It doesn't take millions of dollars to help the students with ADHD; teachers can start with giving 10 extra minutes on the test. (Image via Pixabay)

How Should Gifted Students with ADHD Be Treated in School?

Give students resources and they will be successful. Pretend like the problem doesn’t exist, and students will fail.

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Give students resources and they will be successful. Pretend like the problem doesn’t exist, and students will fail.

Many very smart students fall behind in school because of a learning disorder that prevents even the brightest from doing their best. These students typically pass classes, but it is harder for them to compete with their peers in educational programs.

Because of the unfair competition between regular students and students with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), many students, parents and teachers have begun asking for major changes in educational programs to help struggling students to reach their full potential.

This is what everybody should know about the ADHD disorder.

1. Intelligence vs. Learning Deficiency

One of the common biases is that intelligent students cannot have learning deficiencies. This might sound logical enough, but not until you do some research as to what intelligence is and what learning disability is. The truth is that the presence of ADHD does not affect how intelligent a student is; and in turn, the intelligence of a student does not determine whether that student has ADHD or not.

Many factors influence the performance of students in the classroom, such as time spent on learning the material, the environment and a student’s intelligence. Students with ADHD have more obstacles to overcome, and the more impediments there are, the harder it gets. This leaves a gifted student with ADHD at an odd intersection, wrestling with the frustration of not doing as well in class as they would want.

2. Extra Time on Tests

One of the key accommodations given to students with ADHD is extra time on tests. Unfortunately, this readily available tool is often only given to failing students, while those struggling with ADHD not as obviously are left to fight the problems on their own.

If teachers acknowledge it to be a problem, the solution is not hard to find. Allowing for a greater amount of time during the test, then, will help support the needs of the students with the attention deficit, as they are given back the time they “wasted” in getting distracted.

3. Quiet Learning Environment

Quiet learning environments are necessary for all college students, but especially for those who are easily distracted. Such an environment can be created by placing students with a learning disability in smaller classes, as well as providing more one-on-one interaction and individualized support.

The decreased number of voices and movements within the classroom will increase the attention and concentration of a student with ADHD, as the distractions would be minimized.

4. Accepting Distractions

Arguably, the most important accommodation that should be provided to all students with ADHD is the freedom to get distracted. While doodling, fidgeting or whispering might seem like disrespectful activities within a classroom, most of those activities can help students with ADHD pay closer attention to the teacher. Though it might seem counterintuitive, it works.

Students with both high intelligence and ADHD are often put in a sticky situation: they receive inadequate support, but are still expected to excel. As a result, students fall behind in coursework. More than that, struggling students are often not diagnosed, or worse, diagnosed but not helped.

In order to create an environment where everybody can succeed, school and colleges need to offer accommodations to ADHD students who are passing classes but not living up to their full potential. School is a place of bestowing knowledge and creating curious minds. Therefore, why would the school system not do everything in its power to help gifted students with ADHD?

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