Posted in Tips for Parents

ADHD, Or Gifted?

Question: What are some of the signs that a child is exceptionally gifted?


  • Rapid speech
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Competitiveness
  • Compulsive talking
  • Compulsive organizing
  • Nervous habits and tics
  • Preference for fast action and sports
  • Physical expression of emotions
  • Sleeplessness

Question: What are some of the “symptoms” of ADHD?

Answer: The same.

This list actually identifies the traits associated with one of five supersensitivities (psychomotor) described by Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski in his characterization of gifted children.  Another of the five supersensitivities (emotional) is characterized by traits that are often misdiagnosed as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.

How often are we medicating kids when we should instead be trying to understand them, to provide them with environments suited to their natural inclinations and opportunities that are matched to their talents?  Two experts on TED raise these questions and point out that the widespread medication of kids is killing creativity and entrepreneurship.

Both of the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications, Adderall and Ritalin, are classified by the DEA as Schedule II controlled substances, which means they have “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”  Could it really be that amphetamines have suddenly become a biological necessity for a large and growing minority of kids?  Or is it more likely that we are collectively missing something?

If a doctor has prescribed psychiatric drugs for your child, it is your obligation as a parent to take a long, hard look at how their psychological needs for trust, validation, affection, stimulation, meaning, and purpose are being met, or not met, by their environments.  This will most likely mean asking penetrating, difficult questions about your own life, which can be hard, but your responsibility as a parent is to do what is truly best for your children, not what makes things the most convenient for you.  Instead of looking for ways to “control” them, you should be looking for ways to empower them, inspire them, and nurture their gifts.  Making the decision to have your home be a “drug-free zone” is within every parent’s reach.


Dane Dormio is an online tutor and academic coach who specializes in helping all types of students achieve life and academic success, especially homeschooled students and those preparing for STEM careers. More information and resources can be found on his website at

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