Gifted with ADHD

My son has ADHD and is now in grade 4 in a gifted program. Although he has been identified as gifted he is struggling immensely in school. He continues to fall behind on assignments, forgets his work, has terrible difficulty in prioritizing tasks and seems completely out of touch with what is required of him at school. I have had several meetings so far with his teacher and other school staff and I am at a loss for how to help him. His work load in gifted his very heavy and a lot of what he has to do is project based and self directed. I’m not sure this is the program for him (public school system), but I don’t want him to leave a gifted program to go back to regular class, as I don’t think this is the answer either. My son is not on any medication. Can anyone relate? Does anyone have any advice?

12 Replies

  • Hai Ellie

    I too am a parent of an ADHD boy f 13 years. I can understand ur feelings. Medications can help u avoid pressure from school and it can give concentration to ur child but its all temporary.

    it s like a sedation. If u r looking for a permanent relief for ur child pls stop expecting a lot and also ignore thethe negative comments of others.on.him.

    First understand your child's problem. He s not a normal child so uI cant expect him to do normal tasks.

    Occupational andhealth behavioural therapies are the best ones to help you out.

    Pls share ur number to join in our watsup grp of spcl kids parents.

  • Ellie, I feel your pain! Our son was just diagnosed with ADHD but the struggles have been there for a long while, we just thought he was being defiant. We are just starting to explore our options, so I don't have any advice, but know you are not alone. Our son is smart as a whip, but can't manage his things or assignments.

  • My son just moved into the gifted program this year and he is in 5th grade (math and science only) WOW!!!! It is a struggle but it is such a great teaching experience to work with him and help him learn project management. Currently in science his has to create a board game that goes along with their unit... So we sat down and started brainstorming the steps to complete the task. He has a separate notebook he is using so that he can check off tasks as he completes them. He is doing really great with them. Most "normal" kids have trouble with project management at this age add ADHD to the mix and it is even harder. It would devastate my son if I moved him out of GT so we find a way to make it work its a struggle and frustrating most of the time (I feel like a failure a lot and want to give up) but i feel my job is to teach him how to navigate this world that wasn't made for him. A book that has really helped me understand more is Smart but Scattered (it was recommended by some moms here).

    My son is on medication he started in March of this year, that really helps in class but medication does not teach kids the skills they need such as prioritizing etc...

    Good luck and know you aren't alone in this!

  • My son is a freshman in high school. We are struggling with this now. He has 2 honors classes. He is disorganized and “forgets” assignments especially since he doesn’t have every class every day. He is medicated and it does help- he says so as well.

    Moving him out of honors isn’t the right answer and probably isn’t for your son as well. The problem is the executive function- organizing, planning, time management. Our 504 days he can use whatever organizational tool that works for him to organize. He has a homework folder- all homework goes in there on one side and when done goes on hebother side. Right now he is writing in the agenda but I want him to just write on a blank sheet calendar for the week that stays in the H.W. folder. Since your son is in 4th grade I would enlist the teachers to make sure his hm gets into the hw folder. Also, going through his papers weekly is helpful as well. Teachers can write the due date on the paper with his name - put it in the 504. He needs help and that is why the teachers are there. He should not be penalized for having adhd and put into a class that won’t challenge him- he is capable of the work. Moving him to a non gifted program won’t solve the disorganization, messy writing, poor planning. Good luck.

  • Dmk24- I would love to talk with you about these organizational ideas. My Sophomore is gifted as well and in all honors classes and AP classes but usually misses straight As because of a few assignments he did but forgot to turn in. (He takes daily meds.). Teachers barely seem to know of his 504. Does your son suffer any social issues or just organizational ones?


  • Hi, he does have a few social issues. He misses social cues of others and perseverates on things. Some people find it irritating and I just tell him we have to talk about something else now or we can get back to it later if time. Doesn’t always work but knowing he might have 3-5 minutes of undivided attention for him to spout about what he wants seems to help some. He can’t do that at school though. He does have some good friends, mostly from scouting and a small group - about 5 total. He is going to do fencing soon so we will see how he balances that and school work. Mine takes meds daily as well. He is also forgetting to turn things in esp if the teacher doesn’t ask. As for the 504, empower your son if possible and tell him he can advocate for himself and say: “ according to my 504...”. Mine is supposed to get notes from the teachers, extra time for work (which can be handed to him earlier so can be done on time), working on a scribe as he has mild dysgraphia. He also likes to sketch and it does help him concentrate and process things as when does it.

    His 504 says he can use whatever org strategy works for him in all classes. So right now he puts his homework in one fielder and writes when it is due on it or in his agenda ( I think on it is better) then he moves it to the other side of the folder. Our new thing is: take the folder out EVERY class, open it and look to see if there is work to turn in. If so, turn it In. If not, keep Out to put New homework. Hope that helps but am happy to share more.

  • Thank you! Those are great suggestions. I really love the folder idea and will talk with him about it. Also about better using his 504. I wish he had 5 friends. He only has very casual ‘friends’ and no one that he ever hangs out with. Ever. I can’t remember the last thing he did anything socially. His childhood friends all moved on. I desperately wish he could start over because I think he’s finally outgrown (or learned to curb) some of his more annoying habits. Any ideas about social coaches/ life coaches for ADHD? I want him to have at least 1 friend by the time he graduates.

  • Finding a friend can be hard. Does he have any interests outside of school? My son takes art classes and does scouting. His “friends” have some issues as well so it is interesting and some friends have waned over the years. The executive function is challenging. We are in northern New Jersey and our high school told us about a program that helps with executive function etc. you can check it out online at 1-2-3 Succeed. Bernie icon is the creator. You might check for social groups near you. My son doesn’t see his friends much during the week and never really has and sometimes he sees them on weekends but usually at Scouts or school. Good luck and hang in there.

  • Everyone here gives wonderful and helpful advice! My son was or is extremely forgetful and disorganized ! Executive skills therapy was helpful for my son. My sons Child Psychiatrist suggested it for him. He went once a week for ten weeks. Every bit of therapy has been helpful. I understand that this will be a life long issue but I feel like we are having more goods as time goes on and as we have a better understanding of ADHD.

  • That’s great! Was the Executive Skills therapy local in your area? We don’t have anything like that where I am and I’m wondering if we could do it by Skype or something?

  • The Executive Skills therapy was offered to us at the NYU Langone Child Study center in Hackensack NJ. It was expensive but definitely worth it.

  • If you can afford it, there are therapists who specialize in helping kids with learning challenges to improve their executive functioning skills - exactly what your child needs. They can help your child to learn how to study, organize, prioritize and keep track of school work. So that I could keep track of my 4th graders assignments and due dates I use a white board to list every day what is due that day and for the week and what tests are coming up. It's helped a lot. Good luck.

You may also like...