8 Things the World Must Understand About Gifted Children

Gifted children are often misunderstood by society…

Wait. You know what? I’m gonna write this truthfully. This is going to be written from the heart. I am going to tell you quite honestly how I feel about this matter using the very words and thoughts that are pushing to filter through my exasperation, heartache and anger. Upfront, I will say that I am yielding to a powerful case of emotional writing.

I am frustratingly tired of people misunderstanding and mistreating gifted children, especially in our schools, all because they just don’t know enough about the social and emotional quirks of gifted children. Let’s face it, we should always treat each other with respect and consideration, but we know that is not always the reality.

Envy, competitiveness, lack of compassion and resentfulness should never influence our behavior towards others. However, gifted children seem to be affected far more often by these negative emotions cast on them from others. Why? I would have to say because people just don’t understand that gifted children are so much more complex than the smart, perfect, life-is-easy little people the world thinks they are!

So, here are the 8 things the world must know about gifted children:

1. There is more to gifted children than their intelligence.  
Gifted children are affectionate, fun-loving, innocent, and yes, sometimes they do misbehave. Their IQ’s do not make them circus freaks, Doogie Howsers or anomalies.

2. They are emotionally very sensitive.  
Gifted children may take a small, critical comment and internalize it to the point that they may start to hate themselves or believe everyone hates them. Comments or situations others don’t think twice about can wreak emotional havoc on a gifted child.

3. They may think like an adult, but can also act like a much-younger child.
Two words: asynchronous development. Gifted children’s reasoning and critical thinking may rival most adults, but that doesn’t mean they should be expected to socially and emotionally handle adult situations. And they definitely should not be disciplined for not acting like the adult they seem to be. They are children and they should be treated with respect.

4. They have a strong sense of right and wrong.  
Justice and fairness must always prevail in a gifted child’s life. Little white lies, pretense, double-standards, exaggeration or faulty reasoning will NOT fly with a gifted child. Not ever! So, don’t go there.

5. Gifted does not mean perfect.  
They are not perfect; they are human beings just like everyone else. Just because they are gifted, please do not expect them to be perfect little soldiers.

6. Being gifted does not equal straight A’s.
Not all gifted children are high achievers. Many times gifted children because of their emotional sensitivities and above-average intelligence suffer from anxiety, fear of failure or perfectionism, and other factors which can prevent them from being successful in school.

7. They are not gifted in everything.
Gifted children can excel in Math and Science, and then just really suck in English and Reading.

8. They have a very keen sense of social dynamics. 
Gifted children can have the ability to size-up an adult who may not be acting like an adult should, and they understand the social dynamics of the situation. They can also zero in on peers who are envious or overly competitive, and they understand why. They know what you do and why you do it!

I’m sure there are others characteristics that you would like to add to this list. Here’s your chance to let everyone know what you want them to understand about gifted children! Please add your thoughts to the comments below!M in Creek in Chair

And then pass it on!

175 Comments on “8 Things the World Must Understand About Gifted Children

  1. I am very well aware of these differences since I still think back to this day things I’ve been through. Even over this past weekend I had to fight those same emotional sensitivities that, although I can readily identify and push them away much better now that I’m 23, it’s still a struggle at times to bear when no one literally understands me or tries to treat me like the bottom of their shoe. I tried to explain to my best friend about this once I discovered that I was gifted (no one told me but I put several memories together to figure it out when I began to think about it) and he changed the subject three times. I dropped it and assumed now that I can’t really talk about it to anyone when I want them to understand me.

    • Hi Jack,

      I know that most people are uncomfortable hearing about giftedness and it often makes one feel alone. If you are interested, there are a few closed/private Facebook groups for gifted adults where you can share thoughts, concerns and questions.

      I’m writing an article now about why the topic of giftedness is so uncomfortable for others to discuss–wish that this societal issue could change. It’s time gifted individuals received more understanding and less animosity.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience here with us!

  2. I am so frustrated with a lot. My son has been tested as a gifted child but at age of almost 11 he is being the normal child and not showing his full or even half of his potential in school. His teachers say that they know he totally gets the work because test scores show it but he doesn’t try when it comes to his homework or class work. We are from a very small town and there isn’t a lot they offer for gifted children. He has a love and unbelievable knowledge of science but there’s nothing here that they offer in elementary school that interest him. I have a feeling he’s wanting to be like his friends and goof off. How do I get him to see that his grades are important. He purposely bombs these test they give him to move him into a gifted class but they said they have to rest him cause he originally tested so high. I’ve talked to his teachers and they know what he can do but they can’t grade him on what they know. They of course have to grade him on what he actually does. I feel like he is dumbing himself down to fit in.. I don’t know if this is just a phase he is going through or what. I just wish I knew how to get him to show his potential. Cause it would blow the schools mind. He does tell me he knows what they are doing in class and he is board with it. I get that I really do but he still has to do the little work. Is it normal for at times yhwm to blow your mind with their knowledge and their adult like ways but then the next minute frustrate you cause they are acting like this. I know he is a child and I encourage him to still be a child always. I just don’t know what to do to get him to show what we all know and to not think he has to do be less smart to fit it.. HELP..

    • Kandi,

      I know what you are going through–been through it, too. At times I caught myself explaining to my child that he needed to just “play the game” because grades, although he thought many of the tests were ridiculous, were important at school. Ugh, yes, I know how you feel. Dumbing down to fit in or as a result of boredom is a real issue.

      First, I learned the hard way, and despite having been a public school teacher, that not all children learn the way the majority of teachers teach, the way textbooks and curriculums are formatted, the way traditional schools deliver an education. That is often a reason for gifted children, and many other children, to zone out or not be engaged in their education.

      Second, when a child is bored and has to sit around waiting for the rest of the class to catch on to what he already knows, and this happens during each and every day, our children essentially give up.

      There are other reasons our children disengage from school or seem to be dumbing down–more testing than learning, learning information for the sole reason of spitting it back out on a test, and simple monotony like memorization of facts. Gifted children often love learning and gaining new information in order to put that information into practice, or to make complex connections between the new information and what they already know or what they want to know. Often times, it is just not feasible for a teacher to have time to let children put new information into practice, or to dive deeper than the textbook allows.

      I’d suggest having a heart-to-heart with your son, and learn what specifically is turning him off from school. Then, join forces with his teachers so that all of you can try to create a plan to help your son engage in his education again, not feel the need to dumb down, and demonstrate what he knows. This may or may not be successful, it depends on your child and his teachers.

      Stay strong and keep advocating for your son. Read as much as you can about gifted children so that you can be an informed advocate–not all teachers understand giftedness. Specifically, look for articles addressing underachievement in gifted children. Your son deserves an appropriate education which meets his needs as much as any child.

      Best of luck and if you need any resources or support, reach out again!

  3. Really sorry for any grammatical errors, I’m typing half-asleep and should have thought of a better time to comment!

    By the way, in the part where it said ‘overreacting and small comments…’ Etc, I meant them as two separate things. I couldn’t stand overreacting, and I couldn’t stand small comments that people thought weren’t offending and were.

  4. Wow…. I read all of these comments one by one with gusto. It’s rather interesting, you know! I’m not picking fun at anyone who commented, I’m just making my own small, unnoffending comment of my own. This article was rather wonderful to read, and unlike other people who tend to overreact about these petty little inconsistencies or small sentences in this, I decided to overlook them and focus on the main points. It turned out to work very well! I thoroughly enjoyed this and agree with some points, being able to relate to it as I was an intellectually gifted child in my youth. It is true that I used to never stand overreacting or small little comments people thought weren’t offending and actually were, but I bottled it up quite well. Life is a lot easier for me now, because I chose a positive outlook on the path I had chosen and not a negative one. I am quite pleased with everything as it is, proof that gifted children are not always the leaders and greats of the future, but not always depressed either. They can be what they choose, and so can anyone else. Well, I suppose now I’m one of those people who are making fearfully long online typed-out speeches that I usually detest because they lag up my computer and are too tiring to scroll down. Sometimes I surprise myself with how many words come out of one small idea. Oh, well!

    A note: Please don’t judge anything, it’s my perspective and flames are not welcome. How would you like it if I did that to you? It’s hard to find a witty, sharp response to people who seem to point out inconsistencies for the sheer pleasure of it. I’m not that person, which is good for all those commenters who are weary of responding and cannot take it anymore. I shall not say anything about any of these comments, just to avoid anything possible that might shoot my way. Don’t see me as a coward, just an overly sensitive person that you should be wary of. Constructive criticism is fine. ( Real constructive criticism, not anything more.)

    Thanks for reading the post that turned out to be a lot more than a quick note on the article! 🙂

    • Hi Lizzie,

      You said, “They can be what they choose, and so can anyone else.” I agree!

      I recently had a comment on a post I had shared on my Crushing Tall Poppies Facebook page. The person commented that she thought gifted children all grew up to be doctors and lawyers and scientists. I had to wait a day or so before I replied to her comment so I could control my instinct to lash out at her with snark. I simply replied that gifted kids grow up to be what all kids grow up to be–whatever they are interested in and passionate about.

      But when people like this lady judge our gifted children with the expectation that they should be doctors, lawyers or attain eminence somehow, that is when our gifted children can become discouraged, depressed or underachievers. And many lead a normal life as any other child, which is the way it should be.

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts and insights here!

  5. Hi!

    I have a question about a “Negative” aspect of being gifted,
    is it true that many “Gifted” people suffer from loneliness?
    that “Gifted people” often want to find friends that have the same thinking as they do,
    and they don’t like being around people that don’t think the same way they do?
    And therefore become lonely, and maybe even depressed?

    – Lemar ( 14 )

    • Lemar,

      Gifted people don’t always suffer from loneliness. And I believe all people wish to have friends that are like-minded. Gifted individuals often, because of their advanced intellectual abilities, find it difficult to connect with more typical, less like-minded people. Because gifted individuals are often extremely sensitive and/or emotional, the struggles to find engaging friendships they can really connect with can be overwhelming.

      Like many things in life, there will be struggles and depression can ensue. If you feel that you are affected by depression, please, please talk to your parents, or teachers or other trusted adults.

      Take care, Lemar!

    • Yes, there can be “negative” aspects of being gifted, such as the ones you described. If you google “traumatic consequences” and “gifted children,” you can learn more about it. Loneliness, alienation, depression, and even suicide can occur. I think it also depends on the support you receive from your family and school. Do you feel like people understand you or do you feel “different”? For me, I always felt different … at home and school. While I never attempted suicide, I did struggle with suicidal thoughts at times. Loneliness, alienation, and depression were much more common, especially when I was your age. Now I’m 35 years old and things are better than they were then but mainly because I know myself better and I accept myself and the world more. I’ve also found a close friend who is also gifted and sensitive. We understand each other which really really helps when I’m feeling like the only person like me on the planet. We had very similar families, personal experiences (and traumas), as well as gifts. And I have other supportive friends and professionals in my life who listen and try to understand/connect. So if there’s any way for you to connect with others willing to listen and understand your struggles, especially those who have had similar life experiences as you, including giftedness, it can be a life saver. For a long time I wished things were different but I’ve found it less difficult to just accept that my sensitivity leads to experiencing more pain and loneliness at times. And it’s ok. Because I can also experience beauty, compassion, and Love to a greater depth as well. I wouldn’t change who I am now. But I remember spending a lot of time feeling “different” as a teen and it was very painful. Keep reaching out! And know you’re not alone. It takes a lot of courage to share your feelings and vulnerabilities. Not everyone will be able to receive them or relate. But some will. And it’s worth the effort. Because those relationships are worth more than gold. A well-trained and intuitive counselor is also a great gift for those of us who are gifted and sensitive. And there is no shame in getting help or in sharing your struggles. We’re all human afterall. ((Hugs))

  6. I came across this article while surfing the web, many people like to judge what they don’t know and i do assume some people think i’m not very smart, i’m happy that I’m good at reading though but i don’t do well in all areas. I also consider myself unique and i’m not like a lot of other people. I struggle everyday and to try and get people to understand me and that I won’t have the same intelligence level. One of the things that bothers me is people that correct spelling and grammar, i find that funny because I’m good at spelling words and with grammar but i wouldn’t consider myself a pro at it and I won’t be as advanced as other people but many people need to know that I’m smarter then you think. 🙂 i always thought I had autism all my life and a intellectual disability and I can’t learn certain things that other people can learn easily and my memory isn’t good either which people judge me on, it’s pretty sad but like I said above, i have a great reading level. 🙂 i like having people understand me better.

  7. Thank you so much for this article. My son recently tested as gifted. And over the years I’ve seen so many of the social characteristics that you describe: being bullied; taking small critiques and internalising and blowing them up to something huge; extreme perfectionism; intolerance of what he interprets as unfairness; challenging (and getting knocked down) if he questioned his teachers about their behaviour if he saw it as unbalanced; feeling an outsider / “wierdo” — his word; speaks like an adult but emotionally is sometimes very immature (or actually just acting his age), I could go on. Its so helpful to read this article and understand where these behaviours come from. You helped me realise that I need to understand much more about how to parent the gifted child so as to help my son navigate the potentially destructive and damaging behaviours / situations that could potentially await him.

    A very frightening and sad story that sits in my mind: We had a friend who’s son recently committed suicide (at age 21) and his parents hadn’t told him that he was highly gifted until he was almost an adult. The realisation really threw him for a loop. It helped him to understand what he’d been feeling his whole life but unfortunately, he’d already suffered so much it seems.

    • Hi Meena,

      I’m glad this article helped you–being as informed as possible about giftedness is critical to parenting and advocating for your gifted child.

      I’m so sorry about your friend’s son. My heart always breaks when I hear about gifted children and adults being unable to tolerate the bullying and feelings of being an outsider. Giftedness is a trait, a condition, which follows us our entire life and we need to teach our children early how to cope with bullying, envy and being marginalized if they experience this. Not all gifted kids do, but being informed parents helps us on this sometimes rocky path with our gifted kids.

      Thanks for your kind words, Meena!

  8. I’ll bet Thinkslinks is hiding now after all the comments about ” Children with high intelligence are not special.” All children should know and be told, they are special.

  9. This article really enlightened me. Thank you. I am noticing that it is becoming politically incorrect to celebrate a child’s academic achievement as if its a sin. Yet, in sports and music and other cultural arena, parents flaunt their kids medals and whether they came first second or third. My daughter has been ostracised, picked on, been called names, and hardly gets included amongst her peers. Both parents and kids have attitude towards gifted children. Glad to say though, she has become more resilient as time goes. She understands the world and the narrow mindedness of individuals big and small and she continues to do well, and make her own luck in the world. I often wonder, without those smart kids out there, who will operate in surgery, who will build bridges, who will discover new cures for obscure illnesses? We need them, and we should all be thankful for having them in our lives.

    • Fred,

      You are right on many points about giftedness and academic achievement! We do need our gifted children. They are our societies’ future and we need to provide them, and all children, the resources they need to reach their full potential.

      So happy to hear that your daughter has adjusted well to her world even though it has not been fair to her! Bravo for her!!

      I wish you and your daughter the best! Thanks for stopping by, Fred!

  10. I have a son that just passed his test and was accepted in the our gifted program. It’s like ones that took the test also and their did not pass it no longer are friends with us. They post really rude things fb and even ask questions in my inbox. Should I feel sad right now or be happy for my son. My son has came very far in life be diagnose with ADHD! It has been a rough journey but he made it. Before my son started taking meds for ADHD he could not finish his work in class. He was not a bad kid just couldn’t focus. I prayed about and went to get help for my son the medicine they put him worked wonders and its not a forever lasting drug. It really only last for about 6-8 hrs in his system and he does not have to take it everyday. But I am blessed to have him in my life and no matter for the world may think is not gifted but he is truly gifted in my heart.

    • Hi Monique,

      Every child is different and is born with easy or challenging characteristics and traits. If your child was tested and identified as being gifted, it is who he is. Being gifted is not always easy and can often be challenging, so my guess is you will be sad about it on some days and happy about on others.

      Like all of our children, there is good and bad, easy and difficult, successes and failures. Giftedness is a part of who your child is, but unfortunately, many see giftedness as the golden ticket to a lifetime of success. Those of us with gifted children know this is not true, yet we deal with those in society who want to cut down our tall poppies.

      Good luck and enjoy your journey with your gifted son!

      • I would like to say thank you soooooooooooo much. I really needed the support from someone else and just for taking this step. I appreciate your encouraging words and I thank God for sending you my way.

        May God keep and bless you and yours .

    • Monique – do yourself and your son a huge favor, and join the Raising Poppies Facebook group. It’s a closed group full of wonderful, supportive parents of gifted kids. The group has taught me so much about giftedness and how misunderstood our kids are. It’s a place where we all feel safe posting brags and concerns. It has done wonders for my own sanity and my relationship with my daughter. Please, please, please join.

  11. I really don’t have the time to read through all of the comments on this article, but I think you may be able to help me. Can you please suggest a forum for me? I need support. My daughter’s educators are the ones who suggested her for GT when she was in the 1st grade. I didn’t even need to push for it. Lucky me! But she’s now 11, and I still have friends and family who are convinced that I’m a horrible mom because I’m not getting her “the help that she needs.” BTW, my daughter is currently creating her own computer game, drawing and writing a comic book, writing an original novel, loving her GT pull-out program (she’s the only 5th grader in her school who is in the GT program). The “problem” is that her overexcitabilities, to our friends and family, look like everything from ADHD to Autism to something I’ve been doing wrong since she was born.

    • There is a private Facebook group called Raising Poppies that is a fabulous support network. There is also one for raising PG poppies, not sure of the name but it has been mentioned in the other one.

    • Hello

      This response goes out to everyone. I would like to say that I am the mother of an extremely gifted child. He was tested after the second grade. It was my idea to have him tested because of some of the issues we had. He was passing tests with perfect scores that noone ever has before. Although he is very intelligent he to has always has issues with being very emotional, hypersensitive, and hyperactive. I think it is so important that someone be an advocate for the gifted as well. They are sometimes pigeonholed as kids with behavioral issues. I agree with the previous posts about all children being treated fairly and given the same respect. However, I also believe that Down syndrome, autism and countless others have been give a face and a cause whereas the differences and quirks of gifted children have not.I am however getting my son the help he needs. Please do not let your child fall through the cracks because of a lack of knowledge about this subject. It is your responsibility as a parent to alway represent your childs needs. It is very important to me that he be able to live his full potential and not be a statistic. In conclusion, I would like to say to all parents of children with any differences is that regardless of what the schools say, or family says you are always your child’s number one advocate!!!!

  12. One of the commenters objected strongly to the gifted label. Although I agree that it is a poor descriptive and tends to predjudice the rest of society against you, accepting it’s inevitability has opened up a world of resources to me. I’m glad that their children managed to survive to college seemingly unscathed because not all are so lucky!
    The original harm in our situation was that when it was very quietly suggested by my daughter’s grade one teacher at the end of the year that she skip a grade because over one year she had gone from not reading to nearly 4th grade level in both French and English. (The word gifted was mentioned but I had never heard the word used before as a label, had a strongly negative reaction to the elitism it implied, and in my ignorance made assumptions about what it meant.) Since grade skipping is universally frowned upon and I’d had a bad experience with it myself, I decided not to push for it. I decided to see her as a teacher-pleaser and hard worker. One of the reasons I held her back was that she seemed so emotionally fragile, which I now realize is one of the potentially dark sides of giftedness. She had a terrible time until I finally pulled her out after grade 5. I refused to see the link between her difficulilties and her intellect because she was always top of her class and I didn’t realize that could be problematic!
    The word gifted is a hard one because it already has a common meaning, so people think they know what they are hearing! If it must continue to be used in this context, I deeply appreciate the efforts of people like yourself who are forcefully trying to expand the definition and widely disseminate it. So much needless suffering of our little ones will be averted by your efforts. ROAR ON!

    • Oh gosh, Lorienne, I really, really appreciate your most kind and motivating words! Seriously, I’ve been experiencing a little writer’s block lately, but I think you just kickstarted that fire in me! So, I deeply appreciate what you just did for me!!

  13. I really liked this article! I am a “gifted child,” myself and reading this article made me understand more about myself. I actually do not know much about what is “normal” for gifted people to think and feel even though I was labeled as being gifted since I was 1. Now that I am 13, I am beginning to become more curious about what being gifted even means and how it effects me. Its nice to learn that these feelings (like you said about being very sensitive) are normal and I am not the crazy one. 🙂

    • Hi Natalie,

      Nah, you are not the crazy one! I like to believe we are all wonderfully different and so your normal is different from someone else’s normal. But yeah, it is common for gifted people to be very sensitive which makes many of them great writers, artists, musicians and dancers. We all need to embrace our own “normal!”

      Thanks for writing, Natalie!

  14. Is it possible for a child to lose his / her giftedness in adult life? Absolutely, but for what reasons?

    Have you ever heard of synaesthesia? Where two or more senses actually get their wires crossed? That’s definitely worth a read, especially for any parent.

    • I’m no expert psychologist or medical professional, but the majority of experts in the field of giftedness say that it is an inherent cognitive trait and does not go away. If a gifted child does not receive the proper education to nurture her giftedness, then like any talent, it won’t be developed to it’s fullest. But also like any inherited trait such as eye color or height, it doesn’t go away. It is helpful to remember that giftedness is not just about being smarter which is the part of giftedness often emphasized in schools.

      I’ll definitely have to look up synesthesia. Thanks for your comment!

  15. I am gifted, and as determined in 4th grade, I have an IQ of 131. I don’t like making anything below an A on a report card, and I’m usually overly sensitive to criticism. (I argue with my father a lot because he doesn’t make a lot of sense in his arguements, but he claims it’s because I’m a teenage girl and he’s a grown man, not because he’s inconsistent. It drives me mad!) But is being fond of routine (to some extent; I look forward to some things on some days and when I am not able to do it, it upsets me, but just a little bit. Life also needs some surprises; otherwise it’s extremely boring and repeptitive) also a symptom of giftedness? I looked it up and it only shows up as AS. I positive I don’t have this–I’m imaginative (not extremely, but about as much as I am logical), good with figuring out people’s emotions by their faces, and I often can’t stand repetitive behaviors (I know they can’t help it, but it still irritates me. Just do it once and be done with it!) Sure I have socializing issues, but asynchronous development, right? People just jump to this conclusion and it bothers me to no end. Thanks for writing this article, and I’d appreciate a reply. Thank you for your time. 🙂

    • As humans, we all have differing emotions, personalities, quirky behaviors and traits. We are all different and not every quirk or personality trait is attributable to giftedness or AS or anything else. Any perfectly average, typical teenager will argue with their parents (because parents do drive teenagers mad, right?) or get bored or have trouble tolerating repetition, as do gifted teens or not-so-average teens.

      Now, if any of these quirks make you unhappy or you are concerned about them, then you should mention this to your parents and work out a way to find a solution to the problem together. I’m raising my third teenager right now, and he argues with EVERYTHING I say, so you are not alone there, but if he is worried about any problem he may have, I would hope he would come to me for help because I know him best. 🙂

      Just remember, if these issues bother you, please talk to your parents about them.

  16. Pingback: Gifted Relationships. The Silver Lining in the Gifted Storm | Crushing Tall Poppies

  17. Pingback: I Have a Gifted Kid and I Will No Longer Be Ashamed | Crushing Tall Poppies

  18. Thanks for your post, I wish this information had been available to my parents when I was a child, I may not have been raised so viciously. With much gratitude to the universe I am older now and finally have control over all my anxieties so I can truly fly!! Good luck to all of you that have a “gifted” perspective – it is a cruel world but beautiful too.

    • Eve, thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. It reminds all of us who support gifted children that we need to continue to advocate and speak out for all gifted individuals!

  19. Thank you for your blog.
    Not much is known about gifted adults or children in the UK. For the last 4 years I have been struggling after university to fit into society and am back at home having therapy by a psychologist where it seems all they can understand me by is categorising me with anxiety, bipolar or autism.. They don’t seem to know much about gifted and therefore the mental health problems as a result of not fitting or being understood.
    My situation is gradually getting worse, losing social and emotional ties because I cannot seem to find my fit. Although I am still not convinced my time is today, your blog gives me hope for increased awareness at least. It’s such a struggle because I have so much love and insight I want to offer into the world. I am becoming increasingly suicidal and It’s through no choice of my own. I simply cannot be understood. I do not want to have to fail in my fight for life. Thank you so much again for your blog and raising awareness of this much undiscussed issue. It’s huge and affects a lot of great minds, through no choice of their own.
    Let us live!!

    • Emma,

      You are not alone and many gifted individuals have felt as you do. I see now where you are in the UK so the resources I provided previously may have less resources you could use.

      From my own experience, the place where I found the most help, support and nurturing was with online friends going through what I was going through. Try Facebook and search for gifted adult groups. Go on the websites I provided to find resources for gifted adults. I have personally met several “close friends” online who I have never met in real life, but with whom I can share my burdens with. Some of the Facebook groups are closed providing privacy and more trust.

      Here is an excellent website dedicated to gifted adults from a wonderful psychologist, Paula Prober.

      Try these, don’t give up and keep in touch. Just remember that you are NOT ALONE and you are valued by all of us! <3

  20. Pingback: Twice-exceptional FAQ: "Too Smart for Your Own Good"

  21. Why is it called being “gifted” when everyone treats it like a curse? and why is it that because she is labeled”gifted” that her “lack of motivation” and “behavioral issues” are somehow MY fault. because she “lacks discipline” News flash ! being “gifted ” isn’t all its cracked up to be. not every one fits into the preconceived “gifted “cookie cutter. and if they did what a sad, depressing ,and unchallenged world this would be. Contrary to popular belief being gifted doesn’t mean every thing comes easy. Its not easy, it’s more of a LIFE CHALLENGE than a GIFT. Its not easy living with my child, its not easy teaching her, its hard to teach someone who is smarter than you, but just hasn’t learned everything yet. we don’t talk about being gifted at all. because as soon as people hear “gifted”they think “easy”, They have a preconceived notion of what “gifted” should be. I am sorry to tell you that my child doesn’t fit in to that mold. she is quirky and extremely self conscious, she worries over dead squirrels and if it had babies, and who will care for them now. if there is a stray lady bug she can study until it is taken outside to safety.even if it takes an hour. she is very sensitive and takes things so personally. she has social anxiety, she has huge fears of failure, she was constantly picked on in school and called a freak ,she doesn’t understand why constantly correcting someone can be annoying. especially if its a teacher, her answer is “mom they are teachers they should know this stuff, how will they know if someone doesn’t tell them?” FYI yes ,she corrects me alllllll the time. and yes, its very frustrating so I kind of get where their coming from, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. and know that’s just her, she isn’t trying to be disrespectful or disruptive she is on a journey for knowledge and wants to share it with others, not to show anyone up , but to allow them to better learn. my child is full of little known facts, the origins of… the reasons why… ,and loves to share them with every one.especially if its a subject of personal interest. She is very polite and respectful. she is very quiet and painfully shy at first. she is a very sweet girl and cares so much about others, I often say if you take the TV characters Spencer Reed from Criminal Minds and Sheldon Cooper from Big Band Theory, put them in a jar and shake well, what comes out is my daughter , but life with my teen is neither a tv show nor a comedy. it is life and LIFE IS HARD FOR EVERY ONE. whether “gifted”,”normal” or have other life challenges.some of us just learn to cope put on our big girl panties and soldier on. for others its not that easy. especially when they are held to a higher expectation, because of their level of intelligence.and forgetting that they are just children,they think because they are capable of learning more that they all ready know everything so that they need no help. And if they do ask a question it must be in sarcasm. and a side note to those who commented above. (Did i mention I raised a child with CF ?or that my career centers around special need children, specifically down syndrome and autism spectrum? NO I don’t think I did ,because that’s NOT what this article is about!. And like it or not we as humans have been labeling things and people since the beginning of time. Sure, it would be nice if we could all just” BE “,and no one had a label and we all understood the others needs and life was all sunshine and lollypops. but reality is that’s not life. LIFE IS HARD FOR EVERY, JUST IN DIFFERENT WAYS. life is hard for “normal ” people too lets not leave them out of this debate of who is more special. If life was all sunshine, we would all burn . If life was all lollypops we would all get sick and die. we all need the rain and the broccoli so we can enjoy the sunshine and lollypops. and as to the snide comment about low functioning people never being a doctor or scientist. not all gifted people will be either. some will end up in psych wards because they cant cope with life, some will be drug addicts some will be just regular people working regular jobs some will be in poverty because instead of seeing that they were gifted ,they said they have too many dysfunctions to fix which happened to my child when they first told us she had severe learning disabilities, which she does not she just doesn’t learn the same way other may.she is not special just different((obviously, she is special to me)) and since when is different a curse?) Now back to the subject at hand I believe it was raising awareness to understand the gifted child’s struggle, and let me stress this , I am NOT saying that said child’s struggles are more or less important or more or less special than anyone else. just different if we can all agree on this, I would like to continue with the subject at hand ,which is , Oh Yeah , the Gifted child. My Daughter is 15 she is a gifted child, gifted with extreme anxiety, social & emotional, gifted with peculiar OCD tendencies, gifted with concepts no one else understands but herself ,gifted with understanding of things far above her years. gifted with the labels “unmotivated “and “lazy”( because being smarter means they should be automatically self propelled ) and being reprimanded for acting like a kid, because people forget that even though she acts grown, she is still a child. (because being smart means they come with a full blown set of social skills SO NOT TRUE)my child is very socially awkward and often times disengaged. there are so many other things I could say but i won’t. I will just say that While my daughter is very beautiful and not at all what one would think of as a “geek” she is still a big pill to swallow. But like all big pills after the bitter taste SHE MAKES LIFE BETTER. and I wouldn’t change a second even if i could.

    • Your child reminds me of myself. I wish my parents were so understanding. They believe I don’t try to fit in and I should just punch people who are mean to me. Even if I could defend myself I would never have the courage to apply it (& vice versa). It’s too hard to conform to social normality. Being “gifted” has A LOT of disadvantages. I wish I fitted in somewhere at least…(am I the only child here?)

      • All kids are special! This article was for gifted parents! There are groups for other subjects! I have a brother a child a neice and so on! One has autism and other gifted! The point I get from this page is its support for gifted children not because they are better but because they can have mental issues and amotional issue aside from school issues! This is not to judge who needs more or less my autistic relative is smart and is yes very hard life! Trust me everyone has a journey and a story but this page is for a gifted child’s journey and their parents. They can also have asperges and so on! I think we as parents should pick our battles and love not judge! Information is important for peace and growth! God bless all the issues but take a deep breath if it doesn’t seem important to your journey! Remember everyones journey is different path follow God! Thank you and parents are just trying to be good parents with knowledge shared!

      • Every day I wish I fitted, each day I try my best to fit. It’s a back ward pedal, of working with the minds that exist and trying to bridge the gap. But never being able to be free, forward flowing, or mentally healthy. It’s really not easy.

    • I like this post. Thanks for sharing. I’m wondering if you have any links or resources I can use to learn more about gifted teens with issues? Every time I try to find something, I just get stuck reading about small kids. I cannot read another article about a toddler or young child, and either I can’t find what I’m looking for, or I don’t have the time to wade through the irrelevant stuff. “Big pill to swallow.” My kid drives me so nuts… love her to death, love SOME parts of that brain, but OMG if she would just once get in line with her older sisters and just friggen do it… 😉

    • Lovely! Your post made me feel so much better. I don’t know if my son is gifted. I know that he learns differently, and is really really smart. He just finished 1st grade and it was a totall disaster. His K and 1 st grade teachers have suggested different disabilities. He was assessed by his pediatrition and the only “diagnosis” was that he has a slightly off bit personality, which can make it hard for him to fit in. His K teacher insisted we get him additional outside help because he needs it. She said, “unfortunately he is too bright to qualify for any help from the district.” We did. It was expensive and did nothing. The team that was working with him said it might take over seven years for the therapy to start working. At that point I thought, “oh you mean he will eventually grow out of it”. I see my kid who loves to learn get more and more into escapeism subjects, and turn his endless energy and natural curiosity into fulfilling his teacher’s expectations of being the bad child. His teacher actually has an MA in special education, and tried few approaches with him, which did not work. She is so angry with him for that, and she seems to take it out on him by making him the escape goat for everybody’s problems. Don’t know what to do anymore. I know I am supposed to advocate for my child. But I don’t know how to anticipate the disastrous situations. Everyone expects him to bounce back, but he has a memory like an elifant. And misses nothing. And I don’t know how to prepare teachers for that, especially if they are convinced that there is something pathologically wrong with him.

      • Asya, maybe it is not therapy he needs but a full evaluation by a creditable psychologist through the school, or privately. If I were you, I would advocate for the full battery of intelligence and learning disabilities tests instead of only testing to find out the problem. What if he has no disabilities? What if the school and how they are approaching his education is the source of the problem? School is not always a good fit for every child. I would think that nothing can be determined about your son unless you have the full picture of his abilities, strengths, disabilities and weaknesses.

        Yes, many gifted children can have a very high IQ and also have learning disabilities, but if the school ignores both their intelligence and the learning disability, then a child will become frustrated and act up. This is so common.

        Good luck and please let us know how everything goes!

  22. So very true – so many people only see one side of the cognitive spectrum. We cater to the middle, and now, we cater to the low end – delays, etc. but the other extreme is just as delicate and difficult to manage at times. My greatest wish is that people would just simply have an open mind about giftedness, about what parents of gifted children are saying, and not judge their ‘gift’ as something that doesn’t come with its own set of complications, beautiful and terrifying. We all want the same thing – for our children to be happy and successful in life. An IQ of 130+ isn’t a free pass to success OR happiness – and the road is more winding.

    Thanks for all your insights. I’m on a journey with my own gifted toddler – and every day is a revelation, challenge, and joy.

    http://wildishnature.blogspot.com/

    • “An IQ of 130+ isn’t a free pass to success OR happiness – and the road is more winding.” <=== Truer words were never spoken! I've been told that the mountains are higher but the valleys are lower on the journey with a gifted child! Thanks for your comment!

  23. Gifted children often fall through the cracks. They are viewed as troublemakers at times because they often question their teachers. I think this is due to asynchronous development and often adults can’t understand when they are being contradictory while they go through their teaching motions. Try telling an overly analytical mind to ignore the cognitive dissonance in most classrooms. When I was in 10th grade I spent most of my AP biology classes stuffed in a corner secretly reading entire volumes of the encyclopedia. I was labeled a trouble maker because the teacher felt “foolish” when they tried to call me out to see if I understood the material and I did. This teacher tried to have me suspended and was a thorn in my side constantly trying to challenge me with authority rather than understand that this was basically remedial for me. I eventually found a way to avoid her classes when a late policy was instituted that declared that if you were late for a class you were sent to a study hall. Imagine that a child intentionally being late to manipulate the system to allow them to study in peace. I would get sent to in school suspension on purpose so that I would be given my classes assignments and could finish a month’s worth of class work in a few days. Fortunately I was seeing a therapist at the time (for depression) and they were able to get me into a gifted program at Western Carolina University that really helped me to appreciate myself and abilities. In the end I think gifted children just want a mentor. That is hard to find when teachers have to spend the bulk of their time teaching at a pace for the slowest learners.

    • Thanks for sharing your story! Yes, this is so true for too many gifted! We are going through this same scenario with our 14 year old right now. How do you advocate for your child who knows and understands far more than what is being presented without offending the adult in charge who doesn’t get it?

  24. Thank you for this article. One thing people take for granted is that gifted kids need a lot of help at times. Especially when they are highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted. These kids are three standard deviations to the right of the bell curve. By rights, they should have a similar level of support and accomodation as children three standard deviations to the left of the bell curve. Also, people need to realise our kids want what every other kid has, not more. My child just wants to be able to tell me what he learned at school each day, like the other kids do as they walk out of the school gates holding their parents hand. He wants to be able to share his learning, talk and listen in a group. He wants to feel challenged and have to try hard to overcome it. He wants to feel like the teacher likes having him in the room. He wants him/her to smile at him, look him in the eye and hug him like s/he does with all the other kids. He doesn’t want much at all. My heart breaks for my little one who just wants to feel as special as everyone else. This is a compassionate child who has been abused by teachers and other adults, and has experienced a level of anxiety and depression, fought urges to kill himself and self harm that no young child should feel.

    • Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story! Yes, so many of us have traveled this same road, and it is heartbreaking. I always say, “No child should have to suffer simply because they were born gifted.”

  25. Thank you for writing this … It took my husband and I several years to understand these challenges with our oldest (now 15). Our two youngest (9 and7) are working through the same issues but we are smarter now. We wish we had known then what we know know and are thankful that there are folks like you that work to enlighten and educate. Gifted kids so very often cannot get a break or any sympathy … it is tough for them and we have to respect what their world must be like. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your kind words! You are right, it is tough for them and they rarely do get a break! My heart breaks for these kids; their world is not an easy one. That is why they need us to advocate for them, and I am committed to doing my share of trying to enlighten others about the dark side of giftedness.

  26. I thought this article was insightful and well written, and I’m sorry that the point of it seems to be getting lost in debate over whether it is necessary to focus on gifted children. For my child, gifted equals loneliness. Her peers don’t understand her, and she doesn’t really understand them. It’s heartbreaking to not have any friends, not only for her but also for us as her parents. Yes, there are wonderful joys that come from a child that sees the world differently than “the pack”, but our child pays a huge price in being shunned socially. Regarding point #2 in the article, she started high school this year, and in the first week she attempted suicide because a teacher casually commented that she was notorious for being late, and therefore she took that to mean she was failing high school. Her sense of right and wrong are so deeply defined that she has a hard time bending, and when she thinks she has done something wrong, to her it’s the end of the world. Thankfully, she is fortunate to have many adults in her life that appreciate her different approach to the world and help to validate her unique way of thinking, which hopefully helps her to see that her life is a beautiful piece of the world we live in.

    • As I read each comment like yours, it strikes me how our children’s difficult journeys are all so similar! It brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your story! It helps all of us to feel emotionally validated that, yes, there are other families traveling the same difficult road of giftedness.

    • Wow! This is so true. It is hard to see them lonely or have them tell you they finally figured it out…” I just like being by myself.” I don’t think that is true, I think he feels it is just easier. Lots of love, lots of hugs, lots of attempts at helping him see that he can let something’s go…not to be so dramatic because he did something wrong…

  27. Why do you have to label your child as “gifted”? That reference alone makes them different from others and therefore judged. Congratulations on having a child that is smart and curious. But your child is just a kid. Everyone is unique, so why label? Such an annoyance! Teachers tried to referred to both of my children (now in college) as gifted. I said “no” they pay attention in school and like to learn… they’re just kids.

    • “Gifted” is the word that we’ve chosen as a society to describe a group of people who learn and process information differently. It is perhaps not the best word that could have been chosen because it implies privilege and status, but it is the word that we have. As the article states, it is not synonymous with high achieving or smart. Some kids in this group have very different needs and this gives us common language to talk about that. Also, the further out of sync a child is, the more likely they are going to have significant problems with same-age peers. These kids are very likely to seem socially awkward and often experience bullying because of the differences in the way that they engage with the world. They are also likely to internalize criticism and have problems at an early age with serious anxiety and depression. Their ability to understand things often greatly exceeds their ability to emotionally process it. For example, I have a four year old who is reading (and understanding) materials written at a sixth grade level or higher–I’ve actually found her reading things a diverse as Dickens, the Economist, and university level science texts. When I quiz her on what she read, she is able to explain it to me in her own words. We are now more careful about what she is able to access. We don’t watch the news and we won’t listen to NPR any more until she is a bit older. (We’ve already had to have several discussions about racism and slavery because of things that she has read.) She is also easily able to do second grade level math. She’s getting further and further ahead in every area as time passes. It is helpful to have mutually understood language when I talk to her teachers (when she gets there) about finding a way to anticipate the issues that she is likely to have once she starts school. It really isn’t about singling her out as being ‘special’. We actually treasure every group situation where she is able to be just participate as one of the kids and isn’t obviously ‘different’.

      • I’m a “johnny come lately” to this conversation by a few years, however I have been on both sides of the fence. I have taught in a school for gifted children, was president and editor of two very large support groups for families of gifted children, an advocate for training of educators on how to identify gifted children correctly and for almost twenty years, I fought tirelessly for the public school to offer gifted programs, not just extra busy work. I also am the mother of a gifted child. I am hoping sometime someone will read my words and they will help.
        My son was intellectually and socially gifted. For example, he taught himself to read by the time he was two and by kindergarten, he was reading my collection of Hardy Boys and Mushroom Planet books (yes, I know, I dated myself there) Throughout his first five years he was happy, got along with everyone and could sit for hours on end discussing with adults one subject or another.
        When he started Kindergarten in public school, I was excited that his teacher would have an “easy and fun” little boy who would challenge him. I was so wrong! Within a week, my son came home angry, would not hug me (he always loved to snuggle) and lost interest in reading. I chalked if up to change. I was so wrong – Again. Eventually, they had him tested at age 5 and two months. It took them eight months to give me the results. I will never, ever forget that teacher’s words.
        “You need to lose the term “gifted”. M —- is just a “marginally average child ” (said with a sneer). These are his results: In language recognition and usage he is on a freshman college level, his math skills are low at a 4th grade level (remember he was just 5). M —‘s reading skills are on a 12th grade level. When asked what was the most important thing in the world, he said love. That is not appropriate for his age. He should have said truck or something like that.” There was a lot more. I was in so much shock, I never said a word.
        It was two weeks later, just before kindergarten ended, that my son came into the living room with a rope tied around his neck and about 10 feet dragging on the ground. We had a rule in our house that nothing went around the necks of children, no scarves, jewelry nothing. I will never forget his next words to me:
        “Mommy, I came to say goodbye to you. I love you so much, but you lied to me. You said that school would be fun and I would learn so much. You didn’t listen to me when I told you I was bored. I wanted to go to college, Mommy, but I can’t if I am going to be bored this much. I would rather die and be at peace than ever go to school again.” (I found out much later that this is typical of gifted children – that they understand death)
        It took me 45 minutes to undo the rope as he tied slip knots throughout it. I never knew he knew how to tie any knot, but in one of the many books he read, he had taught himself.
        I promised him then and there he would never return to public school and that is when I began my own journey into the world of giftedness.
        My story has a happy ending. For the next 4 years, he attended a private fulltime ungraded school for gifted children (they were grouped in each subject according to ability, rather than age). It took the teachers two years to undo the damage of just ayear in kindergarten but they did. I got my beautiful child back. They closed down due to the poor state economy after four years, and I home educated him. I also added being president and editor of two homeschooling groups to my resume.
        He finished his high school education at 13. We couldn’t afford to send him to college right away because the college required me to be there with him due to his age. He finally went many years later and graduated in 3.5 years summa cum laude with 3 degrees, while working 60 plus hours each week. His accomplishments are too many to list. I only state these few to give hope to those who are in similar situations now. He is confident, can hold a conversation about most any topic, volunteers many hours each week and has a job that he has moved upward rapidly in. He is in his thirties now and will be the first one to say that if it hadn’t been for that private school where he realized that he was “normal” for the kids enrolled there, and his home education, he would not be here today.
        I pray for all the families with gifted children – the least understood academic group of them all.

      • I agree, I too wish it wasn’t called “gifted”. Already I have to explain what that means. Why not Accelerated Learner. It more accurately described their uniqueness. And if someone has a question it is easier for them to ask a question. I feel it makes them more of “just a kid” and doesn’t isolate them as much. My son is “gifted”. He is different, unique, tender hearted, very aware of write and wrong acts my himself/others. He does have social challenges without having the name “gifted”…every child is gifted. I feel this term brings on the bullying behavior in other children…wishing society had selected a different name.

    • It is still a label. The fact that “society” has chosen this word and you follow suit and try to defend it by explaining how remarkable your children are does not change the fact that you label your children. They are unique learners- EVERY child is a unique learner. That is why standardized tests and “one size fits all” teaching is ineffective. A child who is referred to as “gifted” will most certainly be bullied. Simply because they have been labeled- not by their peers by by their parents and educators. I understand that your child needs a different level of instruction than most, but putting a label on that child creates more harm than anything else. Regardless of how the word “gifted” was intended to represent, you are correct when you mention how it is perceived. And that is how your child is perceived. Just let her learn, without a word that can misrepresent her as a person. I find it shameful, especially from an educator.

      • I was labelled as “gifted” when I was in grade school, and when my parents saw the effects of that on my anxiety and depression, they had the label removed in grade 4 so I wouldn’t go to a new school with it marked on my file. That didn’t change the fact that I had these extra needs, it only changed the amount of help I got for it. I no longer had the challenging classes, and ended up bored and depressed, self harming and suicidal by grade 6. That’s no way for our kids to be. All kids deserve help, and this blanket method we have of teaching is to their severe detriment. We need to reevaluate how we can help kids grow and learn, not just stuffing information in them and expecting them to assimilate it.

    • As a former child who was never labeled “gifted” (because my parents wanted me to be able to be a “normal” kid), I can assure you, it’s not the label that makes the kid different. My parents did what they did with the best possible intentions, but it was obvious to everyone how different I was, and I really believe I would have benefited from some support and the opportunity to meet other kids more like me, where I wouldn’t have been seen as such a freak.

      As a result, I’ve chosen to enroll my daughter (who is a bit quirky like I was) in a school that offers a strong gifted program. I have found that most gifted kids are somewhat quirky and are much more accepting of each others’ quirks than a more mainstream group of kids would be, and I’ve seen that she has friends there that share her interests and accept her.

      I think that’s the point of the article. For most gifted kids, being gifted doesn’t just mean they’re good at academics but are otherwise the same as other kids. Their brains work differently. Many of them have trouble fitting in, or are gifted in one area but have delays in others. Many of them are treated by their peers as freaks, because they act different. You can either leave them to fend for themselves, or you can try to offer them some support.

    • So, by your rationale, we shouldn’t label children with dyslexia, autism, or any other diagnosis that indicates the difference that requires support? It’s unfortunate that the label is “gifted” because it suggests that it’s a ‘gift’. It’s not, my child would tell you it is a horrible burden at times. Imagine sitting in a class with kids your own age, but doing work years ahead of them. Imagine being an adult being made to spend 6 hours a day, five days a week, 40 weeks per year with people you cannot relate to at all. Imagine being painfully sensitive to sound, touch, light. You know that feeling when you’re trying to get to sleep and your brain is rushing? Imagine having that ALL THE TIME. Imagine being five and being aware of inequity in society, trying to figure out why ____ comes to school every day with an empty lunch box, then obsessing about how to solve child poverty, hunger etc. Imagine not being able to share it with others. Imagine feeling like an alien all the time, feeling like you’re broken because you don’t understand why other kids your age do certain things, or don’t understand what you understand. There’s a reason we seek a label for our children; so we can understand them. When we understand them, we can help them have an appropriate level of challenge, help them become comfortable with themselves, help them with sensory issues, any learning disabilities they may have, help them develop social skills etc etc. Believe it or not, in the real world you don’t get any help without a label.

    • They didn’t do labels where I was when I was growing up. It didn’t change anything except for making it more laborious to discuss the issues. It also made it harder to find like-minded peers.

      The fact that I was more on the level of the teachers than other students was a kinda tipoff… and no label or lack of would change it.

  28. Thank you for writing this article dear Celi! The world need to know more and more about gifted kids to understand them and respect them. I always say that gifted kids are not better or worse. from other kids. They are just DIFFERENT.
    Kind regards,
    Roya Klingner,
    Head & Founder of the Global Center for Gifted & Talented Children

    • I worked hard, I have so much to offer into the science, political an creative world, but I cannot find minds enough to support my understandings or ideas. I’m at a total loss, it’s such a waste when I have so much love an fight in my heart to be within and contributing positively to, society. Any help would be really appreciated, thank you. Emma

  29. I was with you until the last one. I think it is true of some gifted kids… but the opposite extreme is also common in my experience. Some are keenly aware of social situations and others are completely oblivious (my husband is the former, I am the later).

    (sorry if this posts twice, it seemed to hiccup when I first tried to post)

  30. Wow, Celi, you are so good at hitting it on the mark. As a former gifted student (though I hope I retain some components of that giftedness) and parent of two gifted kids, and emerging advocate-AND advocate for persons with disabilities and kids with special needs, I struggle sometimes with what I think the balance should be. I STRONGLY think there needs to be parity- a school district should take the average spent per special needs child and spend that same average per gifted child. THAT would vastly increase services for gifted kids without necessarily taking away from anyone else. It is ironic that when a gifted kid is twice or thrice exceptional, and many are, their other exceptions can be well addressed: their needs due to giftedness are not.
    I am involved in a group of parents of gifted kids in our area. The question I am asked the most is: “do you know of a good therapist that works with gifted kids?” That is sad. And that is telling of what we are doing to our kids.
    There is so much more we as a society could be offering- acceleration, pull out classes, IB modeled programs. All of that would help. Thanks, Celi!

    • Thanks, Sandy! Your comment about parents of gifted children often asking for recommendations for therapists is very telling of the plight of gifted students. Along with their above-average intelligence comes their above-average emotional and psychological intensities. That is the part most people do not understand! That is why they need all of us to advocate for them!

    • We moved to our present district when my boys (twins!) were in 6th grade. We had already had both boys tested and discovered each was in the gifted range. We had also consulted with Linda Silverman regarding one son’s VSL issues! So moving in to the district, we were very proactive, meeting with the administration, teachers, counselors regarding what could be done to help address some of VSL son’s executive function issues (organization, lack of time management etc.). The first response was to put him on a 504 plan. In order to put him on a 504 plan, it was necessary to have him “diagnosed” (ADHD was the indication according to the staff at the school!). So hoping to make a fresh start and also hoping that with a 504 VSL son would begin to receive some accommodations which would allow him to see some success in class. Being new to the area, we asked for referrals (we didn’t even have a family doctor yet!). The school nurse gave me the name of a pediatrician who works with LOTS of kids with ADHD. Lordy! The man was walking in the door writing a prescription for my son’s ADHD! (Needless to say, we ran from the office!) So far, we have found many doctors and therapists who know nothing about dealing with gifted kids but are perfectly ready to deal with ADHD kids. Upon reading much more about both gifted kids and ADHD kids, I have discovered that a good many of the issues fall into both catagories. Unfortunately, it has been far more difficult to find a therapist who is familiar with all the quirks and personality traits of gifted kids than it is to find one ready to “treat” my son for ADHD! Sigh! My sons are now juniors and VSL son has been on ADHD meds for over a year with minimal effect. He is also in a smaller alternative school where he can advance at his pace and has much more input from his teacher. He is finally beginning to see improvement but he has lost his interest in the whole process of learning and school. It just doesn’t matter to him anymore! It makes me so sad to say that knowing that this is the boy who taught himself to read with a Leap Pad in preschool and was so excited to get to go to kindergarten where he FINALLY would get to start learning stuff! It would be fabulous if the educational system could accommodate all kids with all their quirks and idiosyncrasies but I would just appreciate it if there was someone in the system who could direct parents to the services available in the community to help kids who are not being served in the system. Childhood is so short to play hit or miss for years trying to find the right services.

      • “Childhood is so short to play hit or miss for years trying to find the right services.” <---- Yes, this is so true! I have a dear friend with 1, possibly 2, gifted children and her motto is, "there are no do-overs!" I started writing this blog about a year ago and at the time, I thought for sure I had the ONLY gifted child with this many issues and traumatic school struggles. From all of the comments on my blog, I have learned that there are so many of us with such similar stories and MOST have not found a school willing or knowledgeable enough to provide an appropriate education for their child! And it is equally difficult to find physicians and psychologists who truly understand giftedness! I can only imagine how many struggles our gifted children face today would just disappear if the professional and educational services they need would understand them and provide for them properly! We would have much happier children!

      • Karen, or anyone,
        I don’t know what VSL is, but there is something in this comment that rings true for me, and I need to find out more. If anyone has any good links or resources, I’d appreciate it. Having a hard time finding anything helpful about gifted/ADHD. Also maybe I’m having a hard time with the ADHD diagnosis for my daughter, because it seems like even if the drugs are working now, that maybe they still aren’t a good thing and plus I’ve heard they can stop working with tolerance. What if that’s not her problem? I don’t know. Girl is 15, gifted, intense, perfectionist, always homeschooled until this year, her choice to try school (10th). Hates math, test anxiety (really sucks at testing, but she got a 504 at school with 1.5 time for tests, and is actually making all A’s in honors and AP, but she does work really hard for it, it is not easy for her), slow at doing her work. Extensive (and expensive) testing done two years ago, they said highly gifted with ADHD and anxiety disorder, low working memory, low academic fluency. But she was pretty resistant during testing and refused to answer several questions (because she is perfectionist), so I don’t know what to believe. We did not get drugs until this year. They do help her focus so that she can do more work and read more, and that did decrease the anxiety. But now she is having panic attacks. She can be so difficult with her rigid thinking. I write all this out and think it does not sound like a gifted kid. But she says or does something nearly every day that makes you say, whoa, how do you know that! She is good at making connections between things. And her engineering mentors and music instructors are always telling me how smart she is. The reason we tried drugs is because she took a college level molecular biology class and although she didn’t have a problem with the academic level, she was extremely upset about her disorganization and inability to follow several instructions. Also she claims she doesn’t “get” a lot of things she thinks she should. But she also refuses to learn only what a teacher tells her to learn, she always has to understand every little detail about “why” and then she runs out of time. She will waste hours learning more about some obscure point in her homework, and then be upset she can’t get the homework done. She can’t accept any fact unless she “gets” it on a deeper level. She is so frustrating. She will never just take anyone’s word for anything.

        Sorry if I’m ranting or hi-jacking this post. I just happened upon the article, and thought it was great. I am new to dealing with any school system (this is my 3rd kid). The school was good about putting her in the classes she wanted, but it was difficult to deal with the 504 stuff. And one of the counselors is going to have a conniption when he sees she has A’s, because he will say she doesn’t need accommodations, because “they are meant to level the playing field.” That’s what he said when I first requested the accommodations because he saw the gifted label on her testing. I wish I could have hidden that part of the psychologist’s report, because it caused a lot of arguing.

        I’m off to read more of this website… thanks!

  31. Thanks for posting this very informative article. Unfortunately, it comes about 35 years too late to help me, but better late than never.

  32. Thank you so much for writing this article. As as parent of a gifted child I often struggle to understand her needs. The list provided is very helpful! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  33. Thinklinks, the problem is usually that the gifted kids get no attention at all, when it doesn’t take much to get them thinking and working productively. My daughter knows how to set me off–tell me that you were bored in school today. Fortunately, I’ve been able to work with her teacher on fixing this, and a large part of that is using her as an assistant to help teach difficult concepts to her classmates. Most gifted kids love to help, and developing teaching skills is important.

    Finally, children with high intelligence *are* special. If we give them an environment in which they can develop properly, they can save the world. They are our future scientists, doctors, and engineers, and if we don’t support and encourage them, we all lose.

    • I worked hard, I have so much to offer into the science, political an creative world, but I cannot find minds enough to support my understandings or ideas. I didn’t study sciences, however I understand and see the laws of physics in play at a great detail all around me.
      I’m at a total loss, it’s such a waste when I have so much love an fight in my heart to be within and contributing positively to, society. I am
      Just desperate to find a mind that gets me enough to realease all that I can positively contribute. I don’t have ‘the qualifications’ but I can understand with my own eyes and thinking and offer more.

      I have a scientific mind, a social and emotional conscience and I am very creative.
      Any help would be really appreciated, thank you. Emma

  34. I am also suspecting that one of my children is gifted. Most of the time straight A student, always on the top table. He is highly competitive yet there is a vulnerable side to him. Very sensitive, very fragile. He understands his world above his age and I feel sometimes even the adults may not do justice to him because of their expectation that he should “know better”. There are a lot of demands put in to gifted children. So much so that it may end up rather pressurising for them as they are expected to act above their age. The asynchronous part of their development is the key part that is not taken into consideration much. I am not saying people do this on purpose, but simply because they do not know this bit of fact about gifted children. My child also has anxiety. In his work, he is getting straight As but they are giving him B or C for his effort and telling me that he is sometimes chatting a lot in class. Yet, when I question the teachers why then they are not pushing him harder by giving him more challenging work, I am not getting satisfactory answers. So I am totally agreeing here with Danielle Bousquet. The system is failing these children. My son has been good in all areas until now. Yet, I am worrying that if they do not do something to keep his attention going, then boredom may push him to be disruptive in class which is something I have observed and worked at resolving at home.

    • I worked hard, I have so much to offer into the science, political an creative world, but I cannot find minds enough to support my understandings or ideas. I’m at a total loss, it’s such a waste when I have so much love an fight in my heart to be within and contributing positively to, society. Any help would be really appreciated, thank you. Emma

  35. The entire education system in this country is designed to help students with disabilities, special needs, and everyone else mentioned in Thinklink’s comment. Gifted kids, on the other hand, get screwed, because everyone assumes that they will be fine without anyone helping them. This is a lie. Research has proven that the current system of education is causing gifted students to grow less than any other group. And people like Thinklink are the problem. I appreciate this article, as a former gifted student, as a former teacher of gifted students, and as an education researcher.

      • In order for society to keep progressing we need to support the intelligent, gifted people to continue to be intelligent. Like was previously mentioned, they will be the doctors, scientists of tomorrow and if we hope to continue as a species we will need to encourage this development. We don’t want them dumbed down to the status quo. There will be no progress and future for our culture in that.

        • You are exactly right! We all need to keep advocating for gifted individual and educating others on what giftedness really is! Thanks so much for you comments! I appreciate them, but more so, they benefit all of us!

        • I worked hard, I have so much to offer into the science, political an creative world, but I cannot find minds enough to support my understandings or ideas. I’m at a total loss, it’s such a waste when I have so much love an fight in my heart to be within and contributing positively to, society. Any help would be really appreciated, thank you. Emma

    • I have had two different people close to me, say “at least your children don’t have special needs?” oh really, I have two gifted children 6 and 8 and I can tell you everyday is a challenge! They are wonderful and I love them with all my heart and soul, but I have watched my daughter not fit in with her peers for 4 years now, b/c she would rather discuss the San Francisco earthquake or the Great Chicago fire than discuss whatever “normal iq” peers discuss. My son is currently dealing with his first bully situation at school, b/c he is deep feeling and doesn’t like getting pushed around by a child twice his size (probably held back), either way the kid is huge and in 1st grade. My son is average size and has to put up with being called skinny hands, skinny legs and gets pushed at school. The teacher is now aware and the problem is not unique to my son. The boy is HUGE and apparently, as witnessed by me yesterday, likes to throw his weight around and pick on smaller boys. My son, b/c he is deep feeling and very sensitive to this injustice, doesn’t back down and this makes the boy even more angry with him…while others are more likely to laugh it off. Everyday is a new challenge. We have to find intellectual peers b/c they have nothing in common or very little with age peers. Another thing, people brag all day about athletic achievements of their son or daughter…try mentioning your child loves math problems and documentaries. It doesn’t go over so well and meanwhile they have to sit in class reading on class level when on their own they read 6-7 years above. It’s very frustrating and as my 6 year old puts it “a waste of his time.”

      • Heather, I so understand. My own family’s story is so very similar.

        So many families have repeated their story here which has the same plot has yours. Most people believe gifted means better, advantaged and has it made, so they don’t want to hear about our gifted kids and would then never believe giftedness comes with intensities and sensitivities that make life difficult. And American society’s idolization of superior athletes, but snubbing of superior intelligence is so hypocritical. No matter what attributes a child has, adults should never shun, resent or shame them for their inborn traits.

        All the best with you gifted children! <3

  36. It’s always dangerous to take an opposing viewpoint, but the title of this article says that the “World Must Understand.” They don’t and they won’t unless they are directly involved, and fortunately or not, that’s the way it always will be.

    I am the best advocate for my gifted child as you are yours. However, I do not want the teacher’s time used to expand my child’s horizons at the expense of a child who needs him/her more. I can enrich my child’s life, whereas some other child may need every spare minute of that teacher’s attention to maintain his/her functioning. If you have more than one child in your family you can probably recognize that each child needs different things at different times, and even at home the one who can function at a higher level is the one who gets the least attention. In the classroom, your child is one of twenty, if s/he is lucky. Who decides which child’s needs are more valuable? The teacher who knows them all, whether that decision is right or wrong.

    Now, add in the needs of the parent of the gifted child (or any other) and put that on the list of things to which the teacher must attend.

    In a perfect world, perhaps every child would have an understanding mentor to guide him/her through all the perils and the celebrations. But then, where does the child learn to deal with life as it comes? Life comes in different flavors, different sizes, and different challenges. The world has no obligation to understand one better than another.

    Of course, it’s your blog and you have the inherent right to say whatever you want. Just don’t expect the world to change for you.

    • Then by the same token, we should cast aside all children with special needs. Why bother to understand Down’s Sydrome, or autism, or MS, or diabetes, or any other illness/disease/condition? After all, we shouldn’t expect the world to change for these children, who cares if they’re understood or not!? The fact is, 50 years ago no one knew or understood about Autism. Now we do, and we are striving to provide for these kids because we are starting to understand how they think. Only now are we starting to understand why they behave how they do, and what we need to do in order to help them live a more reasonable existence. 200 years ago there was no cancer research. Nobody cared. You got ill, you died. But now, we are diagnosing this disease and treating it, so that people in their 20s, 30s and 40s needn’t die. Children are not losing their parent’s and parent’s are not losing their children. 100 years ago, Down’ s syndrome kids were locked away as ‘Mongrels’, hidden from society because they caused embarrassment to those who knew them. Now we recognise the condition, and we help them get along in mainstream society. We care for them, and listen to their needs. As a nation, we accept children with Down’s syndrome and we offer support for them and their families, we provide alternative education and social groups for them. We fund them to live independently, and lead a happy life. Perhaps, and just perhaps, 50 years from now people will understand giftedness. They will understand the impact it can have on a child’s life, and how best to ‘manage’ the condition. Perhaps they will realise that a different approach to learning is necessary, and that lumping them together with a class full of average children won’t benefit them in the slightest. People may realise that giftedness isn’t about achievement, and the whole ‘they’ll be fine, they don’t need our help’ approach will have been replaced with ‘they need our support socially. They need to be challenged, These kids need to feel worthy of our input’. All of this because the world DID change for them. And maybe, one day, the world will change for our kids too.

    • Nobody’s asking the world to understand the gifted better than anybody else; just please for the love of God make an attempt to understand the gifted as much as anybody else!!!!

  37. So many times, I have seen gifted children used in classrooms as quasi tutors for those children not coping as well academically. This is unfair to both children. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would argue against all children deserving respect. The point here is that gifted children deserve assistance and resources like any other child (regardless of whether they also have a disability) and their giftedness should not obviate this need

  38. Children with high intelligence ARE special. That is the problem. People like YOU, “Thinklinks”, are the problem. What do you have against high-intelligence kids, other than misguided jealousy and resentment?

  39. Very true article. It is important to understand their complexities so they can realize their full potential. My kids save the anxiety and meltdowns for home. Teachers rarely see that side in our case.

    Yes, there are challenges across the spectrum. I appreciate your taking time to focus this entry on gifted kids.

  40. This doesn’t say “Only gifted children deserve to be treated with respect”. To me, this says “Please understand that gifted children think differently” and “Please understand gifted does not mean perfect.” Too many people in todays day and age think gifted kids get “special treatment”, when in reality they don’t.

  41. All children are special!! Gifted children fight many demons, are often out casted, ‘miss understood’ and battle their own inner demons. My daughter is gifted and I can tell you it is hard work raising a gifted child, especially when at age 5 in your first year of school you academically and socially don’t fit in. I watched my daughter suffer anxiety, depression and threaten suicide because she was so miss understood.
    All children deserve to be understood 🙂

  42. Thank you for this article.

    Of course, some people will always believe that the challenges faced by one group preclude any other group’s own set of challenges. They just won’t get it.

  43. I don’t think the author is saying so much that gifted kids are special as they are misunderstood. But, they are special. While I’ll concede that giftedness is not on the spectrum with Downs, CP or MD, this kids still have special needs that very often go unmet and they are very misunderstood. If you reread #1, giftedness is much more than intelligence. And, for the record, this IS a blog about the gifted. I don’t see anywhere that she was suggesting that they deserve MORE than any other group.

  44. That’s a pretty rude comment, Thinklinks. I don’t think she’s saying they are “special” and in fact, I got quite the opposite from this post “they aren’t perfect little soldiers” or “circus anomalies” or “straight A students”. I think she focused on gifted kids because that is what she knows, and that parents who have experience with Cerebral Palsy or M.D. or average intelligence should write about that. Gifted kids ARE one of the most mis-understood and underserved populations, and I was very glad to see that is getting some attention. 🙂

  45. You are totally taking the article out of context. All she was saying was to look at gifted children with an open mind and not resentment, to be tolerant and not to bully someone just because they are different.

  46. What an ignorant comment, all children are special but some have unique challenges and gifted children are one such group.

  47. I find that they have a keen sense of social dynamics, but are often powerless to change the dynamics (again asynchronous development – understanding what is going on around you but not having the social skills, knowledge, or experience to create a different dynamic.)

    They can also excel in reading and language arts, but be only mediocre in math. Or mediocre compared to other gifted kids. Very often there’s a strong bias to think that gifted = math prodigy, when gifted = brain wiring. Sometimes that translates to exceptional ability and comprehension in math, sometimes not. My two bright kids are quite good at math, but not truly exceptional. However put any sort of written passage in front of them…it’s done. They’re fantastic on certain kinds of standardized tests because much of the science content is really reading comprehension. Similar with social studies.

    One more thing I would add to your list is something along the lines of just because they are gifted doesn’t mean worry-free parenting. I worry as much about my kids as anyone else does. Worry about their futures, worry about bullying, worry about them learning the skills they need in school so they can be successful in life no matter what kinds of professions they choose to go into. I worry about their self esteem, about their growth and development, even about their grades! It’s parenting. Giftedness doesn’t erase any of the worries.

  48. Now write that article from the point of view of a parent of a child with Down syndrome, or the parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, or Muscular Dystrophy, or even one with average intelligence. All children deserve to be treated with respect for their unique qualities. Children with high intelligence are not special.

    • The thesis of the article was not that gifted children are special and other children are not. It was that gifted children have different needs than other children and different expectations are placed on them, sometimes unfairly. I don’t think that most parents with gifted children would dispute the idea that all children deserve to be treated with respect for their unique qualities. That doesn’t change the fact that a child who is four who is able to read proficiently at an advanced level has different needs than one who is learning their ABC’s. That child’s needs aren’t more or less important than those of the Down’s syndrome child or the child with any other developmental issue. However, when time and resources are limited, the needs of the child who is exceeding average academic standards for their age group are sometimes a pretty low priority. The author does not have a responsibility to cover the special needs of all groups of children in one article.

    • Absolutely! All children deserve to be treated with respect for their unique qualities and learning needs!

      Unfortunately, gifted children have unique learning needs and traits that put them at a much higher chance of disabilities like mental illness, suicidal tendencies, addictions, behavior disorders and learning disabilities. The fact that public schools offer little if any of the much-needed services gifted children need to thrive, way too many are lost to drugs, jail and suicide.

      Gifted children are more than their intelligence. Most people assume gifted children are smart, need no extra help and can fend for themselves. This is the ultimate myth!

      No child above, at or below average intelligence, or with autism, or cerebral palsy, or Down’s Syndrome should sit neglected in the classroom and be denied educational services, right? Why is it okay to deny gifted children the services they need? Why should parents of children who were born with a brain that is wired differently be judged because they are asking for their child to be provided the services they need and to be treated fairly? Again, you are right – all children deserve to be treated with respect for their unique qualities. Gifted children are not….not at all.

      • I agree, wonderful job!! speaking as an adult who was labelled gifted as a child, I’ve dealt with “much higher chance of disabilities like mental illness, suicidal tendencies, addictions, behavior disorders and learning disabilities” in my life and I appreciate this article and the positive replies so much. I wouldn’t want any child to go through what I went through. Intelligence should be celebrated and supported, but unfortunately, it’s often the target of bullies, leading to severe depression, bipolar, anxieties, drug use to escape, and ADD because it’s just hard to focus on one thing at a time and cope with being extra emotional and having heightened understanding. I’m happy as an adult I’ve learned to cope, but we need to offer ongoing support to prevent boredom and emotional hurt, and most of all, many of the suicides that go along with this trouble/”gift”.

        • Thank you so much for sharing your story; it helps all of us! I’m sincerely sorry you had to suffer because of your giftedness. The more we all share out stories, the more we validate each other. Hopefully one day, those who do not understand giftedness may begin to be a part of dispelling the myths of giftedness. Thanks again and take care!

        • I agree with what you are saying. My son became the subject of bullying even by his teacher.He is emotionally very intelligent and easily distracted by little things, he cannot focus to long because he is thinking of to many things at one time. He was falling behind in his class and the teachers suggested that he should see a doctor. The doctor saw my child for 30min and said he had ADHD and that he should go on a drug.

          I feel really said because there are no measures in place for gifted kids, which makes them emotionaly unstable

        • At least you knew! It took me forever and a day to realize that I wasn’t living in a fantasy world. I always felt like everyone else was Truman and I was the only one who knew that everything was not as it appeared.

          I’m SOOOO happy that the true understanding of gifted is getting around. It’s a huge relief to just realize you’re not crazy. I think that’s the biggest misunderstanding about gifted is that we’re a bunch of brainiacs who are all knowing, all seeing, and all powerful and look down our noses at others. In reality, it’s like we speak a different language than others and try all of our lives to communicate who we really are and how we fit into this world.

        • Same here. Labelled gifted as a child with mental illness, addiction, learning disabilities and behaviour disorders. Can’t say I’ve learnt to cope but at least I’m aware. Thanks for sharing with everyone else. From a far part of the world.

      • It does not help to perpetuate the fallacy that the higher the level of giftedness a child had, the more likely s/he is to have “disabilities” like mental illness, suicidal tendencies, addictions, behavior disorders and learning disabilities. People are so quick to judge and label these kids rather than really see them and understand what’s going on. These children react to stifling, stultifying classroom environments by exhibiting behaviors that may look like those “disabilities” because they cannot do anything else. They are the squeaky wheel begging for oil that they never get. If anything, they are MADE disabled by the way they’re treated in school where they are mentally going stir-crazy.

        • Shannon, I would love to be able to agree with that, but there are studies that show the correlation between higher IQ and higher risk of emotional/psychological issues. There is a new article out this week showing a link between intelligence and worrying. But, like everything else in life, there are no absolutes. A profoundly gifted child could be very well balanced socially and emotionally. As well, a moderately gifted child could be an emotional mess. I do agree that by the way they are treated in schools, the inherent tendency for emotional/psychological issues is ignited into the meltdowns, depression, and anxiety. Thanks for all your comments. Hearing ideas and opinions from every angle is what keeps the conversation going and then maybe one day we can convince schools to give every child what they need to succeed! Thanks, Shannon!

          • It’s hard enough for adults to deal with life’s difficulties, let alone a child who can think and assess like an adult but is, still, a child. No wonder that they are more likely to have psychological problems. Add to that the misunderstandings, resentments and stiflings they face from society.

    • Celi, THANK YOU for writing this! I think you did a wonderful job of profiling gifted children, including my son. (How ironic that a couple of the replies demonstrate the very ‘negative emotions’ you mention as being cast towards gifted children.) For those who are willing to be educated and seeking to clarify the characteristics of gifted children, this is a good list!

    • Seriously Thinklink?? You read an article about gifted children and get indignent because it is not about children with Downs? If you want an article about Downs kids, read an article about Downs kids, not one that is about gifted children. The article is not just about respecting children but about respecting that gifted children do have their own quirks and behaviors that sometimes put them in situations that others do not understand. If, you were born a gifted child, or raised a gifted child, you might better understand the unique challenges involved. Some of us were born, raised and now teach those very children and see how unfairly they are treated, often, by others. So long story short, if you want to read about a specific topic, and it is not gifted children, don’t read a gifted children article and expect it to be about children with Downs, MD, CP, or something else…an article about gifted children is just that, an article about GIFTED CHILDREN!

    • Thinklinks: You have just proven the necessity for this post. It has never been disputed that children at the lower end of the spectrum need attention, resources or care from those around them. However, the needs of gifted children often goes unnoticed because those who are ‘less-able’ are portrayed as needing the additional support. As the mother of a gifted 3 year old, I can promise you that it is no walk in the park. I have worked for 5 years with children with profound autism, and having a child of the high end of the spectrum is no easier. Gifted children suffer can unfortunately with ‘hidden’ issues, like low self-esteem, behavioural difficulties, sensory processing difficulties, interaction problems, boredom in school…the list is endless. But people assume that a child with Down’s Syndrome has greater needs, or suffers more. As someone who has experience of all ends of the spectrum, I can confirm that neither is more worthy than the other of support. It’s just that those who are ‘less able’, are portrayed as being a greater cause than those with a high IQ.

    • Gifted children are special. They are the future’s doctors and scientists- the very professionals who find cures for the disabled. A Down syndrime kid will never be a doctor-ni matter how much money is wasted on it. Jealousy is ugly, so instead of picking on innocent children, how about you show the same respect you expect your child to receive.

      • I hope this writer didn’t mean to say money is just wasted on Down’s syndrome kids, but that investing in making the most of the extremely able is certainly no less important.

      • Actually, there is a lot of research to show that gifted children do not necessarily grow up to be highly intelligent individuals, and often get caught up by their peer group – though whether this is a failure in our educational system, is open to debate. Also, one has to be careful on IQ results as these can easily be coached/ some are more geared to Mathematical or Linguistic strengths.

        • Yes, there are exceptions to every rule and there is really nothing absolute in the world. On the other hand, giftedness is not only about intelligence. Plus, we define intelligence in many ways, just as there are different kinds of giftedness–creative, verbal, artistic, reasoning, etc. IQ testing is not perfect which is why many comprehensive evaluations include other tests and checklists.

          If research shows that gifted individuals get caught up by peers, my opinion is that it is a failure of both our educational system and society–at least in America where there seems to be a bad case of anti-intellectualism. I’ve seen in my own family, kids and adults, dumb down as a natural, unconscious response to having been called out as arrogant or a know-it-all. Any inborn talent, whether physical or intellectual, will languish if not nurtured, respected or understood.

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts–it helps all of us continue the conversation and gives us more to think about.

        • Not exactly. There are a lot of misunderstandings in what you are saying. The research shows that generally IQ doesn’t go down but may go up until a certain age in childhood at which point it’s more stable. The highly gifted don’t often get caught up by their peer group b/c there isn’t much of a peer group. A child w/ an IQ of say 148 will be found at a rate of 1:1400 ish. They are far more likely to be sitting alone at a lunch table than to be getting up in a peer group 3+ standard deviations to the right of the neurotypical bell curve. What statistics *have* shown is that when properly supported, gifted children seem to attain post-graduate degrees at ~50% the rate of the neurotypical population. But when *not* properly supported, they are the most at-risk population for dropping out. This doesn’t mean they are less intelligent, it means they’ve given up for a variety of related reasons. This leads into another commonly held myth, that A students = gifted and gifted students = A. This is false. Much of that depends on whether they’re getting proper support, just like any other child on either side of the bell curve. W/O that proper support they do not reach their optimal level. Finally, no you cannot be coached on IQ tests (true IQ tests like WPPSI, WISC, SB, etc). They keep those pretty secret and the parent isn’t even allowed in the room for an IQ test. You don’t get a copy of the test. Reason being is exactly what you’re inferring, they do not want to test ability to study for a test, they want to look at how the brain works. You may be confused with gifted/talented programs that admit those scoring a certain grade on a standardized test.

    • ThinkLink: Your comment epitomises exactly the kinds of attitudes that we come across every day with profoundly gifted children. Are our kids more special than other kids? No, absolutely not. Do they have needs that need to be supported? Yes. It takes creativity, open mindedness etc. But you just said that our kids are not special. I find it so sad that you can’t demonstrate a little compassion and understanding. I will put it in a way that I found in an article. Consider a child three standard deviations to the left of the bell curve – what support do they get? They have therapies funded, their needs are recognised (even if it is a token gesture, at least the gesture is there), they are supported to learn at a pace that works for them. In some places, they have schools just for them where they can be with peers and feel like they belong. Now look at my kids, three standard deviations to the right. They get NOTHING. They get judged, told to learn more slowly (imagine telling a child out the other end to learn more quickly!), they get beat down. If we had schools dedicated to our kids, they would be ‘elitist’. Have you watched your young child trying desperately to self harm or fighting the urge to commit suicide? Your jealousy is sickening.

    • What kind of jealous misanthrope am I? Hmmmm.

      I am the mom who stayed home to rear her gifted children until they started school. I’m the mom who listened to the first grade teacher say, “I can’t give her all Outstanding ratings at the start of the year. What would she have to work for?”
      I’m the mom who played the game and told my daughter that this grade card had more Os than last time. I listened and laughed as she said, “I don’t know why. I still haven’t missed anything.”
      I’m the mom who had to make the excruciating decision to leave my daughter in the failing teacher’s classroom because if I took her out the school district would deny her gifted services—because that’s where all the gifted children were assigned. She lived for her days in the gifted program.
      I’m the mom who fought to have her son identified in second-grade, but his teacher said he cried too much.
      I’m the mom who fought to keep gifted services for her depressed child when her reevaluation revealed an IQ in the average range, when three years earlier and three years later it was measured in the highly gifted range.
      I’m the mom whose daughter made it through middle school because one of her teachers allowed her and a friend to spend a good part of each day in a storage room at the back of the science room, doing whatever they wanted.
      I’m the mom who went back to school to get her Master’s degree in Gifted Education in order to know how to deal with the school district.
      I’m the mom who never learned, but who never stopped trying.
      I’m the mom who left work to pick up her son at the high school when he had a breakdown because he learned that his favorite teacher—the one who went out of his way to advocate for my son—had been assigned that job. Son thought that therefore his advocacy was suspect.
      I’m the mom who will be eternally grateful that her son did not take his own life because his extreme sensitivity told him it would be wrong.

      I’m the gifted ed teacher who met the disgruntled teacher as she stomped down the hallway with your child’s math paper crumpled in her hand. He had answered each problem with a squiggle. I gasped and asked if he was having trouble with these concepts. She scoffed and told me he knew them well. So, I queried why she was asking him to do something she knew he had already mastered.

      I’m the gifted ed teacher who has advocated for your child with literally thousands of individual teachers, in district meetings, in teacher’s meetings, explained the different profiles of gifted children, outlined over-excitabilities, fought for the right of non-compliant or failing children to be tested and to receive services.

      I’m the gifted ed teacher who finally got the district to write a test-out policy that did not penalize your child for advancing through classes at a faster pace. I am also the one who had to provide instruction for independent study because that district wouldn’t place the child in a class above grade level.

    • I am the gifted ed teacher who had to convince the superintendent that the small sixth grader would be okay in a seventh grade math class because her academics were bigger than she was—and besides, she was going to be short next year too, when she would actually be in that building as a seventh grader.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who wrote a handbook for newly hired gifted ed teachers explaining the procedures and responsibilities of the job because administration could not. They were more focused on the other end of SPED and had no training in gifted education. I am the gifted ed teacher whose second job was writing goals for developmentally delayed adults in a residential center.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who sat with the school psychologist and explained the results of your child’s testing and outlined what services your child could/would receive. And I am the one who compiled a handbook for parents of gifted children to provide guidance for them to know the characteristics of gifted children, what to look for in a good program, how to advocate for their child, and suggestions for enjoying life together.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who made the distinction between children with handicaps and children with exceptionalities when interpreting state laws.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who took on administration in order to provide better programs for your child, increase time in service, develop seminar opportunities, define differentiated services for children in the wide range of gifted designations, arrange transportation, include appropriate goals in his/her IEP, and transform gifted education through a twenty-eight year career.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who paid my own way to international and national conferences and workshops to present ideas to others and increase my own knowledge.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who purchased every item that your child has used in the gifted program from my own paycheck, including the iPad. I am the one who served 30-65 gifted children per year, in sometimes three or more buildings, with hardly enough time to serve children and never enough time to consult with all of their teachers. I am the one who put 350,000 miles on my 18 year old car driving to work and between school buildings. Yes, I got 20 cents per mile when I remembered to submit the mileage.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who has loved your children deeply, shared their joys and despair, dealt with their bi-polarness, their aspieness, their perfectionism, their under-achievement, their refusals, their decisions based on social desires rather than academic, and pushed them on. I’ve run the gauntlet for them, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who has always asked your child to justify his/her reasoning, speak up for him/herself, advocate for his/her own needs in the classroom (and at home), challenged and inspired, opened new ways of thinking, and provided a place for him/her to fail miserably—and then picked him/her up again so that s/he knows there is life on the other side of failure.

      I am the gifted ed teacher who has devoted my life to gifted children and gifted education. I am the mom and the gifted ed teacher whose stance you see as negative, yet I do not post anonymously. And I am the problem?

    • Celi, in my first post I said, “All children deserve to be treated with respect for their unique qualities.”

      You echoed, “Absolutely! All children deserve to be treated with respect for their unique qualities and learning needs!” Where in my subsequent diatribe do you see or hear that I suggest giving up on any child? Equity, yes! But will it ever be? I doubt it.

      Let me use a somewhat flawed analogy. Everyone can look into the Grand Canyon and see the beauty and awe that created it and can appreciate what went into that process. The entirety is laid out in front of us and we can see the big picture. Now think about a volcano. It rises above us. It rumbles and grumbles and occasionally brings forth a creative power that is awe-filled! But because we cannot see the process that goes into that creation, we may be frightened. We distance ourselves from what we cannot understand. Perhaps we will worship that force in our lives, perhaps we will stand with mouths gaping, or perhaps we will run in the opposite direction. Maybe all three. Until or unless we have roughly the same capacity as that volcano, we cannot understand what is happening. The masses stand below the apex and cannot look down into the crater to see the fulminating energy.

      Is a volcano better than the Grand Canyon? Not at all.
      Is it less transparent? Certainly.

      Now, if we compare that canyon and that volcano to the opposite ends of the spectrum of intelligence, from ground level (average intelligence) we are better able to map the workings of one. The other is above our understanding. People of average intelligence, by definition, are not capable of knowing what those above them on the scale have the capacity of knowing. That cannot change without changing their intelligence level. Please, please notice that I am not disparaging average intelligence. I acknowledge that there are concomitant limitations.

      Most people (again by definition) are in the average range of intelligence. That means that our gifted children function in a different way. Can the majority of [teachers, administrators, legislators, parents, peers] wrap their brains around the difference, much less follow it? No. Those with keen imagination might catch a glimpse, but this is what I mean by saying the world won’t (read: can’t) understand what you present in your article, even though they might eventually hear your words. As one of those on the slopes of that volcano, you feel justified in your request, but no one can understand what is beyond their understanding.

      There is no getting around the fact that children with disabilities are time and cost intensive in order for them to function at acceptable (not even optimal) levels. Gifted children do not usually need such intensive services.

      For that reason, I have always put the onus of success, both personal and academic, on the child. We do gifted children a disservice by leading them to expect that the world will always have a “special” program for them. Ultimately, they are the ones who have to find their own pathway through this life, as did the many, many gifted children before anyone ever thought of labels or entitlement. It is what they do with their giftedness, like Edison, Gandhi, Curie, Mother Teresa, Sakharov, etc. that means something to the world, not their IQ score. Find a copy of Cradles of Eminence by Goertzel & Goertzel, Copyright 1962.

      In the end, your child is your child. The opportunity is yours, every day, to support, encourage, lead, inspire and develop the characteristics of his/her giftedness. If you ask or demand that of me, I will never fulfill your expectations. I can help, but I have to try to live up to the expectations of thirty more sets of parents in addition to my own expectations for myself. Shoulder that responsibility and that privilege and help your child be all that s/he can be.

      • I am nearly 42, and I still struggle with the fact that not every corporation is beating down my door trying to hire me because I won a small pile of academic rewards. You make a good point.
        Academic programs should be geared toward giving the students real-world perspective.

        • There is no such thing as a real world perspective. There is a society perspective. Some kids are smart enough to understand, in grade school, the way the world works. That, even though they are ‘gifted’ or ‘highly gifted’, they will also be taking up a trade and working for someone, the same as anyone else. They will maybe take an accelerated path, but it will be to the same end.

          I think the ones who need help are the ones who (assumingly of higher intelligence) want to be outside of the system. To some children, conforming is the worst thing. The world is full of people who force you to conform. In school, in gifted school. You must accept authority. Even as a prodigy, you are working under someone else.

          Some children rebel, they have their stage of no answers on their tests, then they come out and “succeed.” Or did they? They may have just been broken by a system that, in some ways, robbed them of the greatest part of their giftedness. Then there are others who just say, when they realize it will never change, “Screw you guys, I’m going home.” And stay there.

          Until you’ve seen the latter, it’s hard to understand what special needs are. Although I believe the highly gifted person will eventually be driven to do something great, maybe something that is still rebellion (if they don’t kill themselves), they fall through the cracks in the exact same way. They basically handicap themselves for no purpose other than avoiding a system that offends them.

          To ‘teach a child a real world perspective” can be like emotionally trying to break them. it sometimes works, it sometimes doesn’t, and neither is good. As an intelligent person, you should know that companies are not knocking at your door because there is someone who can do your job almost as well with less need of management, without ever trying to take any of the jobs of people who hired you.

          The world is run by the unintelligent, or the moderately gifted. They are smart enough to know what is a threat. A prodigy is fine when he’s pouring over the numbers that you gave him, but what if he wants to tell you about how your company doesn’t fit his ideal? They would rather have someone so profoundly “Twice exceptional” that they couldn’t even talk. If they could do the work…

          So, in summary, the idea is ‘outside of the system.’ You are not being called into the system because you exist outside of it. If you paid your dues, you might be able to find somewhere. If you didn’t pay your dues, you are too much of a risk.

          • I am 28, I have exited the system, after trying to change it without luck from those I poured my heart and mind into around me. It backfired.
            I worked hard throughout school just to please because I was too afraid of the authorities because I couldn’t defend myself because they couldn’t understand my
            Reasonings for things. I am desperate to find like minds. I know I am of the exceptionally high, I’ve never found anyone I can share my understandings with, and therefore I can’t fit. Any help would be much appreciated. As I cannot remain in hiding at my mums home forever.

      • All of that is wonderful, so how could you say that “Children with high intelligence are not special”? They, especially the profoundly gifted, are indeed every bit as special as the severely learning disabled.

      • It’s too bad your initial post did not reflect any of your experiences you state, but instead seemed critical of a post that was about gifted children for not being about other issues. ?? Maybe in a month or two, you can reread the post, then read your own comment and get a new understanding.

        • I think this is the issue.
          People lash out without even thinking…. in defense. They are stressed. Upset. Tired. etc….but deciding to throw caution to the wind on the internet doesn’t help the commenters Down’s Syndrome child at all. It just makes them more capable of criticiing others for being different. Of course gifted children are special. ALL CHILDREN ARE SPECIAL. Certainly the commenter has a special needs child. I have both a “special needs” child with a suspicious brain dysfunction condition and I have a child who ranks in the 98th percentile nationally and is in second grade and reading on a 6th grade level. I can’t be more honest than to say, they are equally as hard and equally as special in their educational needs and in their being special. Unique giftedness is as special as special needs. Hands down. And ask any psychologist or psychiatrist if being extremely gifted can occur comcomittantly with mental disability… um yeah. Duh. Just because society doesn’t like to call it special because it ‘looks good’… is ridiculous. Jeffrey Dahmer’s mom and Albert Einstein’s mom’s alike will tell you the intelligence level of their child was extraordinary…. but how we nurture all children matters… and is the difference. Will my special needs child get to that juncture. Hmmm.. well, I can’t say that I know, but if i’m being realistic, no. But that’s not his problem…nor society. That’s my problem. He’s going to do great in this life…. and change the world as much as any Albert Einstein frankly. The world doesn’t need to validate me to know that.

      • Thank you for clarifying your response. I agree that we need to support gifted education in every way possible and that children on the other end of the spectrum need special help to enable them to learn. My child was labeled highly gifted in second grade, he could read at a fifth grade level in kindergarten. He was enrolled in a magnet school for first and second grade and was moved to a gifted program for 3-5th grade. When he got to middle school the wheels fell off and he struggled as he was bored most of the time. High school wasn’t much better. However, college was amazing he was the school mascot, in charge of the senior celebration, inducted into several honor societies and graduated with a 3.9 gpa after ending high school with a 2.6 gpa. He is now working for the a non-profit association, and is the co-chair of the Alzheimer’s walk in the city where he lives. He is a loving, caring young man and you are right he did survive, but it would have been nice for him to get a little more help when he was in middle and high school. Thank you for your post, getting people talking is always good. Have a wonderful day.

    • I hear what you’re saying ThinkLinks. That said, I want to teach my child to have hope, keep some faith in people, and know that he is worthy of support. I want him to know that Mummy and Daddy have his back, no matter how difficult the situation. Because he is a child. Will he be let down by people and the system? Hell yes! Is life a bitch? Sometimes. But I want him to keep his innocence, enjoy life, find joy in it. He can only do that with a positive attitude. This daily battle has DH and I exhausted, but our child deserves every ounce of energy.

    • If we concentrate our resources in ways which prove fruitful, we will reap a bountiful harvest.
      When we waste our resources on fruitless endeavors, we grow frustration.
      Invest wisely, for together, we forge the world for our posterity.
      If we can cultivate our exceptional young, we can expect our future to be that much more prolific. If we simply continue to misunderstand the exceptional, all of humanity remains at risk, for the ends, in any fabric, if not carefully protected, tend to fray.
      Gifted children should also be covered by anti-discrimination laws, just like any other minority – I don’t think there should be so many laws, but I think that where there is one, it should be fair and well reasoned.
      Long Live the Gifties, and may your torches burn at an appropriate level! }B-D

    • I know you must be writing from the perspective of caring for and being defensive for children with the disabilities you mentioned. However, a disabled child with the extreme disability(ies) assessed at the far left point of the Bell Curve are legally required to receive special attention because they are special. A profoundly gifted child who comes out of the womb and lifts his head to look you in the eyes and who is reading with understanding in two languages at two years old and excels ahead of grade level at everything in school is not legally required to receive the special attention they need to nurture their extreme gifts because they, too, are special — and I write this as the caring and defensive mother of a PG son who never got a day of appropriate advanced attention and we had to do a lot of homeschooling to save any semblance of his self-esteem and allow him to actually learn anything new, all because people who do not understand looked down their noses at us and considered me elitist and him — I don’t know what…spoiled? It was a tragic waste of his intellect!

      • Yes and no. Every state and every school system has varying laws and mandates in place, and try to follow. In some states and school systems, gifted students are considered special education students. So, it varies, and it changes. However, every student is covered by FAPE–Free and Appropriate Education which parents have used to successfully advocate for and receive appropriate services for their gifted child. Here’s an article about it: “Tips for Parents: Educational Advocacy”

        Thanks again, Shannon, for your comments! I appreciate the time you took to read and comment on so much here!

    • Ouch.

      Yes, all children deserve to be treated with respect. Funny, then, how gifted kids are always shoved in a corner of the classroom because their unique qualities don’t suck up Teacher’s attention like a child who’s overtly disabled.

      It’s people like you who are the reason people like me find getting out of bed to be the most difficult part of the day. “You’re not special. Stop showing off. Nobody cares what YOU achieve.”

      But whatevs. I’ll just go sit in the corner and shut up.

    • Please do not get all bent out of shape about your child’s special need not being included. This is a blog discussing the unique characteristics of intellectually gifted children. I am so tired of everyone getting all up In arms all the time, if their child’s issue is not included. I’m sure there is another blog for that…now do your research and get on the right one and don’t berate people for not responding or writing about your child’s need. I could be offended this blog didn’t specifically mention children with glasses…oh this is not a support blog for that…my bad.

    • Children with high intelligence are not special? But of course they are. They are our leaders of tomorrow, our scientists, our physicians, our writers, and artists, our inventors and engineers. Let’s hope they are special. And yes, children with challenges such as C.P. and Downs Syndrome, autism, and M.D. are also special! The resources we have in our educational system should also hold these children to a high priority. In fact, all children are special! I am an educator. I have taught children with disabilities and I am also a teacher of the gifted. I have gifted children with disabilities! Unfortunately, far LESS money in federal funding is put toward gifted education in our schools than toward disabilities. That is just a fact.

    • You’re right, Thinklinks! Do you blog about your child’s Down Syndrome? I’d love to read about the blessings and struggles of your family. I think it would go far to help people understand better. That’s what Celi is doing.

    • Children with high intelligence are special. So are children with Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome. All children are special. The point of this article was to point out the unique needs of a gifted child. A common misconception is that a gifted child is smart and therefore you don’t need to give them special attention, that they will do just fine. No one would dispute that a child with Cerebral Palsy has special needs, but so does a child who is gifted. Their needs are just different..but that doesn’t make them “special” as you put it.

    • In a world of 7 billion, with limited resources and so much suffering, as someone who came from a third world country, and as someone who’s been considered “too smart” by his peers, i consider you to be a total piece of shit and contribution to the decline of the human species. We do not need you to succeed and we do not need you to impair our chances of success. We just want to create a better world without your bullshit and lack of thought. Your pathetic hedonism and pursuit of illusion of happiness is hurting the world so much more than you think.

    • I know this comment is old, but as a parent, I have to say… No.. Gifted children are not THE SAME as a down syndrome child or an autistic or cerebral palsy child… But as a mother of one, and as a gifted child myself.. The struggle is very much that. A struggle. There wasn’t information available for parents of gifted children unless the child was an absolute genius, when I was growing up. Thus we were smart to teachers, but would never amount to anything in the eyes of our parents. Overly emotional. Special needs behavioral problems. Needed medication. Defiant. I was misdiagnosed with everything you can imagine. And then my son was born. And I was 18. I never knew what a “normal” child looked like. I had experience with special needs kids at work. They were wonderful, unique, and deeply complex. I had experience with school aged children at work for years. I knew all about child development and age appropriate activities. But I didn’t know my son was different. He talked early. He understood everything early. He internalized everything. He counted to 6 counting houses on the street on his own at 2 years old. He was reading before the rest of the class. It took 7 years for a therapist to tell me his fears and tantrums and beliefs were nowhere near the average child, but that they did not indicate something I was doing wrong either. Gifted children are painfully alive inside. And can’t express it. They feel as strongly as the children who lack the ability to speak and express it, due to special needs. The feeling is REAL and tangible to a gifted child. And it rips them and all things around them, into pieces. It’s not about them being special due to intelligence. It’s about educating parents to help this child cope with the insane sensitivities and crazy making intensity inside of them. Because one day these children will become adults. And have to lead normal lives. And THAT is the goal you have to work towards every day, not just the ability to teach, be calm, and nurture, while learning as much as you can on how to understand them and be sane at the same time. ESPECIALLY when that information wasn’t available to your own parents and you had to learn to cope through various counseling and mentoring programs. So please, whoever reads this. Understanding is half the battle. And your response was due to a lack of understanding.

    • I’m so over that type of crap!how on earth can you say they aren’t special? But everyone else is? What? We have a different skill set and we should be punished? Get over your issues and have compassion for all! Geez!

    • Wow. Bitter? Children with high intelligence are definitely special.

    • Then that would be a different article and in turn defeat the purpose of this article. If you want to read an article about what you suggested then you should google it. Instead of googling about gifted children.

    • To Thinklinks, All children are special, some have more potential in one subject than another for example.They all have potential, no matter their percieved disabilities. I am offended by your statement “Children with high intelligence are not special.” and remind you that all children are special.

    • Their thinking process is. What you don’t get is so is that of an “average intelligence” child and all other children or adult for that matter. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND!

    • Their thinking process is. What you don’t understand is that so is that of an “average intelligence” child or any child for that matter. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS!

    • I think you just said all children are special except for gifted kids, lol. You must be from my hometown.

    • I have a child in a Gifted Program. They ARE Special. But I think every child is Gifted and Special. There are lots if qualities a Down Syndrome, MS, etc … Child has that are unique to them. To
      Say these Children that are classified as Gifted don’t need this service is wrong. They think, act, and behave in a way that is also difficult to parent. All children are special!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *