Misdiagnosis of gifted adults: Dysfunctions versus aptitudes

“Much madness is divinest sense.”

Emily Dickinson

A new look at Tourette’s

Tom-Hulce-in-AmadeusWhat is labeled mental disorder may really be an asset.

In her article “Wild Child,” [Hope Magazine, October, 1996], Joanne Barrie Lynn, whose son has been diagnosed with Tourette’s and autism, noted that some researchers “believe there is evidence Mozart was a classic example of someone with Tourette ‘personality.'”

She adds, “Touretters will sometimes incorporate their predilection for obsession and compulsion into their life success path.”

[More quotes on page: learning differences 2]

She is co-author with her husband George of the book “Genius! Nurturing the Spirit of the Wild, Odd, and Oppositional Child.” A major concept of theirs is that children can be “Attention Different” – rather than having a disorder or deficit. In their experience, say the authors, “These tendencies are the source of their brilliance, and their most problematic behavior.”

[Photo: Tom Hulce as Mozart in the movie Amadeus (1984). The prolific composer experienced mood swings and impulsive behavior.]

Bipolar – living more deeply

Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison,MD., has commented about experiencing manic-depressive illness [bipolar disorder] as something positive:

“I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and have been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters.”

One of her books: Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.

> See more quotes on the pages: Hypomania and Bipolar disorder.

Asperger Syndrome

Claire Danes as Temple GrandinThe book Genius! also notes, “Autistic writer Temple Grandin suggests that people with Asperger Syndrome have a kind of creativity suited to their tendency to think in pictures. “They are not good at following conventional rules to get to their results, but are powerfully visionary and will get new ideas as feeling-images.

Grandin “profiles Albert Einstein as someone with Asperger, recounting that he developed the theory of relativity from a vision he saw while pondering the relationship between mass and energy.”

[More quotes on the page learning differences]

Also see my articles: Asperger’s and Creativity and
Claire Danes and Temple Grandin on Autism and thinking differently.


Professor Kathleen Noble, PhD, points out in our interview that “Gifted people are by no means disorder-free. We know there is a strong correlation between creativity and depression; creativity and mania…”

But giftedness and exceptional ability can often lead to misdiagnosis as psychological disorder – as noted in the book Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses – “Many of our brightest, most creative, most independent thinking children and adults are being incorrectly diagnosed as having behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders.

“They are then given medication and/or counseling to change their way of being so that they will be more acceptable within the school, the family, or the neighborhood, or so that they will be more content with themselves and their situation.”

See related article: Mis-Diagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children: Gifted and LD, ADHD, OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder – By James T. Webb, Ph.D.

[See more on Dysfunction / disorder]

Neurotics: a mine of social treasure

Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski commented in an interview, “Almost 97 percent of the highly creative suffer from different kinds of overexcitabilities.. and psychoneuroses. So, neurotics are a mine of social treasure. If their emotionality, talents, interests, and sensitivity were discovered at an early age, society and science would profit.”

[More on the page Dabrowski / Advanced Development.


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Originally posted 2007-10-06 17:35:00.


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