Twice Exceptional: Autism and Gifted Children

On a neurological level, giftedness and autism share many similarities, so it’s no surprise that many gifted children are also found to be on the autism spectrum.  

Signs of Autism

  • difficulty making eye contact
  • difficulty expressing emotions
  • repetitive behaviors such as lining up toys and repeating words
  • rigidity; needing to stick to routine
  • repetitive movements such as arm flapping, body rocking, or spinning
  • delayed verbal skills 
  • no back and forth gestures by 12 months

Signs of Giftedness

  • insatiable curiosity
  • high information processing
  • fast learner
  • keen sense of humor
  • ability to see novel connections between ideas

Overlapping Signs of Autism and Giftedness

Hyper-focused interests

Difficulty relating to same age peers


sensory sensitivities

vivid imagination

logical thinking

sense of justice

pedantic speech

early language development

Twice Exceptional

Autism –vs- Giftedness: A Neurobiological Perspective

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