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Guiding Social and Intellectual Skills of a Bright Boy with ADD

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: We just received my son's Terra Nova scores. His Total Score was in the 97th percentile with 99s in Language, Math Compu, Science, and Social Studies, 98s in Language Mechancies & Language Composite, 97 in Reading, 96 in Reading Composite & Math Composite, 95 in Spelling, 91 in Vocabulary, 90 in Math, and 84 in Word Analysis. Needless to say, my wife and I are ecstatic.

He attends a parochial school and the response we have received on whether he should be given any special accomodation/attention is that "his needs are being met" and that 1/3 of his class had scores in the 90s. He had been in the advanced reading group (1/3 of the class) and we requested in January that he be placed in the advanced math group. His 2nd grade teacher declined, but now, based on his test scores, is recommending that he join the advanced math group for the 3rd grade.

He has been diagnosed with ADD, Inattentive type and since Feb (two months before the exam) went on medication, which has been absolutely wonderful for him and everyone else in his life. He still has socialization issues, which we are more concerned about with respect to his development. However, now we don't know what do, if anything, to cater towards his intellectual needs.

Any advice on how to proceed would be helpful. While we presume being in the 97th percentile is extraordinary, we just don't know how extraordinary and would appreciate any guidance.

A: I assume that your son should be around eight to nine years of age. His scores are rather high for the Terra Nova and I believe that he should be placed in an advanced program at school. Perhaps, being in a parochial school, the school may be rather close-minded on the needs of bright children and unless he is placed in a school that cater towards his needs, you may want to put in some effort on your own for his educational development. Having a score of 90 and 97th percentile does make a difference in terms of the educational needs for a child, so it may not be very fair for the school to say that his needs are being met.

Having said that, the school has made adjustments based on his score, which is very promising. Being inattentive may also be a reason the school is somewhat skeptical about advancing him. Unfortunate but true, some schools find it difficult to see the strengths in a child if the child has diagnosis such as ADD, since the focus would be on his inattention rather than his abilities. But since medication has worked well for him, the concern is less here.

On intellectual needs, you may need to provide appropriate learning environment for him at home. Perhaps, accelerated material that is presented in such a way that captures his attention may help him focus (e.g., educational computer-based learning programs, sciences, writing camps, etc). Field trips and various other excursions can provide the opportunity for indirect and informal learning.

On socialization concerns, I assume you mean peer relationships. This is indeed critical to his development as research has indicated that peer relationships have been found to be an important predictor of positive adult adjustment and behavior. If he has poor social skills, he may be at risk for delinquency, academic underachievement, and school drop out in extreme cases. Problems such as inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and restlessness usually persist into adulthood but they become of less importance as the child gets older. Instead, the main concern for ADD children as they mature is their inability to interact appropriately with others which leads to a multitude of other social difficulties.

I'm afraid I may not be able to provide enough information on ADD but an interesting website that you can refer to Comeunity. Alternatively, you may get in touch with Dr Webb on brainy-child for ADD issues. My best wishes to you!


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