Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > ADHD > Coping With ADHD > Gifted, ADD, and Can't Get Homework Done

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Gifted, ADD, and Can't Get Homework Done

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: My son is 12 and is extremely gifted in math and science. He is also ADD. He is on medication and it has been very successful in helping him concentrate in class. However, he has a problem with getting his homework in. His grades this semester were much lower -- not because he couldn't do the work, but because assignments were handed in late or not at all. I'm not sure if he forgets to write down his assignments or if he does the homework and then forgets to hand it in. I have asked his teachers to send me the assignments, but I don't know if this will help build the skills he needs.

A: It is true that your son must learn to take responsibility for his school work. However, if he has ADHD (from your description it sounds like ADHD-Inattentive type), then he needs to learn to use some assistance properly. In cases like this, I have been able to get the school to appoint a teacher as a mentor to the student in order to teach him organization skills. You are probably thinking something like, "I've already tried to teach him organization skills and he won't listen to me." It's often amazing how someone other than a parent can get through to a student. (I think they must get used to the sound of our voices and automatically tune us out!) This person doesn't have to be one of your son's regular teachers -- just someone, preferably a male teacher in your son's case, with whom your son has a good relationship. They could meet twice a week and go over your son's school responsibilities. This has no cost to the school, is not embarrassing to your son, and takes you out of the struggle over homework. As a parent, you still have the right to do what I call a "quality check" of your son's homework.

Other suggestions that come to mind:

  • Get him a folder for containing only homework -- no matter what the subject. He should never tuck assignments into textbooks.
  • Does your son need what is called a "homework dose" of his ADHD medication? Some physicians will prescribe a lower dose at approximately 4:00 p.m. to assist in homework concentration.
  • Would the school allow your son to use an electronic device (such as a palm pilot) to keep track of his assignments? Many ADHD adults have found electronic helpers to be invaluable in helping them stay on track.

I also recommend the following books which contain many helpful suggestions for ADHD students: Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey and ADD Success Stories by Hartman and Ratey. Good luck.

More on: Expert Advice

Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks