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ADHD Children and Boredom

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son took the third grade terra Nova tests and scored very high. His scores ranged from a 5th grade to 12th grade level with an average of 9th grade level. He also has ADHD and gets into trouble in class because he says he is "bored". He is on the 504 plan in school which I think makes the school view him differently than they might another child with these results. My question is where can or should I go from here?

A: Since he has been diagnosed with ADHD, there is a chance that the treatment he gets at school may be a little different, though this should never be the case.

A 504 plan is a legal document falling under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (in America). It is designed to plan a program of instructional services to assist students with special needs who are in a regular education setting. A 504 plan is not an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as is required for special education students. However, a student moving from a special education to a regular education placement could be placed under a 504 plan.

Your son's scores at school indicate that he may be of above average ability range. It is also true that being highly able and having ADHD may coexist. It has been found (and of great concern) that in some cases children who are gifted are mislabeled as ADHD and that this mislabeling has been getting out of hand. Then again, giftedness and ADHD can coexist in the same child.

For the gifted with ADHD, it is rather challenging for educators to provide opportunities for students to apply their strengths while also improving on their deficits. This is due to the striking gaps in ability, behavior, and performance such condition can create. You may want to discuss the reason your son is always bored in class with him and his teachers. Let his teachers know of his abilities at home. You may also want to speak with his school principal to explore possibilities. His needs can only be achieved through consistent attention, immeasurable creativity, and enduring patience. The school may have too many students to handle and may not be able to give specialized attention; therefore, you may also want to look around for after school help.


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