Thesis Title

The Relationship Between ADHD and Giftedness

Graduation Date

Spring 2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madelienne Peters, EdD


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that is often identified when a child first enters school. About 2% of boys and girls in our population are diagnosed with the disorder (Kaufmann, 2000). Although ADHD is the most frequent reason that children are referred to a mental health professional, the diagnosis of ADHD becomes more difficult when other factors exist (Brown, 2000).

Despite these concerns, it has been supported that many of the characteristics of ADHD such as lack of attention and impulsivity are also common among children who are both gifted and talented. In some cases high intelligence, inappropriate curriculum, and the common behavioral characteristics of gifted children can lead to misdiagnosis. In other cases gifted and talented children with ADHD use their intelligence and strengths to mask the characteristics of ADHD.

Among the teaching and medical community the relationship between ADHD and giftedness is challenging. These groups dispute whether or not the coexistence of ADHD and giftedness exist. Despite the lack of agreement among professionals “referrals for and the incidence of attention disorders among gifted and talented children were found to be growing at an unanticipated rate” (Webb & Latimer, 1993).

Teachers and other professionals need to understand the relationship between ADHD and giftedness and to provide students with assessment tools and curriculum. This paper reviews the current research on ADHD and giftedness and identifies techniques to help teachers recognize and educate students who are classified as being both ADHD and gifted in the classroom

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