Authors: Enrico Toffalini, Lina Pezzuti, Cesare Cornoldi.

Article: Einstein and dyslexia: Is giftedness more frequent in children with a specific learning disorder than in typically developing children?.

Publication: Intelligence In Press, 2017 | DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2017.04.006

It has been argued that there may be a higher proportion of exceptional intelligence profiles and giftedness among children with learning disorders (LD) than among typically developing (TD) children, but this impression is only based on anecdotal evidence concerning famous individuals. In a large dataset of 1413 intellectual profiles of children with a diagnosis of LD (assessed with the WISC-IV scale), the proportion of children with an overall intelligence quotient higher than 130 was < 1%, well below the proportion expected in the typical population (2.28%). It has been claimed, however, that the WISC-IV general ability index (GAI) may better represent the central aspects of intelligence, particularly in the case of children with LD, and using the GAI criterion, the gifted children amounted to 3.75% of the LD population analyzed. Aspects relating to working memory and processing speed, as measured by the WISC-IV, were also examined, and gifted children with LD had higher scores in both components than the other children with LD, but lower scores than equally “gifted” TD children. The various aspects of intelligence revealed significantly different age-related growth trajectories: at a younger age, gifted children with LD resembled gifted TD children in terms of working memory phonological aspects, but the former fell behind the latter as they grew older; the opposite was true of the processing speed aspects of intelligence.

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