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ADHD Child Or Gifted Student?

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:23am

Do you know the main difference between these two children?  It’s one word!


That’s right…  The difference between a child with ADHD and a gifted student can be as simple as the label we put on them.

Twenty years ago, before we knew all the things we now know about ADHD, students with the following behaviors and characteristics were being identified as gifted:

  • Creative
  • Bored
  • Fidgety (energetic)
  • Challenging authority
  • Not following rules

Do these symptoms behaviors sound familiar?

They should!  They are the same symptoms by which many students (and adults now) are being diagnosed with ADHD.

Strong Word Of Caution

I am NOT in any way suggestion that all children with ADHD are gifted, or that all children who are gifted have ADHD.  Rather, I want you to begin to think differently …  I want you to consider the impact a label, or the simple use or misuse of just one word can have on someone.

Here’s what we know (or at least what we hear a lot about):

Many children diagnosed with ADHD are often said to exhibit above average intelligence.  After all, thinking outside the box can create opportunities that other students are not considering.  Is that a stretch?

Here’s The Bottom Line:

Children with ADHD, or those identified as being gifted and talented, live a life that is a double-edged sword.  Why?   Being gifted does not necessarily mean that life is without struggle.  Like many children with ADHD, gifted students can often feel isolated, alone, and even misunderstood.

Often marching to their own drum, they tend not to fit in…

The same can be said about a child with ADHD.  They can experience great ridicule, yet they are often rather incredibly impressive human beings.

Now if I am not doing enough justice for these children, then I just ask you to take my word for it.  I’ve lived both sides of the coin.   I was identified as gifted child very early on in life, and in later years people have been convinced I have ADHD.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again for the record.

I know I am different.  I love that I am different.  It’s both good and bad.

That’s all there is too it.  But just imagine for a moment how much a child’s life could be if they were given the hope and reassurance of something positive (like being a gifted and talented student) versus the unfortunate negative stigma that is associated with ADHD.

Either way you cut it, these kids are incredibly special.  I’ll take them any day, either way, over your average - ordinary - run of the mill student.

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