Monthly Archives: July 2017

Why I’m Happy I’m Not Gifted After All

In 1999, I had a psychologcal evaluation done. Included in it was the verbal part of the Wechsler IQ test for children (WISC). The performance part can’t be administered because I’m blind. My verbal IQ score, according to the report, was 154. This indicates I may be gifted.

There were several problems with this test, the most importnat being that I’d had the exact same test a year earlier. Now i must admit the psychologist who tested me in 1998 also estimated my IQ as in the gifted range.

In 2002, I had the verbal part of the Wechsler IQ test again as part of a research project on former preemies. I scored above-average, but not gifted. I blamed this on the new version of the WISC being used and continued to use the score of 154 as my official IQ score and proudly showed it off wherever appropriate. In fact, I used it as my official IQ score up till a few months ago, when I had the verbal part of the adult Wechsler test as part of my autism re-assessment. It showed I have an above-average IQ, in line with my high level high school education, but definitely am not gifted. My verbal IQ as of 2017 is 119.

When I told my parents I suspected I didn’t score as gifted on the test this year, my mother responded with: “You just don’t want to know about it.” She seemed to mean I underestimated my achievements, but did send me the message that I was supposed to be gifted or I didn’t try my best.

IQ, of course, is not a static characteristic. Before the Flynn effect was known, researchers thought people’s intelligence started decreasing in their late twenties already. I don’t know much about the science of changing scores on IQ tests, but I do know many factors contribute to one’s performance. Like the letter written to me at the end of the 2002 research study said, it’s just a snap of a moment. Maybe my IQ did really decrease as a result of my having been out of education for ten years. Maybe the medication I take has a dulling effect on my cognition. Maybe, like I said, the score in 1999 was based on retest bias. I do care in some ways, because I don’t want to be “dumb”. Then again, an IQ of 119 isn’t “dumb” and labeling people with a lower IQ as dumb is ableist and classist anyway.

However, I am also happy that I am no longer labeled gifted. I can still say I’m smart and people will acknowledge it, but I don’t need to carry the burden of being seen as “hyper-intelligent”, as my father once coined it.

There are a lot of ideas about gifted people that just don’t apply to me. Now some of these ideas are really prejudices, so the solution isn’t to distance myself from the community. However, within the gifted community there is also the assumption that people who are gifted naturally struggle with social and emotional development, unless they interact with people of their intelligence level. I embraced this idea before I was diagnosed with autism. I still understand it bears some truth. However, my take on diagnosing misfits is pragmatic: if an approach suited to one population clealry doesn’t fit, then maybe the person in question doesn’t belong to (just) that population after all.

Now you could say I’m blind and (supposedly) gifted, so I really should be given services for blind people who are gifted. In other words, it’s no wonder I struggled at special education, because most kids there are not of my intelligence level, and of course I struggled in high school, because no other kids there are blind. I can tell you though that there may not be many blind and gifted people, but they certainly are there and I struggle with interaction with them too. Besides, no-one ever gave me the opportunity of going to a high level special education school.

I don’t honestly know why, interestingly, people prefer my supposed gifted identity to my autistic identiyt when they want to choose one. I prefer my autistic identity, because it fits better. For others though, there seems to be something inherently wrong in autism and something inherently fabulous in giftedness. This goes even for people who keep telling me that all gifted people struggle with social interaction and behavior so I don’t need my autistic identity for that. Well, why then not say I don’t need my gifted identity for that?

Recent Positives and Accomplishments

I’ve not been doing too well lately. Last week in fact I landed in a major mental crisis in which I did some harm to my body. I physically recovered, but it’s still hard to find the drive to really live (as opposed to just survive) again. I’ve been meaning to write before. I mean, I know I don’t update this blog nearly as often as I should, but I really didn’t intend on going nearly five weeks without a post. Today, I’m trying to write a positive post by sharing my rays of sunlight, those things and events that brought a smile to my face lately, again. I will also share some of my accomplishments.

Day Activities

A few weeks ago, I was struggling a bit at the industrial group at day activities that I’d been placed in at first. The activities were hard and boring at the same time and I was getting easily overloaded by the other participants. The staff oticed and consulted a psychologist. She came in to observe and talk to me. It was then decided that I would switch to a group where the clients do sensory activities, like going to the snoezelen (sensory) room, simple cooking or baking and taking walks. I love those activities much more. I did feel a little weird at first, because the other clients are severely disabled. However, I feel I can be much more at ease now.

Today, we baked cupcakes. I also brought my lip balm ingredients earlier this week and made my own lip balm. This is a really quick activity, so I could do this with the staff before the other clients arrived. I also have been taking more walks, which I enjoy.

My Birthday

I know, my birthday was a month ago, but I wanted to remember it anyway. I got some lovely presents, including a stuffed cat that you can heat in the microwave. It is filled with lavender, which gives off a lovely scent particularly when the cat is warm. I brought this cat to day activities a few times, where a few other clients enjoyed it. I also got wax melts, fragrance oil for in my oil diffuser and an air pad.

Finally, an iPhone

I finally bought myself an iPhone about two weeks ago. I had my husband install it last Sunday. However, since I haven’t had any formal training on it yet and I was scared of ruining the thing, I didn’t feel comfortable working it independently. Today, I tried though and was pretty successful.

Fitness and Weight Loss

Last month, I resolved to be using the elliptical trainer for 25 minutes five days a week by now. I didn’t reach that goal. I also haven’t heard from the horseback riding school yet. However, I did more than reach my weight loss goal for this month, which was to lose one kilogram. I lost almost three. My husband also says I need to be content with my exercise accomplishments, as three months ago I barely worked out at all.

A Cornish Mum