh yeah. And the trick with those is they’ve got beautiful little cups in Silicon and little things. You can stick in it so she can put her sultanas or her or her, the few veggies or fruit that she’ll have in the little cup and it’ll be next to something else, but it won’t touch and it looks beautiful.

[00:31:46] And so she’s willing to eat it and because she prepared it. And when I say prepared, I mean, it’s, it’s an apple and she’s puts them in the container. So, yeah, we, again, letting go of expectations, as long as they’re eating and it’s vaguely healthy

[00:32:06] Rebecca: that’s yeah,

[00:32:08] Sophia: absolutely. You just let it go and get very creative in, in, in like, say, meeting our kids where they’re at, because I mean, added, we’ve talked about, what giftedness is and asynchronicity, but of course, throwing into that mix is twice exceptionality and things like ADHD and autism.

[00:32:27] And there’s a. A couple of articles from Kathleen within perspectives about that, which are great. Because one thing that I’ve been trying to find the research and information on is, well, what do those things look like with giftedness? Because, I think often as parents, we come into this gifted miss things, because stuff is not going well.

[00:32:51] You know, and giftedness gets thrown on the table or sometimes another diagnosis first, or like for us, it’s taken us a couple of years down the track to kind of go, okay, well, autism’s a bit of a thing here. But it, but it’s hard to necessarily identify those things because the giftedness really throws it.

[00:33:13] Kathleen, perhaps she could tell us a bit about, your articles and those topics.

[00:33:18] Kathleen: Okay. Well, I’ll, I’ll put the front of this. The reason I even looked at this was simply because that’s the diagnosis that my children and for me ended up with. So, yeah, finding out going through the journey of trying to find out are my children, are they gifted?

[00:33:37] Yes, obviously. Are they autistic? Are, do they have ADHD? How, how can I judge it when I think my son saw three different professionals. I, my daughter’s seen. Two or three before we actually finally figured out what was going on because each one would look at a narrow piece and I was like, how can this be so difficult?

[00:34:04] And when you start looking into it, you realize the reason it’s so difficult is because no one’s looked at it. No, one’s looked at giftedness and autism. They’ve looked at giftedness or autism, and there’s not much crossover in the actual research. And if there’s no crossover in the research that doesn’t get translated easily into clinical practice and diagnosis.

[00:34:26] So I know for many families it’s the diagnosis you get depends on who you go to see if you go to see an expert in giftedness, they’ll pick up on the giftedness. They might miss the autism. If you go to see someone who’s an expert on autism or ADHD, they’ll pick those up, but they might miss the giftedness.

[00:34:44] Because. How do I put this? Like for if you’ve got ADHD, you might, when you’re doing the IQ test, you get bored and you just, yeah. I’m done. I’m done. That’s what my son did on his first test. He got to the point, just an undone, because I told him when he was done, he could have chocolate cake. So he did it until he was, could be both of them.

[00:35:06] Then he went, no,

[00:35:06] Sophia: I’m done

[00:35:10] Kathleen: chocolate cake time. I’m done. I’m going. And

[00:35:13] Rebecca: so,

[00:35:14] Kathleen: yeah. So when you actually have a look at it, there’s the best they’ve got at the moment, I think is called the, It’s the burger vitamin. S and w Horistic and I think that’s from, a university in Europe. And instead of looking at it as a gifted, an autistic, they had a look at what are the challenges?

[00:35:37] What are the talents, I suppose you’d say all the things they’re good at, what are the things they aren’t good at and have a look at how those two interact and can you find interventions that work for the children without worrying about what the label is? And I, I really liked that because it’s more of a, what you’d call a strength based approach, where you actually have a look at what the kids are good at and try and use that to help with the deficits.

[00:36:08] I know that’s a real problem. With, I’ll say schools, but it’s also in homeschooling. If you’re, if you’re not careful. And in that you can so focus on fixing the deficits that you don’t give the children a chance to shine, and you don’t realize that letting them say, look at their passion project can rope them in to helping with the things that they’re not so good at.

[00:36:38] So for example, they obsessed about Minecraft. So you get them to do a talk about Minecraft because they’re practicing how to talk to people or you you tried and teach reciprocal conversations through, through those kinds of methods. And yeah, so that’s kind of where. The very cutting edge of research.

[00:37:01] The last time I looked I’m a bit out of date, but last time I looked at was but yeah, it can be really, really tough because the characteristics, even, even within that cutting edge stuff, they found that some of the kids that were gifted and autistic didn’t show up on the tests that are the gold standard and, and vice versa.

[00:37:25] So some of them were just gifted, came out as autistic when they weren’t. So that was a real problem with the autism tech stuff, but there’s a, another thing that is a major problem with. Autism and ADHD research and that’s the absence of girls and women. So we have, I think autism has a three to one ratio three times as many boys diagnosed as girls.

[00:37:58] And when you actually have a look at that, the actual average IQ of the girls is lower, which led them to realize that what was actually happening was that they were missing the average and high IQ girls with autism diagnosis and same with ADHD and because they present differently. So, autistic girls, for instance, better at masking and appearing neuro-typical better learning scripts.

[00:38:25] And of course the smarter you are, the. And the more passions you have, the better you are at creating those little scripts that you can go, okay, in this situation, I can, I can do this. And then this situation, I’ll say this, and in this situation, I’ll say that. And you’ve got the little scripts in your head because you’re incredibly bright.

[00:38:45] You’re able to cope a little bit better with the upsets the things don’t go to plan because you’ve you spending more time obsessing about the way things can go wrong. And unfortunately though, that sounds just fine. The problem is masking actually has in the longterm very bad mental health issues associated with that, which I didn’t talk about in articles.

[00:39:12] But yeah, they, they found that autistic people who mask ended up with worse. Mental health outcomes in your lifetimes and those who don’t. So, yeah, and, and I think similar for ADHD the really interesting thing for me with the ADHD one was that gifted children with ADHD don’t have a low average working memory deficit, which is one of the hallmarks of the ADHD diagnosis.

[00:39:43] They got less than many of their other scores on an IQ test, but the working memory isn’t necessarily a negative. But because their brains are wanting to do so much work, they can’t keep up with remembering how to do things compared to where their brain wants to go. So it’s very frustrating and Sorry, I’m just rambling.

[00:40:10] But yeah, I was thinking the other bit that was worth talking about is that for boys who have a high IQ, their actual presentation matches that for girls in the research I’ve done. So when we actually have a look and we go, well, ADHD is average or below average represented in hierarchy kids. We go, is that right?

[00:40:36] Is that actually true? We don’t know because we’re, if we’re missing all the ADHD girls and we really are the research, it’s just not there. You could actually rename most of the research where it says ADHD in children just cross out children, right. Boys with one or two girls, because that’s usually what’s what’s there.

[00:40:55] But for high IQ boys, they look like. With ADHD and if we’re missing the girls, we’re missing the high IQ boys. And as a result, there’s probably far more gifted kids with ADHD out there that haven’t been diagnosed because they don’t match the current clinical presentation that I found fascinating

[00:41:16] Rebecca: Exactly. Kathleen, maybe it’s really, really interesting stuff. When I very first took my girl to the first psychologist I wanted to see about an assessment with her was just one of the university clinics, you know, where they have somebody who’s qualified and they’re waiting for their paperwork to come through.

[00:41:38] And she’s doing work with a supervisor watching. Her practicing if you like. And she was going to assess my child. And I, I knew I was in trouble because the paperwork that arrived beforehand was all about developmental delays and things that my kids had problem with. And I wanted to say, well, my child’s problem with is that she talks too much.

[00:42:05] And she asks far too many questions that nobody can keep up with. Where’s the space that there’s no developmental delay there. And then when we got into the room, she ran rings around the psychologist and I watched the psychologist lose control of the conversation. And I thought you are not going to be able to assess this kid.

[00:42:28] And then the second psychologist that I saw, I said, you know, this kid, we know she’s really, really bright, but she made. A thousand different messages a day, I will walk into a room and, you know, I’ll think, I know you did two different, lots of cooking and you did this collage that you’re working on in a comic book that you edited a little video.

[00:42:52] And I know that you’re out playing with the chickens and you spent some time in the pool. And then at the end of the day, I’ll walk into my bedroom and find that there is a soft toy tea party on the bed. And I was like, when did you have time for that? And this, I call it just said, oh, she can’t be ADHD because she’s finishing everything.

[00:43:15] And I bought at the time, but the more I’ve read. And also when I listen to the conversation. She still wants to tell me about her day at school and to pet. And she’s thinking about this particular comic that she read into. I remember when she was four and only in one breath. And that’s why I started to go, you know what?

[00:43:39] I don’t care what the paperwork says, whatever profiles you’re saying. I think what I’m watching here is a mental hyperactivity. Think those with your physical hyperactivity, the physical side, it’s coming down now she’s 12 she’s in high school. It’s much clearer to wear all black and punch over and go. I wanna.

[00:44:03] Talk to her and it just a waterfall of questions and ideas. And what Kathleen was saying about girls not being diagnosed. I’m like, well, I now believe that a hundred percent because of what’s in my house.

[00:44:19] Sophia: You bet. I mean, it’s taken years for us to cotton on to our kids because they hide it, they mask it, you know, it’s subtle and where it’s not subtle, it gets written off as gifted or related to some other challenge, you know, for years it was well they’re playing by themselves because they can’t communicate well enough because of the speech challenges.

[00:44:45] It’s like. Now it’s like, well, that could have been an issue, but actually that’s probably got more to do with lack of skills around playing Juno, being autistic. And it’s not until you get some hindsight that you can start to unpack those things. So it’s really interesting what you say about that research with the, obviously with girls, they’re just not being identified and also the high IQ boys and ADHD.

[00:45:14] Like I just find that fascinating. I think it just shows us how, I dunno how little work we’ve done and how much more work we need to do in really understanding the impact of giftedness. And what it really looks like. I know for myself. I, I will always credit going backpacking at age 29, full learning how to small talk.

[00:45:35] You know, I went by myself and I, I went through like China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe, and ended up in the UK and I had to learn how to talk to people. And I just, I just don’t to script, you know, I learned, oh, well, if I say these things, people just talk. And then I’ll just ask this and prompt that and share this.

[00:45:59] And it was basically the same conversation I had from one side of the planet to the other. And it was just, you know, and it was just something that I, I learnt and practiced during that time and, and then was able to carry forward, but it never occurred to me that everyone else didn’t do that as well.

[00:46:18] That wasn’t just, you know, that was part of my quirk, I just assumed I dunno. I dunno. Didn’t really think about what I repeat everyone did, or just thought I was an introvert, you know?

[00:46:30] Kathleen: Yeah. On a similar topic for that. My ADHD, I didn’t realize everyone else could remember names. So I, I spent, until I was diagnosed, I was diagnosed in my thirties after my daughter was diagnosed.

[00:46:48] And yeah, so many of the characteristics that they were saying, well, this is ADHD. I’m saying that’s that’s normal. And it wasn’t. And then when I had looked at it and it’s like, oh, ADHD. People struggle with remembering names. So when you’re introduced to someone, you say, hi, I’m oh, nice to meet you. My name is Rachel.

[00:47:12] Nice to meet you Rachel. Three minutes later, I’ve forgotten the name. And then of course, the next day you meet them and they’ll say, hi, Kathleen. Good to see you again. I’ll go. I’ve got, I know you, I can tell you, you know, about, you know, all the things we talked about. I no, any what your name is? Hi, lovely to meet you house.

[00:47:33] You know, so I actually, with, I spent years developing ways, our round, not saying someone’s name. I found that after about the fifth time you asked someone’s name, they assumed that you didn’t actually care about them. And I know it was even worse when they’re a good friend and you’ve forgotten the name.

[00:47:54] And because it was years ago, it got more and more awkward to ask their name as the years went on. And you’re like, I know you, you’re a good friend. I know everything about you. I have no idea what your name is. And it’s one of the wonderful things about social media is names of their photo. So I can go, ah, that’s so on, on here, it’s like, oh, that’s Rebecca.

[00:48:18] Oh, that’s Sophia. I don’t have to remember anymore. And that was a massive advantage for me, but it was something that everyone else just seemed to intuitively do. It never occurred to me that was a disability or that, something that was not into.

[00:48:36] Rebecca: I can do people’s names. That’s one of my mutant powers, Josh, my husband, insane, but I need less to remember what I’ve got to do and where I’ve got to do it.

[00:48:50] And I mean, Andrew and I moved in together at 23 and he was obviously 23 and he was making fun of me because I always had lists, I need a list of this. And that was the thing I just don’t always speak very well at work. And then didn’t really realize, actually, if you took away my list, I would be stuck in the middle of the living room, not knowing what to do.

[00:49:13] Probably with what she thinks the rest of the day, because I’m as Kathleen, I developed this thing that allowed me to function and it was, I always, if you go through my back right now, you’ll find four or five different lists with other notes written on the side. And my used to ride my arm when I was child, my dad discussed some dignity.

[00:49:36] Don’t be riding on yourself, but I knew I couldn’t lose that list.

[00:49:42] Sophia: I’m laughing. Cause I’m like, you’re, I’m resonating with both of you. I’m terrible with names and faces and I I’m dead with Alice. I absolutely I’m like

[00:49:53] Rebecca: everyone doesn’t do this. Exactly. And I’ve got a sister who’s now 51 and she is just starting to use athletes with her husband.

[00:50:09] Because I can like, can share the load that way. She didn’t used to need a lift to tell her what to do every single day.

[00:50:17] She never had that to function. She just knew you get up and you have a shower, then you can get dressed and you have breakfast and then you go to work and at lunchtime, you pop over to the chemist and get the paracetamol, but you find out, oh, she just did it. Whereas if I didn’t have all that written down, I’d be dashing out the door, like with my shirt on backwards.

[00:50:40] Kathleen: Which I spent 30 years doing. I have buzzy things on my phone. Oh yes. I see things. Tell me that now is the time to do the thing. And and if the buzzy doesn’t go, it doesn’t happen. So I’ve missed expensive appointments, very expensive appointments because he didn’t go. And so I I’ve, I’ve had to learn ways around my own thing, but I may synchronous as well.

[00:51:12] There’s stuff that sticks in there that no one else can do. I there’s some things that I can do that other people find tricky. Like I actually love reading. Papers. And I know a lot of people, even researchers find that really difficult, but I love digging into that and I can just hold it in here,

[00:51:36] but not everyone can, but it’s that asynchronous thing of these things are easy. These things are hard, but they’re not the same as what the average neuro-typical non gifted person can do. They’re literally the,

[00:51:54] Rebecca: I don’t want to read scientific papers, but give me some critical theory, some French discourse analysis, and I’m a happy kid, but asked me to.

[00:52:08] Play in my living room, my desk. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. My husband is coaching me through 10 minutes a day on your desk, back 10 minutes a day on your desk because my desk is the most frightening thing in the house. And some days I can do that 10 minutes and some days I kind of hover around the doorway to the study and decide even cleaning the living room floor would be better than this.

[00:52:35] I just can’t pick up a pile of papers and go, these things need to be filed. I shall now file them. That’s hard. Travis, Travis, sit there and really did a deep, critical, theoretical analysis of power.

[00:52:54] Sophia: I love that. And it does seem to be the trend a couple of months ago, reds, the power of different like Gail salts. And that’s a really lovely read because it talks about all the different neuro divergencies and their strengths and weaknesses. And it’s sort of trying to focus on, well, what are the strengths?

[00:53:12] It’s not all about the deficit, you know, in terms of ADHD and autism. So it’s a really nice read in terms of, we know we’ve taught these what the deficits are. We’ve talked about those, but actually what goes with that are the strengths for all of these different things. And I think w you know, we really need to extrapolate that out to giftedness as well.

[00:53:32] And I think that’s, what’s often missed. It’s like everyone will focus on that strength and think giftedness is just all about, , Looking this particular way without understanding that what seems to be happening in our brains is that we get strengths along with certain weaknesses. , we can, we can do this, but it kind of comes at a little bit of a cost over here and, , but the upside is we can do this kind of cool thing, which is really either creative or intense and, and not everyone can do that, but we’ve just got to accept that, all right, in these areas, we need to give ourselves some slack or a bit of support or find tools or strategies in order to maximize that, that particular strength that we get.

[00:54:16] And I think having, , read your articles and that book perspectives on giftedness. It’s it’s a really nice Slee really cuts to the heart of a lot of, of the big kind of issues. And I think shifts that we need in our thinking around giftedness. So, so congratulations for wonderful articles.

[00:54:41] Thank you very much for, for being that person, reading those discourses and science you know, research and distilling that out for the rest of us. Because there’s, there’s a lot of really, I don’t think I’ve read an article yet where I haven’t had an aha moment or a yes moment there. That’s just been brilliant.

[00:55:00] And thank you so much for coming along today. It’s been a lovely chat and it’s absolutely gorgeous to meet you.

[00:55:07] Kathleen: Thank you for having this.

[00:55:14] Rebecca: It’s lovely to meet other people who go. Yes. That’s. Yeah. And Kathleen I’ve liked your work for a long time. I really liked to get gifted myth and I have pushed it on people that I have met because it’s useful, you know, it’s a really useful bit of work. So perhaps not another one.

[00:55:43] Sophia: Yes, absolutely. I’m really looking forward to, to reading that and I hope it wasn’t too scary today. So thank you for coming and chatting and just to let everyone know. Links for websites and social media for Kathleen and Rebecca in the show notes, as well as a link to perspectives on giftedness and Kathleen’s books about myths, history and science are like, oh, what’s the science and the history.

[00:56:08] Rebecca: That’s so

[00:56:09] Sophia: excited. So, and as I edit and re, you know, back through this podcast, I’ll be like, oh, what was that reference? Oh, there’s a longitudinal study. Where’s the name? And I’ll be looking all these things up. So thank you for sharing all those tidbits and knowledge. Certainly amongst people who enjoy a good old chat about data and trends and.

[00:56:32] Comparisons and whatnot. So thank you very much.

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