Gifted and ADHD

I began reading about giftedness when my children were in preschool. I instinctively knew they were "not the same" as other children their age. At first I thought I was just succumbing to parental pride, but there were little giveaway clues.

Early language development, early interest in reading, exceptional memory, unquenching curiousity and high levels of sensitivity - these were some of the characteristics my children displayed that I checked off the gifted characteristics checklist.

They also displayed uneven development, complexity of thought, intense personalities, early sense of justice and morality, a fascination with patterns and numbers and a certain level of excitability.

I debated for a while whether I should have them tested. But if they had a disability, I would want to know and provide the best care as early as I could. The same applies to giftedness and as I read more, to the level of giftedness. The more highly gifted a child is, the more their needs vary from the average. And my children's needs were extremely different from their age peers and even other gifted children

The beauty of homeschooling exceptionally gifted kids is that the artificial barriers set up by schools to manage the masses don't have to apply to us. We learn at our own pace in our areas of strength (which is pretty far in advance of age peers!) and we are not "freaks". We can immerse ourselves in our education. We can be creative in how we learn and what we learn. We can learn with humour. The learning activities we undertake can be totally tailored to each kid's learning style. If something is not working for us, we can ditch it and start again.

If you suspect your child is gifted, you can do no better than start with Hoagies Gifted page. It is full of everything you ever wanted to know about giftedness from A-Z.

For homeschooling a gifted child, the must-read is Creative Home Schooling by Lisa Rivero, which I owned for several years before we took the plunge!

The gifted "diagnosis" explained a lot for both of my children. But my son in particular, still struggled with academic work that wasn't verbal or visual. And it turns out that all that literature about twice-exceptionality that I skipped over at the end of all the gifted books I owned was important! An occupational therapist assessed him as having motor dyspraxia and it explains a lot of the handwriting and gross motor issues we had observed, but we now also know the dypraxia is just part of his executive functioning impairment  that is ADHD.

Twice exceptional because they have (at least) two areas of special needs - the giftedness and "something else going on". A child can be gifted but have a learning disability or physical disability or even behavioural issues. Sometimes the giftedness masks the disability, or the disability masks the giftedness. It is like a puzzle where the pieces just don't fit together.

The great thing about homeschooling a gifted child with a learning disability is we can totally tailor our learning to the gifts as well as supporting his sensory issues, which is really difficult in the classroom.

No matter what the label, our kids are themselves, full of potential and it is our job to accept them and help them be the best they can be.

1 comment:

  1. Can't help wondering if I had 'motor dyspraxia' when I was a kid: after all, I wasn't the most coordinated myself either :)


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