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lishermide

More than just gifted - how do you know?

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lishermide

I've seen many posts around the board by parents with clearly very bright but somewhat quirky children, often wondering how to tell if it's giftedness or something more. I thought it might be an idea for those of us with a 2E (twice exceptional, gifted with a learning disability) child to share a bit of what we've learned with respect to our own kids. It appears there can be a pretty fine line between "gifted but a bit quirky"' and those children who have a bit more going on and could do with support. We have one of both of those children in our family! Fun times :8

 

It's very easy to excuse ASD flags as "he/she is just gifted"' but in many cases the child is struggling. And I've found well meaning people just seem to agree with you that it's just because they're so smart when you talk about your concerns and worrying behaviours. It happened to us :( Our youngest missed out on much early intervention, and the best thing that has ever happened to him is obtaining his diagnosis. It's allowed him understanding and help. The label hasn't changed who he is, but has done everything to change how things are for him. I think the "if in doubt, check it out" mantra of some of my favourite EB'ers is really important here.

 

So what were some of the red flags with DS that led him to be diagnosed with an ASD (Asperger's in our case) as well as giftedness?

 

* Speech - he's always had a pretty amazing vocabulary of individual words for his age. He has a huge interest in words and their meanings. But prior to intensive speech therapy he never used it to establish any real "give and take" required for conversational speech. Asking him a question would get you either no answer at all, "I don't know", a random unrelated response or a blurb about his latest obsession. He has learnt how to have a conversation now, but still tends to spout random facts to anyone who will listen. And questions, oh my! He is the master of the "what if?" scenario, it's his #1 way of striking up a conversation. He also has an odd prosody/accent. And he tends to repeat the same thing over and over, he especially loves lines from movies.

 

* Social - unlike many kids with an ASD, or even some gifted kids, he is quite social a lot of the time. But his manner of making interactions is impaired. He is oblivious to social rules other kids just seem to know. He doesn't know how to initiate play with other children, instead will barge in and say something odd. Or try to do something really funny (but often inappropriate) to get a laugh. Or just follow other kids around like he's hoping he'll just become a part of what they're doing. He doesn't notice when other kids treat him as weird, make fun of him or don't like what he's doing. He is also overly friendly with strangers. He thinks nothing of striking up conversations wherever he is, with anyone who will listen. Or even not listen ;)

 

* Early reading - whoever knew precocious reading (hyperlexia), one many see as an early sign of giftedness could be a sign of an ASD? DS was only 2-3 when we realized he was recognizing words. Not just little three letter words either. I remember sitting at a restaurant with him at that age before I'd realised he knew any words & he perused the menu, pointed to the correct spot on the Kids Menu and said "I hava chicken" lol I went home and found he knew quite a few words, including chicken, toilet and tree. By the time he started school he was reading the newspaper.

 

* He is highly literal. He takes everything at face value. If you say it is, it is, after all why would anyone say something if it wasn't true?? He is by the same token brutally honest.

 

* Focus & attention - he can spend hours without breaking focus from a computer or video game but in almost all other situations his attention span is extremely short. He has trouble maintaining focus at school. Group time on the floor is hard for him. He is extremely slow to complete work at school (but gets upset if he's not finished but has to move on to something else).

 

* Sensory - he has lots of sensory issues, mostly defensive. It's changed over the years, but he has hated being dirty, sandy, wet, the feel of some clothing, the texture of some foods. On the other side, he seeks touch (oh boy, was I embarrassed when he went through the stage of patting random bottoms). He loves to be "squished". He avoids heavy muscle work and tires easily compared to other kids his age. He often retreats into his own world when he's having a bit of sensory overload. If things are busy and noisy he tends to operate on the outside of the scene by himself.

 

* He is inflexible. He has always been fussy and things need to be just so.

 

* Auditory processing - he has troubles. It's too young to test for CAPD yet, but he has had testing that indicates his ability to process and understand speech in background noise is in the bottom 1% of the population. How does that manifest? - He has difficulty in class when he doesn't hear the directions properly, especially if there are multiple steps. He's still trying to figure out what the first instruction was and doesn't hear the rest. He's better with visual instruction. He often gets distressed in noisy situations. Apparently he just doesn't have a very good noise filter. He sings a lot of the time, especially at school. It seems to help him block other noises out.

 

* IQ - this is an interesting one. Often children who are 2E have a very spiky IQ profile. In our case they were unable to give him a Full Scale IQ due to the variability in his scores. His performance IQ was firmly in the gifted range, yet his processing speed is low average. In fact the total difference across subsets was more than 60 percentage points :o When he was tested using a non-verbal test his results were again well into the gifted range.

 

There are some great links and articles here is anyone wants to read a bit more.

 

EB 2E mums, what can you tell us about your twice exceptional child?

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baddmammajamma

Well, first of all, I can tell you that my 2E child is an amazing kid. ;)

 

Good timing on this thread! I just had coffee with two other “2E Mums” this morning: one has a child whose learning disability was masking her giftedness and the other who has a child whose giftedness was masking his Aspergers. Both have now been appropriately diagnosed – with both their needs/disabilities AND gifts recognized. But in the meantime, both have also really missed out (for opposite reasons) on getting some excellent support earlier on. I guess that’s why I tend to be so rah rah “When in doubt, check it out. Check it all out!"

 

I think it's understandable for parents to lock in on “giftedness” as the main driver of their child’s social difficulties/poor behaviour in class/obsessions/whatever, even though there might be other forces in play (beyond overexcitabilities et al). That’s precisely what my husband did when I first started suspecting that our daughter was "different." It was far less daunting for him to think that she was a “quirky brilliant kid” than a brilliant one who also had "needs."

 

Anyway…back to the question at hand: we are really lucky in some respects that J’s ASD was diagnosed before we formally sought assessment for giftedness. It easily could have gone the other way! Pretty much everyone around us – friends, my husband, extended family, even our paediatrician at the time – attributed J’s “quirks” to her seemingly high intelligence. Still, I knew in my heart of hearts something else was going on, and thankfully, two very brave friends encouraged me to get her thoroughly assessed by a psychologist. She was given a provisional ASD diagnosis at 28 months that was formally validated at age three; we had her formally assessed for giftedness when she was 4.5.

 

Some of the tell tale signs sound a lot like yours, lishermide:

 

* Sensory: Wouldn’t put ANTHING in her mouth beyond a nipple (mine or a bottle). Never gummed toys. Wouldn’t eat solid foods (she didn’t learn how to do so until she was three!) Hated wearing socks, shoes, or clothing with tags.

 

* Social: Even at age 2, I could tell that she was not like the other kids in our playgroup. She could fixate on a certain toy forever but didn’t show a real curiosity in peer aged kids. She was great with adults and older kids, however, which is one of the reasons we misread her social skills as being within the range of normal.

 

*Abnormal communications: Started speaking early and developed a huge arsenal of complex nouns by age 2, but no phrases whatsoever. No "Hi Mommy" or "Hi Daddy" or "me want juice," but she could rattle off complex dinosaur names.

 

* Hyperlexia: She was obsessed with letters and numbers from a young age and was a self taught reader by 26 months. She used to carry a magnetic Q with her wherever she went – she gave letters names and identities. Interestingly, as we pursued early intervention, her weird tendencies with words and letters subsided. In their place, she has developed a true gift for and mastery of the written language.

 

*Selective attention: Would (and still does) often tune us and others out and get lost in her own thoughts/activities. Had enormous difficulty following or joining in group activities, such as Gymbaroo, and would want to be off doing her own thing, on her own terms. We were living in Singapore -- the land of rules & conformity -- when this behavior came to the forefront, so you can imagine how she stuck out in the kiddie gym classes!

 

*Obsessive behaviors: Love affair with Q aside, she also had certain obsessions and ritualistic behaviors that are suggestive of an ASD. Loved to line up toys. Would go through phases of only wanting a certain color item. That sort of thing.

 

*IQ: Even with all of her quirks and deficits, we were fairly certain that J was gifted based on some exceptional skills (e.g. reading), how quickly she picked up on new concepts, creativity & working memory. Unlike many 2E kids, she tests very well (her needs display themselves elsewhere). As a result, there were no statistically significant gaps in her IQ subsets and her full scale IQ is very high.

 

As several people on EB know, J had the benefit of 2.5 years of very intense early intervention before she started her first year of school. Although kids with ASD can benefit from intervention at any stage, I think it is often less stigmatizing (and logistically less complicated) to do it when they are really young. A 3-year-old who struggles socially doesn’t really stand out much – but a 7-year-old will. I'm glad we were able to get a good grip on her major issues early, and we continue to address them through weekly OT and social skills group. She has made tremendous strides on all fronts, to the degree that she is now doing really well – socially, academically, and behaviourally – at a mainstream school with minimal support from a private shadow.

 

But despite all of the early intervention and despite her high IQ, there are still things that pose challenges for my daughter – stuff that most kids don’t have much trouble mastering. For instance, the “give and take” of conversation often alludes her. She can knock your socks off with in depth reporting on complex subjects, but she has difficulty with sustaining a normal, social dialogue (we continue to work on this daily!) She still needs advance warning and encouragement if things (like schedules at school) are changed, and she can have trouble transitioning from activity to activity. Her fine and gross motor skills are relatively poor. And she still doesn’t really read social nuances well. I do worry about the coming years when girls start to get more exclusive in their friendships (and often nastier too!) She is just such a sweet, gentle soul.

 

On a braggart note, it is awesome that we are also at the stage where she is being recognized more and more for her gifts rather than her needs! She is a masterful creative writer. She is a whiz in math. According to her teachers and school staff, she thinks in a way and works at a pace that is rarely seen. Aforementioned fears aside, I am very excited about what the future holds for my funky little girl & am very proud of how hard she has worked to develop skills than come quite naturally to her little brother and other NT kids. Call me totally biased, but I think 2E kids are some of the most interesting ones around. ;)

 

ETA: Some additional resources:

 

Twice Exceptional - Parents' Forum

 

2E newsletter

Edited by baddmammajamma
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baddmammajamma

Additional thought to my treatise above:

 

I think it can be really valuable for parents to take a comprehensive approach to working out what makes their child tick in situations where a child seems complicated. In the case of one of my coffee buddies from this morning, her son was assessed as being highly gifted by a very reputable psychologist. But because that psychologist was only conducting an assessment for giftedness (administered the IQ test), the Aspergers went undetected for two more years.

 

 

Edited by baddmammajamma

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brazen

wow, really interesting thread!

 

i can't really contribute directly to the topic as i don't (yet) have a "2e" kid, but i can share our stories which might show something slightly different.

 

last year we were having problems with ryan at school. he was refusing to participate, but when he did he was doing his work in very short times (ie: the whole day's work in an hour etc). he was reading way ahead of the other kids, and doing maths in his head. we - the teacher, principal, school counselor and dh & i - all suspected he was gifted.

 

testing actually showed that he wasn't gifted at all (completely average IQ in every way) but had asperger syndrome.

 

he also had trouble having a two way conversation and the questions he would ask, they would blow my mind away! (always in the car when i couldn't go looking for answers lol). socially he wanted friends and enjoyed having friends, but struggled with the social rules that go along with it. he didn't develop any "special interests" until he was 5.5 and even now they can last for only weeks, contrary to popular belief about them (and indeed the assessment criteria). he also had soemthing like hyperlexia (i forget the name) - he didn't start to read (other than around 2-300 sight words he'd taught himself before starting preschool) until he was 6 and in kindergarten, but once it 'clicked' for him he jumped reading levels each week and within around 4 months was past levels and onto chapter books.

 

after ryan was diagnosed we started to wonder about rora, as she was having a lot of problems at preschool - some similar and some quite different. we oculdn't afford a full ASD assessment so we had her IQ tested instead, to see if any signs of ASD showed up through that (ryan's profile was very spikey, which is very typical of aspergers). no spikiness but to our shock rora WAS gifted! we had no idea (and to be honest haven't seen many signs of it even now)

 

we are currently going through the ASD assessment process through the public system, but the private psych we saw who did a "pre-assessment" (to see if it was worth going ahead wth the full thing privately - then we got a last minute cancellation for public) said she's almost certainly on the spectrum and it's just a matter of where...

 

for rora the issues are mostly social, she wants friends but doesn't have a clue what to do with them. a playdate for her consists of her watching tv etc while her friend plays with emelia or whichever other children are around.

 

we're watching closely to see if she shows signs of hyperlexia-like condition too and i've noticed these school holidays that she can acutally read simple books on her own, which she couldn't a few weeks ago, so it's possible...

 

i've had people say she's 'just gifted' or 'why do you need a label'. for my piece of mind i need to know! plus it makes it so much easier to work out what support she needs (and ryan) when you have a diagnosis - which i don't see as a 'label' to be honest, but as a means to understand and support appropriately.

 

yes, agree with you BMJ - even while going through the assessment process with rora and strongly suspecting ASD we have been asking that the assessors look for anything that may be causing the issues...

Edited by brazen

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baddmammajamma

We need to open the floor to parents who have 2E kids beyond those with ASD! I know they are out there! ;)

 

brazen, I'm surprised that none of Ryan's sub-tests came out as unusually high, especially due to how advanced he is in some areas. I hope you guys are able to get some answers about Rora soon.

 

lishermide, thanks for starting this thread. It's always nice to be reminded that we aren't alone in this journey and to be able to share with others what we've learned in the trenches. I wish IQ tests and ASD assessments and developmental paed visits et al were more afforable and more accessible!!!!

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brazen

i was surprised too and even double checked wth the psych after meeting with the local gifted group, but no, he was high average and low average but nothing out of average ;)

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lishermide
Well, first of all, I can tell you that my 2E child is an amazing kid.

 

Mine too :)

 

Interestingly enough BMJ, we didn't have DS pegged as gifted at all, even in the face of the early reading. Actually, lets call it word recognition, because I don't think he was reading. He never really learnt to read in the decoding sort of way, he just knew words and put them together lol. His conversational speech really let him down, he just didn't seem like a gifted kid. Nobody would have thought the kid gifted when you'd ask him a question and he'd either answer wrongly or stare at you blankly as if he hasn't understood :unsure: It wasn't until I got him to Pre-K and his teacher was amazed at how quickly he grasped new concepts & the reading really took off that we thought he might be a little above average. I was surprised how high his result was on the test. Not by the low processing speed scores though, anyone who talks to him can tell he has issues there, it's very obvious.

 

Brazen, I'd be interested to see how Ryan would do on a non-verbal test like Ravens.

 

And FWIW my oldest only scored Superior when tested years ago, yet she's in a full time extension class at school, and doing beautifully. She's a talented artist and writer. High achievement isn't only the realm of the "gifted" per IQ test people :)

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sebela

Well, I have just been having a long heart to heart with BMJ about my own 2E girl. My eldest DD is nearly 9, for various reasons I didn't have a lot of contact with other children her age when she was small, and I just assumed that parenting was hard gig, and that as bright intense people we would have a bright intense child. I really had no idea she wasn't perfectly normal (but bright and "intense"). To be honest it's still quite hard for me to know how different she is because we have a pretty skewed sample in our friends' kids to compare her to and life has somewhat conspired against me spending much time at school.

 

I was assured by multiple day carers and preschool teachers that she should absolutely start school at 4yrs 10mths and so she did. And we were assured for her first two years of school that she was just "a bit immature" and the academics "would click soon"....

 

Then we moved states, changed schools and found out just how far behind she really was, where her new school had the (far more sensible) approach that "She's SO bright their must be something WRONG." And so the investigation journey started... So far every test she has ever done has had wild scatter - 83% between her VCI and her WMI on her WISC! She has had amazing support at her new school, and I think because it was working out well on the academic front everyone has put her educational delays down to poor approach by the first school so there was no push to consider anything more than her being very bright with some auditory and other sensory issues.

 

But after having DD2 tested and reading more, and more, and more, I came to the realisation that DD1 is not just bright, or bordering on gifted, I am sure she's properly gifted with multiple 2nd Es. We have a formal diagnosis of CAPD and are waiting on an assessment for dyslexia and ADHD in September. But the more I read the more i worry that we also (rather?) have ASD in the mix. And then I think maybe I am crazy because not one teacher has ever even suggested ADHD, let alone ASD...

 

I have read through everyone else's posts tonight and nodded my head thinking "yep, that's my girl"...

 

DD did not sleep through the night until she was 6.5 years old. Yes, years.

 

Did not eat solids in any meaningful way until 2.5 yrs and what she would eat was extremely limited. It took us until she was 9 to get her eating a wide variety of healthy meals - and then put her on an elimination diet and lost all those foods we had worked so hard on for so many years :-).

 

Was a headbanger as a child.

 

Lined her toys up endlessly (still seems to have the setting up of her toys as her main focus, over actually playing with them).

 

She is quite the social butterfly and NEEDS company all the time but I think she is far less sophisticated than her peers and I fear she has no real idea what is going on socially at all and that this will become a significant issue in the coming years.

 

Has a raft of sensory issues and had numerous retained reflexes that have been integrated with OT.

 

Is very literal, it's not about everything so it's hard to know whether it's genuine or being obstructive when she feels like it. I am increasingly sure it's genuine.

 

Focus and attention issues

 

profoundly visual / spatial learner

 

speech - we were never aware of a speech problem per se, but she has no sense of when to interrupt or join a conversation, and will blather on endlessly with no idea of whether you are interested at all, whether it is an appropriate time, etc.

 

What exactly it is remains to be seen, but I am quite sure that DD has issues to be diagnosed. We have an interesting 6-12 months ahead of us.

 

Oh and DD2, who is highly gifted may well have inattentive ADHD - but she seems so freaking normal and easy to me, compared to DD1 that it's hard for me to see.

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brazen

sebela, in my limited experience (of my own and others i know at our school) teachers are not very good at picking up on ASD (not sure about ADHD). in fact rora's preschool teacher is the only one who has said "maybe", the others have said "no way" then whaddaya know, a diagnosis. so if your gut is telling your ASD don't let the teachers put you off investigating.

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Sue Heck

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Edited by Nicholas Rush

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baddmammajamma
Socially she doesn't really fit in with peers- although isn't shy or lacking in skills they just don't get her I think. I can't tell you the last time DD was invited to someones house as its always us that have playdates.

 

Nicholas, I'm sorry that her peers aren't more inclusive. Does she might not being invited, or is she aware that she is being excluded?

 

Reading these most recent posts makes my original post in this thread sound pretty Pollyanna cheery, which was not my intent. I should be careful not to sugarcoat our journey. Parts of it have really sucked, and there continue to be challenges...though we now have far more encouraging moments than bad. I guess because the initial post ASD-diagnosis stage was so overwhelming, things seem relatively calm by comparison now. As I've said before on EB, I think we are enjoying a nice plateau right now, where we can really see the results of the early intervention. But when the social stakes grow higher in upper primary and into high school, I think we will face an entirely new set of big hurdles. I try not to worry (easier said than done) and try to channel my energies into helping J develop the skills she will need to possibly mitigate some of the challenges.

 

It's always encouraging for me to hear from people like madmother & other mothers of older 2E kids who are much further down the path than we are. One of the reasons I share "our story" on EB is that maybe it will help another family who has a very young, unusually wired kid.

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brazen

interesting, i had never heard of a ravens test before. are they commonly done?

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Sue Heck

==

Edited by Nicholas Rush

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weekendsrule

Two disclaimers - one is that I'm possibly ASD too, and this means I can't concisely make a point. I have highlighted two bits for those that want to pass the dribble. This is lengthy. Be warned, and I apologise. Two is that we knew about DS1's ASD before we knew he was gifted, so we went the other way around :rolleyes: We're quirky like that (plus, I've had training ;) ).

 

We have at least one 2e child - gifted ASD. Now that we're pretty sure that DS1's quirkiness was actually a sign of something more, DS2 showing the same things is hitting us in a different way. Hopefully we won't **** up so much with him.

 

We were aware of DS1's quirkiness from a young age. He never liked to snuggle like most babies. He was highly sensitive to pain and most other stimuli. Water temperature has to be just right, won't chew food, forget about brushing teeth etc. He would only eat Heinz Vegetable Napolitana for two years. He had a lot of different quirks, but he was just "our son". He was who he was. We didn't think anything of it. We just naturally moved our lives around the needs of our child. There was nothing THAT out of the ordinary - it was just personality stuff. Plus, he loved us, he said so often. He was thoughtful, getting me water when I was sore to make me better and stuff. So what if he never played imaginary games? So what if he wouldn't look at you in the eyes - he was only a bubba after all. And it's not that he NEVER did - just sometimes, usually when he was in trouble, and that is normal. When you're two, three or four. Not so much when you're six though... not to this extent at any rate.

 

He was slow to crawl, walk, talk, etc. If anything, we thought that he would need tutoring to keep up at school. But then - He taught himself the concept of addition when he was two. He knew how to get to Nanna's at the same age. He could recognise letters and knew the alphabet song at an early age, but that was because we kept singing it to him - so of course he did. He learned to read with his classmates - pretty much on schedule, if not ahead, but again - that was because we spent the time with him right? Now he's in grade one, he's the fourth/fifth best reader. Not that great.

 

Turns out his ASD is hiding his giftedness. And as he hates to read, he just doesn't. But put a math problem in front of him, and all of a sudden, his reading is well above where he's showing lol.

 

In 2008, we moved house, and as we started noticing a change in DS1 after that (either that, or he wasn't maturing as he should), we started to wonder. I have a friend with a child who has Highly Functioning Autism - she would tell me stuff, and I would be like, yeah, DS1 does that... so I read up the DSM to find out what the criteria was for Asperger's. Some EB members may remember me asking a bunch of questions here lol - he was quirky in that way, but not "enough".

 

Turns out his giftedness is hiding his ASD.

 

I'm reading a good book at the moment - Different Minds - on 2e kids (gifted with either ADHD or ASD). The author actually goes into detail and reading that (as opposed to the five word definitions in the DSM) - now I see ASD in not only DS1, but also DH (yeah, we knew that already lol), and more importantly for now - me. I've been diagnosed with all manner of mental illnesses, but reading this book - I feel like the author was there with me as a child it's that similar to my life. Stay tuned. Possibly my childhood trauma's have been hiding my own ASD. It would certainly explain a lot (like why drugs have never worked lol, and why I still don't 'fit' even after years of therapy - therapy is never going to work if it's treating the wrong thing).

 

Back to DS1 - we knew he was "sorta smart" when it came to math, but given that we'd been considering ASD - it just comes with the territory right? We finally got in to see a decent speechie this year, and after testing DS1, she recommended we test for giftedness. So we did, and he is. Blew my mind. He also has ASD, and isn't just quirky, which also blew my mind. I just wanted to help him stay safe in the playground (no sweetie, if a child takes your lunch they are NOT your friend), and stay out of trouble with teachers (use your listening ears!). His quirks were the same as those with ASD - I figured he had PDD-NOS at most.

 

We've been 'fighting' with everyone over this. Daycare didn't notice anything, even when we asked them to keep an eye out. His prep teacher last year didn't notice anything, even when we asked. Family think we're over-reacting and he's fine ("he IS one of the youngest in his class" - ffs - this was only a few weeks ago from a friggin teacher relative). He saw a neuro-psych last year, who specialises in ASD, and she was iffy - turns out he was having a bad day, which isn't surprising given the distance we had to travel to get there for the day. GP's think he's fine. NONE of these people spend any time with him. NONE of them. The two that have - the speechie this year and his psych, both see what we see. His teacher this year, who is professional and cares, sees what we see. The people in his life who have a brain, and care, see what we see, and they see ASD. Other people have an opinion, but no clue. It has taken me a long time to learn to silently tell them to shut the **** up. I know my kid, I know that I'm not the sort of person to want something that isn't there, and I'm smart too. I'm smart in the way you need to be. Unfortunately, I'm also not confidant at all. Till now. Too much time has already been wasted because I've 'trusted' the professionals. We've missed out on major funding. He's missed out totally on early intervention. We've had to borrow money to get his the therapy he's having at the moment.

 

So... How do you know?

 

Sometimes you don't know. Sometimes your gut tells you. And sometimes there are neon signs. It's as individual as the kids themselves.

All you can do is watch with an open mind, read what you can, and don't trust someone automatically for any reason. If you think there's something there, and they don't, even if they are professionals, ask yourself "how do they know?" If you come up with a good reason for how they know, then maybe they do, but otherwise, trust yourself.

 

I also have trouble with guilt. He should be having therapy each week. He should be having this or that, and we just can't afford it. My bestie tells me that you can only do what you can do. Yeah, having all that would be great, but at the end of the day, you can only do what you can do.

 

Love them, accept them, and the rest (therapy etc) is a bonus.

 

Nicholas Rush - another book I'm reading at the moment talks of one ASD teen speaking of "her species". I feel that too, as does DH - we get each other because we're the same species. We think the same way, we have the same sense of humour etc. This author manages groups of ASD kids that get together to socialise - ONLY ASD kids. Those of you in cities should try the same (or join one if they already exist). It's good for kids with ASD to have 'safe' time with people (with just them) - not just 'learning' time (with mainstream kids). They do still learn social skills, but it's safer with people who 'get' them because they are the 'same' as them.

 

BMJ - as we've only just got our diagnoses, my head is still spinning - to the point where my body jerks a few times an hour when I'm stimulated with too loud a noise or something (this is new for me). I've had to quit uni, we're broke as (could lose our home), I don't know how to talk to the people I need to (for instance, I was going to take research etc to give his teachers at our meeting last week - I didn't know this wouldn't be well received, though thankfully someone told me). I'm even self-injuring again :( It's just all too much at the moment. Hearing your story - knowing that it will calm down and things will get 'routine' / 'normal' - speaking your story is important for you, and it is important for others to know that they're not the only ones going through a rough time etc etc etc - you're right. But I don't mind a little sugar-coating either ;) It's good for the soul (and hopes).

 

I also have to add - the best thing about having a 2e kid - the things they come out with. I've worked with kids for most of my adult life - but I can tell you, nothing beats a 2e kid for the unexpected nuggets they come out with. Maybe it's my own (possible) ASD, but DS1 just blows my socks off sometimes lol...

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capper

I also have a 2e child. Although his 2 e is different to others here. My DS is hearing impaired. As his impairment is visible due to aids and FM systems, it is a lot easier to prove. However, it is also easy for the people in his life to concentrate on his disability rather than his ability. It is always great to see him do well academically as we know that although he is academically gifted he has to work harder to achieve his goals. His ability to play three musical instruments is also an achievement for him, but I believe that this ability is inbuilt and natural. He works hard and practices his instruments every day.

 

The battle is to ensure that his academic needs are met while ensuring that his hearing deficit isn't overwhelming.

 

 

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Prickly

We are just starting out in the process of deciding whether to do further testing/assessments with our son. We've been skirting around the edge of the 'system' for quite a number of years. I suspected Aspergers when he was younger, but was put off seeking further diagnosis when the paediatrician we saw brushed him off as being quirky and eccentric. And that because his behaviour could be diverted, then he couldn't possibly have Aspergers. He did diagnose him with low muscle tone though, and this has seen us accessing physio and OT services intermittently over the past 3 years. I've mentioned my concerns to these specialists along the way, and they have mostly been reassuring that he ISN'T on the spectrum - but that if I am concerned that we should seek another opinion.

Fast forward to his last school report, which came as a nasty surprise. Most of his results showed that he only has a limited understanding of the material - quite a shock as previous reports had put him as achieving results higher than average. His teacher commented that he seems to have some sort of processing problem, and recommended we see a speech therapist.

So last week, we had a full speech, language and literacy assessment done. Still waiting on the report to come through - but the rundown the therapist gave us at the end was quite encouraging. It placed him overall with a reading age >4 years his age. Some of the subtests placed him a little higher, but there were a few subtests that placed him age appropriately, and this brought the overall score down slightly. No sign of any processing problems at all.

I have an appointment with his teacher next week to discuss his report, and she is aware that we were having the Speech assessment done - so it will be interesting to see how she reacts to the results.

His low tone is particularly bad in his writing arm - so I am left wondering if his school performance is being hindered by not being able to finish tasks. This annoys me somewhat - the school and his teacher are fully aware of his muscle problems & if his needs aren't being accommodated, then I'll be proactive in making sure they are in the future.

So I'm left wondering whether to test further or not. I know he is bright - I don't necessarily think he is gifted - but after reading what you wonderful ladies have to say about giftedness being masked by a disability - I'm thinking that I would be doing him a huge disservice by not testing.

How do you come across as not being a pushy parent though ? That first paediatrician did a great job at making me feel like a neurotic parent - and I need to move past this !

 

Sorry for the epic read, but after reading your stories here tonight - they have struck a chord :)

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weekendsrule

Prickly - I got over being a pushy parent after three years of asking whether DS1 had ASD and repeatedly getting "you're paranoid" responses in return by people who did not know him (though they should have). If I had pushed three years ago, he would have had early intervention - now he has missed out on this. If I had pushed three years ago, we would have had three years of income to pay for therapies - now he's being diagnosed just as DH loses his job (he is now my carer, so can't get another job). If I had pushed three years ago, I wouldn't have had to endure three years of crap from people because they thought they knew better than me - though they'll still give me crap I'm sure, it'll be less when they know he has an official diagnosis.

 

I hope that YOU get over being a pushy parent by hearing my story ;) . You don't have to be an in-your-face pushy parent - you can be the nice type, but still get the job done.

 

I failed as a parent. Don't be afraid to push.

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baddmammajamma

Kasie: I think you are being unduly hard on yourself. You have not failed as a parent just because you didn't push for a dx when your son was younger. I think you are in very good company amongst some very good parents. It's not uncommon for kids with high functioning forms of ASD to slip under the radar when they are young, especially if they are gifted. It does suck, however, that the system is totally skewed toward only supporting families on the early intervention front who have young children. I wish the federal funding, for instance, were available for x amount of years after diagnosis, rather than "only applies to children who receive a diagnosis before the age of 6." One of the reasons I push so hard on EB for parents to know the early warning signs is so they can take advantage of that support should their child be on the spectrum.

 

Prickly, I totally agree with Kasie on the "don't worry about being a pushy parent." You can be a strong advocate for your son without being rude, but you need to be that advocate because no one else will care as much as you. We got fobbed off by our paed, who made me feel like a neurotic, overly anxious first time mother. It was a relief to finally meet with someone (a psychologist specializing in developmental disorders) who finally "got" my daughter and validated my concerns.

 

My strong advice would be for you to seek a comprehensive assessment by a great psychologist who has experience dealing with gifted kids who have learning disabilities/special needs. Even if your son doesn't turn out to be "gifted" and/or learning disabled in the formal sense, a professional like that would likely be the best able to help make sense of his unusual profile. There are also some developmental paeds who work in this space as well. I don't know where you are located, but if you are in the Sydney area, I'd be happy to PM some recommendations.

 

Glad this thread has been helpful to you & hope that you are able to get some answers soon.

Edited by baddmammajamma

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sebela
He knew how to get to Nanna's at the same age.

Oh gosh you just reminded me of something DD1, my 2E girl, did when she was 15 months old. We were staying with friends for a few weeks in Melbourne and while there she had chosen herself a wooden trolley which I had caved and bought her because I was so tickled by her clarity over what she wanted and because I hoped she might use it to start walking. Well she did. She would get up at 5-5:30 am each morning, get straight on the trolley, walk to door of our room and start ramming it to get out, walk to the front door of the house and ram that trying to get out. One day (not at 5am!) I decided to let her out to see where she wanted to go, she turned to the stairs and waited to be let down, she waited at the gate to be let out, she turned right and walked down the street, and waited to be carried across the road, she turned left when I put her down on the other side and off she went, then down and alley and to the back door of a cafe/store we had been too a few times. In the door round the corner into the cafe section (which we had been to only once before, we went there for groceries normally) and round into the corner to the toy box. This was a 5-10 minute walk. She didn't walk independently for another month (then she ran), she didn't talk for another 3 months (and then had a language explosion), but she knew the way to a toy box she had seen only once before in a cafe down the street, across roads round corners and down back alleys.

 

With the Raven's both my girls have done the internet version and both of them test far better on that than they have on the Wechsler non verbal equivalents, which are done with some pretty dinky cartoons that I think they just couldn't relate to. I personally found the Ravens far easier to do than the Wechsler cartoons too. I think the cartoonishness is supposed to make the tests friendly and fun to a child, but I just found them weird and confusing and I suspect my kids did too. The Raven's line diagrams were far more accessible to me as straight logic questions.

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brazen

prickly, definitely ignore the "pushy parent" people - you are doing the best by your kid, trying to get to the bottom of what is going on and then support them in the most appropriate way possible.

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X5-494

EB 2E mums, what can you tell us about your twice exceptional child?

 

Where do I start, seriously ....... This will end up as a novel as this is the first time I have written (typed) it out before.

 

Usually I stay out of these threads and just lurk and read, BUT I want people to hear and learn from my experiences. I NEVER want another parent to go through what I had to. I had so very little support over the years that I want to poke some people in the eye with a rusty fork.

 

I fought and fought and fought - four four years and spend well over $5000 out of pocket trying to get a diagnosis (this is really the part that hit me the most). With every bloody medical/ Education professional I came in contact with in regards to my child. It was lonely, frustrating and made me as angry as hell. Then there is the so called "friends" I had. They are really the people that I am most angry at. Supportive my a*se. Understanding - I don't think so. Friendly - very much - at first. But I didn't fit into the little box that they had me pegged into.

 

Anyway enough of the vent .....

Newborn: I'm not sure if anyone will agree with me here, but I felt that it was important to put it in. As a first time mother I thought that it was unusual that my hours old baby was follow my voice with his eyes. Wherever I was, his eyes were boring holes into me. His eyes just seemed to be soaking up everything that he could see. It's really hard to explain (I really suck sometimes at expressing myself). His eyes were just "alive". Like he knew what was going on around him. He was so alert to everything around him. He was just so observant (if that's even a word).

Sensory: Master A, has always hated crowds (anymore then 5 people in a room and he stresses out - majorly, but is getting a LOT better), bright lights, loud noises. He was constantly putting things into his mouth, or chewing on things (like car wheels). I've also discovered that he is a "sensory seeker". He constantly needs some form of sensory input. He was always fidgeting, restless, bouncy. When Master A was about 9 months old, he refused to eat "baby food" (the mussy stuff) He needed to have "solid" food like toast. He still does and will only eat mashed potato with lumps in it. Master A has ADHD (diagnosed in late 2009).

Social and Emotional: I always put these two together. Master A has a pretty big delay in both areas (around 2-3 years) :(. This area is one of the hardest for me. I am ruled by my emotions and I am very awkward socially, so it's hard for me to help in this area. My son has no idea how to have a two way conversation. There is no back and forth. He really really struggles. No idea about how to form friendships, what it takes to maintain a friendship or even what a friendship means. As far as he is concerned a friend is a kind person. If there is a problem that needs to be solved on an social/emotional level - He has no clue as to how to figure it out, and becomes frustrated, anxious and sometimes violent. This is were a LOT of our problems lie. In behavior, due to not knowing. Master A has always been a loner. Prefers his own company then other kids. In saying that, He is a social butterfly. Loves people and loves to be social. I will constantly contradict myself when I speak of my son, because that is what he is - a contradiction. A doesn't fit in with his peers - he is more suited to either younger or older people. I was/ still am to some degree a helicopter parent. If I didn't hover, I knew the second I turned my back he would be hitting/ kicking/ punching/ pushing another child, so it was easier to stay near and hover/ deal with problems as soon as they came up, then to deal with the fallout of the behavior if I wasn't looking.

I had just written out a great big thing on an incident in a play group we were involved in, but as some are members on here and I just want to try to forgive and forget, I'm not going to say anything negative about people that had no clue/ didn't want to know.

 

Abnormal communications: No two way conversations. No to little ability to see past his own emotions and have empathy for others.Really no expressive language. It's extremely difficult for A to tell you how he feels, what he is thinking, what he likes, etc. Literal in thinking and problem solving and expressing that in verbal form. Master A didn't exactly have a speech delay. He would communicate in non verbal ways to get his point across. A very good example - A is 2 years old, not say full words. Ma ma for milk.

Gets his cup from floor in lounge room. Brings it over and hits me with it.

Me - "do you want a drink, I need to make lunch ?"

A- "ma ma"

Me - "go and get it then"

Walks into kitchen, opens the fridge, gets milk from fridge.

A - "ma ma"

Me - "I'm busy right now with making your lunch - Take it to the dinning room table"

A - "ma ma"

Takes sippy cup, drink to dinning room table

A - "ma ma"

Me - "yes lunch is ready"

I bring the lunch to the table and pour a drink

A - *sigh*

 

A is a December baby. He started daycare the February after he turned 2. This is how we communicated until 6 weeks after starting day care. Then he would take in approx. 7 word sentences, eg "Mum, I'm thirsty can I have a drink, please ?" He hasn't shut up since. It is constantly why, why, why. He will listen to your explanation and then will pick one or two words out and constantly repeat them. Over and over and over again. He watched some science show the other week, his saying for this week - "water turns to ice, ice turns to water" This phrase was repeated constantly. He refused to get dressed for school, eat breakfast, go to the toilet. I couldn't get him to interact with me unless it had something to do with his phrase.

 

Master A is very articulate. His speech is way beyond his years and uses a lot of complex word combinations. It's hard to describe, or even to give you an example. If you heard him, it would make you a little uncomfortable that a 6.5 year old is talking to you about the difference between a hurricane and a cyclone. Yet, he doesn't pronounce syllables.

Hyperlexia: I have always read to A. Even when I was pregnant. I love books, and wanted my child/ren to love them too. I taught the very basics to him, like this is the letter a, this is how you spell cat, etc. The best thing I can do is show you the books he was reading and at what age.

 

independently by three

 

independently by five

 

currently reading (well the second book - he finished the first in a day

 

He was tested when he was 5.5 years of age and read at a 9.4 year old level. Now it's at the grade 5 - 9 level (that is what the last book is marketed at.

Selective attention: This is hard. Sometimes it's like A doesn't even hear me/ others when we speak to him. Yet, he is constantly listening to everything that is said/ going on around him. Example: Out to dinner on 12th July for my mother's birthday. A is TOTALLY engrossed in colouring in/ eating dinner. I asked mum whether she was enjoying herself and that we should come back and do it for my birthday in August. Mum said that she would have to get some entertainment other then the screaming toddler a few tables over. I asked what she had in mind, and she said a stripper. I laughed and said that it wouldn't be appropriate with Master A. On hearing his name or suddenly coming to life, he asked "What's a stripper ?"

 

This kid was NOT listening. You would have thought that what he was doing was the most interesting thing to him - ever !! He was TOTALLY engrossed in it. But he was listening.

 

Master A doesn't like team activities - hates show and tell, carpet time, ball games, etc. Even with one on one play with another child, he finds it difficult to understand the emotional side of things. Changes of rules, differencing of opinions on rules of games, etc. He "tunes out" and continues along with the "set" rules of any given subject.

Obsessive behaviors: Speech !!! Words or phrases being constantly repeated. It drives you nuts at times. When anxious, he will use his arms in a train wheel motion. If you don't do something, then a meltdown is likely to happen - and soon.

 

Depending on his mood/ current interest, A will become obsessed with one thing and focus all of his time, energy, thought, etc into it. Currently it's marbles (well his marble run), water turning into ice, then melting and turning into water, death (uuurrrrrrgggggg !!!!), and last but not least trains (and/or dinosaurs).

 

A never lined his toys up unless it was to race them (eg: cars/ trains). But he still does love (obsessively) the colour blue.

 

Master A is a raider or food/ obsessed with food - He raids the fridge, freezer, pantry in the middle of the night. He will eat anything from margarine/ Vegemite straight from the tub to hydrating iceblocks/ frozen veggies/ pies/ pizza to dry bread/ cheese to chocolate/ lollies/ biscuits.

 

This morning I used the toilet at 4:30am. Checked in on A (He has a habit of kicking the blankets off) and found plastic wrapped cheese beside his pillow. He is asleep. Fixed blankets, put the cheese away and went back to bed. Woke back up at 5:30am to discover that A had gone back out and gotten the cheese again. I've now been up since then :( We have locks, but he is a master of figuring them out. I am yet to put the new ones on.

IQ: This will sound like a brag fest, but it's not. I just don't know how else to describe it. I KNEW my son was bright. I just knew it. He did things "differently" to other kids. He picked up things with the speed that I found to be unnerving at times. I found/ and still do that I can barely keep up with him and his academic level and honestly feel as smart as a brick when he "discuses" something with me (sometimes). I KNOW that he is smarter then me, and he knows it too.

 

This is cut and pasted from his cognitive report done on 2nd June, 2010.

 

Verbal IQ High Average ..... 84th ...... 115 (107 - 121)

Perceptual IQ Superior (basal)..... 91st ..... 120 (111 - 126)

Processing Speed High Average..... 87th ..... 117 (106 - 124)

Full Scale Superior (basal) ..... 91st ..... 120 (114 – 125)

General Language High Average (ceiling) ..... 90th ..... 119 (109 - 125)

 

His speech assessment is also just as high. In saying that Master A was also uncooperative during both assessments and had to be brought back on task.

 

I ONLY went and got these tests done because the school he WAS enrolled in treated him like he was stupid. They tried to tell me that he didn't know how to read. They tried to tell me he didn't know how to do any form of math. They insinuated that my son had an intellectual impairment. All because he refused to do the work. He tried telling them he was bored and that he knew it. They didn't believe him/ me. So I set out to prove them wrong. By the time that we got the results I had already pulled him out of school. They BEGGED me to re-enroll him. Why ? So that the school could get more funding. I told them (not too politely) to shove their school up their a*se and to NEVER contact me again.

When I got those results back, I was speechless. My jaw hit the ground. I thought he was just a bit brighter then his peers, I mean a little advanced. Now my problem was - How the hell do I help him ? How can I let him not be bored and how the hell do we advance this kid that is so far behind socially/ emotionally ?

 

A understands how language works, how music works. He "gets" that. But get him to figure out how to sort out a disagreement about a toy ? Well, He has no frigging idea. That's the problem I have.

 

When I got those results, they also came back PDD-NOS. I knew 6 months before that it would come back like that. At the time it didn't help me. I refused to leave the pead office until he referred me to someone else that would do the ADOS test. It took 15 minutes before he relented and said he would. On the 2nd September, 2010 I FINALLY got those little words I had waited four years for. A meets DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder. A recent cognitive assessment demonstrates a 'superior' range intellectual ability on WPPSI-III.

 

I have NEVER cried about this - I have NEVER struggled to come to terms with his diagnosis (other then how to help him in terms of therapy/ advancement academically). I did tear up when the panel told me. I was furious and JUSTIFIED finally. SOMEONE believed me. They told me that his AS diagnosis was hard/ not obvious at first to pick up on (we went back two/three times - can't remember now) because of his IQ. AS was "hidden" as A had learnt to "fake" his way so far.

 

 

 

Anyway - there is my novel. I am always open and honest about this subject and if I haven't made sense or you would like further information, please, DO NOT hesitate to ask. I am more then willing to try to help/ clarify something.

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lishermide

Thank you all so much for sharing your stories :)

 

I thought it might be an idea to tell a little about DD#2, who is also gifted, and who we had assessed recently to make sure it's not something more than just quirky. The psych thought she had quite a few traits, and that we could pursue some kind of diagnosis further if we felt the need, but that she would be borderline if anything, and that most likely she's just gifted and full on.

 

And she is pretty much the poster child for Gifted but QUIRKY :8

 

I can relate to Dartsdragon's observations about the newborn stage, she was just the same. Incredibly alert, holding up her head and looking around. She was a horrible sleeper for years. She was well over 3 when she started sleeping through. She's always needed less sleep than everyone else.

 

There have always been sensory struggles. As a toddler she screamed from the minute we arrived at the shops till the minute we left, it was like she was on sensory overload. She is hopeless with food, her diet is still really limited even now at 9yo. For fruit she'll eat strawberries. Occasionally tinned peaches. No cheese, no milk. Hates potatoes, still limited types of vegetables, prefers bland tastes. But her diet on the whole is ok.

 

Her language has always been excellent. A total chatterbox from the minute she could talk, holding conversations from about 18mths old. No issues with social language like her ASD brother has. A very early reader, but no problems with comprehension.

 

She's excellent at sport, but lacks endurance. She has a strong need to win, and really beats up on herself when she doesn't. A perfectionist, but only when it suits her to be :tongue: She is very hard on herself :(

 

Socially she has always struggled, but more in the way that she hasn't found it easy to relate to other kids her age. She's quite a leader and a strong character & tends to put people off side by dominating. It has taken her until this year (Yr 4) to really make friends. We had to give her some clues about how to approach other kids by showing interest in them & what they like, and she took it and ran with it :) Thankfully she's in a class this year where there is a real GT peer group for her.Just this holidays she had her first sleepover at a friend's house (aside from neighbours).

 

She's not at all girly. She's a tomboy through and through. Loves soccer, gymnastics, motorbike riding. Obsessed with horses, she does pony club, it's her number one favourite thing.

 

She has trouble with maintaining attention at school, and completing work in the required time frame. She gets distracted easily, or goes off on tangents. But she seems to be able to pull it together and try harder when we notice she's slipping. She needs to be reminded every so often. Her achievement level seems to be highly dependent on her liking the teacher. She loves the challenge of extension work.

 

And she has a temper that, well, let's call it red hot. Fiery. Still has the occasional mega-tantrum dummy spit.

 

Honestly, she's a harder kid to parent than 2E DS. But all those quirks aren't really enough and don't really seem to impair her in the way you would expect for a diagnosis. She is doing well at school, she's made friends. There you have it, quirky gifted :)

 

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sebela

lishermide, this is so hard to figure out sometimes. Because on the one hand I read your description of your DS and was nodding my head thinking, yep that is pretty much my DD... But I read your description of your DD and did the same. I think my DD falls most likely somewhere between your two :-). She didn't sleep through until she was 6.5yrs!! I have SO little patience for people b**ching about their 3 month old not sleeping well :-).

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X5-494

I didn't even think to mention sleep issues. Master A didn't sleep through the night until late last year when I started using melatonin. Before that it was like having a new born. Constant waking, night terrors, refusal to even get him into bed and the horrible, horrible early mornings. He usually went to sleep around 11 - 11:30pm and then woke at 4 - 4:30 am. NOW he will go to bed and be asleep at 7 - 7:30pm and wake around 5-6 am. This doesn't include the midnight raiding of food though.

 

lishermide - I'm glad that someone else can relate. Usually I just got werid looks from everyone. "It's normal" I was told.

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lishermide

Sebela, I think with DD you can look at her & just see smart kid who operates in her own sphere. Whereas with DS it's quite obvious that the ASD affects his daily interactions. Just watching & talking to him an outsider would easily notice something is up IYKWIM. She marches to her own beat, works for her but can be a bit hard on us ;)

 

DS has always been a better sleeper than DD. His problem is getting to sleep & then being hard to wake in the morning. Hers was getting to sleep,waking a million times a night, yet still waking early. Both of them have a lot of trouble switching off, unlike older DD who was that baby who slept through very early. We've got DS in a routine (including therapressure brushing & deep breathing exercises) that seems to help a bit.

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