Gifted, ADHD, Either, Neither, or Both?

Navigating the misdiagnoses between gifted and ADHD and forging a new path towards clarity.

ADHD MisdiagnosisAs Juliet famously said of her lover Romeo:

“What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

So what is in a name?

Does it matter?

Would anyone be fooled if we call a marigold, a rose?

Those who have ever smelled a marigold would probably argue, no. So even if we call a rose by another name, no one is fooled because we know what a rose smells like.

ADHD MisdiagnosisBut what if you’ve never seen a rose, or know what one smells like? Here’s a case in point.

Years ago, my husband and I were in the middle of an expensive remodel of our kitchen when my precocious son pointed out that the brand new cabinets were exactly the same color as our old outdated ones.

While not thrilled with this comparison, my husband and I understood that the new upgraded kitchen was nothing like the old one in function or design.

The old kitchen was definitely a “marigold”, and the new one is a “rose.”

We find that the same thing happens when working with G/T and ADHD students. What appears to be the same on the outside, is significantly different once you begin unpacking it.

In this 1-hour course, “Gifted, ADHD, Either, Neither, or Both?” Debbie Troxclair, Ph.D. provides educators and parents with a clear guide for a confusing and often misunderstood and misdiagnosed population: gifted students who also struggle with ADHD.

She also helps to clear up confusion between diagnoses and gives a concise path toward helping students. In this case, the names do matter.

Dr. Troxclair received her doctoral degree in Special Education (Emphasis in Gifted Education) from the University of Southern Mississippi and has over 20 years of teaching experience in both elementary and university classroom settings.

Misdiagnosis of ADHD – A Critical Challenge

ADHD MisdiagnosisMisdiagnosis of ADHD and giftedness poses a critical challenge for parents and teachers both in the classroom and at home. In this course, Dr. Troxclair identifies key characteristics, behavior patterns, and environments that often lead to misdiagnosis.

Further complicating the misdiagnosis challenge are the following issues:

  • Individuals who are not qualified to diagnose have a tendency to give their input. Everyone from the pediatrician to the grocery clerk has an opinion, but who is qualified to diagnose?
  • I think the original statement made more sense. What is the possibility that a student is BOTH gifted and ADHD. What are the unique challenges to these diagnoses, and how can we better help these students?

Is it a Rose or is it a Marigold? Finding the Characteristics that Lead to a True Diagnosis

Proper identification matters to parents and teachers working with both ADHD and G/T students. Dr. Troxclair identifies three behavioral patterns that cause difficulty in identifying whether students are ADHD, G/T, either, neither, or both.

  1. Attention
  2. Persistence
  3. Rules: Inhibition vs. Intensity

In all three of these areas, behavior patterns that may appear similar on the surface, actually lead to opposite diagnoses when the underlying motivations of the student are explored.

For instance, attention issues in an ADHD student are actually a physical inability to focus. If left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, this student will not be able to perform well in a classroom. In contrast, attention issues in G/T students are usually the result of boredom and the tendency to daydream when not challenged by traditional methods or content.

Both of these students will fail to thrive without a correct diagnosis.

Smell the Roses!

The following areas are characteristics, behaviors and environments where gifted and ADHD students struggle but for different reasons:

  • Intensity/Sensitivities/Overexcitabilities
  • Thinking and Learning Styles
  • Idealism
  • Peer RelationsADHD Misdiagnosis
  • Asynchronous Development
  • Interest Patterns
  • Creativity
  • Problems from Emotional Misplacement or Family Understanding

Dr. Troxclair unpacks each of these complex areas with a view of students that are either gifted, ADHD, or both.

How do we view these behaviors and characteristics? How might we be misunderstanding them?

When educators and parents have the right tools to identify the root of the problem, the correct diagnosis can be applied. And when students are given the tools they need to succeed in the classroom, everyone will be smelling the roses!

The Bottom Line for Gifted Students

Did you know as many as 50% of G/T students who are also diagnosed with ADHD do not have significant enough challenges for a true diagnosis?

Many diagnostic tests and scales are incorrectly used and/or incorrectly applied.

The ramifications for students who are gifted, ADHD, or both are significant. Dr. Troxclair will lead you through the difficulties of a diagnosis and help pave a path forward for helping students in the areas where they truly have needs.

Through this course you will be equipped to:

  • Understand the 8 most common areas of misdiagnosis
  • Differentiate between GT and ADHD characteristics in those areas.
  • Recognize specific characteristics which identify students for further ADHD and GT testing
  • Identify the behavioral and thinking patterns that characterize students who are both ADHD and GT.

It’s time that we, as parents, teachers, coordinators, and administrators, start to open the kitchen cabinet doors to see what’s really inside. “Gifted, ADHD, Either, Neither, or Both?” will equip you with the tools you need to reduce both G/T and ADHD misdiagnosis.

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Delivering Quality Training – No Matter Where You Are

Mobile Ready Professional Development GDid you know that this course is mobile ready? That means you can complete the course on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, or any other mobile device!

Photos courtesy of flickr via StuffNThings, granite-charlotte, dullhunk, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah