Conduct Disorders and Gifted ???

My head is swimming with so much information and so many questions. Would gifted be qualified as Sp. Ed.? My son picks up on things so very quickly and gets bored/frustrated when asked to do something "trivial". Right now we're thinking ODD because he is so very defiant...but I'm also concerned because, only at home, he will throw "fits" and spiral completely out of control where he can't be reasoned with, can't stop himself, screams and cries over small issues. So I think there's much more to it. He's 5 and in K, he's having issues everyday where they send him to the office to do his school work. He's not malicious or aggressive, but he makes noises, talks always, tries to aggrevate other people in class even though he always gets excellent marks on his work unless he "doesn't want to do" or "already knows". Can anyone offer some insight? Could PART of the problem be that he's too intelligent?


New Member
Hello Sabrinag i know what you mean my boy also intelligent wont do something unless he wants to easily bored i often think he is too intelligent there are so many issues its complicated isnt i hope you get ther in the end love debxx
I just don't know what to do? The school doesn't seem to know either. I'm hoping his visit with the psycholgist will provide some insight. The thing that is most discouraging is that the school acts as if this is all new? Like they have never before seen or heard of a child like him? I feel like they are treating him as a "problem child" instead of a child with a problem...Does that make sense?


Would gifted be qualified as Sp. Ed.?
No, not according to Federal IDEA regs. Your State Education Agency must comply with the minimum requirements of IDEA, however, they can add additional Sp Ed categories. Check your state regs to see if gifted is a category. There's a thread further down the page that has a State regs access link.

He's 5 and in K, he's having issues everyday where they send him to the office to do his school work. He's not malicious or aggressive, but he makes noises, talks always, tries to aggrevate other people in class even though he always gets excellent marks on his work unless he "doesn't want to do" or "already knows".
Please read the "It's that time of the year" thread in this forum.

There's a Getting Started thread in the Special Education Forum that may also be helpful for you.

Gifted children sometimes present as "behavioral problems." They are sometimes misdiagnosed with a neurological disorder such as ADHD or ODD. Sometimes a student is both gifted and has something like ADHD.

Neurological disorders tend to be genetic. Your child's family tree may be able to give some hints as to what is going on.

The only way to figure it out is via a multidisciplinary evaluation.

I have several links regarding gifted children. If you would like for me to post them, let me know.
Any help would be appreciated. I'm sure the links would help. I don't beleive I have ever read so much on one topic in my life. Does anyone else have a difficult child in public Kindergarten? I'm wondering how they approach the difficult situations? He does very well on his school work, but won't sit still or follow instructions regarding quiet times, etc. I'm not too happy with how they are dealing with my difficult child. I just don't understand why the school hasn't been proactive...or, if they are, they aren't telling me. They haven't brought in their counselors or anyone for that matter. Other's in this situation, there schools have had evaluations, etc. Why is ours doing nothing?


I feel like they are treating him as a "problem child" instead of a child with a problem...Does that make sense?
Unfortunately, it makes perfect sense.

The thing that is most discouraging is that the school acts as if this is all new? Like they have never before seen or heard of a child like him?
"Acts like." I doubt this is their first rodeo. If they can't get a handle on it, they can contract with and bring in professionals that can.

Gifted links:

There is a ton more gifted info on the internet.

We can easily get overwhelmed by the problems our kids present. Beginning school often adds to the problems. Many potential reasons for this: too much stimuli, processing problems, adjustment problems, being gifted, etc.

Educating yourself is a must, but there is so much information available, you're not going to be able to learn and absorb it overnight.

My suggestions for getting a plan of action together are:

1) Get the parent referral letter done and to the sd. Don't worry about the Parent Report part -- do it over the next 2 or 3 weeks, and submit it to the sd when completed.

2) Take a hard look at your child's family tree. Giftednes and neurological disorders such as ADHD, ODD, learning disorder, bipolar, etc., tend to be genetic. Any family members with diagnosed neurological disorders? How about individuals with undiagnosed behavioral problems? Be sure and include alcoholism and substance abuse -- they are often a means of self-medication. And yes, something like ADHD, learning disorder and giftedness can co-exist.

3) Include family history in your parent report. It's very helpful information to any evaluator. If you know of family members with-disorders or behavioral problems, work that info into your letter. The school district's multidisciplinary evaluation is suppose to comprise "all areas of suspect disability" -- help them "suspect."

4) It takes a while to get through the school district evaluation process. Check your State regs for timeline information. You'll have time to do some additional research and learn more about the IEP evaluation process. Get an overview first, then start learning the particulars. I printed out the Federal regs and read them. I still have them in a 3-ring binder. Same with-State regs.

5) The school district evaluation is suppose to be so thorough that disabilities are discovered, whether they were "suspected" at the onset or not. In practice, that's a very rare happening. I strongly suggest that you have a private multidisciplinary evaluation performed at a Children's Hospital. Also, if there is a University located nearby, check out their Behavioral Science department to see if they do evaluations. (The department may be called something other than Behavioral Science.)

6) Get in the habit of documenting. Keep a notebook handy by the phone. Document telephone conversations and meetings with-school personnel -- very important.

7) If you have some ideas of how to help campus level personnel get a handle of things, offer suggestions. Most teachers are receptive to helpful information.

8) Take care of yourself. Sometimes we have to be "selfish." If you don't, you'll have a whole other set of problems. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of difficult child.

9) If you feel the need, there are child/parent advocates that can help you work with-the sd.

There's a reason a multidisciplary evaluation is needed. See the "Captain of your ship" thread in the General Archives.

When you have more questions, we'll be here.

You're doing good! It's going to work out. Hang in there.



I had a both gifted and difficult child child in public KDG--about 12 years ago. He is still difficult (depressed, irritable temperment) but he has made the most--rather than the least--of his gifts which is the point with these unuusual kids.

Don't wait for your school to be proactive. Many very bright kids get "pushed out" or disciplined into very inappropriate placements as they age. I tend to agree that all other possible problems should be ruled out because they can certainly co-exist with giftedness. In our case, there were no problems (Learning Disability (LD) or ADHD) but depression became a huge issue. These diagnoses are often not clear at age 5 but trying to AVOID misDx is crucial in my opinion.

The unique problem with children who can handle the curriculum easily is, in order to qualify for Sp Ed, there must be a "negative educational impact" that is current (not a future worry; although your worry for the future is on-target in my opinion). In some ways, you are realtively lucky to have this problem now because a BIG part of the KDG curriculum is, or should be, social developemnt. If your difficult child is not making progress there, then there is a negative educational impact.

Don't let the school define "no negative educational impact" as standardized test scores only, where you child is apt to do well, if he is motivated to take the tests, despite other problems.

Nearly everyone who has older adolescents who were in your situation wishes they had done more, not less, when their child was young.

We are here to help--there are tons of resources but sad to say, no one at your school will likely do anything positive it unless you advocate for your child.

Love my sons

Active Member
Hear-Hear Martie,
Your words ring so true.

My young difficult child would likely have a totally different set of circumstances and greatly gathered support around him to this day had I been in a position to do more for him when he was little.
No teacher saw him as presenting problems academically or otherwise until it was full blown and he was absolutely pushed out of the school system.

I wasn't able, ready, knowledgeable, etc. I didn't do my job when he was little...
I have today.

You are wise Sabrinag to face and deal, as best you can, with all you can, while your child is still young enough to benefit greatly in the long term.

It's still shocking to some teachers that my difficult child's had in elementary that they are where they "are" today. :frown:



I understand how overwhelming this feels.

Having a difficult child is like having another full-time job--your comment is on-target in my opinion.

The only thing I can suggest is take it one step at a time.

DON'T sign anything at school without checking with a knowledgeable person --you can bring it here--if you don't have an on-site advocate, although for very complicated cases, an on-site advocate is best.

I had three full time jobs and I am not kidding: I never took a day off professionally for the arrival of two kids, I was a parent of a easy child with the usual stuff: baby gym, preschool, Brownies, etc. but then difficult child arrived and all hell broke loose before he was 3. My only saving grace was that easy child was older and very independent--although she now has issues that I "neglected" her while trying to sort out difficult child's emotional and school hassles.

Your advantage may be that your kids are 4 years apart--mine are only 2--a big problem because they were competitive. You have identified the disadvantage: your baby will never live in a household without a difficult child older sib.

You mention you have no history of mental health problems. Your biggest gift to your children will be to do everything you can to keep it that way. If Mom isn't OK, no one will be. Save time for yourself and your marriage. Depression and divorce are the rule rather then the exception in families on this board. I did not have a history of depression but became depressed while difficult child was going down the drain in middle school. It does not help a difficult child to have a depressed mother. Come to think of it, it wasn't too good for easy child or my husband either.

Tell us what you plan to do, as in "The first thing I am going to do is...." and we will try to help you map out a plan.

A's Mom

New Member
Hi. Just want to tell you that I went through a similar experience, and that -- once the issues are properly identified and addressed -- things do get better.

My son was reading Harry Potter when he was in Kindergarten, but he would have daily tantrums in school.

Originally, he was (mis)diagnosed as having ODD, and that didn't help anything, because the underlying assumption was that he was "choosing" to misbehave in school.

When he was finally correctly diagnosed with Asperger's I fought to get "Functional Behavior Analysis" done by an expert in the disorder. She was able to sensitize my school district to the disorder, interpret my son's behaviors, and help the school find strategies for helping include him.

As a result, we are finally at a place where things are stable enough for me to have a life. In fact, I used to be a regular on this board, but I've been gone for around three years: back to work full time etc. (I'm home sick with pneumonia today!)

I hope this gives you hope and strength to find solutions that will work for you.