in_excelsis_dea (in_excelsis_dea) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
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Book Review: Different Minds by Dierdre V. Lovecky

Title: Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Aspergers Syndrome and Other Learning Deficits
Author: Deirdre V. Lovecky
Rating: 4/5 stars

It's quite fun and enlightening (and makes you feel really good) when you read a book and can go "that's me!" multiple times, especially if it's explaining why you do something perceived as wrong, and the book explains to you what it is, why you do it, and what you can possibly do to fix it.  There isn't much on gifted people with AD/HD -- most literature seems to proclaim that gifted people are overdiagnosed with AD/HD.  Different Minds, however, says it is likely the opposite is true.

The book is set up in multiple chapters, first describing what Giftedness is, then describing what AD/HD is, and then describing Aspergers Syndrome (AS).  I will admit that I skimmed over the AS parts primarily because I wanted to finish this book fast (I've had it for two weeks, and it's an ILL so I can't renew it again and it's through my school library and I only get to school once a week until classes start, so...yeah.  The impending due date made me finally read through the boo), and I don't have AS, so it was kind of interesting to read, but not something I wanted to put a lot of effort in.

I grew up labeled as gifted, what little good that did me.  For one thing, in my elementary school, GATE was only in fourth and fifth grade and we did projects that were such jokes, at least from an academic standpoint, that when I got to middle school I didn't bother to attend GATE any longer. Then I moved to Germany where the concept of giftedness doesn't really exist.  I suppose that they would argue that the Gymnasium is for the gifted students, but it really wasn't, especially now that I know what giftedness really is and what it entails and needs education-wise.

My AD/HD diagnosis is recent, though there have been suspicions for years.  My current therapist and psychiatrist were reluctant to diagnosis me at first, because 1) a lot of my symptoms could be explained away by either an anxiety disorder or OCD (both of which I have), and 2) my grades were too high.  Apparently, having a 3.96 PA and AD/HD is pretty much unheard of for them, so...  But I eventually got the diagnosis, and since I had remembered hearing about the correlation between AD/HD and gifted people (especially girls) flying under the radar and seeming to be as impacted as a non-gifted AD/HD person would be, I wanted to read up on the topic.

This desire to research is apparently a sign of giftedness, actually.  Because no one had ever really said more to me than "you're gifted," and while I had had my IQ tested at a young age, before the age of five, I knew my IQ was in the genius range (or the moderately to exceptionally gifted range per Lovecky), but that knowledge did me little good.  I had to learn as an older teen and adult that people don't think like I do, that connections that may be obvious to me are not that obvious to "normal" people, and so on.  So Different Minds was a huge help in explaining what giftedness is, how it is measured, and what it means, without an accompanying "learning deficit."

The second and third chapters of this book explain what AD/HD and AS are respectively, and then make correlations between non-gifted children with the disorders and gifted children with them.  As I said before, I didn't really read the AS part, but the AD/HD chapter was informative.  I've read a lot of what AD/HD is, and expected this book to repeat the same old thing I had already heard multiple times, but it actually had a new point of view.  It talked about the three different types of AD/HD and how they present differently, especially in gifted children.  It also talked about the differences between boys and girls with the different types of AD/HD.  This is actually one of my few criticisms: the book focused primarily on girls with Inattentive AD/HD and boys with Combined Type, and stresses the differences between both types of AD/HD and girls and boys, but there was nothing on girls with Combined Type, which is what I have, and what I really wanted to know about, being female myself.

The fourth chapter was titled "Cognitive Issues" and explained how having a different mind makes you think differently.  Chapters five through eight discussed other issues that were touched upon in the first three chapters of the book, but went into a lot more detail.  The book basically explained what the issue presented in the chapter was (for instance, emotional intelligence and emotional giftedness), how it presented in gifted children without attention deficits, and how it presented in gifted children with AD/HD and gifted children with Aspergers.  In these sub-topics, the difference in male versus female children was explained.  And at the end of the respective section there was a list of ways to help children overcome these various obstacles.

This book is clearly aimed for educators and possibly parents.  There's a lot of interesting information, and it helped me figure out a lot of things that had been troubling me for awhile.  But I couldn't help but feel that 1) I was too old and 2) it was stuff I couldn't always implement myself.  But, a lot of the strategies were valid, and I definitely feel that the book is worth a read.  There was also a lot of information repeated, but I suppose that can be a good thing, because it does cement certain topics into your mind.

All in all, if you have any interested in giftedness and how it relates to AD/HD or AS, I do suggest this book.

Tags: autism, mental health, non-fiction, parenting
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