It is Neurodiversity Celebration Week and we are diving into neurodiversity and what it is like to figure out you are neurodivergent as an adult.
In the episode, we talk about why we need to talk about women and neurodiversity.
We get into autism, ADHD, giftedness, girls, women, lived experience, and a bunch of research. We include excerpts from published and unpublished podcasts of Kate Donohue, Kathleen Humble, Rebecca Farley and Amanda Drury talking about being neurodiverse.
Hit play and let’s get started!
‘Almost none of the research on giftedness beginning with the very first study of Tarmin starts with an IQ test of an entire population. It starts with teachers picking out who to test.
That means almost every test out there on giftedness, and how awesome it is, starts with eliminating the majority of children who are disadvantaged. They’re poor. They’re a member of a minority group. They don’t speak the same languages as their teachers or they’re disabled.’ – Kathleen Humble
‘So I started researching for my kids. The best way I can describe it was I had a very emotional response to doing that research. I couldn’t quite rationalize in my head at that point, that that emotional response might be because I am autistic because at that point I couldn’t rationalize or understand how I might be autistic.
And it took a lot more digging and understanding to understand how autism kind of manifests and expresses particularly in adult women and girls. And to find things that resonated with me.’ – Sophia Elliott
- ☺️ Neurodiversity Celebration Week
- ☺️ Our Gifted Kids Hub
- ☺️ Perspectives on Giftedness: Sound Advice from Parents and Professionals by GHF Press
- ☺️ Chapters referred to in the podcast include:
- ☺️ ‘Most gifted children have never been studied.’ by Kathleen Humble
- ☺️ ‘ADHD & Giftedness, it’s Complicated.’ by Kathleen Humble
- ☺️ ‘Is my gifted child autistic?’ by Kathleen Humble
- ☺️ Chapters referred to in the podcast include:
- ☺️ #043 The Complexity of Giftedness w/ authors Kathleen Humble & Dr Rebecca Farley Podcast
- ☺️ #018 Looking at Giftedness & Autism w/ Kate Donohue Podcast
- ☺️ #014 Understanding 2E / Twice-Exceptional w/ Amanda Drury Podcast
- ☺️ NeuroTribes – The legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently by Steve Silberman
Our Gifted Kids Hub
A community just for you… the Our Gifted Kids Hub brings together parents of gifted kids to connect, for support, with resources… to get peace of mind.
The Our Gifted Kids Hub includes:
- ☺️ Monthly live online information sessions.
- ☺️ Monthly live online gatherings to meet other parents of gifted kids.
- ☺️ Access to Our Gifted Kids Hub private Facebook Group.
- ☺️ Exclusive member-only Podcast video and interviews.
- ☺️ OGK Hub online portal to more information and resources.
- ☺️ BONUS COURSE – Everything you need to know about gifted in the ‘Understanding Gifted Course’
- ☺️ BONUS JOURNEY – A pathway through parenting gifted kids with ‘Journey to a New Normal – 5 Steps that take you from Survive to Thrive!’
The Our Gifted Kids Hub costs about the same as a coffee & cake per week and as long as you remain a financial member, the price you sign up on is the same price you will always pay – it will never go up.
So for peace of mind, join now! Doors Close mid-night Sunday 28th March
[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: I’m looking forward today to have a conversation about women and girls. We’ve been talking all week about neurodiversity and neuro divergence and different lived experiences, but I think it’s worth. Having a special conversation about women and girls within all of that. And I think it’s really important, not just because I’m a woman because I have a daughter.
[00:00:24] But because there’s some real fundamentals that get assumed and, and it’s worth just questioning the basis on which we assume those things. So there’s two things that I want to do in this podcast today. First of all. Let’s be open to considering what we don’t know. Let’s be prepared to ask some questions and even be open to the possibility that we’re asking the wrong questions that we’re actually not.
[00:00:56] We’re not asking the right questions yet. And so in not getting the right answers that we actually need. And also the possibility that our lived experiences are more complicated than we realize. And we talk a lot about everyone having a very different lived experience. And what do I mean by that first of all.
[00:01:19] So lived experience for me. Is the way in which we experienced the world and being open to understanding that actually we all experience the world differently. If you’re, neuro-typical, you’re going to experience the world albeit within that, neuro-typical kind of fear. But within that, everyone’s going to be a bit.
[00:01:48] And so we’re talking about being neuro atypical this week or neurodivergent so. Those individuals like myself that are outside of that typical box. And so it’s understanding that that lived experience is significantly different to the typical lived experience. So what does that mean? It’s the nitty gritty of, I think day-to-day living, it’s our emotions.
[00:02:14] It’s our senses, our social. Connections. I mean, if you think about the way we live as humans, it’s about existing in our own body relating to others, processing the information around us, emotions, feelings, all of that stuff that we kind of take for granted as being well, we all live, we all got to get through the day, right?
[00:02:46] Actually when you consider that some people’s lived experience actually makes it harder for them to get through the day because our world is constructed for the very neuro-typical majority. Which is understandable if you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it. So most people will fit into that box and neuro-typical is the majority.
[00:03:13] That’s why it’s typical. So that makes sense, but we need to do better. And I think we’re learning that we need to do better. And so we also touch on today the social model of disability, because that’s relevant to this conversation is.
[00:03:29] you may have heard the podcast that I did recently with Kathleen humble and Dr. Rebecca folly, and it was a great podcast and it was a lot of fun and they’re amazing women. And I was interviewing them because they had contributed articles to a recent publication by G H F perspectives on giftedness.
[00:03:51] And within that book, there are actually a few articles that Kathleen has written that relates to our conversation today. So I’m going to refer to those throughout today’s conversation as well. And actually I’m going to be putting in a few snippets from other. Podcasts that I’ve done as well. So I haven’t done this before.
[00:04:11] It’s a little bit exciting. But first of all, I’d mentioned the social model of disability.
[00:04:16] Kathleen refers to it in one of her articles that she wrote.
[00:04:21] About identifying gifted kids.
[00:04:23] So the social model of disability is looking at a disability as a lack, rather than a difference. And she thinks that’s fundamentally wrong. It’s a way we organize and cater for the different needs. That is the problem. Not the different needs themselves. That’s straight out of her article. So what does that mean?
[00:04:42] What she’s saying there is, we all have differences. What makes the difference harder is that point in time where we hit the brick wall of the system. It’s that interaction with the system, whether or not the system I L community caters for Al needs. Allows us to be ourselves and thrives within that system.
[00:05:08] That is actually the problem, not the difference itself.
[00:05:12] Kathleen also talks about research by Natalie rumbling. Now from ANU who’s in her research found the actual experience of raising a gifted child. With or without disabilities with similar in stress level to that erasing a disabled child who is not gifted. So she says this drives home an important point.
[00:05:36] The difference of ability doesn’t cause stress, the lack of support and help for those different abilities is what causes the anxiety and stress. So why is this all relevant today? It’s neurodiversity celebration week. And we’ve been talking a lot about neurodiversity. Well, this relates, because what we’re finding is, and we know this. If you’re a parent of a gifted kid, you have bucked against that system that does not cater for your child’s difference. And it sort of says, we will cater for those things that are broken the deficit.
[00:06:15] And we, but we won’t actually cater for the difference itself. We won’t stretch to actually cater for what that difference needs fully. And that causes an incredible amount of
[00:06:28] so how does that relate to women and girls? Well, what I’m trying to say here is women and girls have a different lived experience. What we know about and you being neurodivergent in that research has been heavily dictated by research done on boys. And what their society is not doing for women and girls is meeting the needs of that particular difference.
[00:06:54] And it’s because we don’t understand it well enough yet. I want to play a little bit from the podcast that I did with Kathleen humble and Rebecca finally, and this is Kathleen talking about the research and some of the challenges with the research we have today, especially for girls and therefore women, but also interesting for high IQ boys.
[00:07:19] Let’s listen to that now.
[00:07:21] Kathleen Humble: 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.
[00:07:39] 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.
[00:08:12] 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.
[00:08:39] 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.
[00:08:59] 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.
[00:09:26] 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.
[00:09:57] 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.
[00:10:24] 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?
[00:10:50] 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.
[00:11:10] 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
[00:11:30] Sophia Elliott: so that’s really interesting. And it’s really important as Kathleen says that we consider actually the research that we have in these different areas of neurodivergence ADHD and ASD here and giftedness as a great example, who are we researching? Consistently, as Kathleen has found it, it comes back to us that actually we’re getting very stuck on identifying and researching boys because they have stood out and externalized these things.
[00:12:09] And instead girls tend to internalize these things.
[00:12:14] Kathleen actually also wrote an article on this in perceptions of gifted called most gifted children have never been studied, which is really interesting. And in that she notes that there was some research done in Broward county. And what they’re looking at is whether or not teachers are actually good at spotting gifted kids.
[00:12:35] And interestingly, what they found was there about half, right? About 50% of those kids that they selected were found to be gifted. So then they looked at the kids that the teachers weren’t selecting, and that is actually where the researchers came across something really interesting.
[00:12:56] Of those kids that the teachers didn’t choose. The results in that particular study showed that teachers had only found about 40% of the gifted children or four in every. So who were they living out? Interestingly, it was black kids, poor kids, disabled kids, kids whose first language isn’t English. So Kathleen says this point is worth emphasizing.
[00:13:25] When teachers looked at these kids, they saw disadvantage, not potential. And these disadvantaged kids were never chosen for gifted programs. She goes on to say, Almost none of the research on giftedness beginning with the very first study of termin starts with an IQ test of an entire population. It starts with teachers picking out who to test.
[00:13:50] That means almost every test out there on giftedness and how awesome it is. Starts with eliminating the majority of children who are disadvantaged. They’re poor. They’re a member of minority group. They don’t speak the same languages. They’re teachers or they’re disabled.
[00:14:05] And of course what we’re finding now and what this shows is an, an absence in girls in that research as well.
[00:14:13] Kathleen goes on to say there’s a massive hole in the research.
[00:14:17] It’s not that. It’s just that they may be more limited than we previously thought. Hence, our knowledge of gifted children is also lacking primarily as a result of those who have been studied. The one thing we can say for sure is that white middle-class boys with educated parents do do better. If they’re also identified as gifted.
[00:14:39] there has been other studies done. Of course, since then, for example, a paper on a culturally responsive equity-based bill of rights for gifted students of. And Kathleen refers to this. She says there’s finally been some focus on this much neglected area. This has spurred work looking at black gifted, rural students teach her equity training with a focus on giftedness and where the barriers exist for gifted kids from minority backgrounds being included in gifted programs.
[00:15:10] So for me that says, we still have a lot to learn,
[00:15:12] especially about children who are coming from different cultural backgrounds, speak a different first language are disabled, or just simply poor. Kathleen also touched on though, a really serious issue about mental health. Kathleen talks about the impact on those people with autism who masked throughout their lives. And this is typically girls, although it’s. Identified there. We also seem to be missing high IQ boys in this research. Because they present similarly to girls and in research, I’ve read this whole idea of boys and girls is actually in itself inaccurate.
[00:15:59] We keep taking these gendered approaches to identity, identification, and stereotype, but actually if we start to think them not as gendered stereotypes, but just as different ways of presenting. And so. You could be a boy or a girl, and you might present as what we would consider stereotypical autistic or what we have come to consider as a female presentation.
[00:16:28] But actually it’s not just female. It is just a different presentation of autism. So that in itself is worth. Knowing and understanding, cause it also means that there’s boys out there being missed. So there’s boys and girls who then end up spending a lifetime masking and paying a huge toll later in life in terms of their physical and mental health.
[00:16:55] And I have an excerpt here from a podcast that I have not released yet where I talked to Kate Donna here from dynamic parenting and Amy. From gifted to me, support who have both been previous guests of mine. And we’re actually talking about our own experiences, lived experiences of being identified as neurodivergent as adults.
[00:17:20] And of course we touch on the impacts of mental health in that conversation as well. So let’s have a listen to that.
[00:17:28] I started doing that research because it came up with a few therapists in terms of my children. So I started researching for my kids . The best way I can describe it was I had a very emotional response to doing that research. And I couldn’t quite rationalize in my head at that point, that that emotional response might be because I am autistic because at that point I couldn’t rationalize or understand how I might be autistic.
[00:17:58] And it took a lot more digging and understanding to understand how autism kind of manifests and expresses in particularly adult. Uh And to find things that resonated with mango. Yeah. Okay. And that person maybe not the stereotype that I had in my head at the beginning of this journey, but now that I’ve dug deep for months, I am, I totally resonate with that person that I’ve read about or listened to.
[00:18:26] And, and for me, my identity started to unravel in a pretty bad way. It was a bit messy there for a little while, because it was a lot to comprehend and come to terms with, and, and then I went through a good few months of an assessment process where I did lots of various types of assessment tools with my psychologist, including cognitive and, and too, because I felt in understanding my autism and how that expresses that it helped you understand where.
[00:19:08] Where I was in terms of giftedness, because obviously my kids are gifted. And so we did that assessment as well, and that came out as highly gifted,
[00:19:16] but it was, it took months of processing. And, and it was a really pretty full-on kind of journey. And, and I think what I keep coming back to was in the early days, it was a very physical, emotional response, rather than me thinking that I was autistic. I kind of, it resonated with me somewhere far deeper and very unsettled me and I couldn’t actually rationalize it initially.
[00:19:40] And so I think in terms of understanding autism in girls, in women, in that late diagnosis, I think it’s really helpful to understand that it’s really not the stereotype and, and have now having gone through that assessment, I can actually look back on myself as a kid and go, yeah, I totally was, you know, I spent my primary years in the library being a library, monitor, reading all the books, not actually playing the games with kids, but like just dishing out the games, you know, like it’s just classic.
[00:20:11] So, and I, and I get that now. And so, as Kate said before now, the focus is on, what does that mean for me on a day to day basis? How do I start to fill my cup? Because it got very, very empty. Like Amanda was saying I’ve been there somewhat recently hitting that wall. And, and like Kate was saying rebuilding in kind of a new identity even, and.
[00:20:36] And trying to meet my needs. And it’s actually gave, given me this amazing narrative and language to understand my kids and start to talk to them. So that’s kind of me in a nutshell who wants to go next?
[00:20:50] Amanda Drury: I will. I wanted to mention what started my journey really happened nearly 10 years ago. GT cars, I joined GT castle gifted and talented association of south Australia.
[00:21:02] When my son was diagnosed as gifted at that time, we didn’t know he was twice exceptional. We didn’t even know what twice exceptionality was. We barely knew what giftedness was, actually, even though it was a teacher. But I, I wanted to find out everything I could about it. So I joined GT cars. I also did Googling as you do to find out everything I could about giftedness and. When I was doing the reading about the gifted stuff, a lot of it sat with me, but at the same time, I’m like, nah, I can’t be gifted too dumb. And seriously, I thought I was done for many, many years. And when I married my husband 20 years ago, almost 20 years ago, he’s very gifted, highly gifted. He made me feel even dumber actually.
[00:21:49] But anyway moving along, this is what ADHD people do. They’re always going on tangents, but I Judy Causa, I became part of the committee there. And then Kate says at one of the committee meetings, oh, I’m starting this group for. God parents, parents with GLD kids gifted with learning disabilities.
[00:22:10] It’s another name that twice exceptionality is known as and one that if anyone was interested in joining me, so I said, yes, please. Because giftedness the label giftedness didn’t quite fit on its own for either my son or myself. And I wanted to find out more. At the time Amy was only a little baby.
[00:22:26] She was probably one or two, three, maybe two, I think. So. I didn’t know anything much about Amy at that point. And we had our first meeting at the Sterling library and that’s when I first found out about what twice exceptionality was all about. Really Kate opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. She had already, she was kind of ahead of me.
[00:22:47] She’d already done a huge amount of research, particularly around a daughter at the time and so helped a lot of parents in that group. There were about eight of us at the beginning. It was a really great year learned a lot became more interested in myself a couple of years later seeing what my son was going through.
[00:23:05] And by then we knew that Amy was gifted and do that. There must be something else, but couldn’t work out what it was. And I decided, well, I talked to David one night and I said, you know, I’ve never felt like I’m gifted at all. I feel like I’m pretty average. Even below average, I’ve never felt very smart because I’ve never been treated that way by my peers or.
[00:23:30] Well, particularly by my peers, by my teachers too. I had teachers in school that called me thick in front of the whole class.
[00:23:36] Sophia Elliott: Oh, that’s awful.
[00:23:37] Amanda Drury: But I said to David, what do you think? He said, I’ve always thought you’re really smart. So I thought, well, maybe I’ll get a test done just to have a laugh I went and got this multi assessment thing done.
[00:23:50] It was also because I was at uni and I knew I’d get extra stuff if I had other things going on. And that’s when I found out that I was mildly gifted though inaccurate because my scores were so high scattered that the psychologist said who works, where she has never seen anything like it in all her career.
[00:24:12] And that she unfortunately can’t give me a average score, like an accurate one. But I wasn’t 91st percentile. So at least mildly gifted, I suppose, but you can’t say for sure, because the schools were so scattered to give you an example, my processing schools, eighth percentile, but my short term memory was 99 percentile.
[00:24:39] Sophia Elliott: Your working memory.
[00:24:41] Amanda Drury: She looked at that, she’s like, I, that never happens normally there at one end or the other together. Not so sick. Yeah. And she decided I had information processing disorder. She said she couldn’t definitively say I had ADHD. Cause that has to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. So I eventually saw a psychiatrist and found that I had ADHD. And that’s kind of what, yeah.
[00:25:06] That’s how I got where I am now. And it’s actually helped me hugely, but I think the person that’s helped the most is more than me. I think it’s helped my husband the most because there were things about me. He never understood. And he used to be very frustrated by it. And he used to think that I was doing things deliberately.
[00:25:25] Like I wasn’t listening to him or, and I’d like, no, I didn’t hear you. I just didn’t hear you. You didn’t need to believe me. Because he didn’t realize that I had ADHD and neither did I. And. He realizes now that all of that’s to do with my ADHD.
[00:25:44] So, it’s really helped him. And it’s helped have relationship too in a very big way, which is the happy thing about it, I suppose. But I’m still coming to terms with a lot of it. I’m still learning about myself and how to manage in this new world.
[00:25:59] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. I think that the journey is ongoing and like you say that I think the benefits ripple starts with ourselves and, and that knowledge about ourselves and the way our brains work.
[00:26:09] Thank you, Amanda. That’s really interesting. And I just, even now I just. Fascinating that we can go our whole lives and not figure this stuff out until we, until we get to this point.
[00:26:24] So Kate you’ve had a similar journey as well.
[00:26:28] Kate Donohue: Yes. And you’ve brought up identity a few times. So I’d like to talk about that because there are so many aspects of this journey that we go on and I think identity is a really good one to talk. So I grew up in a small rural country town, and my mum said to me as an adult, I always would go to bookstores because they didn’t have Google then.
[00:26:50] And try and find a book that might explain you. I love that she never did find the book. So she thought that I might have a hearing problems. So she took me to an audiologist. My hearing was fine. He suggested I go to a psych and look at the learning disabilities. So we did that process. So at seven I got diagnosed as disliked.
[00:27:12] And that was the only diagnosis I had until I was 37. So all of my life, I thought that all of the things that were going on for me, that which caused me to experience my world differently, which due to my dyslexia. So. I found that really empowering to know that it wasn’t, that I was dumb because I couldn’t spell or process in the same way.
[00:27:37] So if people was really protective for me, so people will be like, you can’t spell that age stupid or something, and I’d be like, no, I’m dyslexic. There’s a difference. My intelligence is fine. So it really was protective for me. So a lot of people ask me about, you know, do we tell our child should we get diagnosed?
[00:27:56] You know, what, if you do it different and I’m noticing that they’re different. Like some children don’t notice if they’re happy the content, then it’s your choice. That’s a different discussion, but most of our gifted kids are gonna know. And they’re gonna know when they’re two or three, like often they’re really young when they know a lot younger than neuro-typical people.
[00:28:18] So my experience is that it wasn’t. And the cycle has said to me, you can do whatever you want to do, Kate, but you are going to have to work harder in these areas. So these are hard for you work on them. This is where our strengths are. You’re great. You can do many, many things, so it wasn’t limiting, but damn it was frustrating because I was like having the brake and accelerator on the same time.
[00:28:40] And you, what I wanted my brain to do, there’s all this information in there and I couldn’t get it out. So I went through school, not getting my cure, curiosity and intellectual needs met, but I got through. Okay. But relationships on the other head were a whole different ball game. They were complicated.
[00:29:02] So I was fairly passive, I guess, throughout my schooling years, I didn’t really Thrive, I guess, socially, but I also didn’t stand out and have major issues. So I was really much that standard kind of autistic child who masks and flows and fits, but there’s sort of a corrosion to yourself and who you are when you live that life.
[00:29:25] So when I grew up and I kind of was, there’s a point where it kind of went whole wrong. Who am I, what do I like? What do I want to do? Like I had spent all of my growing up here to love my childhood, all of my teen years, just trying to not get found out that I was different. And I didn’t really know that I was doing this.
[00:29:52] It was often they call it mask. But it’s not a mask. You can’t just put it on and take it off. It’s it’s, it’s sort of etched into your nervous system and your identity and your concept of self and who you think you are as a person it’s real to you. It’s not just take off the mask and be your natural neurodivergent self.
[00:30:12] It is, it is intertwined. It is locked in and it is a journey and it is sometimes painful to actually go, hold on. I’m actually autistic. And that’s why this whole history of things happen. And we get to look back over our responses, our reactions, our choices, our interactions, our relationships, and the way we have grown into the person that we are.
[00:30:41] And then we actually have to go back to the. As we mature, we go, hold on, who am I? And who do I want to be in this life? I’ve only got one life and I am an autistic person in a neuro-typical world. And how do I want to navigate that? And how can I navigate that? In, in the beginning, it was like, how can I actually navigate this and not be sort of assaulted by the world and have these bombardments of, you know, pressure and whether it’s, how to be at work, how to be socially, how to be as a parent, how to hold myself.
[00:31:12] Well, when I feel like I just need to like shut the world out because it’s too damn bright and loud and noisy. And now I’m at a point where I’ve kind of worked that stuff out for myself. And that comes down to knowing myself really well, my needs, what am I foundational core parts of me that I need to make?
[00:31:30] Sophia Elliott: So what is it like to actually be neurodivergent? What is the actual lived experience? And I think this is the crux of my whole week of podcasts. This week. A friend of mine said last year, how do I know if I don’t know what other people’s lived experiences? And when I went through that process of discovery, myself, going online and finding actual lived experience was, was core to me, untangling that web and, and figuring that out for myself.
[00:32:04] And since then, even, you know, even as every day almost, I think of things from my childhood in my past that I just like classic autistic and. It’s a, you know, even now months later, I’m still processing and looking back and identifying things.
[00:32:27] What set me off of my journey was actually the possibility that I had 88. And maybe I still do. I don’t know. I might just need to dig a little bit further into that because it does really resonate for me, but a lot of ADHD traits are also autistic traits. So it’s a very tangled web.
[00:32:47] And in this exit that I’m going to play next. I have an excerpt from the Pocus that I did with Kathleen humble and Dr. Rebecca folly. And we’re just talking about our own lived experiences of being ADHD and autistic, and some of the quirks that go along with that.
[00:33:10] Sophia: I will always credit going backpacking at age 29, full learning how to small talk.
[00:33:16] 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.
[00:33:40] 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.
[00:33:59] 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?
[00:34:11] Kathleen Humble: 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.
[00:34:28] 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.
[00:34:53] 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.
[00:35:13] 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.
[00:35:35] 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.
[00:35:59] 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.
[00:36:17] Dr Rebecca Farley: 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.
[00:36:30] 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.
[00:36:54] 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.
[00:37:17] Don’t be riding on yourself, but I knew I couldn’t lose that list.
[00:37:23] 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
[00:37:34] Dr Rebecca Farley: 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.
[00:37:50] 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.
[00:37:58] 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.
[00:38:21] Kathleen Humble: 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.
[00:38:52] 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,
[00:39:17] 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,
[00:39:35] Dr Rebecca Farley: 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.
[00:39:49] 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.
[00:40:16] 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.
[00:40:34] Sophia Elliott: so I don’t know if any of those examples resonated for you, but I think it highlights both the similarities and the differences that we all have fundamentally neurotypical in your atypical. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all express that differently. Even if you have. You know, the same diagnosis or labels as someone else, you’re going to be individual in how you present that to the world and to yourself, your own lived experience.
[00:41:04] Kathleen also wrote a couple of other articles in perspectives of giftedness that I want to touch on as well, before we go, she wrote an article in ADHD and article an autism. First of all, she said,
[00:41:17] She says there’s a problem in a manner similar to the guidelines for autism. The diagnostic criteria for ADHD were determined using boys of average IQ. That’s important because girls with ADHD behave in ways that differ from those exhibited by boys with ADHD. Girls exhibit less hyperactivity. They talk more and more likely to be inattentive rather than hyperactive and gifted boys with ADHD can possess the same traits.
[00:41:48] This alone flagged a problem with the rate of ADHD diagnosis in gifted kids. They don’t necessarily look like stereotypical boys with ADHD and for many gifted kids with ADHD, their hyperactivity is in their brain. Not. So they may never get referred for testing. That’s really interesting research that she’s done and it just goes to show how complicated the gifted population is and how much we need to take into account giftedness.
[00:42:16] When, when looking at other diagnoses and you might be tempted to say, Wolf is so much crossover, why get another diagnosis? That’s a reasonable question. I think what I would say to that is. Figuring out where the gaps all and a label can help you with. That means you’re better able to find the accommodations that fit you better able to figure out what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are.
[00:42:44] And I think that’s why it’s worth pursuing
[00:42:48] Kathleen says that this challenge for identifying. Gifted children with ADHD is even greater. In the case of gifted girls with ADHD,
[00:42:59] she actually tells a little bit of her own story in this article. I’d love to read this. Now. She found out she wasn’t just ADHD. She was stereotypical ADHD, but she didn’t find it.
[00:43:11] until her late thirties. She says , I never climbed the wolves as a kid. Well, not after I fell and sprained my knee badly enough for crutches. I was a quiet kid. It took five plus seconds to get my attention. It’s my auto tree buffer it left. I passed my test and I handed in assignments. Granted, I usually did them on the day they were due.
[00:43:34] In fact, on one memorable occasion, I handed in an assignment laced with the aroma of a rotting banana I had forgotten was in my bag. I had to scrape. The banana off the paper, but it got an, a plus on that one, gifted ADHD kids won’t necessarily be failing. And if they are highly gifted, they might even look mostly functional until they don’t.
[00:43:56] And I think that’s the thing. I think that’s the crunch point. Gifted miss allows us to mask and accommodate, and there is a real strength. In that until there isn’t until actually we’ve used up all our energy and we just can’t do it anymore. As we talked about earlier with Kate and Amanda,
[00:44:18] Kathleen says though, it gets even more complicated and this is from her article. Even if we know we’re looking for the red flags, aren’t the same gifted boys with ADHD. Don’t have low working memory scores. This most probably also pertains to girls, but getting together enough, gifted girls with ADHD for a study is hard.
[00:44:41] So gifted kids with ADHD have average working memory scores. This is important because a deficit of working memory, how much information you can hold in your brain at one time as a hallmark of ADHD, if a child’s working memory is impaired, but not well below average, the chances of ADHD being discovered with a quick screening test.
[00:45:03] Average indicates that these kids are using their unusual brains to compensate for greater deficits when properly tested gifted kids with ADHD will exhibit extremely poor working memory processing speed and auditory verbal memory relative to their other abilities. It’s extreme. Asynchronicity
[00:45:23] so it’s incredibly challenging. It’s also really challenging in the gifted and autistic population in Kathleen’s article on this particular topic. Despite organized checklists, the answer isn’t clear. Cut. There are no easy to complete lists and there are many overlapping characteristics that depend for their interpretation on the eye of the beholder.
[00:45:47] She says it can be hard to determine where giftedness stops and autism starts, or even if that’s a sensible way to think about the. And that’s what I keep coming back to. Are we actually asking the right questions?
[00:46:02] Kathleen talks about researchers at Belin blank center and the university of Iowa autistic 81 gifted children with half previously diagnosed as also being autistic. They found that there was little to no difference in the IQ results for both groups.
[00:46:17] and that the characteristics of gifted children, autistic children really are very similar. At least when looked at from the outside using behavioral studies.
[00:46:26] It’s interesting that autism and gifted research has been conducted almost completely separately for an awfully long time. Kathleen says no one was looking for the overlap. It wasn’t until the new millennium that researchers has their call to arms moment and really started taking a good look at whether it was easy or hard to distinguish gifted kids from gifted autistic kids.
[00:46:48] Until that point. And indeed still in much clinical practice, the diagnosis of child received depended on the specialty of the assessing professional. So professionals with experience with autistic children were more likely to assess a gifted child as autistic and professionals with experience with.
[00:47:08] Child child. We’re more likely to assess a child as gifted, but not autistic. It wasn’t until recently that research into , gifted autistic children move much beyond individual case studies and the first truly comprehensive study with a large enough sample for the creation of diagnostic control criteria was only performed as recently as 2014, that was done at the university of Groningen. No, I know I’ve pronounced that incorrectly in 2014 and actually seemed to suggests that we are asking the wrong question. When we tried to find an exact cut off point between gifted, autistic children and just gifted children.
[00:47:51] Instead, these research has recommended a whole child approach that assessed the strengths and weaknesses of each child and develop strategies to help them in their specific area of need. In this model, there was no cut off point because the relationship between giftedness and autism wasn’t linear, but much like both giftedness and.
[00:48:12] Was a spectrum of characteristics that aren’t easy to separate. It was called the S and w heuristic. And of course, Kathleen goes on to say, even this cutting edge research has gaps and includes questions that have yet to be answered. One of the more pressing is about gifted autistic girls.
[00:48:33] Even the developers of the S and w Horistic, which as of 2014 was the best method for diagnosing gifted autistic individuals use the three to one ratio for boys and girls in their development of testing procedures.
[00:48:48] In almost all current research on gifted autistic kids. The number of gifted autistic girls represents in the research sample is less than 10, often being as low as five. And this sadly is potentially too small for the kind of rigorous statistical analysis that would be needed for the use of this research in clinical practice.
[00:49:09] I want to say a huge thank you to Kathleen for doing all of that research and writing those articles.
[00:49:15] The information came from three articles in particular. The first one most gifted children have never been studied. ADHD and giftedness it’s complicated and is my gifted child autistic that we’re all found in the perspectives of giftedness book. I think it’s really fascinating and I think it poses lots of questions and is a really good opportunity just to pause and understand where we are in time.
[00:49:49] Now, if you’ve listened to yesterday’s podcast about positive disintegration, Chris and I got on a little tangent towards the end about the book NeuroTribes is a book written by Steve Silberman about the history of autism. And it’s an absolutely fascinating read, highly recommend. It is a really big book.
[00:50:12] But it’s so good. And I think what I love about it, most of all is in looking at this history of autism. We, first of all, we can see that it’s been around, like, this is nothing new. We can go back into the depths of history and we can find autistic individuals. But more than that, what I think it, it showed me was where we were at in that journey and where we’ve come from and you can see where you’ve come from and where you’re at, where you can’t help.
[00:50:46] But look forward to wonder where you will eventually be. If we look at the last hundred years and how much our understanding of autism has changed in that time, it’s quite phenomenal. And year we’re at this point in time where the research is heavily based on a particular demographic I boys, but. We’re seeing that.
[00:51:11] Now we have the opportunity now to prioritize research in this area so that we’re including girls, but also making sure where, including those other demographics, different cultural backgrounds, uh, how poor you are, any other disabilities as well, taking on all of that complexity and not kind of missing people out.
[00:51:40] So we’ve got to ask the question, where is this headed? What I wanted to do today was put a spotlight on the fact that it is complicated. Like there’s nothing easy about this. Uh, women and girls have been largely missed out. And we’re just starting to understand in ADHD in autism, and goodness knows where else, how women and girls have presented differently.
[00:52:08] But also that it’s not just women and girls. There’s actually high IQ boys out there who are presenting the same way who have been missed as. But I also wanted to put a spotlight on how we all have these different lived experiences. And it’s really important to talk about that because we can get to know ourselves.
[00:52:30] And I think it is a really important journey of discovery because in getting some of those answers,
[00:52:38] Like, I think it was Emma Nicholson in our podcast. Yesterday’s we’re talking about positive disintegration. She actually said that her journey of discovery allowed her to understand why she didn’t adult. Well, she always felt like she wasn’t doing this life thing well, and she wasn’t being a proper adult.
[00:53:01] And so this journey. To understand ourselves, our strengths, but all those, also those areas of weakness, where we need more accommodations or understanding, support strategies and tools. And with that, we can accommodate and thrive. We have that opportunity, but without that, we’re inclined just to think we’re broken.
[00:53:26] We’re going to feel stuck. We’re going to feel like there’s a big brick wall around us and there’s nothing we can do. It’s actually just us and we don’t get it. Whatever this adult thing is, whatever this life thing is, it’s really hard. So it’s obviously me. It’s obviously me doing something wrong and that’s a dangerous narrative.
[00:53:47] First of all. It doesn’t help us live our best life, whatever that is going to be. We don’t feel good about ourselves if that’s how we’re feeling, which is means we’re not going to feel confident. We’re not going to feel happy. We’re going to be prone to mental health challenges and just not putting ourselves out there in areas where we do have strengths, because we just have this undercurrent of being defective.
[00:54:14] And when not, no one is. We all have strengths. We all have weaknesses. We all have differences. And it’s not the differences though, are the problem. It’s the interaction with the system where the system is not supporting the differences. So if we can articulate those differences and gaps, accurately understand ourselves, we can start putting things into place, big things and little things so that we can all thrive.
[00:54:42] And I think. We have a generation of girls starting to get identified, hopefully that can also go on to a generation of boys who are gifted, getting identified as well. And we’ve got adults out there going on this discovery journey, understanding themselves better, understanding their kids better and having that opportunity to reframe.
[00:55:06] Their lives and move forward in a positive frame of mind with a positive strengths-based reference. And I think that’s, what’s really important about this conversation. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast. I hope it wasn’t too mish mashy. I haven’t tried this exit thing before, and I really hope that I’ve pulled that off, but thank you for joining me this week.
[00:55:33] A real delight. Um, our gifted kids has always been about community and bringing people together and connection. And so I do need to mention as well, the outdoors are open this week for the, our gifted kids hub. Now, what is that exactly?
[00:55:50] So the gifted kids, hump is an online community for parents of gifted kids. It’s an opportunity to connect and get support. And there’s a bunch of resources. It includes monthly live online information sessions, monthly live online gatherings to meet other parents of gifted kids. Access to our gifted kids, held private Facebook group, exclusive member, only podcast and video interviews and the, online portal to more information
[00:56:18] and resources along with that, we also include a bonus course, which has everything you need to know about gifted and a bonus journey, which is our pathway through parenting gifted kids without journey to a new normal. So put all this together because. Easier for parents of gifted kids. It doesn’t have to be so hard.
[00:56:41] We should have confidence in understanding what gifted is all about. We do need support to parent our gifted kid, peace of mind that we’re going to actually get through this journey. In one piece, we need to be able to connect with other parents of gifted kids, and we all need that relief from having a direction and knowing what our journey.
[00:57:05] We need a safe place to share and talk about our journeys, the ups and the downs, and we need to belong and be seen integrate community. And this is what the, our gifted kids help is. You can find information on our website, our gifted kids.com backslash hub, and the doors are open until Sunday, the 28th of March at midnight.
[00:57:29] Now they’re not always open. We just opened them a couple of times a year. And that’s because in between opening them, we just focus on what’s going on in the hub, serving our members, making an impact, making that progress together, supporting each other
[00:57:43] and we can’t do that, if we’re open all the time, so we closed the doors and we get on with the journey. So the doors are open, they’re closed Sunday, and you can get more information on our website. So check that out and I will see you. Soon. I hope