Characteristics of ADD. To better understand giftedness and the possible presence of Attention- Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, there needs to be an understanding that there re characteristics in giftedness that may relate to ADD problems, which in turn can often make deciphering the diagnosis of being ‘twice exceptional’ challenging. As already mentioned there are the positive, well-adjusted learner characteristics, but there are also emotionally negative characteristics that come into play.
Some negative behavioral characteristics that may be present are lack of motivation, persistence, perfectionism, frustration, boredom, lack of confidence and anxiety or depression (Hellish & Brown, 201 3, p. 50). Such characteristics may mask or mirror the characteristics in fifed individuals who seem to be struggling, in that many of the behaviors may be in fact environmental conditions causing or influencing ADD-like behaviors in our high-ability students (Bam, Allowance & Owen, 1998, p. 96).
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Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD), according to the American Psychological Association (1 994), often have Issues sustaining situation-appropriate attention such as: Hyperactivity, alertness, arousal and can be easily distracted (Bam, Allowance & Owen, 1 998, p. 98). Other indicators of ADD may be the tendency to daydream, a diminished ability to sites attentively, difficulty completing independent tasks, work often appears messy or disorganized, talking excessively and behavioral problems when following rules.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most cornrow behavioral disorders known today and there is great debate on whether this disorder is over-diagnosed. In the case of gifted children, ADD characteristics often tend to mask intelligence. Teachers may end up focusing more on the disruptive behaviors Of gifted ADD students and fail to see the indicators of high ability (Inherit, 2003, p. 2). Research has shown hat lack of challenge, boredom and little access with like-minded individuals in regards to interest, ability and drive contribute to social or emotional problems (Prickle, Got & Freezer, 201 0), (Little, 2012, p. 98). Gaining insight as to whether a student isn’t appropriately challenged or in fact has a behavioral disorder such as ADD is also particularly challenging when students are placed in educational settings where proper supports are not in place. To adequately establish ADD in gifted children there should ideally be a support team set in place. Assessment of these students must be team effort to deliver appropriate supports and strategies to ensure the students willingness to learn and grow.
To avoid instances where the student starts to fail miserably because of the fact that there is more focus being placed on what they are unable to achieve versus demonstrating their talents and strengths (Bam, 1990, p. 3). Twice Exceptional – Gifted and ADD. What is the correlation be;en ADD and giftedness? How can we identify and educate school age children who are considered twice exceptional’? A child’s area of strength also leaves areas for weakness.
These areas of weakness are at times prominent in children who are gifted. Meaning that an individual can be gifted in one area and disabled in another. These individuals often go unidentified as they struggle to stay at grade level due to the compensation of their weaknesses, again ability masking disability (Bam, 1990, p. 3). Understanding these students requires awareness between the relationship of the two areas of exceptionally and the knowledge necessary to assess and identify procedures for giftedness and disabilities.
Gifted students with ADD often exhibit characteristics such s: have difficulty focusing their attention, work completion, following direction, organizing material and at the same time they mirror their gifted peers by being advanced in their abilities and being capable of higher levels of performance when engaged and appropriately challenged (Twice exceptional dilemma, 2006, p. 6). According to (Combo & Wassermann, 201 3, p. 150-151 ) the following table shares the strengths and weaknesses that are consistent characteristics our twice-exceptional students.
Weaknesses Strengths Easily frustrated with either themselves or with others (due to conflicting threaten/weaknesses) They possess a talent for the retention of material and grasp ideas at a faster rate Often seem unrecognized, messy and easily distracted Excellent oral and written communication skills Become easily bored while learning Show persistence, creativity, imagination, curiosity and are insightful and often sensitive Have difficulty following sequential steps Have a thirst for knowledge and are motivated to learn when engaged Issues with task completion Understand higher level of thinking Inattentiveness Early readers Difficulty with written expression Effective at problem-solving Have difficulty sitting still Tend to excel in math (I. E. Geometry, spatial relationships) Often display lack of control (behavior issues) Tend to have a good sense of humor Figure 1 . Strengths and weaknesses of twice-exceptional students.
Despite these contradictions a child’s academic needs should be met with an appropriate individualized curriculum. The child’s support team should develop and work with an Individual Education plan (PIPE). This is one Of the strategies that will be introduced later in the paper. Case Study (Fictional): Jordan is currently ten years old and is in grade five. In Kindergarten wrought the beginning of the third grade he attended a school in Edmonton. He enjoyed school, but was unable to pay attention and often daydreamed in class. When Jordan was in kindergarten his teacher decided to refer him to an assessor and he also visited his pediatrician to be tested for ADD as well as to look into a possibility that he may have a learning disorder.
The tests determined that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, along with an undetermined processing disorder. In light of the test results his kindergarten teacher felt that it would be beneficial for Jordan to repeat another year of kindergarten. Eventually he continued on the first and second grades. In these grades Cordon’s attention to glasswork showed little improvement, even when appropriate interventions were implemented. He also had attended a resource class a couple of times a week. His teacher also modified his class work and allowed for Jordan to take breaks between lessons. This extra time was given in order to allow him to build planes and other such models, allowing time for daydreaming and creative expression at his desk.
Socially, Jordan did not interact much with other children and preferred to keep to himself when in the playground. The other children tried to include him, but Jordan didn’t share the same interest. Instead, he often chose to spend his time walking through the playground seeming to be lost in thought. Eventually when Jordan entered the third grade his parents began to realize that the extra help/modifications he was receiving where not helping him academically or socially. On a hunch Cordon’s third grade teacher advised that he should be retested at a nearby gifted and talented school. Cordon’s test scores revealed that he was working at an eighth grade level in math and that he should signs of high intelligence.
Cordon’s “symptoms” of ADD seemed to have been a result of boredom with the third grade curriculum and felt undercharged by the material being taught. Now that Jordan is receiving level appropriate work, he has begun to feel challenged and is doing wonderfully in school. Stories such as Cordon’s are happening everyday in our school systems. Gifted students are not being identified and in turn their learning needs are not always being recognized or met. Oftentimes gifted children present learning disorder that mask intelligence and produce behavioral issues simply due to the fact that they are underhandedly by the work at grade level curriculum.
Diagnosing or identifying giftedness for most educational and medical professionals is challenging, especially when a learning disorder such as ADD is a factor. Purpose Statement. The purpose behind this fictional case study is to illustrate the dual diagnosis of ADD and giftedness and also to provide tools for identification. This paper presents a variety of opinions and facts about the existence of ADD and giftedness. There is great debate about the percentage Of students with ADD and the correlation that giftedness may also co-exist with his disorder. Despite this debate, this paper assumes that the relationship does exist and our school systems need to be aware to appropriately address ‘twice exceptional’ students.
The goal is to offer educators and support team members more information in regards to up to date research, suitable teaching techniques and strategies as a resource to provide meaningful educational experiences for these children. Support in building Strategies. There is a lack of awareness in regards to the possibility of a child being both ADD and gifted (twice-exceptional). As a result, children are being laced in schools and programs that are inappropriate to their educational needs. Students that are twice-exceptional are responding to their educational environment with boredom in subjects that interest them and struggle in their areas of need. Also, focus should be on talent development, rather than on remediation of deficits.
This appears to yield more positive outcomes and minimize problems (Inherit, 2003, p. 4). To improve in the implementation of effective instruction, teachers and educational professionals need to educate themselves about the possibility that ADD and giftedness do co-exist. They need to be and provide with the necessary tools to identify and adequately develop strategies to different popup lotions of children. Implementing Strategies. This section of the paper is to investigate the twice-exceptional and to explore various effective education strategies. Large populations of gifted and talented children are often being misdiagnosed with ADD and other disabilities.
Professionals make these diagnoses without considering the possibility of characteristics of giftedness being part of the equation. ‘This diagnosis is difficult and time consuming for medical doctors much less educational professionals. Medications are often the treatment or source of intervention for gifted learning disabled children, leaving teachers with little knowledge of the educational strategies that can effectively educate this population Of students” (Bam, Allowance & Owen, 1 998, p. 97). The process of detecting a ;ice-exceptional student goes beyond the general identification practices. Standardized testing, observation and checklists of the characteristics of students who are gifted are not useful alone in identifying the co-existence of giftedness and ADD.
Though checklists of dents strengths and weaknesses need to be collected from various locations; both in and outside of the school environment to compare the results of each child’s own average rather than to his/her age norm. Bam states that to make an appropriate referral for the co-existence of ADD is to consider the effects of the environment on the students behavior, and the extent to which the environment and curricula are serving as getaways for the emergence of ADD behaviors (Bam, Allowance & Owen, 1998, p. 102). Treatment matching is crucial (Inherit, 2003, p. 3). Inherit also shares that or interventions to be effective they need to be tailored to the unique strengths and needs of the individual (2003). There are many links that occur between ADD and giftedness that make diagnosing and intervention planning difficult.
Links such as creativity, the gifted who like to move, the gifted who are not easy to teach and tend to present a sense of underachievement. The general observer/teacher they may identify or discount the possibility of ADD when a child is absorbed or “focused” on a task so that other stimuli may fade into oblivion. But in actuality the student abbey compensating or masking their underlying disability when engaged in a specific task that is appealing (Kaufmann, Classifiable & Castellated, 2000, p. 13 xiii). Kaufmann also states that even when we emphasize solely the strengths that highlight gifts/talents, it does not eliminate the reality that the disability still exists.
If not identified this will in turn lead to more difficulties, stimulating student distrust in their own personal abilities. Thus to prevent compensating, appropriate measures should be investigated. Educational Environment. Twice-exceptional literature maintains that inappropriate learning environments, where gifted children with ADD have become bored could lead to ADD and ADD like behaviors being exhibited (Bam, Allowance & Owen, 1998, p. 96), (Prickle, Got & Freezer, 2010, p. 456), (Little, 2012, p. 698). G/T children seem to present more characteristics that lead to misbehaver or destructibility when they are not engaged in the material being taught.
It has been shown that if material is presented in a format or area of interest that there in an increase in their psychic energy. The child is “more capable of focusing their attention and improved concentration when the earning is meaningful” (Bam, Allowance, 2002, p. 80). In developing student effort in regards to their environment, students who are provided stimulating material or learning strategies that incorporate their preferred learning style, through differentiated instruction, may develop a higher level of curiosity for knowledge. When appropriate assessment strategies are put into place to better understand what grade level and/or learning style (Gardner 1983, 1993) the student is at in any particular subject.
Discovering competencies and modifying tasks and demonstrating self-regulated approaches to learning, will enable students such as students like Jordan to restore the balance of the demands and individual capabilities in one’s self (Pecker, Goethe, Daniels, Stupidity, Perry, 2002, p. 546). Teachers’ lack of knowledge. Research concerning how to educate students who are both ADD and gifted is minimal. Most research presents a variety of techniques to assist ADD children or gifted children, but isolating effective interventions of co existing exceptionalness are limited. Students such as Jordan present more characteristics of their learning disability therefore masking their intelligence. Common characteristics of gifted children can be misconstrued as indicators Of pathology when the observer is unfamiliar with the differences in the development of gifted children (Inherit, 2003, p. 2).
It is also well known that children with ADD tend to lag two to three years behind their peers in both their social and emotional maturity; gifted ADD children are no exception (Kaufmann & Castellated, 2000). As well, this particular group of students often appear disorganized, messy and disruptive. This makes it difficult for teachers to assess achievement levels as there is so much focus being placed on the behavioral issues. Diagnosis for these twice- exceptional students requires the implementation of a multidisciplinary team including a least one clinician trained in differentiating childhood psychopathology’s and one professional who understands the normal range of developmental characteristics of gifted children (Inherit, 2003 p. 2).
These key members of the team are important as few individuals in our school systems have the training to adequately assess and develop adequate and appropriate educational and therapeutic support that may prevent underachievement and encourage them to blossom (Hellish & Brown, 2013, p. 50). Tapping Creativity: Teachers may benefit from acknowledging that some gifted children do not ‘if within the ‘normal’ classrooms expectations (I. E. Maybe these students need movement). Making the possibility that gifted students who do not comply or follow ‘normal’ classroom expectations may no longer be viewed as gifted. Bam and Allowance (2002) indicate that gifted children could be in fact ‘cured’ of their giftedness in exchange for compliant behavior.
Could this supposed ‘curing’ of giftedness be occurring because many teachers are under the assumption that gifted students should be easy to teach and that he possibility of being twice-exceptional is very seldom discussed or diagnosed? Especially when it has been the norm for educators to view gifted students as those who exhibit positive behaviors (I. E. Co-operative in nature). There is also the opposite end of the spectrum where gifted students are difficult to teach in that they tend to challenge the teacher because of their level Of intelligence and/or patience with those who are not at the same level. The key in supporting these children is to be patient. It takes time.
The best way to help a child is to make steady progress through consistency and supportive reminders. It is also important to recognize, for both the teacher and the student that there is a benefit to being flexible (Alberta Learning, The road less traveled, p. 63). The gifted underachiever: Inherit (2003), and pecker, Goethe, Daniels, stupidity & Perry (2002) suggest that children who are twice-exceptional could become underachievers who often struggle with school and can drop out of school. As discussed earlier in the paper boredom plays a factor but isn’t always the intrinsic motivation for underachievement. Another factor that is often the issue is lack of stimulation and value in the students learning.
Pecker (2002) also states that monotonous repetitive tasks lacking complexity, variety and cognitive stimulation are thought to be a factor that relates to students disinterest. An effective strategy in regards to encouraging students to become goal oriented is to introduce approach versus avoidance orientations ( title, 201 2, p. 696). She also suggests that exploration in the preferred learning styles or the way they tend to think about a project or assignment need to be considered. Often when tasks are implemented by utilizing self- inquiry students tend become more interested in their learning experiences. This makes the learning more authentic and meaningful to the student, including them in the decision-making process, allowing them to assist in constructing personal goals for task completion.
Bam, Allowance & Owen (2002) share Gardner s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983, 1 993) that offers the hypothesis for understanding the complexity of attention disorders. Gardener’s eight intellectual domains: verbal, logical-mathematical, spatial, kinesthesia, musical, naturalistic, interpersonal and interpersonal play a key factor in how we can better differentiate our instruction to make the earning more effective for our twice-exceptional students. By introducing the student a variety of options that best address their strengths in learning, encourages creativity, and often diminishes behavioral issues. TO recognize the preferred learning style discussions, checklists and opportunities for frequent feedback are effective methods to discover where a child’s strengths lie.
Gardner himself has mentioned, “too many educators still hold that someone who is gifted will be good at other things” (Souse, 2009, p. 16). With our twice-exceptional students we know that this isn’t necessarily true. Conclusion This paper introduced characteristics of both our gifted students and our students who present learning challenges. To explore our twice-exceptional students who deal with the co-existence of both of these exceptionalness. Also the case study was provided to bring an individual in taking a glimpse to better understand what it is to be twice-exceptional and what challenges there are in their learning experiences. These experiences not only affect the student but also the teacher, their families and their multidisciplinary team.