misdiagnosis and dual-diagnosis of the gifted

Although some gifted children do also have co-exisiting conditions and learning disabilities, many professionals who specialise in treating gifted children have raised concerns that some of our most gifted children may have the potential to be misdiagnosed with emotional and behavioural disorders, including, but not limited to, ADHD, Asperger’s, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, or some other pathology. Conversely, some children’s giftedness may mean that those who may benefit from a diagnosis may be overlooked. Untangling such concerns can often be remarkably difficult. And, often, the more gifted the child the more difficult such a process may be.

Often psychologists, psychiatrists and paediatricians may be unaware of certain behaviours and characteristics of gifted children which can present similarly mental health diagnoses. It is important that if you believe that your child displays gifted characteristics, that you consider consulting with a professional who has experience in this area. Psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals who are aware of the special nature of  gifted kids are in a better position to distinguish between behaviours that are due to giftedness, rather than those that may be pathological in nature.

This concise little article outlines how some gifted children can end up being misdiagnosed if medical professionals are not familiar with the traits of gifted children, and here you’ll find more information on  the traits of giftedness that are sometimes mistaken for a pathology.

For further information on how and why gifted kids can end up being misdiagnosed with pathological disorder check out this article by James T. Webb. And Barbara Probst explains how the intense nature of some children can be viewed as a disorder or pathology, and helps to look at ways to deal with such intense reactions.

In this short piece, a mother explains the process her family went through to differentiate between her daughter being diagnosed as having ADHD and/or being gifted.

Here you’ll find an informative video exploring the possibility of the misdiagnosis of gifted individuals:

Please access the link below to view a more detailed video on the necessity of accurate assessment of gifted children:


And this video provides some more information on when giftedness can look like something else

Why ADHD, Sensory Processing, and Giftedness Can Look Alike from Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide
For information on children who do have a dual-diagnosis, and are not only gifted, hop over to the 2E, or Twice Exceptional page, where you’ll find more information on this special sub-section of gifted kids :) .