Gifted & ADHD

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Highly gifted children with ADHD

Lovecky, D. V.
Highly Gifted Children
The Hollingworth Center
Vol 7, No. 2
Spring 1991
This article by Deirdre Lovecky points out that there may be many reasons for a highly gifted child’s inattentiveness in school, including “being so far ahead of the curriculum that the child is bored in class, being a global learner who has trouble following step-by-step lesson plans; being a child whose major interests lie outside academic areas, or having a learning disability or attention deficit disorder that is undetected.” If ADD is suspected this article offers parents advice on getting a good evaluation from a clinical child psychologist, child neuropsychologist, or developmental pediatrician. Lovecky notes some of the treatments that may be considered, and lists resources for parents with children diagnosed as ADD.

Gifted children with ADHD

Neihart, M.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education – Digest #E649
This article by Maureen Neihart discusses the differences between gifted and non-gifted children with ADHD. The lack of intellectual challenge and little access to others with similar interests, ability, and drive are often risk factors for gifted children, contributing to social or emotional problems. Assessing ADHD in gifted children and determining what is appropriate intervention and support are also covered in the article.

Gifted children with Asperger’s Syndrome

Neihart, M.
Gifted Child Quarterly
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
Vo. 44, No. 4, pp. 222-230
Fall 2000
This article by Maureen Niehart suggests approaches for the teacher who works with young people with Asperger’s
Syndrome. AS is a disorder in the autism spectrum that is observed in some gifted children. Gifted children may be very difficult to diagnose with AS because the disorder may resemble other problems such as a learning disability or simply just similar traits of a gifted child. Common traits of gifted AS children are listed and compared to children who are gifted without AS in order to help identify these individuals.


There are a number of reasons for considering gifted children with AD/HD. The dual exceptionality of being both gifted, and AD/HD, often means that such children are not recognized as having either exceptionality, and thus, their needs for an appropriate education are not met. AD/HD, in this paper, refers to the mixed type, those children with symptoms of both inattention, and hyperactivity. AD/HD is considered to be a deficit in ability to inhibit responding with consequent deficits in self regulation and self monitoring of behavior. The underlying deficit in AD/HD is hypothesized to be biological, and based on differences in neurotransmitter regulation of dopamine. Most affected are the areas of the brain that deal with the executive functions, that is the ability to regulate, modulate, produce on demand, organize, and sustain focus.

Before Referring a Gifted Child for ADHD Evaluation.

Lind, S.
The Communicator
California Association for the Gifted
Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 20
Fall 2000
This article by Sharon Lind explains that highly gifted children are easily misdiagnosed as having attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD). Lind provides a valuable checklist of behaviors and charachteristics for educators to use before referring a student for testing. The checklist is designed to differentiate between confusing factors.

Attention deficit disorders and gifted students: What do we really know

Kaufmann, F., Kalbfleisch, M. & Castellanos, F.
NRC/GT Newsletter, Senior Scholars Series
The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
pp. 6-13
November 2000
This article summarizes the current scientific knowledge about ADD and ADHD in children and presents the issues that are related to ADHD in gifted students. In addition there is discussion about the causes, diagnosis, medical interventions and educational strategies. The article also includes recommendations for teachers and parents and directions for the future. Authored by Felice Kaufmann, M. Layne Kalbfleisch, & F. Xavier Castellanos.

ADHD and Children Who Are Gifted

Webb, J. & Latimer, D.
ERIC EC Digest #522
This article by James Webb and Diane Latimer discusses ADHD in the gifted population. It explains that sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference and that oftentimes the evaluator may not be familiar with gifted/talented and so may not even consider that option. The article lists attributes of both the gifted and ADHD and tries to explain some of the key differences in the behaviors that at first seem so similar.

Tips for Parents Meeting the Needs of Twice-Exceptional Children.

This article by Meredith Warshaw caters to the many highly gifted children that have additional special needs such as learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, sensory integration disorder, etc. These needs can be very challenging, both in terms of identification, and in terms of finding ways to address both the gifted and special needs sides of the child adequately. The author offers advice on a number of issues (i.e. assessment, schooling, siblings) as well as a number of resources for parents.

Tips for Parents ADHD and Giftedness What Do Parents Need to Know

Nicpon, M.
Davidson Institute for Talent Development/Young Scholars Seminar
Source: Davidson Young Scholar Seminar
Megan Foley Nicpon provides a detailed analysis of the issues that gifted students with ADHD encounter. Parents are provided a number of suggestions for treatment, through behavioral interventions and medications, to guarantee their gifted child’s long-term success and aid them in working through this disorder.

Tips for Parents ADD and the Gifted

Source: Davidson Young Scholar Seminar
Dr. Paul Beljan offers tips on how to help a gifted child who has ADD. Most importantly, he advocates for a full assessment and a holistic approach to treatment.
Dr. Beljan facilitated an online seminar on ADD and the Gifted for the parents in our Young Scholars program. These tips are a summary of the concepts about gifted children and ADD.

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