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Essay on Twice Exceptional: ADHD and Giftedness

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Joey is a bright, happy, healthy, and somewhat excitable 10 year old boy. He has been identified as gifted and has an IQ of about 165. He has also been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). He is receiving Special Education services at his school for what has been labeled an Emotional Disability. He has a hard time maintaining friendship with children his own age and sometimes keeps to himself and refuses to interact with the children in his class. He has a difficult time expressing his emotion in appropriate ways and finds it difficult to maintain appropriate boundaries when it comes to relationships with other people.
In this paper we will discuss whether emotional disabilities, like Joey’s, could be because of ADHD, if it has more to do with the gifted label and high IQ, or if it could be a combination of both, and how common this really is. Are children with high IQ’s more likely to have a difficult time maintaining friendships and finding appropriate ways to express emotions? Too often parents, teachers, and others put too much focus on a gifted child’s academic achievement and not enough on their emotional wellbeing (Bailey, 2011). Maybe we just spend too much time focusing on how they perform academically and we do not really understand the emotions that these children deal with. Or, perhaps there is a relationship between ADHD and having a high IQ that has not been fully examined yet.
ADHD is a cognitive developmental disorder that affects approximately 3-7% of school aged children in the United States (Gupta & Kar, 2010). It is usually described as high activity, increased impulsivity, and attention problems that affect the child in more than ...


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.... Exceptionality, 10(2), 77-91.

Bell, Allison S. (2010). A Critical Review of ADHD Diagnostic Criteria: What to Address in the DSM-V. Journal of Attention Disorders, 15(1),3-10.

Gupta, Rashmi & Kar, Bhoomika (2010). Specific Cognitive Deficits in ADHD: A Diagnostic Concern in Differential Diagnosis. Journal of Child and Family Study, 19,778-786.

Hartnett, D. Niall, Nelson, Jason M., & Rinn, Anne N. (2004). Gifted or ADHD? The Possibilities of Misdiagnosis. Roeper Review, 26(2), 73-76.

Kuss, Kathleen D. (2007). Smart Kids With Learning Difficulties. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 30(3),396-403.

Reis, Sally M. & Renzulli, Joseph S. (2009). Myth 1: The Gifted and Talented Constitute One Single Homogeneous Group and Giftedness Is a Way of Being That Stays in the Person Over Time and Experiences. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53,233-235.


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