ADHD and Giftedness

By — Davidson Institute for Talent Development
Updated on Nov 12, 2009

Megan Foley Nicpon, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and administrator of the Assessment and Counseling Clinic at the Belin-Blank Center, led a parent seminar for The Davidson Institute Parents entitled, “ADHD and Giftedness: What do Parents Need to Know?” Major themes from this seminar will be highlighted in this “Tips for Parents” summary.

  • ADHD is a neurondevelopmental disorder that is not a result of a child being lazy or intentionally daydreaming or going off task. Symptoms related to this disorder exist on a continuum. That is, some children have mild symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention, and others have more severe symptoms. Symptoms also present differently in different children (e.g., one student may have a terrible time sitting in his seat while another may not struggle with this).
  • Bright students who are underchallenged in the classroom often display behaviors that mirror ADHD, making the need to obtain a comprehensive evaluation by a trained professional necessary so that an appropriate diagnosis can be made.
  • Gifted/talented programming should not be a form of reward or punishment for a gifted child with ADHD. Adequate challenge is a necessary component of a twice-exceptional student’s “treatment” program.

Treatment issues

  • It is widely believed that combined treatments (e.g., psychostimulant medication, behavior management, parent training, social skills training, and/or psychoeducational accommodations) offer the greatest likelihood of managing ADHD symptoms as well as co-existing conditions that may be present (anxiety, depression, etc.). At the same time, 15% – 25% of children do not respond to stimulants so they have to rely exclusively on psychosocial treatments for their symptoms.

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Permission Statement

©2006 Davidson Institute for Talent Development

This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit operating foundation, which nurtures and supports profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents and to make a positive difference. For more information, please visit, or call (775) 852-3483.

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