Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Issues with Auditory-Sequential Thinkers

Gifted children and adults who have an auditory-sequential thinking style are also likely to have particular behavior patterns that may be misinterpreted and labeled as a disorder. For example, auditory-sequential gifted children generally take matters very seriously; they may not understand why the other fifth- or sixth-grade children are frivolously thinking about things that seem so unimportant. With their intensity, they take their seriousness to an extreme. Auditory-sequential children and adults can be so serious and rule-bound that they experience little joy or spontaneity in their lives, and others may see them as rigid and overly worried, or depressed, even though they, themselvse, feel quite comfortable with their lifestyle.

-Webb, Amend, Webb, Goerss, Beljan, Olenchak, "Misdiagnosis and Daul Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults"

With all the difficulties my son has had, I assumed that life would be much better for him if he were an auditory-sequential thinker. I didn't realize that being a gifted auditory-sequential learner created its own set of problems. Until I read Misdiagnosis, I had no idea what a gifted auditory sequential learner would look like. I assumed they were the ones who were always getting their homework done and were highly organized. I was partially correct.

As it turns out, I have a close relative who is both highly gifted and auditory-sequential. I find her personality to be a bit abrasive as she was always so serious and had, what I considered, a bizarre adherence to social conventions and rules. If my grammar wasn't entirely correct, which is often isn't, she never failed to point it out to me. She was always serious about everything and had high expectations for everyone.

Because of her very adult behavior, she was often misconstrued as being more emotionally mature than she was. Expectations were heaped upon her beyond what she could really handle. She, as a teenager, was diagnosed as having various disorders, including depression.

Looking back, I can imagine it was difficult for her to deal with people who, it seemed to her, were being difficult and careless. It is unfortunate that no one took the time to help her deal with her extreme expectations. Everyone thought she could handle it. After all, she was so smart and mature! Unfortunately for her, her giftedness worked against her. In seeking refuge from people's expectations (and her own) that she always be perfect, even when dealing with terribly emotional events, she ended up dropping out of school and using drugs. It's sad to know that she had so much potential but was never able to fulfill it.


Adso of Melk said...

What you posted is very interesting and provides food for thought. I see a number of A-S qualities both in myself and in my child -- I'll do some digging (and reading) about this topic. Thanks.

OverwhelmedMom said...

I guess I didn't mean for the post to get that heavy. It just seems that the auditory-sequential people I know always "have it together", and people always have terribly high expectations for them. I imagine it's very exhausting, and in the case of this one person, she was expected to be far more emotionally mature than she was. No one treated her like a child because she seemed so mature, and in the end, it really hurt her a lot.

But I seem to be getting heavy again, so I suppose it's time to quit.