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Gifted ADHD Children

Choosing the right high school for gifted + ADHD

We are researching high schools for our son, 13, who is gifted and ADHD w/high impulsivity. The search includes both private and public.
Because he’s 2E and tested very high in some areas (99.9%+), our assumption is that he would benefit from a program that’s self-paced with small/1x1 instruction. But those specialized schools are small, not social, expensive and don’t have sports. Our enjoys sports and being social.
If he goes to a school with large classroom settings that offers the social component + sports, he’ll be tracking with a large group, we know he’ll get bored, which is problematic for a boy with high impulsivity
I’d value this group’s thoughts on how to approach this. You’ve been so helpful on other questions! Are we thinking about this the right way? Are there other factors we should consider?


“If he goes to a school with large classroom settings that offers the social component + sports, he’ll be tracking with a large group, we know he’ll get bored, which is problematic for a boy with high impulsivity”

How do you know he’ll get bored in this setting?  If the particular school has a good gifted/talented program then that won’t be as much of a problem.  If you already know that this school does not have a good gifted/talented program then you’re probably right—he’ll get bored, unmotivated, etc. 

Is that what your research into the public school offerings already indicates?

Posted by BC on May 17, 2014 at 11:35pm

Are you considering boarding schools? Many of them have accomidate kids with ADHD, a few don’t. The academics are generally very high level. A very good site is boardingschoolreview. It will give you a good overview. Definitely ask a lot of questions of admissions if you will need financial aid. Probably best to be up front about it. My son decidedly did not want to go to boarding school and ended up taking college classes at the local university—small night classes, no other teens so he was not distracted, focused discussion, high level academics. He did very well in these classes. His cousin who is gifted, but not ADHD is going to Exeter—great financial aid package.

Posted by oursideofthestreet on May 18, 2014 at 5:13am

Check out the below conversation.  Some of it may apply.

We are going through the same thing with our DD.  I would ask if the impulsivity is causing problems, or if you are just being pro-active.  Also, how did he handle the transition to middle school with multiple teachers and managing his own work? If he transitioned well, then you may be fine in mainstream school.  Regarding social issues, does he have a good group of friends now?  how would that be affected if he changed school settings? Or, does he like to be social, but you find that he could use some help in social settings?  I would ask the same question about sports… If he is a great athlete and is a scholarship candidate, you may want to keep him in the mainstream school and look for ways to keep him challenged academically.  However, if he just loves the activities and being with his peers, but is not that outstanding athlete, then he can get this outlet in numerous community based settings, but may excel in other areas in a private or special school.

Good luck in your choice… This is one of the hardest choices we have ever faced.

Posted by MollyMS on May 18, 2014 at 7:06am

I also have a 13 year old boy in the same situation. We went to a gifted school and he transformed into an outgoing, confident, social person. As soon as he returns to friends in his old public school, he is squirrelly again. For us, he is only ultra social with kids with whom he shares ideas and interests. The problem with the gifted school is that the curriculum was too demanding for his level of organization and time management ability. Some kids in the program manage to balance academics, interests and sports. They just forgo sleep. For my ADHD child, lack of sleep is not a good option. So I took him out, allow him to skip a grade with his academics (which is still one or two years easier than the curriculum in the gifted program) and enrolled him in a visual and performing arts program within the school. The arts give him the needed social time. Academics are done online. I hope that with an easier workload, he can continue to pursue his fencing and triathlons. Not having to pay for private piano lessons is a plus for me.

My husband wants him back in a local magnet highschool to get the traditional school experience. We want to make sure he can follow directions and basically manage his affairs without having the teachers write all the instructions out online. I don’t think he is ready, but if I don’t apply now, the spots will be filled.

Posted by Cleung339 on Jul 03, 2014 at 9:41pm

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