HomeADHDGiftedness, Learning Disabilities and Learning Differently

This morning, I watched this interesting video on Facebook about giftedness. In it, multiple gifted children were interviewed about what it’s like for them, and discuss the learning challenges they face.

Coincidentally, the below video popped up further down on the Facebook page about what it’s like to live with dyslexia, and the various creative projects the various interviewees enjoyed.

Watching these two videos in such quick succession highlighted the similarities the two groups had in common. It also brings to mind the vast creativity and intelligence people on the autism scale, those with ADHD and quite a few individuals with TBI exhibit.
Yet, when you think of someone with “giftedness” and someone with a perceived “learning disability”, two completely different individuals come to mind. How often is the former put up on a pedestal when the other is dismissed right away?
In reality, all of these things can exist in the same person.
There’s a pretty comprehensive list of signs of giftedness here.
As an example, I’ll highlight a few characteristics that match what many dyslexics experience that are also featured in the list in the link. However, many of these also apply to other LDs. If you look at the original list, you’ll also find many things that match perfectly with ADHD and the autism spectrum.
  • Remembering Insults
    Though, I’d expand this to “specific events”. Dyslexic individuals also experience this in the form of what’s called “episodic memory”. Writers and artists in particular use these memories to help build scenes and add rich details that most others would miss.
  • Originality and Finding Non-Conventional Solutions
    Also known as thinking outside the box. This has more to do with seeing connections and patterns that are usually missed than plucking the idea out of thin air.
  • Noticing What No One Else Does
    Looks like I got ahead of myself with the above point.
  • Desire to Know the “Why” Behind Things
    To be honest, this one is more of a prerequisite to learning for a lot of dyslexics. If a pattern isn’t established, the fact won’t be remembered. Eventually, that graduates into an insatiable curiosity, which then leads to incredible works.

There are several other points that match up as well. These are all gifts that each group possess. Another thing they share in common is the difference in learning styles, which is why giftedness can actually be seen as a learning disability.

I know that sounds strange, but just like ADHD, dyslexia and autism, gifted kids are actually disabled by the educational system. They can achieve outstanding things, but they’re too often denied the opportunity, because of red tape, expense or simple misunderstanding of their needs.

Part of the problem is the over concentration on labels and the assumptions each comes with. When it comes to the basics, whether a person is seen as ‘gifted’ or ‘learning disabled’ is irrelevant. We all have unique needs, but they can’t all be met if we’re sifted into strict categories from the get-go. All factors must be taken into account before steps can be taken to get the individual on the right educational path.

Sadly, the process is often cut off at “Oh, he’s just -insert label here-“, which tends to end the avenue of opportunity right there.

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