View Full Version : ADHD but brilliant

02-19-13, 06:28 PM
Hi. My 6 year old daughter has what seems to be ADHD. She is in kindergarden in a private school. She is very intelligent, has a phenomenal memory, has been bilingual since she was 4, was doing arithmetics while in daycare, already writes in cursive, etc. The reason for being in private school (which is mainly my wife's idea) is that she thinks that if she is not properly challenged, our daughter would be bored and become a bad student, get lower grades, get into trouble, etc.

I understand for ADHD kids that have problems and trouble adapting and learning... but what about in a case when the ADHD is not affecting academic results? Aside from her attention (and probably discipline), is it really justified?

Thanks for any comment or suggestion.

02-19-13, 09:04 PM
I was a straight A student, my son is a gifted child, in a selective (gifted) high school.

So yes it can absolutely not effect results.

YET. This bit is important in my own personal story and in my son's as well.

I was a stellar student, until I reached high school. Slow slide as more effort was required, as it got harder, as I needed to do things like study, and actually *try*. By the beginning of year 10 it was too much and I quit. And I now have a string of failed attempts at all sorts of things and no real qualifications or anything else to show for any of it.

This is how it mainly got missed in me, by being a good student. My son is 13 and is starting to experience issues now, his school isn't easy anymore and not only is it harder by nature of high school, its harder on another level because it's all advanced versions of the curriculum, being for gifted students only.

This is often where the 'good student' ADHD kid will start to show problems, I think. Through the primary/elementary years, its much easier to miss. I definitely wouldn't write off a theory, suspicion or diagnosis based on the fact that your daughter is a good student. It's harder in kindy too - she may not have homework - which is a good way to see if it is being affected - and she may know enough and be far enough ahead to compensate for anything she might miss/not hear - which is what I did (I got comments a lot that I didn't seem to be paying attention, but seemed to know the answers, which was 'good enough')

02-19-13, 09:42 PM
I definitely agree that once bored, I begin to act up, even as an adult... I can't help it. I'm just not mentally stimulated anymore!

I was a brilliant child, and even unmedicated and life spiraling wildly everywhere as a young adult did very well in high school and college... didn't do as well as I could have, but considering, I did really well. That said, medication would have helped IMMENSELY... I wouldn't have just settled for what I could do w/o effort.

Is your wife open to getting your daughter officially diagnosed?

A diagnosis doesn't mean she needs to begin taking medication, but at least you have it in case she does begin to get "bored" in her current school... it can happen (trust me).

And if you can begin helping her *now* and learning all you can about ADHD *now*, then when she gets older, if she does begin having problems due to ADHD, she won't get the "you are too intelligent to have ADHD"... because that's a steamy pile of dog poo.

Ms. Mango
02-19-13, 10:20 PM
I understand for ADHD kids that have problems and trouble adapting and learning... but what about in a case when the ADHD is not affecting academic results? Aside from her attention (and probably discipline), is it really justified?

I think the PP's have alluded to the fact that some bright ADHDers do very well in school, especially in the early years. If you feel she is performing up to her abilities and is being challenged in her environment right now then--at least academically--there's no rush. You can monitor her progress for now and see if treatment makes sense in the future.

There are, however, other reasons to consider medication. Many children with ADHD struggle with discipline and being accepted socially. The inability to keep up with teacher expectations can affect a child socially, too. Children often don't look favorably on a peer who is disruptive. Right now many of your DD's peers don't really notice this behavior, but they will become more aware in a few years.

From the way you've written your post, it seems your daughter does not have a diagnosis. I would really recommend finding a specialist and getting your daughter assessed. It's possible that she doesn't have ADHD at all, but might just be profoundly gifted. If you haven't come across it already, I like to recommend a book--Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults, edited by James T. Webb.

02-19-13, 10:32 PM
Your daughter is what some would call "twice exceptional" (or 2e) which means while very intelligent, there is also a deficit or disorder to deal with. I was as well, though it wasn't for the ADHD which we didn't know about until after I left high school, it was for the fact that I'm deaf.

For a very long time, I actually excelled in school because it was more interactive and most of the work was done in a setup that meant that were doing the same things I was and the teachers were a little more relaxed about a kid wandering around for water or another supply, but would gently remind me to get back to work if I were away for more than five minutes. So it helped me from getting too distracted, which was one of my biggest problems once the homework got more intensive.

Your wife is actually correct in that your daughter might give less of an effort when she gets bored, that was what happened with me. When there wasn't enough new information I would go and find something else to do even though I knew I was supposed to be concentrating on it. Interest was often linked to how well I did in a class.

Eventually, when the homework becomes more of an aspect in middle school and high school, you may want to think about sending her to an after school tutoring center or the library instead of trying to make her do homework at home. The atmosphere is more conductive to it, rather than doing it at home where you know there are other things to do. Something to think about. Plus it means you can often find someone to help if you get a little confused on a problem.

You may also have a problem with your daughter maybe getting in trouble for not thinking and being curious. Some of the most trouble I got into was because I was doing something because I was I was curious about it and what it could do. Food for thought and I hope that helps.

Scooby Dude
02-19-13, 10:55 PM
I come from a successful upper-middle class background. Parents very invested in my furure. I was a straight-A student at really good schools. Graduated from an elite University with a 3.5 and a triple major at 21. IQ tested at 156, age 4.

Diagnosed ADHD last month, age 35. In the 14 years since I graduated college I have alternated serially between being unemployed, grossly underemployed, or failing at starting a business. I have massive social phobic issues from always being the "weird" kid. My parents had no idea, because the grades and their dreams of my "giftedness" blinded them. I cannot function and had I not married my college sweetheart, and had she not stayed with me, I surely would be a homeless alcoholic, or have met a similarly horrible fate. My giftedness covered up a total lack o life skills AND ADHD AND mood disorders for 21 years.

As it is, the rest of my life can be pretty great, because I made it to my diagnosis intact. It had better be to make up for the first half. Had I been diagnosed at your daughter's age I could have done anything with my life. Now I'm picking up pieces.

Your daughter probably won't become me. But go get some insurance. Have her evaluated. If they don't see anything at this time, but you still have concerns, have her evaluated again down the road as appropriate. The worst that happens is they tell you your daughter is okay and you spend a few bucks. It's cheap insurance against her becoming me.

You're a good Dad for having found this forum. You're looking out for her well being. Follow through on that instinct.

02-19-13, 11:07 PM
I was at a college reading level in elementary school. My kindergarten teacher sent home advanced reading work, because I passed everyone else up in the class like a bad habit. I was pretty OK in grades K-2. I was in a tiny private school in 1st and 2nd grade, and in 2nd, there were only two kids in the entire grade. 30 kids in the whole school.

I had trouble when the school closed, and I had to go to public school. All of a sudden, the one-on-one time was gone, and homework started :eek:
I had straight-As too in kindergarten. First and second grade too.

The worst of it was my social problems. It's not hard to be social when you're in a tiny little school, but when I reached public school I never had many friends. I was always wandering the playground alone, wishing I had friends. Emotionally, this is one of the worst things about ADHD. (for me) When you're a kid, you don't care how smart you are when nobody wants to be your friend.

Footsore Ramble
02-19-13, 11:09 PM
Count me in as another who did brilliantly in my early school years, was in the gifted program, etc etc etc. It wasn't until college that I really started to fall apart, although the signs were certainly there before. If I could go back and tell my parents to get me treated early on (say, high school, at least) I would.

02-20-13, 12:31 PM
Our son is 6 as well, tested at a 140 IQ (we suspect it's even higher since its hard to do an IQ test properly in a child who wont sit still) which is considered on the border of highly gifted. He also loves school work and doesn't have a problem with any academic area. However, behavior is a constant challenge. He finishes his work first and then bugs everyone else in the class...the teacher is constantly coming up with extra stuff for him to do. Recess and PE he totally loses control. Socially he struggles with a hard combo of shyness and ineptness. At home he's generally ok because he will build with Legos for hours or start some project that sucks up his energy.

He was diagnosed with the primarily hyper-impulsive kind of adhd about a year ago. We decided to go with a low dose of Intuniv to help with his impulse control and hyperactivity. We were already doing lots of diet and some supplements. It works ok. I'm always torn about whether or not he even has ADHD in the first place or is just a gifted kid who is immature and needs constant stimulation.

So that's our story. We decided to medicate and pursue a diagnosis because school was rough from the beginning. Strangely as the academic work becomes more difficult the happier and calmer our son is. I would like to get him off of the Intuniv at some point but we're not there yet and of course will go by what he needs.