Five Considerations for Gifted Children with ADHD

Meeting the educational needs of all children

The subset of gifted children encompasses all kids who consistently outperform their peers. They may exhibit exceptional strengths in some areas, but other subjects might be more difficult for them to grasp. The behavioral characteristics of gifted students can make it difficult to work with others occasionally. 

There are several reasons putting gifted students with ADD or other learning disabilities with other children could work. Still, some situations might make it more difficult for them for several reasons.

1. They may not get along

Students with ADHD might sometimes find it hard to communicate with others. The relationship between ADHD and giftedness is a challenging one to understand. The learning disorders are often thought to come with speech problems, making getting the point across difficult for a student who finds subject material challenging. 

As a result, gifted students with ADHD might grow frustrated and find it troublesome to carry on conversations with their peers. Because they likely learn and communicate differently, placing a gifted child with ADHD with other talented children can potentially cause issues if they are not taught about differences and inclusivity.

2. They have different strengths

Gifted children inherently have different strengths. Depending on their ages, they may be in some of the same classes that play to their preferences. Students who do not have learning disabilities may find it easier to keep up with harder material in all subjects. Those with issues in addition to their gifted status might experience difficulty keeping up with their peers.

A student with ADHD or another learning disability may have strengths in other areas, so they might require more time on certain assignments or tests. One important thing to remember is that every child has their strengths and weaknesses, so singling out one due to their different abilities is unproductive.

3. Routines may differ

You can’t expect every child to have identical routines, even if they’re the same age. Kids have different needs when completing their daily activities. Schedules can help everyone, but you shouldn’t expect all children to fit into the same mold. 

Many people do well when their daily routines include no distractions and a planner to keep track of their activities. Students who are more prone to wandering minds should be set up with a schedule that will help their school days go by smoothly. 

4. They could feel inadequate

Children with ADHD could learn differently from their peers. Having different approaches to a problem or studying can make kids feel isolated, and some may even resort to picking on another student because of the different ways they process information. Behavioral characteristics of gifted students indicate that they already struggle with self-esteem issues that stem from perfectionism, and learning a different way from others might increase those feelings of inadequacy.

Gifted children are ahead of their peers in many fields, but even they have their weaknesses. Students with ADHD might be unable to focus on specific tasks or think being weak in a particular subject means they don’t deserve to consider themselves gifted. 

Many kids can excel in one area but might not be as strong in others. Filling classrooms with students that have well-rounded strengths and weaknesses can encourage them to help one another rather than isolate one or two that may approach situations differently. 

5. Labels and misdiagnoses abound

Unfortunately, gifted kids often have to work through several misdiagnoses. Some have ADD, ADHD or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but not everyone does. Still, many gifted children are accurately diagnosed with a learning disability, making it difficult for teachers to know how to approach learning. Some schools only allow one “label” per student. 

A child labeled as gifted may not be able to receive the opportunities they would if they have a learning disability because they already have the first label. Behavioral characteristics of talented students include not feeling like they are enough and developing bad habits. These may manifest in routines that don’t stick or a poor work ethic. 

Keep Their Best Intentions in Mind

The relationship between ADHD and giftedness is not fully understood yet. However, all students have their strengths and weaknesses. As diagnoses increase for learning disabilities like ADHD, people will understand more about how they affect all children. Knowing more about them can help people understand how to pair gifted children with ADHD with other talented kids in the classroom.

Beth Rush
Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She writes about education, children, nutrition and mental health. In her spare time, Beth enjoys going for runs with her dog and trying out new recipes.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chalkboard Review team.

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