Being someone who is high ability doesn't always come without consequences. The public image of the gifted learner is someone with a high IQ without any physical, mental or emotional problems. This viewpoint is a dangerous fantasy that has caused many problems for the gifted community. Gifted education is part of the special education system because the gifted learner needs a non-traditional way of learning new skills. Also, most gifted learners are actually considered to be twice exceptional. This means they are gifted but also have a learning or behavioral problem. This group of gifted students have a hard time in school because their special needs often mask their gifted abilities. Special accommodations and sometimes therapy need to made for these students in order for them to find academic success.
One of the most misunderstood behavioral issues possessed by the gifted population is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Gifted students with ADHD often times do not exhibit their gifted behaviors the way society believes they should. The misunderstanding by educators of how all gifted students should behave has lead to many students with ADHD not being recommended for testing for inclusion in the gifted program. If these children are recommended they still have the hurdle of the program director admitting them into the program. Intellectual test scores of gifted students with ADHD often do not demonstrate their true higher intellectual abilities. This is because the ADHD will interfere with testing.
Gifted learners with ADHD exhibit behaviors that can hinder the social development with their intellectual peers. Gifted students without ADHD tend to be socially, emotionally and intellectually similar with others who are two to four years ahead of them in age. This group, though, has a hard time accepting gifted students with ADHD as their peers because they do not have the patience to deal with the emotional immaturity exhibited by the gifted student with ADHD. Gifted students with ADHD tend to lag two to three years behind in socially acceptable behaviors for their age range.
The gifted learner with ADHD knows they do not fit in with their intellectual peers. They feel rejected by their intellectual peers and will sometimes demonstrate their frustration through anger. It's very hard for gifted students with ADHD to find the right school for them to attend. Many times educators, parents, administrators and their peers do not fully understand how to help the student to succeed. Some families chose to pull their child our of the school system and homeschool them. The positive or negative effect an academic setting has upon a gifted student with ADHD depends upon the student's personality.
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