What Parents Can Do For Gifted Children With Add
What are some of the things parents can do who think their child is both gifted and has ADD? The first thing is to have their child tested by a professional who deals with both giftedness and ADD.
They should learn more about ADD and discuss the disease with their child. There are many issues that can be affecting school life including incomplete homework or postponement of projects, etc. that may be explainable in terms of ADD.
Parents should stress the positive aspects of twice blessed including energy levels, ability to focus, creativity, and thinking outside the box.
Autistic New Yorkers Share Their Stim
But twice-exceptional students are never publicly identified, unless they do it themselves.
Even though the Belin-Blank center remains focused on the “international gifted community” as a whole, it has become something of a haven for people with autism spectrum disorder.
One reason for this is the center’s director, Susan Assouline. She’s a professor of school psychology at the university who has published a series of academic papers on giftedness and autism.
And people with autism who interact with Belin-Blank say Assouline works hard to ensure that they feel included and understood.
One of those people is Martika Theis. She’s a double major in creative writing and computer science at the university who also works as a research assistant at the center’s assessment and counseling clinic.
Theis was diagnosed with autism in high school, and spent years battling anxiety and depression related to the disorder.
She came to Iowa for its famed creative writing program. But a desire to do research on autism led her to Assouline, who eventually helped her get her research assistant job.
Soon after starting that job, Theis began reading the information packet given to staff and instructors who work with twice-exceptional students.
“I felt as though I was going to cry,” she says. “It was just so insightful. All the things that I was sort of unconsciously desiring as a person on the spectrum, written out in front of me and promised to be provided to people like me.”
During The Gifted Teen With Autism And Caregiver Group Your Child Will Learn Valuable Social Skills
One of the most common struggles for neurodiverse teens is making and keeping friends. Therefore our social skills group curriculum focuses on learning and practicing social skills and life skills in a safe and non-judgmental setting with the guidance of an autism therapist. Ultimately, our goal is to help set them up for independence and success in college.
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How Do You Identify A Gifted Child
Early Signs of Giftedness Include:Unusual alertness in infancy.Less need for sleep in infancy.Long attention span.High activity level.Smiling or recognizing caretakers early.Intense reactions to noise, pain, frustration.Advanced progression through the developmental milestones.Extraordinary memory.More items
How Do You Talk With Your Child About Their Autism Diagnosis
It can be hard to decide what and how much information to share when talking to your child about their autism diagnosis. Setting a positive tone when discussing autism spectrum disorder and making sure you understand what your child is truly asking is very important. Establish a positive attitude about their differences from the outset, then answer their questions simply and honestly. If your child is of reading age, you may want to consider finding some childrens books on the topic of autism spectrum disorder to read with them.
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How To Identify 2e Children
First, Dr. Webb emphasizes, parents and teachers need to be familiar with the concept of twice exceptionality. One of the big myths about gifted children is that they will be equally gifted in all areas, or very close to that, he says.
There really is no universally agreed upon definition of gifted even with respect to general intellectual ability, Dr. Phillips says, as giftedness in its truest definition is not limited to intellectual potential, but instead can refer to extraordinary capabilities in creative thinking, specific academic areas, psychomotor functioning, or visual/performing arts. She says she and most school placement decisions use a Standard Score in IQ testing of 130 as the cut-off for gifted intelligence, which would place the child in the top 2 percent of the population.
Experts suggest that when a teacher sees a child who does just okay in some areas, but in one or two areas is a prodigy or does exceptionally well in all areas except one, where she is lagging the child should be referred for testing.
The optimal way to pick up on twice exceptionality is through a neuropsychological evaluation.
Neuropsych evaluations are really the best way to understand a students full profile of cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses, and to individualize a curriculum, which really is what these kids need, Dr. Phillips explains. They might be three grade levels ahead in math, but they might need extra support in reading.
The Challenge Of Educating The 2e Child
According to a survey spearheaded by Choi of 503 parents with 2e kids, 254 of whom attend New York City public schools, their biggest challenge is being forced to choose between cultivating the childs intellectual ability and helping with their special-education needs; they are not usually offered at the same time.
One way to try to get the individualized teaching 2e kids need is by being placed in an Integrated Co-Teaching class, with one general-education teacher and one special-needs teacher. But if 2e kids are performing at grade level, it can make it difficult to persuade schools that they should provide remediation or accommodations through an Individualized Education Program or a 504 Plan.
Choi says the survey showed parents are told that children in a gifted and talented program cant have an IEP, which is not true. The survey also showed that only 5 percent of the 2e kids had a gifted and talented placement in an ICT classroom.
Should kids be moved to older classrooms for the subjects where they excel? Dr. Phillips says it can be tricky because they dont have the maturity level to handle the homework and social demands. In some cases, parents may opt for private schools, with smaller classes and/or curriculum tailored to a particular students strengths and weaknesses.
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The Gifted Teen With Autism And Caregiver Group Offers You And Your Teen Support
You know your teen with autism is amazing. And, with support and practice, they can master the skills they need to be successful after high school. Likewise, you, as their parent, need support. You want to learn tools to help your child be successful and independent. BOTH of you need a tribe and support team.
The Gifted Teen with Autism and Caregiver Group at Open Doors Therapy in Palo Alto provides a supportive environment where you and your teen can come and meet with people who share similar struggles. During the meeting, we separate the gifted youth from their caregivers. We do this to allow both the youth and the caregivers to have their own space to express their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Actually, having their own group is important for your teen to begin separating themselves from their parents and find independence. Often, youth with autism rely on their parents to speak for them. But, in their own group teens learn the skills to feel empowered.
Likewise, providing parents with a safe place to meet to express their feelings and concerns is important. They will meet other caregivers who have similar parenting struggles and concerns. They will learn new skills to communicate with their child. Also, they will be given new tools to encourage their childs growth and independence.
Different Types Of Add
There are three basic types of ADD. The first is inattentive, showing lack of interest or focus. The second is impulsive or hyperactive. The third is a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive.
There are tests to determine whether a child has the Combined Type ADHD . There are nine criteria for each single type, and a child must exhibit at least six of the nine traits in each area as well as show impairment in functioning to have the combined diagnosis.
In addition, the symptoms must show up in different settings or environments, exist for at least six months, and have started before the age of seven. The impairment in functioning must be seen as significant.
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What Does An Autism Diagnosis Mean For My Child
An autism diagnosis can result in some beneficial effects, but also comes with associated risks, disadvantages, and contraindications. Once your child is diagnosed with autism, you can expect your doctor to devise a specific treatment plan, comprised of therapy and/or medication to help your child function more easily in daily life. You can also seek specific guidance and support for your child to thrive at school. Despite these benefits, a diagnosis of autism also come with the risk of social stigmatization for the child. There is also a range of physical and mental-health conditions that frequently accompany autism including but not limited to: gastrointestinal problems, epilepsy, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
Gifted Children With Aspergers Syndrome
- Aspergers Syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and by repetitive patterns of behaviors, or interests. It is observed in some gifted children. The author proposes that gifted children with Aspergers Syndrome may not be identified because their unusual behaviors may be wrongly attributed to either their giftedness or to a learning disability. The article discusses ways in which Aspergers Syndrome might be missed in gifted children and proposes guidelines for differentiating characteristics of giftedness from characteristics of Aspergers Syndrome.
PUTTING THE RESEARCH TO USE
Unlike autistic children who often receive special assistance in schools, the bright student with Aspergers Syndrome may be left to manage the best he or she can. In some cases, gifted students with the disorder may not be allowed to participate in their schools gifted program because teachers do not know how to make the necessary accommodations.
Experienced interdisciplinary teams can make an accurate diagnosis of AS when they include a developmental history and when they understand the reasons for a childs behaviors. Diagnostic evaluations include some formal testing, an assessment of motor skills, and observations of the childs social reciprocity and use of language.
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Are We Asking The Wrong Question
As if this isnt confusing enough, theres a big, fat problem that can make life very difficult for 2e kids. I call it, Asking the wrong question.
When trying to help our kids, the medical system and school system are basically asking, What is the problem and what needs fixing?
Seems like a helpful question, right?
But the problem is that this question only looks at the lower drawer of the toolbox, the under-resourced one with the missing or faulty tools.
But your child is not the sum total of his or her weaknesses!
When we only look at whats missing or lagging, were only dealing with half the picture. This question only focuses on weaknesses and ignores all of the super powers a 2e child possesses in their toolbox. Its difficult to have a successful equation when were only looking at one part of the whole.
When we focus solely on the challenge areas, 2e kids tend to feel ashamed, like theyre broken, bad or dumb. In the field, we see this negative self-concept befalling our kids over and over again.
Its heartbreaking and unnecessary.
Identifying Strengths And Challenges In Our Twice Exceptional Kids
As my colleagues say, if youve met one 2e child, youve met one 2e child. They are all very unique. Thats why many of my clients get what one parent called a cocktail mix of diagnoses that dont fit neatly into one category.
The best way Ive found to get a clear picture of your childs strengths and challenges is to get a neuro-psych evaluation by a psychologist who understands giftedness or 2e, like Dr. Dan Peters in CA,; Dr. Philip Dunbar Mayer in WA, or Dr. Devon MacEachron or Dr. Ken Schuster in NY. By the way, neuro-psych evals arent cheap, but they can be a very good investment in terms of understanding how your childs brain is wired and what he or she needs.
Heres a list of some strengths often seen in 2e kids:
- High IQ
- Observant and perceptive to surroundings
- Highly creative
- Out-of-the-box thinking, insights,;and problem solving
- Unique abilities and deep interests
- Learning challenges like Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia
- Slow processing speed
What lists of strengths and lagging skills would you make for your child? Take a moment to jot them down. Your list will be helpful in talking with teachers and psychologists to get a clear picture of whats going on for your child.
Once you have a sense of whats in the two drawers of your childs toolbox, you can work smarter, not harder, to help them be successful.
Some ways to develop a childs strengths and interests:
Some ways to help with a childs challenge areas or lagging skills :
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Assume Positive Intent With Professionals
I know its easy to get bitter and disillusioned if youre stuck in these systems and your childs needs arent getting met. But I highly recommend that you assume positive intent and tread gently with the people, like teachers, in your childs village. You need their help and they need your knowledge of how to help. Become your childs advocate and operate from the belief that the village helpers have your childs best interests at heart.
The truth is that most teachers and doctors typically have received zero training in 2e and arent aware of what your child needs. In fact, the term 2e wasnt even used until the 1990s, and still isnt used in many parts of the world today.
Another pitfall we often see is schools looking only at the gifted part of the 2e child, especially in magnet programs, which often dont take the childs challenges into account. Kids in this situation start asking themselves, Why cant I keep up? when their challenges arent addressed.
Further compounding this is a myth among teachers that gifted kids should be at the top of the class, otherwise theyre not gifted. Patently untrue in the case of 2e kids. How many of our 2e kids have been told theyre not living up to their potential? As Dr. Ross Greene says, Kids do well if they can.
What Really Works For Gifted Kids With Adhd Autism Anxiety Or Learning Disabilities
My son is so amazing but he struggles and we struggle to understand each other. And I know thats my fault because Im the adult. Its just really hard. And I fear everyday that Im doing it wrong.
Thats what one mom wrote to me, echoing thousands of parents I work with raising bright and quirky kids. As parents of these complex kids, we share a deep longing for them to have a good life using their many strengths and smarts, but we also share the fear that their lagging skills might prove insurmountable obstacles.
One mom called it, Yale or jail.
Compounding these fears is that the majority of other parents, teachers and professionals dont get whats going on for these kids because its a very unique situation, affecting less than 1% of the US population under 18.
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Your Child Will Learn And Practice Social Skills With Other Gifted Youth With Autism
We understand that your gifted teen struggles socially. We know it can be hard for them to establish quality friendships. Furthermore, their social deficits may cause them to feel anxious in social settings. So, our therapists will teach your teen social skills they can practice in the group to become more comfortable in social settings in their day-to-day life.
Some of the important things your teen will learn include:
Strategies to feel confident initiating conversations
Managing their desire to info-dump
Improving non-verbal communication
Understanding social norms and social cues
Improve listening skills
Expressing empathy and validation to build rapport
Giftedness And Autism: Dual Diagnosis
In our last post, we talked about the intersection of giftedness and mental health and the ways we often fail gifted children. By misidentifying their experiences as either giftedness or mental health crises, we fail to give children the support they need to thrive and develop.
The same dual diagnosis principle also applies to giftedness and autism. Just as the line between giftedness and ADHD or OCD can be blurry, so too is the intersection between giftedness and autism. Signs of autism can mask giftedness and giftedness can mask autism. And of course, a child can be both gifted and on the autism spectrum.
To support children who are struggling with mental health, development, or social interaction, kids need a correct diagnosis and the right therapy. Once again, achieving this often requires a dual diagnosis that takes both autism and giftedness into consideration.
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Who Is This Child Autism Quiz For
Answer the quiz questions below to see if your child could have autism.
Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder . Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often your child has experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
Please be aware that some behaviors are developmentally appropriate for your young child and are not signs of autism.
How Accurate Is It
This quiz is;NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. If youd like to learn more about autism read;Psycoms guide to;autism spectrum disorder .
Psycom;believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
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