High I.Q. Typical in Children with ADD – Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari

January 22, 2008 at 4:25 am 18 comments

Persons with ADD typically have a higher than average intelligence level. Although the many guises of this disorder, along with possibly poor performance and/or behavior, may make it sometimes difficult to recognize, individuals with ADD (both children and adults) tend to be some of the brightest members of our society.

You may have noticed how children with ADD seem to hear everything that goes on around them, even though they’re not paying attention to it. They may exhibit intricate play-imagination, be great at video or computer games, have an excellent memory, or are adept in design or artistic skills. These are all signs of high intelligence, and if you’ve ever wondered about this, you’re instincts were right.

ADD is characterized by an inability to pay attention, and thus attention is widely spread out and stimulated by many different things. This high degree of stimulation is the very thing that creates intelligence in infants. While this difficulty in paying attention is not desirable as a person grows older and needs to focus and control themselves, it does usually tend to make that individual very intelligent.

Therefore, what you have is a very intelligent individual who is unable to express it, resulting in poor performance (grades) and/or behavior. This causes three problems: a child who is wasting his or her potential; a society, which through its rejection of poorly performing individuals, is “throwing away” some of its most valuable assets; and finally, and most importantly in my opinion, a hurting child (appearances often to the contrary) with an inaccurately low self-image (self-esteem), who does not feel good about themselves, and is likely to turn away from those activities which cause them to feel bad (learning and/or getting along with others).

Can we stop this from happening? The answer is more often than not (85-90%) yes, with the proper intervention. Does it matter when this intervention is done? Yes, the sooner the disorder is corrected, the less learning is lost and the less damage there is to self-esteem. Do we need drugs to do this? No, in most cases the brain is capable of correcting the problem with the proper treatment. Neurofeedback is a drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once the training completed, no further treatment is necessary.

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com


Entry filed under: ADD Child, Attention Deficit Disorder, School and ADD. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Josh  |  June 18, 2008 at 3:24 am

    This is so true. I tested as having an I.Q. of 136, freshman year of high school. I had poor grades and didn’t have much interest in school because they put me in L.D. classes and gave me boring easy work to do instead of challenging me in high classes and making school more fun and interesting to me. Now I am 26 and trying to catch myself up to go to school for a nursing degree. People don’t realize that the ADD mind needs to be stimulated in different ways than other people.

  • 2. Ronee  |  February 28, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I am 32 years old I speak 6 languages fluently – My last IQ test result was 149 , however I struggled to complete my degree and master degree and have incredible problems studying.
    when I was a child I was told my concentration capability could be compared with the one from an insect.
    I have always surprised my bosses with ideas and specialised job, but equally contradicted my capabilities making very silly mistakes that any other person would easily spot.
    I have problems relating to people as well. I would easily make friends but hardly every keep those friendships.

  • 3. Child Services - Page 3 - Debate Politics Forums  |  May 20, 2009 at 12:20 am

    […] "gifted". Persons with ADD typically have a higher than average intelligence level. High I.Q. Typical in Children with ADD – Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari Dr. Ferrari’s Attention … Gifted children and adults are at high risk for being identified as ADD. Most people, including […]

  • 4. VIC  |  July 18, 2009 at 7:57 am


    i have struggled with that all my life. At least some people in my family recognize i am intelligent. But now i am enrolled in a PHd program in Spain and my advisor and me have serious communication problems because of my inability to pay attention. He thinks that most of the time i don’t understand what he is telling me. The image they have of me is that of a man with a low iq who almost never understands anything he is told. I wish i could find a way to tel them that i am different, that they should be patient with me and that i am able to do great things.

  • 5. Jacqueline Kindness  |  October 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    is there a test that can test younger children? my son is 5 and having problems with paying attention do you have any suggestions.


    • 6. drferrari  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

      Evaluations of attention deficit disorder can be done on children as young as 4.5 years of age.

    • 7. drferrari  |  February 12, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Jacqueline,
      We normally begin testing and treatment at the age of four. If you reside in the Southern California area, I would be happy to provide you and your son with an evaluation and assessment at no charge. Contact me at drferrari@ocbiofeedback.com
      -Dr. Ferrari

  • 8. Jeniffer  |  November 14, 2009 at 2:11 am

    My son has ADD and also has a very high IQ. He is only 8 and in the 3 rd Grade. Everything he does is at at least a 8-9th Grade Level. It is very hard for him to pay attention in school and sometimes gets in trouble for it. My son started talking at 2 1/5 monts old and walked at 9-10 months old and read his 1st book at 10 months old. He has a Encylopedia colection and can carry on a conversation with adults better than most adults can. H also has a VERY WIDE Vocabulary Range. Hi biggest is paying attention in class and he get board so easy. This does cause attitude problems for him. My son used to tuttor 5th and 6th graders in reading, but I had to put a stop to that because some kids were picking on him jus for being smart. That caused self esteem issues for him. Anyone haveany advice on how I can make things easyier for my son?

    • 9. drferrari  |  February 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm

      It is heartbreaking to hear your son’s story. He has so much potential. The best place to start to help him is by treating the ADD. Take a look, if you like, at our website (ocbiofeedback.com) and let me know if I can be of help to you.
      -Dr. Ferrari

  • 10. esther  |  November 9, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I have ADD (was just diagnosed recently) and I’m 26 with an IQ of 160. It’s always been immensely difficult for me to stay on task, study, or even read things that weren’t directly relevant to me. I dropped out of college three times before seeking help. I tried every herbal remedy you can think of as well as caffeine, thinking it would prevent me from dozing during a boring lecture but all it did was intensify the urge to go for a walk/have a cigarette break/talk to a friend on facebook. In the short amount of time since I’ve sought treatment, I feel like a brand new girl. Now instead of college dropout I’m an honors student set to start on my phd next fall. Why did I wait so long?

    • 11. Lisa  |  November 25, 2010 at 9:06 am

      May I ask what treatment worked so well for you Esther?

  • 12. Lisa  |  November 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Hello Dr. Ferrari-
    I am 26 years old and have recently come to suspect very strongly that I have ADD. I am smart, this shows up particularly strongly on measures of verbal ability (I scored in the 96th percentile on the verbal section of the GRE). I double majored in psychology and biology and did rather well after initially struggling in college and being a very hit or miss student in high school, meaning that if something happened to interest me I could do extremely well, but if not I might even fail. In fact in light of this revelation I think that I may be much brighter than I ever thought, but have hesitated about pursuing many careers/graduate programs that interest me because I struggled so hard to force myself through college, writing every paper at nearly the last minute because I couldn’t seem to force myself through them without the adrenaline of that urgency. This tended to work for me, and when I could focus I ended up with great quality and harnessed this work-style pretty well, but it was torture. And I always thought I had this problem and procrastinated because I was lazy. To be entirely honest, I cried for hours when I read about ADD and looked back over my entire life and how guilty and horrible I have always felt for having so much trouble paying attention and organizing, for daydreaming, for not doing as much as people think I should be able to given my intellect, and for having a constantly cluttered room. Unfortunately I did not graduate into the best job market and have had a rough time of it this year, which has not helped the low confidence level that I now suspect is related to ADD symptoms. But the thought that maybe I could get help with this (without taking medication) fills me with a sense of hope that I haven’t felt in some time. I don’t have much in the way of financial resources right now, but just knowing that programs like yours are out there is comforting to me.


  • 13. Janey  |  May 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I’m 15 years old and have struggled with SEVERE ADD for my whole life. I have an IQ of 135, yet I get really bad grades in school. (i have a 2.7 gpa at the moment.) Reading this article makes me feel really good because it describes my life so well. I have a really good memory and people have always told me that I am very creative and artistic. Both my ADD and my poor grades frustrate me so much because I see my classmates getting all A’s when I feel like I am much more capable then them. I started taking adderral about 12 months ago and my grades haven’t increased at all. I’m lazy and school bores me so instead of listening in class I look out the window or daydream. My parents have spent thousands of dollars on psychiatrists and private school for me, yet I still continue to do poorly in everything. At least reading this article restores some hope in me because I can pinpoint exactly what my problem is.

    • 14. drferrari  |  May 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Janey,
      I’m sorry that you have had to struggle so much and so long. I’m very glad you know how smart you are! Medication does not work for everyone, so don’t for a minute think that your ADD cannot be helped! If you would like, you can have your parents contact me through our website (ocbiofeedback.com) or by phone 714-990-6536, and I will be happy to speak with you and them about some ways we may be finally able to remove this obstacle to your expressing your true self.

      -Dr. Ferrari

  • 15. Anthony  |  February 8, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I am a 13 year old boy who has just recently found out that i have ADD. it is hard as a kid my age to understand exactly what that means.i feel very different from other kids, by the way i think. “i see deeper than most kids” according to my math teacher. i am amazing at math and reading. and sometimes feel i dont need to pay attention, well because whats the purpose of me paying attention when i already know the lesson. i am having a hard time convincing myself that i have it. i hate to be labled in almost anyway. if anyone can help me understan exactly what ADD is, your help will be highly appreciated.

    • 16. drferrari  |  August 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      I would be happy to help you understand this diagnosis, and overcome the “labeling” you mention. I’m not surprised how smart you are -most people with ADD (ADHD) have a high IQ. If your parents approve, you and they can contact me at our office, 714-990-6536, I look forward to being of help.

      -Dr. Ferrari

  • 17. Rachel  |  April 29, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Dr. Ferrari,

    Do you have any advice for a child who is nine years old and is highly gifted but plagued with ADD, mild dyslexia and anxiety but who likes to read calculus textbooks in his spare time? Please help us!

    • 18. drferrari  |  August 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      Most people who have ADD have a higher than average IQ, and this coupled with the difficulties of the disorder, can be quite perplexing. I will try to be of help to you and your child, if you like you can contact me at 714-990-6536.

      -Dr. Ferrari


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