Huntington Connects


Connecting you to the latest news, tips and academic resources

Twice Exceptional Kids with ADHD

Twice exceptional (2e) kids have a learning difficulties or attention problems but are also highly gifted in at least one area. The term “twice exceptional” is most often used to describe kids with exceptional academic abilities, but many 2e kids also have musical or artistic gifts. While all kids have strengths and weaknesses, twice exceptional kids have these in the extreme. For example, a 2e child may score in the 99th percentile on a test of verbal language abilities but only in the 10th percentile on a measure of processing speed. Or they may have highly advanced conceptual math abilities but struggle to produce written work that is legible and meets basic grade-level requirements.

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Is it Auditory Processing Disorder or ADHD?

Many kids with ADHD struggle to block out background noise, have a hard time staying focused when someone is talking to them, or forget the details of a conversation. In fact, difficulty staying focused and blocking out distractions are hallmark symptoms of ADHD. But did you know that they are also primary symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder or APD? APD isn’t as well-known as ADHD, and it isn’t included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of psychiatric disorders. However, it is widely recognized that many kids with ADHD or learning differences also struggle with auditory processing problems. APD can co-occur with ADHD or it can exist on its own. When ADHD and APD occur together, a child’s difficulties with concentration and memory are magnified.

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Understanding Sensory Processing Problems in Kids with ADHD

All kids with ADHD have difficulty blocking out distractions and regulating their behavior in stimulating environments. Some kids with ADHD may also experience sensory processing problems that exacerbate these symptoms. Sensory processing problems and sensory processing disorder are not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5), but sensory processing symptoms are widely recognized by clinicians and educators as part of the clinical picture for many kids with ADHD (as well as kids with anxiety or autism spectrum disorders).

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Should Your Child Go Gluten Free to Treat ADHD?

Parents of kids with ADHD are constantly faced with an array of treatment options including medication, various behavioral interventions, and dietary recommendations. In recent years there has been a lot of buzz about the use of a gluten-free diet to treat a wide range of physical and cognitive problems, including ADHD. In posts and comments online, some parents describe huge improvements in their child's ADHD symptoms after eliminating gluten from their diet. And some pediatricians and nutritionists recommend a gluten free diet as part of a child's ADHD treatment plan.

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Spotting Anxiety in Kids with ADHD

All kids feel anxious sometimes, but many kids with ADHD experience anxiety more frequently and more severely than kids without ADHD. In fact, studies suggest that 30-40% of kids with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. When kids struggle with anxiety on top of ADHD, it can make it harder for them to succeed at school and develop the social skills that they need to cultivate strong and lasting connections with their classmates and friends. The stimulant medications used to treat ADHD symptoms can also exacerbate anxiety, making these otherwise effective medications difficult to tolerate.

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Managing the Ups and Downs of ADHD

It’s Monday afternoon and your child comes home from school with a behavior chart full of stars and a folder full of completed school work. You breathe a sigh of relief and happily think that you can look forward to a good week at school. On Tuesday anticipating the best you enthusiastically ask to see your child’s behavior chart and completed work folder. As he or she reluctantly pulls the items out of the backpack your heart begins to sink. You look and see that the completed work folder is practically empty, and the behavior chart contains only the smallest smattering of stars. You ask you child what happened that made today so much worse than yesterday, but he or she doesn’t have an answer. Your child just shrugs his or her shoulders and walks away.

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