Things got worse. The teacher was singling her out by putting her in another location, separating her from her peers. My husband and I were very upset and asked to see the school psychologist. After a meeting with her and the teacher, the conclusion was that my daughter was probably gifted, but also had ADD. The psychologist wanted to spend some time with her, and also wanted to contact the school psychiatrist to observe her during one day at school. She also suggested formal testing at the beginning of the next school year.
Should we get a second opinion? Is it possible for a child to be gifted and also ADD? How can we help our daughter to pay attention?
The school psychologist (and psychiatrist) very likely will be fair, unless you have other knowledge that leads you to believe otherwise. The observation will likely consist of the psychologist checking off a certain list of attention-deficit behaviors that your daughter may display. Psychologists also look to see if your child is on-task with the other kids at various points during the observation period. If your child has a formal IQ test, her scores on the various subtests will help them calculate a Freedom from Distractibility score, which can indicate attention difficulties. By the way, the diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - as it is now known -- includes both Inattentive Type and Hyperactive Type diagnoses. Some children have both diagnoses and this is called Combined Type.
If I were you, I would still seek a second opinion. If the school personnel are not familiar with giftedness traits, they may see a severity of attention problem that isn't really there.
Why not teach your little girl to pay attention more often? At home, have a chart and reward her with a sticker or star when she responds quickly to directions. (An accumulation of these can be exchanged for a special, inexpensive treat.) Coach her to find something interesting about her teacher -- like a piece of jewelry -- and to visually focus on that when the teacher is talking. Perhaps you could persuade the teacher to give her a special signal or code word that alerts her that some important directions are coming, so pay attention. I have done this successfully with many kids.