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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it possible to be both gifted and learning disabled?

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    Caroline Hardie

    HealthShare Member

    Many gifted students underachieve in the school system. They have a different way of thinking. Their learning profile differs from the average child.
    They are often mistaken for actually being learning disabled because on paper, staff at schools will see that they are supposed to be clever but they will not appreciate the cleverness because it is not fitting in to the paradigms of the education system.

    Many gifted students have learning difficulties such as ADD. Especially students on the higher spectrum for autism, students with high-functioning Asperger’s.

    Particularly, 70% will have writing difficulties so the work that they produce in a school environment often is a very poor reflection of their intellect. They need interventions for exam situations so that the work that they produce more fairly reflects their abilities.

    Therefore they need to be provided and supported, for example, with in this case of a writing disorder, dysgraphia, by being able to use a computer or by being able to dictate their work to a writer, a volunteer writer.

  • Ida Shapievsky

    Psychologist

    Being a mother myself, I understand what it is like constantly worrying if you are doing the best job possible for your child. My passion … View Profile

     

    I quite often see children which present to be bright but still experience some difficulties at school. I recently seen a child who recently started school and his teacher noted inattention difficulties. The teacher contacted the parent and expressed her concern, thinking that may the child presented with symptoms of ADHD. Upon a formal assessment, we realised that the child was actually quite bright, and in combination of feeling bored at times, they were also experiencing learning difficulties in some area. Being gifted, is a capacity, a learning difficulty is at times an achievement. Thus it is possible to have a discrepancy between what a child CAN achieve and what they are actually achieving. A psychologist will be able to provide you with some insight as to whether your child is gifted but has learning difficulties.

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