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From high intellectual potential to asperger syndrome: Evidence for differences and a fundamental overlap-A systematic review

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© 2016 Boschi, Planche, Hemimou, Demily and Vaivre-Douret. Background: An increasing number of clinicians point to similar clinical features between some children with High Intellectual Potential (HIP or "Giftedness" = Total IQ > 2 SD), and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) without intellectual or language delay, formerly diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Some of these common features are social interaction impairments, special interests, and in some cases high-verbal abilities. The aim of this article is to determine whether these similarities exist at more fundamental levels, other than clinical, and to explore the literature in order to provide empirical support for an overlap between ASD and HIP. Method: First, comparative studies between ASD and HIP children were sought. Because of a lack of data, the respective characteristics of ASD and HIP subjects were explored by a cross-sectional review of different areas of research. Emphasis was placed on psychometric and cognitive evaluations, experimental and developmental assessments, and neurobiological research, following a "bottom-up" procedure. Results: This review highlights the existence of similarities in the neurocognitive, developmental and neurobiological domains between these profiles, which require further study. In addition, the conclusions of several studies show that there are differences between HIP children with a homogeneous Intellectual Quotient profile and children with a heterogeneous Intellectual Quotient profile. Conclusion: HIP seems to cover different developmental profiles, one of which might share features with ASD. A new line of investigation providing a possible starting-point for future research is proposed. Its implications, interesting from both clinical and research perspectives, are discussed.




Boschi, A., Planche, P., Hemimou, C., Demily, C., & Vaivre-Douret, L. (2016, October 20). From high intellectual potential to asperger syndrome: Evidence for differences and a fundamental overlap-A systematic review. Frontiers in Psychology. Frontiers Media S.A. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01605

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