ADHD And Gifted

Updated on June 24, 2010
H.J. asks from Baton Rouge, LA
6 answers

What do I do with a five year old girl who has a combination of adhd and gifted traits? I am very worried about schooling, and how this can affect her schooling. What first steps do I take when dealing with this?

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answers from Grand Forks on

My daughter is ADHD and in the genius level for her age. She is 4yrs old and has been on medication for a year now. I normally would say no to medication, but her safety was the main reason. Kids with ADHD dont think things through or realize the consequences until its too late, medication can help them through the thought process and understand things more clearly. My daughter showed signs of being gifted since she was a baby. She was crawling at 5 months and walking at 8 months. Eversince then shes been ahead of everyone else her age. She is in headstart and that program has helped tons I cant even express how much it has helped her. Eventhough her teacher says she already knows a lot of the stuff theyre teaching, just the interaction with other kids and the structure helps a lot. Kids with ADHD NEED structure and you cant bend it either or they will try to control you, because then they know they can. (ive learned that the hard way) The main thing is embrace your child for what they do, even if its being out of control. I tell my daughter shes getting a little too excited and she knows when she is. She will even tell me she needs to calm down but needs help sometimes. It takes time to handle, but I explain everything to her and she understands, usually the first time because theyre so smart. Good Luck :)

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answers from Sacramento on

My child (now 13) is gifted with either ADHD or aspergers', no one could really figure it out but she was definitely impulsive, socially awkward, disruptive, and off-the-charts intelligent.

We tried meds when she was 9. They didn't work. One kind turned her into a zombie (strattera) and another kind made her suicidal (concerta). We quit the meds.

Instead, we supported her with a very strong family ethic, the love of sisters, a very structured gate school, discipline and patience.

She's much better now. Still weird things like terrible table manners and goofy behavior, as well as impulsive verbal stuff (like blogging things she shouldn't) but so, so, much more level and happy. She's found friends who like her. I found an accelerated IB high school for her. Her grades are excellent.

Keep your family foundation as strong as you can. Your kid will need so much more support than you realize. Sometimes, you will be her only friend. But you can be that friend until she finds the confidence and social stability to make her own.

Best wishes to you. And I hope you enjoy the adventure. I wouldn't trade a thing. I believe my daughter is an incredible human being. :)

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answers from Sacramento on

Many, many kids with ADHD are gifted. Our son has severe ADHD but is one extremely bright seven-year-old. His idea of fun is doing mathematical equations verbally during car rides!

Has your daughter started medication/treatment yet? If not, that will make a tremendous difference in her ability to get the most out of school. For our son, medication has allowed teachers to see how bright he is and not focus on the negatives of ADHD. So, already in first grade we were talking to his teachers about GATE testing in a couple years.

One thing you must do is go in to the school year with a collaborative mindset. Let the teacher know what does/doesn't work for your daughter. For instance, our son tends to finish his schoolwork quite quickly. His teacher learned to give him an extra assignment to keep him busy; otherwise, he's more likely to goof off in class just because he's bored.

Good luck! ADHD doesn't have to hold your daughter back in any way. She can still qualify for GATE classes down the road and receive the extra challenge in class she needs.
P.S. If you don't subscribe to ADDitude magazine already, it's worth a subscription. They have a lot of great, practical tips for helping your child succeed in school with ADHD. Many articles focus on helping particularly bright kids succeed.

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answers from Dallas on

As others have said it is quite common for a child to be both gifted and ADHD. Dr. Kenneth Bock has a book called Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, Asthma, ADHD and Allergies. It is an alternative to meds. Also look closely at her diet. Often times food can have a huge impact on a child's behavior. An IgG blood test can show you food sensitivies. Removing the sensitivies can make a huge difference. Also the Feingold diet can be helpful. Brain Balance is a new center for treating ADHD kids, you can read about it in Dr. Melillo's book Disconnected Kids.



answers from Fayetteville on

Hi Holly,
I understand about your worries of schooling for your dd. My son is 7 1/2 and is Twice-exceptional as well. I have made myself his biggest advocate. If you plan on having her in Public School you need to learn everything you can about what the law is Federally and in your state. It does not matter what the school says they do but what the Law requires of them.
Because it is overwhelming to me I have gotten a Dear Friend who was a lawyer who has studied WRIGHTS LAW and IEDA. She goes with me to all of my sons IEP meetings. Most area's have an Advocate group made up of persons who have studied the Laws and will advise you and some will even sit in with you on the meetings.
So advice 1: Get an Advocate to help you know your rights and be on your side to work with the school(it gets a little intimidating when you are the only one in the room on your child's side and the other 5 are with or for the school)
2. Be Prepared and request a meeting to go over how they are going to accommodate her. It is true that most areas do not have a Gifted Program for children until at earliest 3rd grade and even then they are still a set curriculum and not made on how your child learns best. HOWEVER there are Laws in place that will, with the proper testing and information, require the school to "Teach" her the way she learns at the level she is at.
Other things are to check out Private Schools or any Special Schools for children with her diagnosis and look into Home Schooling or Home Schooling Programs in your area. If you can provide the structure this could be an option.

Here is a great site that my friend sent me to "study" over the summer. It has lots of info and articles that you may really enjoy and learn from:

Good Luck and God Bless,



answers from Indianapolis on

I would COMPLETELY agree with CAWriterMom that many ADHD kids are gifted and simply need to learn to channel their energies in the appropriate place to showcase their talents.

My niece is ADHD, but I don't think she'd be considered gifted by any means. My best bet is that many truly bright students have a level of ADD/ADHD that simply hasn't been diagnosed.

So, I'd advice seeking education specialists to understand how your daughter best learns and be armed and ready with that information when she starts school.

School systems often assume that all children learn best a certain mainstream way. It wasn't until I was deep in college that I understood how to study and how I best learn. It wasn't until then that I really had to. I was an excellent student growing-up but could have been exceptional if I'd known how I best learned.

I'm guessing, too, that you're going to have to reinforce the learnings at home. I used to teach gymnastics, and had a few outstanding students who were ADHD. Thank goodness, their Moms understood how to deal with them and provided me guidance in my instruction. On extreme case was a phenomenally gifted girl named Amanda who received gymnastics as a reward. When she couldn't pay attention or behave appropriately, she went to the office or Mom took her home. She was rewarded with it for being able to control her urges and to focus as well as possible. She could instinctively do things I never could have taught her, but I could teach her how to do them better which Mom then reinforced at home.

Good luck! I hope she thrives when she gets to Kindergarten.

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