Twice exceptional ADHD

Twice-exceptionality refers to a youngster who has both high intelligence and giftedness, as well as a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). Because the impairment typically stops a child from expressing and developing her abilities, it makes life and school challenging for parents, teachers, and children.

To be twice exceptional, a youngster does not need to be "globally talented" or have a high IQ — say, 130 or higher (2e). In fact, most 2e children have considerable IQ differences, therefore an IQ test isn't a reliable indicator of their potential. I consider a child gifted if she excels in any of the following areas: verbal ability, nonverbal ability, fluid reasoning, or visual-spatial thinking. She is twice-exceptional if she also has ADHD.

I'd like to provide some thoughts on how parents can support and advocate for their twice exceptional teen or child as a psychologist who specializes in the 2e community — and also as a parent of 2e children with ADHD.

1. Obtain a precise diagnosis.

ADHD is frequently misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed in youngsters.

Sarah was a well-behaved, daydreamy student who received average grades. An assessment was triggered by her anxiety. Sarah was both gifted and diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. She might have been able to "fly under the radar" for the rest of her scholastic career if she hadn't displayed emotional side affects.

Max was always out of his seat in class due to distractions. He questioned authority and had disagreements with everyone. He has hyperactive/impulsive ADHD as well as Oppositional Defiant Disorder. No one attempted to "identify" his giftedness, or to analyze how his brilliance and boredom in class affected his behavior. To assist a 2e child, you must first identify his areas of strength and struggle.

2. Speak out and educate others.

You'll be in a better position to fight for gifted services, an IEP, a 504 Plan, or whatever else your child requires if you have correct facts. You'll probably need to explain twice-exceptionality to your child's principal and teachers. They may not have heard of it, and others will find it difficult to comprehend how a child can be gifted while also having a disability. You might be able to enlist the help of key school personnel, such as the coordinator of gifted programs, the school psychologist, and the principal. It's possible that you'll need to form a committee with other parents. As your child's greatest champion, be a squeaky wheel.

3. Concentrate on your strengths and passions.

Focusing on a child's talents and interests rather than their faults is significantly more beneficial. Strengths are sometimes overlooked in an attempt to "fix" the child and force her to conform to others' expectations. As a gifted person, advocate for your child's gifted needs. Participation in a gifted program, grade or subject matter acceleration, placement in tough classes, and after-school and summer enrichment activities are all examples of this.

Follow your child's interests in this endeavor.

Dreamy Sarah adored stories, so her parents bought her books, took her to a storytelling conference, gave her voice dictation software for creative writing, and entered her in a speech contest. She took advanced English classes.

Max was fascinated by how things worked, so his parents allowed him to disassemble objects, take him to scientific museums, and enroll him in a robotics program. He attended rigorous math and science classes. Enrichment in areas of interest has the added benefit of increasing your child's motivation across the board.

4. Don't forget to deal with problems.

Your youngster will very certainly require assistance to address areas of difficulty. This could include behavioral assistance, medication, executive function coaching, and school adjustments such as mobility breaks.

Inattentive Executive function coaching helped Sarah the most. She learnt how to manage her time, keep track of her homework, and deal with procrastination. Max benefited from medication as well as his participation in martial arts (which teach discipline and respect). Because she was distracted by her own ideas at school, Sarah required teacher reminders and extra time to finish projects. Max need social skills training in order to better manage his impulsivity.

5. Appreciate your child's individuality.

At the very least, twice-exceptional! Because many 2e children have numerous exceptionalities, I say "twice" and "at least." It may be difficult to accept that your child is 2e, but keep two things in mind. First, having ADHD is likely to provide significant benefits to your child. People with ADHD are more creative, have more energy, excitement, curiosity, spontaneity, and are better at multitasking. Divergent thinking and new viewpoints on challenges may be just what our world requires right now.

Not only that, but there's more. Your child is gifted intellectually, with all the advantages it entails. Your parenting perspective will transform once you embrace and cherish your child for who he or she is. You can praise your child's abilities rather than continually attempting to "cure" her "disability." Look for the good in her. Look at what she can do instead of what she can't. Work with her to help her develop her skills and attain her objectives. Being "different" has its own appeal and benefits.