About The Ability of Asperger Syndrome Children to Hyper-Focus

Asperger Syndrome As educators and parents, we can’t help being impressed over a 5-year old child speaking in words suitable for a grad-school thesis project. Perhaps we associate this feat with over-ambitious parenting ability, or a suspected higher-than-average IQ. As the little professor enters the classroom, our amazement turns to puzzlement. Is there a reason beyond stubbornness that little Billy can’t write?

About The Ability of Asperger Syndrome Children to Hyper-Focus:

Asperger Syndrome is a form of Autism that produces children who can blend into their surroundings in a classroom setting. Until recently, many of these children fell through the cracks while displaying signs of higher IQ’s that were coupled with non-functioning classroom abilities. An Asperger Syndrome or AS child can have an extreme interest in vocabulary at a young age, be an advanced reader, and show extra skill in sketching; with a teacher completely convinced that they are refusing to write out of stubbornness.

With some AS children, there are issues with a form of hyper-focusing trait that is coupled with an inability to relate to communications directed at broadening their perspectives. If the hyper-focusing is directed at building a vocabulary, all other areas of the educational experience are simply unimportant to the child who is only focusing their attention on one thing. The Asperger Syndrome hyper-focusing trait can be helpful in a classroom setting when educators choose to use this extreme attention span as a tool.

Hyper-focusing can be an extreme interest in learning about only one object, or a part of on object exclusively. Asperger Syndrome children with a hyper-focusing trait can learn to read about, to write about, and to multiply their chosen objects. If normal classroom learning procedures are not getting through to an AS child, try working with the theme that they are already working with. As an example, a few words about their chosen object mentioned during a history lesson, can perhaps make the entire history lesson memorable.

Over the centuries, we have had instances of hyper-focusing that have been called genius in hindsight; children who master extreme mathematics, musicians, artists, and inventors. The Asperger Syndrome ability to hyper-focus is looked upon as a flaw by many of our educational systems that are not structured for children who vary from the traditional styles of learning. However, the Asperger Syndrome hyper-focus ability is a learning style. AS children have the ability to hyper-focus their way into learning traditional subjects.

Do you have tendencies to Hyperfocus?

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9 thoughts on “About The Ability of Asperger Syndrome Children to Hyper-Focus

  • March 23, 2011 at 11:55 am
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    wow, that 3was really interesting! Does have to do with the savants? The
    other on NatGeo I was watching a program and it was about people who
    were considered “savants” though I never quite understood if they are
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  • July 31, 2009 at 2:21 am
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    Interesting post. I agree with you totally. On another aspect, my take is that asperger’s syndrome during the early stages should be attended and no parent should ever forget that.

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  • July 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm
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    My hubby has AS and he’s totally brilliant! He’s very focused on whatever he does, though I haven’t noticed any of the hyper-focusing on one particular thing, really, and he feels that he mostly hyper-focused on things as a little kid.

    Haha, when he was 8, he got in trouble because he’d been on the computer all day and his mom finally told him to stop programming and go to bed. So he did, but then he snuck out of his room and went back to the computer to finish writing this program to make a ball bounce up and down. So cute! 🙂

    These days he can speed-read a book about a new programming language while listening to/partially watching a movie and have that language totally memorized by the time the movie’s over. It’s pretty ridiculous and I’m more than a little jealous sometimes 😛

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  • July 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm
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    I taught a student with AS for many years.  This is definitely true.  He did not like to write out anything, but was definitely super-focused on whatever he zeroed in on for the day.

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  • July 22, 2009 at 12:33 am
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    They thought my brother might have AS. They decided he didn’t, but he does seem to hyper-focus…

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  • July 20, 2009 at 5:28 pm
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    Definitely. I can talk about one thing that interests me all day, even if that thing tens to bore anyone of go over their heads.

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  • July 20, 2009 at 2:39 pm
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    I’m really bad about forgetting to eat.  8 hours later I wonder why I feel woozy and have to take a really deep breath, and then it takes a few hours to get over it.  I figure it’s like an athlete doing a marathon or something, everything I have goes into my brain to the point where I feel like I’m going to pass out.  My blood sugar must drop to -15 or something because my brain sucked it all up.  And once I come out of it, I’m so unresponsive that I literally answer someone 5 minutes later after they’ve left the room, like I’ve geared way down to slo-time.  But when I’m ‘deep in’ like that, if you walk up quietly to me and suddenly talk without warning, I scream and jump like a murderer is after me.  People think it’s funny until I start throwing punches, and I have no idea what’s going on for a couple of minutes.  But if you ask me what I was thinking about, I turn into a physics book or something, and people are sorry they asked.

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  • July 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm
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    I don’t have that ability but I know a few children who do. You are right that if lessons are structured around the child’s current interests they can learn anything. I hadn’t ever thought of the kids as being autistic that may be something worth considering.

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  • July 20, 2009 at 10:15 am
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    Yeah, I do. When I go to work on something (be it a complex math problem, or trying to fix up a clock), I tend to get in over my head, and completely lose track of time and my surroundings. A rock concert could be going on right in my ear and I wouldn’t notice it. 

    Reply

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