Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gifted with ADHD

Having a high IQ doesn't protect you from the impairments caused by Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a new study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

The researchers gave 157 adults with ADHD and IQs over 120 several tests designed to gauge their executive function. Executive function refers to the brain processes that control planning, choosing appropriate actions, and selecting relevant information. The researchers found that despite their high IQs, these adults were worse at these tasks than the general population.

As we've talked about here at Gifted Exchange before, it's important for teachers to have training in identifying giftedness, because in the absence of such training, a logical first assumption is that a gifted kid is one who acts "smart." In many cases, this means paying attention in class, turning in homework on time, following rules, etc. A highly gifted child with ADHD may not do any of those things. Indeed, the child may be downright lousy at such academic tasks -- doing worse than an average student. But that doesn't mean the child isn't gifted. It's tough to know how many children might be missed or misdiagnosed because of this.


Anonymous said...

we have been lucky and our son has always been recognized for his talents. Entering 1st grade multiplying and dividing in his head (and doing mental addition and subtraction of high numbers) did help ensure that. But given the ADHD diagnosis that he has had since K, it is unbelievable how many teachers show a lack of understanding when it comes to forgetting to turn in homework and the up an down grades. He also has writing disabilities, yet I have heard for years that he 'chooses' not to write. And his mental math skills don't translate to paper well when writing hurts and one has done the math by visual/spatial means and don't know how to translate it to words. In many places being gifted means you can't get access to special education that might help.

Also some of the 'overexcitablities' associated with being gifted overlap with the ADHD symptoms so it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Luckily we can afford the tutor required to teach him the writing (along with OT) that he has missed and the organizational strategies that will hopefully help him be a more productive adult.

I would have liked to have read a little more about what the subjects in the study did for a living. On the other hand, maybe I wouldn't.... I'm still hoping for the best for my son, but realize (and am preparing myself mentally) the roller coaster is still going. I never realized that parenting such a smart child would be so difficult.

Anonymous said...

My son was GT tested in Kindergarten and passed our district's standards. Retested in 2nd grade he missed it. He spent all of 3rd and 4th grade being told he wasn't paying attention and trying hard enough. Finally with proper evaluation and medication 5th grade was a success and he tested 99+% to be GT again. Was he NOT gifted for those two years? No. He's just completed 8th grade and took 9th grade honors Biology and 10th grade honors Geometry with straight A's. But, he nearly missed the 8th grade field trip for failing to turn in his permission slip. Thankfully his principal took pity on him!

Jase212007 said... this is a detailled description of what it was like for me to grow up a poor, gifted child, also a bit of a warning to parents that have gifted children

mariel said...

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why is it that may of the greatest mind have disorders? I guess it is one way to balance the situation or something like that. But I also wonder how they dealt with their condition. People today that have a disorder, say ADHD, are very lucky because there are so many treatment formulated for their disorders.

keepinitsimpool said...

Hi everyone, my stories are similar….I have 3 boys (ages 12, 16, & 18), each of them gifted with ADHD. The giftedness as well as the ADHD manifest in each of them differently. One has an IEP and skipped 2nd grade, while the other two have 504 plans.

As a result of my trying to maneuver the maze, I chose the topic Giftedness with ADHD as my dissertation topic. It is not easy to find information, so I wanted to enhance what the world knows about this phenomenon through the eyes of Parents.

I am in need of participants (parents) to interview. Would any of you be interested? Please, I welcome your story…Thanks!