View Full Version : Gifted and AD/HD - Long post


geekgurl
10-19-05, 07:33 PM
I'm the parent of a 10yo AD/HD boy. I have Bipolar disorder so I can completely understand some of the issues surrounding AD/HD but not fully so I wanted to post his situation somewhere that I could ask questions and hopefully gain some insite.

My son is very classic in his symptoms and in retrospect we should have seen it when he was still an infant. He has never been able to sleep without background noise, never stayed put, orchestrated grand escapes from his crib, his room, the house, the yard etc. He can't stay focused on anything he is not completely interested in or things that take to long to complete. Hyper is an understatement - he watches tv while sitting upside down, onto the floor, on the couch, to the coffee table, back to the couch - tiring for us spectators. I've never met anyone as oppositional as he his, you can't tell him anything or get him to do something he doesn't want to without a battle.

Moving along in his story. From the time he was really little we noticed that he had some other quirky behaviours, like arguing the physics of why the toothfairy, easter bunny etc couldn't exist. He was using adult types of words when he was old enough to form a sentence (I don't mean the bad ones, although he used them too). If you gave him the standard "there are millions of stars in the sky" he would respond with "actually, there are an infantisimal number of stars in the sky because it's impossible to count them all", and yes he used these exact words with me when he was 4 yrs old, words I might add I can't even spell correctly.

Fast forward to school. Kidergarten was just a joy. He wouldn't stay in his seat, blurted out answers no matter how many times we explained the hand raising and was bored beyond tears with math. By this time he could calculate taxes on anything he wanted to buy. The solution to the problems he was having was to take him to the 2nd grade class during math time so that he was not quite so bored counting apples. First grade and a new school brought lots of troubles. He was continually being "refocused" to try to combat some behavioural issues he was having. Even though he had these problems he was selected by the end of 1st grade to have additional testing for the gifted program. The top 3% of the students from each school continue for these tests and then the top 3% from the school district go to the program in 3rd grade. Well, he didn't quite make it. Missed his marks in reading.

In 3rd grade they did the ITBS testing. He ranked in the 99th percentile for everything but reading (notice the theme here). His behaviour problems got considerably worse and we finally gave in and talked to our family physician about AD/HD. To make matters worse he also has a Aortic Stenosis - defective heart valve - so putting him on a stimulant was pretty scary. With the cardiologists guidance we tried ritilan and it has worked wonders. He went from being in trouble everyday to being student of the month 2 months in a row. WOO-HOO!!

4th grade they take WASL tests in the state of Washington. He got the maximum scores possible in reading and writing and nearly perfect in Math.

Here's my theory. Without medicine he has no patience or the ability to focus on reading or writing, those tasks just take too long and require too much attention - he just can't do it. With the medication he can and does very well. I tried to get them to retest him last year for the gifted program and the answer I got was that the kids only get 1 chance. I think this is very unfair when subsequent tests show that he excells in everything he does when he takes medication to help him along. I really feel this is discriminatory against him. I really think that they have looked at his school record and seen that he has been disruptive and just don't want him in the program, even though his disruptive behaviour has pretty much vanished since we started his meds.

Now in 5th grade. The most recent intellectual discovery is that after he goes to law school (Yale) he's going to find a cure for AIDS in his spare time. He even has some pretty creative methods on how to do this. How many "normal" 10 year olds cotemplate a) going to Yale law school b) going to med school after law school and c) try to theorize different ways to wipe out a disease that many scientist have been working on for the past 20+ years with no luck. I find this pretty amazing myself that a 10 year old even has the capacity to think and plan this type of future much less explain it in terms that most adults wouldn't be able to (different types of blood cells and what they do) Anyway, I finally pushed my way with the principal of the gifted program here and they FINALLY agreed to give him a WISC III exam with the school phycologist. He has to score a 130 to be allowed into the program now - 130 being the bottom score to be considered gifted on the WISC. I think he can get the score no problem but am worried that the school phycologist is going to be biased (the entire test is done verbally). I'm very frustrated with the school and very frustrated with the process in general. I really think that sitting in class and finishing everything first and being expected to sit still until everyone else is done and then get into trouble when he can't has exacerbated the problems. I explained to her that I think the reason that he scored lower than accepted on the reading/writing portions on these tests is because of the undiagnosed/untreated AD/HD. I explained this last year as well but didn't get anywhere. With his meds he has no problem reading and his comprehension of what he reads is way beyond where he should be - he has to explain words to me sometimes.

Anyway, just looking for other parents who have experienced this. I've done a lot of research on kids with learning disabilities and giftedness but can't find a forum specific to this. I know a lot of our AD/HD kids are special in their own unique ways and this is his. I don't want to see him miss out on acedemic opportunites because he's been labeled in the school system as a problem kid.

Another annoyance is that it seems that teachers and staff are not trained on how to deal with these kids. I believe in punishing innapropriate bahaviour but when are they going to realize that some kids can't fully control their behaviour or the reaction they have when they get into trouble. Somehow the school districts need to better educate our educators to understand how to better deal with these kids, they are just making the situation WORSE!!!

Alright, I'll quit now.

Thanks to anyone that can share their experience with me. I feel pretty hopeless and alone in my crusade to do what's best for my son.

gg

Imnapl
10-19-05, 07:56 PM
geekgurl,
Bottom line? Your son's school's gifted program doesn't deserve him.
I notice you live in Spokane. Surely there must be another source of enrichment studies for your son.

geekgurl
10-19-05, 09:47 PM
Thanks for the kind thoughts! I actually believe that they don't deserve him either but I do believe that he deserves every opportunity to get the education that my taxes pay for as any other child in this school district. I think his meds just level the playing field for him. It is very frustrating as a parent to try to get him someplace where he can thrive and have the doors slammed in my face. I really don't think that they believe he'll get the scores he needs. I'm sure they get calls from parents all the time saying that their kids are gifted and they have to field those calls out, I understand that. The difference is that he has shown in so many ways that he is exceptional. I could fill pages with examples, I thought about sending them the directions he did to re-build toys he took apart (reverse engineering) or his video that he completely created himself, all the way from the slides that he animated to the music that he cut and looped himself - this was at 8. Or if they could hear the conversations he has with adults about current affairs and his ideas to fix huge problems in the world - aids, terrorism, poverty. I've been told by every teacher and anyone that has spent any length of time with him that he is extremely intelligent. He researched where he wants to go to college and what he wants to be - not me. He diagnosis what's wrong with his computer and usually fixes it himself - not me. He has conversations about stocks, bonds and CD's with my stock broker friend and the bank tellers. I could go on and on. Off meds he can't do much of anything but bounce off the walls, have meltdowns, argue with everyone and so on. The medication for him has been a godsend.

Spokane, unfortunatly doesn't have any alternative education schools other than private and well, we just don't have the income for that. We're in that middle screwed zone where we make too much to get help from anyone but not enough to afford anything other than the essentials. If I knew of a school that catered to kids like him that didn't cost a fortune well, I'd move!

I'm thinking of having the WISC test done independantly, that way I know it's an unbiased source. I guess my biggest issue is that kids like him learn to work the system. They know that with very little effort they can get passing grades and just skate through school. My husband and I are both HS dropouts and missed out on so many opportunities, I don't want to see him lose interest in school and miss them too. I hate the labeling game, the politics of our education system and the prejudice about any type of mental illness. I experience it first hand and just want better for him.

Uminchu
10-19-05, 10:07 PM
Hi geekgurl:

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about bias in the IQ testing at school. Why not let the school test him, then get him re-tested if the results don't jibe with what you see?

That "one shot" at the gifted program, and in 1st grade at that, sounds pretty silly on the face of it. That kind of rigid thinking doesn't have much place in a gifted program, in my opinion.

Is private school an option for you?

By the way, I wonder if you or your husband have been diagnosed for ADD?

Imnapl
10-19-05, 10:09 PM
Geekgurl, did you know it is not unusual for gifted students to drop out of high school? :D

There are so many ways to enrich your son's life outside of school. Why don't you get your son to do some research on what's available? I wonder if there are online courses he'd be interested in?

Imnapl
10-19-05, 10:15 PM
Geekgurl, the world really needs more psychiatrists who specialize in ADHD. Do you think you could start planting seeds in your little guy's head about job opportunities, fringe benefits, travel, great pay . . . ?

geekgurl
10-19-05, 10:47 PM
By the way, I wonder if you or your husband have been diagnosed for ADD?
Neither of us have been dx for ADD but I am dx'd bi-polar. The Doctor really looked hard at my son before saying it was adhd because of this. I live on meds and would fight tooth and nail before anyone took them away from me, it's really the only way I live a smooth, semi-symptom free life. My husband unfortunely has a really hard time with both of our "issues". I can relate to my son as far as the not having any control over himself at times. I guess it helps in a way because I can explain to him that we're not "weird" but chemicals in our brain just don't work the way they should and the medicine helps them. My husbands philosphy is that if we medicated Einstein where would we be in the science and math worlds today - my response is maybe a lot further.


Imnapl - The way we enrich is that I work with him as much as possible on advanced things. I taught him how to do binary math (that's the 1's and 0's) and we do logic puzzles, checkers, chess and that sort of thing. I have actually talked to him about going into medicine in some way. He has a bit of a problem with his social skills that I'm hoping he grows out of, if he doesn't I don't think any sort of counseling would be a good career choice. His teacher from last year says that he is a perfectionist with his acedemics, the problem is that he has no patience for people that he doesn't perceive to be as smart as he is.

I guess all I can do is ride it out and see where it goes. As he gets older I think there will be more opportunites to enhance his learning - AP classes, honors classes, chess club - that sort of thing. I haven't been able to find any clubs or activities that have to do with acedmics for young kids. He has no interest in sports, just intellectual types of things. He's going to get to a point where I am very boring for him :-)

Imnapl
10-20-05, 03:26 AM
I guess it helps in a way because I can explain to him that we're not "weird" My favourite keychain says, "I'm not weird, I'm gifted."


the problem is that he has no patience for people that he doesn't perceive to be as smart as he is. That's a problem? :eek:

Geekgurl, it sounds like you've got all the bases covered. Enjoy.

michele325
12-13-05, 04:24 PM
Your ds sounds really smart to me. My dd scored almost gifted when she was evaled for ADHD. I, like you, feel she would easily qualify now that she is on meds. I am wondering, what about scholarships for private schools? I would think that some private school would love to add a kid who scores in the 99th% and has interests like your son. Just a thought. I hope you figure out something and he doesn't continue to be bored.

ADDCadet01
03-19-06, 05:50 PM
Is almost every AD/HD kid gifted?

A lot of my friends say :
"Oh, but that's not fair. You have AD/HD. That's why you [insert smart thing here]"
and I believed there to be no correlation, just them being jerks, but is this not the case?

Kokomo
03-19-06, 06:23 PM
From my experience in most "gifted" programs, your child will get "more" out of the extra stuff you are doing with him than the school will ever be able to offer. Maybe it's time to get him some computer programs, like web page development, animation programs, SAT prepration, etc, to see how far he can push himself. I would predict that high school is probably going to be a pain for him, but he will love college and his post-graduate work! Good luck.

melanie_me
07-14-06, 05:27 PM
Federal law states that your child is guaranteed a free and appropriate education.

I would call the school district and say, "I want my son tested for the gifted program. He is entitled to a free and appropriate education under federal law, and I feel that his current academic setting is inappropriate. I want to schedule the testing now."

The school district can't say he only get's one chance. That's discriminatory and does not respect his needs.

You are your child's advocate. You've got to fight for what's good for him.

Crazy~Feet
07-14-06, 05:36 PM
Federal law states that your child is guaranteed a free and appropriate education.

I would call the school district and say, "I want my son tested for the gifted program. He is entitled to a free and appropriate education under federal law, and I feel that his current academic setting is inappropriate. I want to schedule the testing now."

The school district can't say he only get's one chance. That's discriminatory and does not respect his needs.

You are your child's advocate. You've got to fight for what's good for him.

Yep! I love this bit melanie, nicely worded.

Geekgurl, my child sounds like yours :) no meds, no focus, no patience. Same problems with disliking people not at her level, constant "why", avoidance of non-mental activity, etc.

My child is gifted and ADHD. Its possible to be both...so was I. I was failed utterly by my "gifted program" :mad:. Woe betide the school system that tries to fail my daughter!!

Keep pushing the boundaries. You are your child's best advocate and things do need to change.

Crazy

w.a.m.h.
08-25-06, 06:44 PM
I agree with Melanie. If you demand it it may happen. For us, I went to a private psych and she went to the school and got him tested so we wouldn't have to pay the $350 that she would charge. However, she was not happy about the way the school tested him. They broke the test into two days, not how the test was designed. There were other things, too. So private may be better anyway.

VisualImagery
08-25-06, 07:07 PM
Here is a Washington area resource that might help you alot!
http://addresources.org/ I can't remember where Spokane is in relationship to seattle but you are a lot closer than most of us. They have Dr. referrals and lots of help.

You sound like a great mom! With everything you are doing you could home school, but that might not be a good mix with the BP-I had depression and it didn't work well together.

Your son is very fortunate, keep up the good work. And take pride in raising such a wonderful person!

RADD

sammyanne1
08-26-06, 12:11 AM
www.corwin-russell.org one day maybe I'll start a school this nifty

auntchris
02-18-07, 05:40 PM
Okay folks I skimmed some of the readings , melanie is right about the free appropriate public education...l.

Another thing is all of your children who are gifted and have a disability like ADHD are twice exceptional. Check out some of the twice exceptional links on www.google.com (http://www.google.com)
I learned this term in a special education class of mine. There are alot of article that will open your eyes.

Lady Lark
02-18-07, 11:52 PM
Are there any comunity colleges nearby? It might be possible to get him into a class or two there. I kow you mentioned the "inbetween" income (it just sucks, I know), but have you actually talked with private schools in the area? Many have scolarships to help. Also, (I know this is an AZ thing, but you can check into it) there are charter schools which you have the option of switching you child to if the public schools are "right" for your child.

Above else, DO NOT BACK DOWN WITH THE CURRENT SCHOOL. They're really starting to sound like they have written him off, and that is just plain wrong. Insist, demand, threaten (the media always works well ;) ) that they help your child. And keep up with the "extra" things you are doing. It will help.


Hey, if he's interested in stocks, maybe give him some seen money for the market...? Maybe he can pay for his own private school. ;)

Bean Delphiki
03-01-07, 08:51 PM
I'm coming in late on this, but if reading is always an issue, have you had him evaluated for a learning disability? If he's dyslexic, possibly you can get the school to account for that when they test him.

amiegrace
03-01-07, 08:52 PM
Have you ever considered homeschooling, or something like that? You can be very creative with how you choose to homeschool, concentrating on what is really interesting and important to your son. Sounds like he would test well enough not to have to worry about state standards. It would save him the horrible boredom and stultifying structure of school. You could always recruit students from nearby colleges to tutor him in subjects he likes. Then you won't have to fuss around with the school system, because it is NOT set up to meet the needs of students like yours (he may be so smart that even the gifted program wouldn't really meet his needs).

Here's a link re: the law in WA state: http://www.homeschooloasis.com/art_wa_st_hs_law.htm

piglet
03-02-07, 08:59 PM
Not much to contribute here, except to say that he sounds like an awesome kid. You must be wonderful parents to give him such a nurturing place for his inquisitive mind.

I guess it's the good news and the bad news at the same time, when you have a kid as exceptional and out-of-the-boxes as him. A real challenege to live up to the demands of being his parents, but "infinitesimal" returns!

Imnapl
03-02-07, 09:45 PM
I'm coming in late on this, but if reading is always an issue, have you had him evaluated for a learning disability? If he's dyslexic, possibly you can get the school to account for that when they test him.I love this topic. Dear Bean, my son also scores in the ninety-something percentile and is gifted if something is presented visually, first. He is in Asia and by the third month of not finding a job, wrote and told me he was so bored he'd actually finished a book in three days! I laughed out loud. He has no difficulties regarding reading, but rarely reads for pleasure and would much rather read a manual than a novel.

astroellij
03-03-07, 01:50 AM
Hey geekgurl.. I have just posted a post to rival yours in length.....it was to encourage and share my experience with a lady who was having behavior and anger problems with her young son. It is at www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34722 if you want to have a look. What I didn't go into at length was his giftedness, at 6 he would add up 3 and 4 digit figures in his head and scored top 1% in the standard school Ravenscar IQ testing. We were having so many problems we paid to have him thoroughly evaluated at the university, in a number of areas he was 6 yrs above his level.
The first maths competition he competed in he was a year younger than all the competitors and he came in the top 9 %, this year he was on an even playing field and came in the top 2% nationally, we are fortunate that his school is very interested in extending him and he is now in year 4 and does year 7 & 8 maths, I would definitely get his stats on paper and submit them to private schools in your area..they all want to look good and an exceptional student like your son will only make them look better. Normally there will be scholarships or bursaries to apply for.
I like the idea of setting him up some money to research and decide on some companies to invest in... Our son loves to play Cashfow 101 by Robert Kyiosaki, he is 9 now, this is a great way to get basic accounting skills and financial education, as soon as we can afford to pick up the next level, 202 we will, this adds more diversity.
I must say I have thought about homeschooling, but as bright as he is he can be extremely pedantic and tiring at times too so this is a challenge I have steered away from. Our son loves competing against others online in Mathletics as well as other online educational games.
It doesn't seem abnormal for the kids with adhd tendencies to be gifted in one or more areas.
Keep him dreaming big, Ill look forward to seeing his name in the medical journals of the future............

Bean Delphiki
03-07-07, 06:59 AM
I love this topic. Dear Bean, my son also scores in the ninety-something percentile and is gifted if something is presented visually, first. He is in Asia and by the third month of not finding a job, wrote and told me he was so bored he'd actually finished a book in three days! I laughed out loud. He has no difficulties regarding reading, but rarely reads for pleasure and would much rather read a manual than a novel.
*smiles* Well, it may well be that her son has no real problem with reading other than it is not his gift to want to read everything under the sun...

BUT if it's consistently coming up as an area of weakness on tests - enough that it's bringing his score down so far that an obviously gifted student is testing "non-gifted" - then I would think dyslexia should be considered.

chasesmom
07-28-07, 01:03 PM
My son is also ADHD and gifted. He has the inattentive type and fortunately for him, he is able to test well on the yearly achievement tests, probably because of the emphasis on quiet during testing...and he has no distractions to pull him away. I don't know but he is in the gifted program in our school. This last year he tested post high school on the math portion of the testing and way above (10 grade and higher) on all the rest of the subjects. I have the fortune of a cooperative middle school principal that has agreed to bump him to pre algebra for the 6th grade year, a year early.

I had to laugh when you talked about your son's vocab. My little guy had the first grade teacher totally flabbergasted..she told me his vocab was 'phenomenal' and that during the vocab game the class routinely played, he could not be beat. The other children would get all upset when they saw they had to go against him...she ended up letting him run the game at times so someone else could have a chance to win. He still talks like he is an adult...an example...when he was 4, he was taking swimming lessons from a teen at the local pool. She told him to put his face in the water, to which he asked, Do you want me totally submerged, or only partially?" After the class, the 17 year old instructor told me, "From that time on, I didn't water down the terms...he knew what I was talking about no matter how I put it!"

Keep up the good work! I agree with a previous poster. Look into scholarships at private schools. I cannot see why one of them would not jump to get him on their roll call.