NO! For the Last Time, NOT Every Child is Gifted!


Not every child is  gifted!  Every child is special, every child has gifts, but NOT every child is  gifted!

Please read this and try to understand.

Read, understand and learn what gifted really means, what life is like for a truly gifted child and how difficult it is to be a gifted adult.  Please don’t continue to be that part of society who devalues these children just because giftedness is deemed a form of elitism, or because it just doesn’t seem fair that one child should be more intellectually advanced than another.   Without your real understanding of what makes up a truly gifted child, or your acknowledgement that not every child is gifted, our society will continue to feel that it is socially unacceptable for these children to shine or publicly display their achievements .  When children are not accepted and supported for who they are, they cannot fulfill their potential.  Misunderstanding of what giftedness is and not acknowledging the critical needs of gifted children have both hindered gifted children’s access to an appropriate education which they need to grow and develop into successful adults.  Without your understanding, our educational system will continue to believe that these children are okay to be held back and languish in the regular classroom, and that it is fine to cut out gifted programs because they also believe that, “hey, these kids are gifted, they’ve got it made anyway.”

Gifted children are blessed with enough, why give them more?  Isn’t this what you think? Isn’t this what too many people think?

If you truly believe every child is gifted, please take a moment to learn who our gifted children really are.

Gifted children are…

are… CHILDREN – Yes, despite their above-average intelligence, out-of-the-norm sensitivities and other quirky characteristics, they are children first!  They are children!  Their above-average intelligence and seemingly mature attitude does not make them more able to handle the ill-feelings leveled at them during their young lives.  They often experience jealousy, rudeness, boredom and bullying because of their giftedness.  They feel like they don’t fit in.  How can we allow a child, any child, to feel any degree of emotional pain when it can be prevented?  Do you think every child feels like they don’t fit in?

are…BORN NOT MADE – These children were born gifted.  Not practiced, not hot-housed, not pushed, not tutored, not just from a higher socio-economic family, and not forced to become intellectually gifted – they were born this way.   It is genetic.  Chances are one or both of their parents are also gifted; and most likely their siblings are gifted, too.  When a child is born gifted, they are born with higher-than-average intellectual abilities, they learn and assimilate information very differently than most other children and they have many emotional and social sensitivities and intensities other children do not have.  Most parents of gifted children say it is wiring – it is how God made them.  But did God make every child gifted?

are… INTELLECTUALLY TALENTED –  Yes, they learn differently, they most likely learn more quickly and they learn more deeply than children who are not identified as intellectually gifted.  Giftedness is usually determined using an intelligence test to determine one’s IQ.  The average IQ is 100; a gifted individual is said to have an IQ of 130 or above.  If every child is gifted, would you say that every child has an IQ of 130 or above?

are… EMOTIONALLY AND SOCIALLY INTENSE – Gifted individuals are born with emotional and social sensitivities and intensities which make their lives a bit more difficult.  Events, sounds, feelings, smells and social situations which would not bother other people could feel so intense to a gifted child that they cry, scream, become anxious, shut down or fall apart.  Do you think every child reacts to a tag on the back of their shirt like it is a piece of wood with hundreds of sharp nails protruding into their skin?

I’ve seen all of the sayings:

Every Child is Gifted.  Some just Open Their Packages Later.

Every Child is Gifted. They Just Unwrap Their Packages at Different Times.

All Children are Gifted. Some Just Open Their Package Sooner Than Others.

All Kids are Gifted. the Only Difference is that Some Open Their Packages Earlier.

I used to believe them, too.  As loving and caring adults, we all want to make sure every child feels special.  And every child IS special.  Every child is born with strengths, talents, and “gifts”, but having gifts is not the same as being born gifted.

The word “gifted” is an unfortunate choice of a word historically used to designate children who were born intellectually talented.  On the other hand, when a child is athletically talented – a natural born athlete – we say he is athletically gifted.  Is every child athletically gifted too, and they just open their athletic gift at a different time?  We’ve seen many piano and singing prodigies in the news, on talent competition television shows and on YouTube videos shared across social media.  Is every child a gifted musician and they just open their musical package later?

When we say and believe that every child is gifted, isn’t it really just the resulting action of our basic human instinct to be inclusive?  Our need to make everyone feel good even though there may be inequality? Saying every child is gifted just makes us feel good because we want to believe that God blessed each and every child with equal amounts of gifts, strengths and talents.  It is our deepest, heartfelt need to include those who are not exhibiting their gifts just yet.  It is beautiful and loving to want to include every child, make them all feel special and then call them all gifted!  This makes us feel like every child is equally blessed.  Did you know with this one compassionate gesture, you are actually singling out and emotionally wounding a group of children when you do this?

Still not convinced?  Recently, I read a blog post by a mom who almost defensively proclaimed that she was so proud of her average child.  Most people who I discussed this post with stated that her envy of gifted children bled into her writing.  Her child was average and she was tired of parents who brag about how well their children are doing academically.  Her child was not doing as well academically.  So, yeah, I can sympathize with her aggravation with being around boasting parents, and the parents of gifted kids have the utterly undeserved reputation of being boastful.  But looking at the flip-side, as parents, don’t we all enjoy sharing our children’s triumphs, wins, achievements and awards?  And being able to share freely and have others rejoice in your child’s triumphs?

I’ve heard many a parent share that their son made the select soccer team or won the singles title in the regional tennis tournament.  On Facebook, parents rightfully share that their child, the quarterback,  just threw the winning touchdown pass.  When your child makes the all-state choir, aren’t you excited to share the good news?  Your child made the cheerleading squad, aren’t you proud and want to let others know?  Your child was accelerated one grade level and….oh…wait….can’t share that!

When your child just won the state Spelling Bee for the third time, you want to share but you can’t because you know nobody wants to hear about your brainy child.  They may even think that he won because you are pushing him too hard to excel and forcing him to study Spelling words for hours on end.

Yes, when it comes to proudly sharing our children’s athletic or musical achievements – socially, that is not looked on as bragging.

When we proudly share our child’s intellectual achievements – THAT is bragging!


If our child is athletic, artistic or musically gifted, as a society, we nurture their talent and we want to let them shine!  Beauty pageants, pop superstars and multi-million dollar sports arenas are proof of that.  When a child is intellectually gifted, they learn to keep it to themselves or face jealousy or animosity or rejection.  Parents of the intellectually gifted know full well that it is taboo for them to utter anything at all about their gifted child’s intellectual achievements.  Where’s the desire for equality and inclusion here?

If you want to say every child has gifts, I’ll agree.

If you believe every child is blessed with talents, I’ll say you are right.

If you state that all kids have strengths and special traits, I’ll be the next in line to support the same sentiment.

If you proclaim that every child is gifted, I will scream, “YOU ARE WRONG!


This post, like so many others,  is in response to this recent post: “Every Child is Gifted and Talented.  Every Single One”



If Every Child is Gifted, Then…  

My Child is Gifted: Do You Think I’m Bragging Now? 

The Burdens of Gifted Children

Every Child is Gifted & Talented. Every Single One.

My Kid is Average and I Am Oh So Proud

Actually, it goes the other way

Rapid Response


105 Comments on “NO! For the Last Time, NOT Every Child is Gifted!

  1. Hi there!
    As someone from the UK I’ve always been baffled by (what is seen in the UK generally) as a US obsession of ‘giftedness’

    What we find confusing here is that we have
    – Academically advanced children – e.g. fast learners, high iq, excellent verbal ability, etc from an early age and during school tests (SATS which we sat age 7, 11, 14, then GCSEs at 16, AS levels at 17, A Levels at 18 – the pre uni entrance exams basically) and each of those assessments made it clear if, like myself, you were ahead of the ‘typical kids’ academically.
    These exams would state if you were ‘ performing to age’ underperforming, performing at a higher level, performing at a well above expected level (of which I was always several school years ahead e.g. in yr 3 SATs (age 7) I was performing as ‘average’ 11 year olds leaving for secondary school.

    Never once does the UK system label us as ‘gifted’ or ‘advanced’ in any sort of ‘special’ way. We were just high academic achievers. Teachers would often have to go to the majority of the class speed i.e. the lowest level / average – and myself and my sister were often let to read our own books etc as we’d finish classwork quickly, and would be essentially bored.

    So that is how I personally view ‘giftedness’ as does a lot of the UK- academic achievers at a level above average to their peers.

    But the hypersensitivity and the ‘prodigy’ type behaviours are most categorised into the autistic spectrum as the people we see here in the UK who are not of a high IQ – higher IQs tend to have lower EQ (e.g. sensitivities to things like overly emotional responses) – before anyone kicks off about mentioning ASD, the sensory difficulties are a diagnostic indicator for physicians and AHPs to assist in Asperger’s / high functioning autism dx and this is often seen with higher IQ, poor ability to socially function e.g. having disproportionate responses to external stimuli. Again I am not diagnosing here, but I feel a lot of people in the US use giftedness to ‘hide’ from ASD diagnosis – which is detrimental to the child as they could be better assisted with that diagnosis and excel far better with it than without (in the UK it is not seen as a ‘disability’ in the same was as in the US just more of a different angle to learning with overt sensory difficulties)

    Additionally, I think labelling people as ‘other’ regardless of it being of positive intent is a sketchy slope to go down – it either makes people think they are better than everyone else due to having a particular ability in one area, or they become isolated by being overly sensitive to being extracted from the ‘normal’ and placed in a position of segregation that they may not want.

    I know many intelligent people – classed as 135+ IQ and in the US would be termed ‘gifted’ – who were able to excel in school and an academic environment but as noted previously their EQ is shockingly low – others with lower IQs but above average – who are shockingly super sensitised to EVERYTHING.

    Maybe as I am in the lower EQ band with a higher IQ – I never found not being given harder work in school as a problem / hindrance/ held me back etc as I did my own thing regardless as most of the teachers realised that I was past their level of expertise. I would bring my own literature and essentially do ‘research’ at 7 years old, be internally frustrated at the ‘dumbness’ of the kids in my class who showed up to school aged 5 and couldn’t read because nobody bothered to read to them… and then i had a funny switch… I realised that I could explain things to them, I was often given a role as a tutor to the other kids because it just clicked in my head, and my frustration lowered due to the fact that I had the ability to rationalise that these kids couldn’t help being lower down on the intelligence spectrum (despite how frustrating it was when they asked the teacher how to spell something for the fourth time and it was written on the board). I think had I been segregated into ‘only clever kids’ then I wouldn’t have learnt those ‘people skills’ and tolerance that a lot of segregated ‘special’ kids struggle with.

    Those are just my thoughts really – so just to recap, in the UK you say ‘special’ or ‘gifted’ we assume it’s a kid with Special Educational Needs e.g often autistic / poss Asperger’s / poss prodigy level of drawing or maths etc. but definitively pathological rather than ‘talented’

    There is no such thing as ‘gifted’ kids here – just high academic achievers e.g. kids with natural learning ability and higher than average IQ.

    The whole ‘gifted’ stuff is still very confusing to us as we have worked hard at integrating children with disabilities into mainstream schools and to encourage higher academic achievers to work with their lower IQ peers – as you would have to in the real world – to become functional human beings that aren’t all Sheldon Coopers…

    If someone could outline the WHO ICF etc equivalent for ‘gifted’ that would help… or if you have a specific definition rather than ‘my kid is gifted’ but concrete examples of what that actually means, it would help us diagnosticians over the pond to know what you mean when you say that – as its starting to occur more frequently over here, people waltzing about saying their child is ‘gifted’

    I do feel all kids have their strengths and weaknesses, not all kids are academic (look to their parents – if they were plonked in front of trash like teletubbies, too no wonder the kids linguistic ability is poor, due to poor input models – but if they were read to, and practised balling sounds etc then they are already ‘ahead’ in theory as well as genetic ability to acquire knowledge and skills) and some kids are more sensitised to noise etc due to their home environments e.g. not used to playing in playgrounds / nursery school – they will get a sensory overload if at 5 that’s the first time they’ve encountered a hoard of kids running about screaming joyfully as they play. There are many many factors.

    And those that say ‘oh the dyslexic kids get help’ they are having their baseline levelled up to average so they are on an even playing field – it’s a parental choice to push academia, not a legal requirement of any education dept – whereas it IS part of equality acts (in the uk) to prevent discrimination against those who are being hindered through physical and / or mental difficulty from reaching their baseline. Those that are ‘at expected age equivalency’ are not going to be in difficulty later in life as they are already at a functional level – anything else is a bonus, luck, etc be thankful your child CAN achieve higher and greater things, because you do not understand what it is like to be told you CAN’T do something due to the betrayal of your body, but CAN be helped with better teaching strategies to be able to ‘fit in’ to society. It’s a completely different ballgame between a pathological difficulty and academic potential and it’s insulting to suggest they don’t deserve assistance.

    I would just like clarification of a typical USA definition and examples of what parents in the US deem to be ‘gifted’.

    Many thanks,

    • You make a lot of interesting points. Giving a label or name or diagnosis to any behavior or trait outside the norm is a slippery slope because, in my opinion, how do we define normal? Also, giftedness, as most often characterized in the US, has zero to do with academic ability or being a high achiever–I wish giftedness could be totally disassociated with school performance because, given the precise, appropriate education, any child can be a high achiever.

      Unfortunately, assigning anyone a diagnosis of autism, giftedness or any other cognitive difference is fraught with exceptions–it’s not as precise as measuring one’s weight to be able to say one is obese. So, we all do our best to address the needs of children with atypical cognitive traits, and labels are needed for expedience and solutions, especially in schools. But, autism can overlap with giftedness as well as a mental handicap, and gifted children can have learning disabilities. There is no clear, concise way to label, diagnose or address these cognitive differences.

      As for a typical definition in the US, there is no consensus. Two groups exist–one which uses emotional, developmental and intellectual characteristics as well as an IQ above 130 to identify an individual as gifted regardless of academic performance. They also believe giftedness is genetic/inherited. The other is the talent development group which is more firmly entrenched in academic performance. This group believes giftedness can also be developed, not just inherited. So, there is no agreed-upon definition of giftedness in the US.

      I understand how opinions and perceptions are formed when giftedness is defined within the realm of academic performance–we end up with a “my child is smarter than your child” competition. I know the thinking that believes that those children who need help rising to an average level should be a higher priority than those who have already achieved the average level or beyond–I get it. But, if a child were able to play the piano way beyond what would be expected for his age, would his parents accept to continue his training at the average pace? If a child showed an extreme talent for tennis, way beyond the average expectation for his/her age, wouldn’t his parents and tennis coach naturally step up and accelerate his training? If a 6-year old child could read at the level expected of a 10-year old, should we adjust his reading education to his natural pace and level, or hold him back as per his age? In the US, these children have been most often held back with many devastating consequences. Much like a jaguar is built to run fast, he will quickly be stunted, physically and mentally, if constantly caged where he can not run as he was born to do.

      All children deserve an appropriate education in accordance with their level of cognition, and there should never be a point where we hold children back out of consideration for those who have not reached that level–that is punishing those children who were born with intellectual strengths which is no fault of their own.

      Here’s a great article explaining this: “What if Micheal Phelps Trained in a Kiddie Pool?”

      Thanks for your insights and questions, and giving me a chance to clarify what giftedness is beyond academic achievement.

  2. I really don’t like loud noises. I try to get a B on a paper so I can have a straight run of letters I make 6 theory’s to why God doesn’t exist encase the R.E teacher annoys me. I read Iliad and Homer. I chose Art at GCSE. I can see.. I love the way “Seeth” sounds on the tongue. I despise the word acme. Jokes, describes me perfectly 🙂 hahaha! I am so scared of bears that I sometimes lock my door at night (I live in England, but after that escaped gorilla…). They can run at 45mph, weigh up to 880pounds(and that’s only a black bear!), and my handwriting is like bleeping effin scrawl! (love that word too!)
    I am not gifted. I find it hilarious that some parents try with all their might to get their little angels to become little Einsteins.
    Oh humanity! You are tangled and snared in your own fickle ploys! I’m feeling poetic!
    It won’t work. Get over yourselves!

    • Hey Kid,

      Well, you may or may not be gifted, but to be clear, gifted children are born that way and no parental influence can make that happen. The animosity towards giftedness stems from the “specialness” attributed to gifted programs in schools and how students are chosen for those programs–it makes giftedness appear to be an anointing or knighting saved for only the most special kids. Being born gifted is inherited (although some believe it is made, not born)–much like being born with red hair or inheriting musical talent from your father. My opinion is that public schools have caused giftedness to become a condition of envy.

      Ironically, gifted kids (said to have a measurable IQ of 130+) have experienced so much negative push-back, envy and bullying, many would love to not be gifted. My youngest son hates being gifted because of the hurtful remarks he has gotten throughout his 17 years. Sadly, many gifted kids have committed suicide because they find it hard to function in a society who resents them, bullies them and ubiquitously misunderstands them.

      Hey, a loose gorilla would freak me out, too. They can run at 45 mph? WOW! Did they catch him?

      • Yes they found him, poor gorilla.

        Actually, it is not much envy I feel, but more a blur. I don’t feel sad, much because what is there to be sad about genes, its a code, some random assortment, randomly assorting – be it luck or a curse or nothing at all.

        Its, wow, school doesn’t cater for the people who we all know are capable, the bored and the quiet ones. It doesn’t cater for people who want to learn more than what is in the syllabus. It doesn’t cater for underachievers as much as that they don’t recognise underachievement. It places people on a path, so everyone is equal, which is hardly equality at all.

        Thanks for replying and stay safe (America has for too much biodiversity of predators in my opinion!)

        • Hey Kid,

          You have one heck of a head on your shoulders! So wise!

          Yeah, America is suffering some severe growing pains with some people voicing their fear using hate. I think we’ll survive, but it may not be pretty!

          Take care, okay?

  3. The problem is that “average” is the new stupid. Most adults think of themselves as above average intelligence, and naturally think that their kids are above average as well. Yet we would never insist that we are all above average in height, or think that average height is tantamount to being short.

    The fact is, IQ is distributed normally and roughly 68% of adults fall within the average range (within one standard deviation of the mean). So about 7 out of 10 of us are basically of average intelligence, which seems about right. Legitimate IQs above 130 are quite rare, and most people who think they have high IQs would be humbled by a real IQ test administered by a professional.

    Statistically, most of us and our kids are not intellectually talented – that is an important realization. But that is not the same as admitting that one is stupid. Once this is understood, we can focus on factors that we can control (such as level of effort), and recognize that the truly talented will have different needs.

    • All true! And add one other factor–the fact that we ubiquitously determine who is smart (above average) solely by their academic achievement in K-12 confounds the idea of intelligence, IQ and giftedness.

      Thanks for your input!

  4. The problem becomes that people like yourself and most posting on this board… will claim that gifted children deserve more from schools, teachers, etc. So often this then subjects regular children to more mind-numbing curricula. There is always an undercurrent of privilege in the ways that you and others describe gifted children. Whether you like it or not…giftedness as you put it frames intellectual thought quite narrowly and honestly demonstrates your own paradigm for what it means to know. Educate yourself as well and read some Jeanie Oakes and her detracking work…

    • The point that is being made with gifted children can be easily understood if you look at a bell curve of the student population. Any system is designed to teach to the middle. There are outliers on both ends of the bell curve and are out of the average. The bell curve for the student population for IQ shows this data. IQ ranges are for 0-165. .01% of the population has an IQ from 0-55, 2% from 55-70, 14% from 70-85, 68% from 85-115, 14% from 115-130, 2% from 130-145, and .01% over 145. If you look at this data 98% of students fall in the middle of the curve with an IQ ranging from 70-130. This is the average student. The outliers are the the low IQ scores which are students who are extremely to moderately delayed, the outliers on the other end of the curve are the children who have high IQ scores and are considered gifted to profoundly gifted. The kids on both ends of these spectrums make up only 2% of the student population. If the kids on the low end of the spectrum have needs that are extremely different (ie: special education) from the average student it would prove that kids on the other end of the curve (gifted) would need some sort of special education. It is easier to get a perspective on needs of children if you look at data. Having said that, I do understand that each child is unique and has a different learning skill. However, most kids fall in the same IQ level and learning spectrum, this is just a fact. There is some misperception among parents that a “gifted” child has it easy and therefore will survive just fine. The fact is, gifted children have extremely unique sets of learning disabilities and problems that cannot be addressed on a normal classroom setting just as special education cannot be addressed in a normal classroom setting. My daughter’s are both profoundly gifted. One chose to homeschool and enter college years early but my other daughter has autism in addition to being profoundly gifted so she requires “special education”. She would actually be considered as having needs on both ends of the bell curve. Our school district does not have any gifted program so her needs cannot be addressed and the “special education” program does not address any gifted needs. I hope you spend some time researching some of this data and understand that outliers on both ends of the spectrum have special needs and the school system is set up to teach to the average student. I welcome any feedback on this subject from any

    • Brian,

      It’s not my paradigm. It’s an entire body of knowledge within the global gifted community of professionals–psychologists, educators, educational researchers, parents, teachers. The label is an unfortunate one, but it was coined too many years ago to change now.

      Here’s the thing. These intellectually advanced children are most often overlooked because as humans, our natural tendency is to help the underdog. Our children, almost as a rule, are given little attention in school because it is assumed they are smart enough and really don’t need any help. After years of an inadequate education, these high ability children become the underdogs, but no one will ever understand that. Why? Because the label “gifted” will always be perceived as better than the rest, and why would an intellectually advanced child ever need more. How appropriate is it to keep a child in her age-based grade level when every year she is performing 3 to 4 grade levels ahead. She sits learning what she already knows.

      As parents, we are not asking for more or better for our children, we are asking for an adequate education because our children have been given an inadequate education year after year.

      Thank you for commenting, Brian.

  5. I’m an early childhood educator and a mom as well. And definitively I agree with your thoughts. My 6year old boy was born gifted, and I noticed since an early age that he was wired differently compared to other kids. constantly, he connects to the world more intensily in every aspect.

    • Hi Marie! I love this: “constantly, he connects to the world more intensily in every aspect.” This is so true and just perfectly sums up the difference between a gifted child and one who is just very smart. Thanks, Marie!

  6. I think the problem is simply the term “gifted” because it usurps the word from any other use. Intellectually advanced might be a better term (as determined objectively by a clearly above average IQ). Then we can all do a better job of recognizing that this is simply a characterization needed for academic learning purposes — not for judging or pre determining any particular life success. And this is no different than “special education” which was created to serve those with a clearly below average IQ. My only other comment would be that the “intellectually advanced” aren’t the same either — the common denominator is high IQ, but the other elements mentioned around sensitivities, maturity, and social skills can occur in a very wide range. I should note that I generally support (and recognize) a lot of what was said in this article as someone who personally was identified as “gifted” and has had one of my two children also identified. We have both benefitted enormously from the more tailored public school academic offerings we received as a result. However we also need to recognize that all this label says is that we have certain intellectual capabilities. There are many other determinants of success and happiness in life.

    • Jean,

      You are exactly right on all of your points. I know many of us wish we could change the name!

      It is all such a complex issue made up of emotions and facts and data, and we have to take into account the facts and feelings from both sides. I think the crux of the problem is that giftedness is seen as a clear advantage from the outside, but those on the inside understand the disadvantages as well–one of which is the negative attitudes towards giftedness especially in children. Almost as if ADHD would be perceived as a golden ticket to success and others refused to see or understand that there were downsides to it.

      “However we also need to recognize that all this label says is that we have certain intellectual capabilities. There are many other determinants of success and happiness in life.” This is it in a nutshell–well stated! Thanks, Jean, for your thoughtful comment.

      • Jean & Celi-

        I wish the name could change as well. I grew up as one of the first batch of kids going through “Gifted & Talented” education programs in the early 90s and was part of some of the John’s Hopkins research being done at the time. The classes were interesting, but didn’t do much for me other than further label me as ‘something different’. It took me a long time to learn how to be sensitive towards other people and use my intelligence in the right way.

        I think the biggest risk in the label is that some kids start to believe it and build their entire identities around it.

        In one of my Gifted & Talented classes in middle school, there were three of us who were clearly on a different level than the rest of the gifted kids. I followed the other two for awhile and was amazed by how different or similar our lives have turned out based on how we perceived our giftedness. One of the three became exceedingly impressed with his own giftedness and started tuning the rest of the world out. He seemed to be consistently congratulated by his parents on his intelligence and that was all that mattered to them. In high school, he became more and more withdrawn. I believe he graduated a year early as he was focused entirely on academics and went off to college. He didn’t seem to have any friends in high school and would even ignore me regularly. It was amazing how he allowed his intelligence to be the only thing that mattered and used it to exclude himself from society. The last time I saw him, he seemed extremely unhappy.

        The other kid and I both had families that valued our ability to interact with society. We became very social and had to learn how to properly contextualize the value of our intelligence. Interestingly, we now live about an hour away from each other on the other side of the country and we’re both married to doctors. We’re both fairly successful in the businesses we’ve pursued.

        The interesting thing we both talked about the last time we caught up (we hadn’t seen each other in 10 years prior) was how our giftedness hasn’t really diminished relative to our peers. We’ve both learned how to use our intelligence in the right ways without scaring people, making them feel inferior or making them defensive. But, we both still have a huge advantage in the right contexts.

        I don’t know how G&T education has changed in the last ~20 years, but I hope it’s shifting away from simply congratulating kids for being smart towards helping them understand how to use their intelligence effectively. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can never convince anyone to follow you. It doesn’t matter that you’ve figured out the solution to a problem if everyone hates you for the way you provide it to them. Helping gifted kids understand their gifts and how to use them well is a crucial piece of the puzzle and what I wish my classes had helped me learn.

        As much as I’m gifted, I know that I have trouble in other areas that more “normal” people find very easy. If I didn’t learn that humility early, it would have been very easy for me to wrap my entire self-image around my intelligence relative to other people and I would have been worse off for it.

        Thank you for the article. I’m glad that this conversation is happening.

        • Hi Cody,

          I can’t thank you enough for sharing with us a bit of your history of being gifted child. Your insights and advice are invaluable for all who read my blog!

          “I don’t know how G&T education has changed in the last ~20 years, but I hope it’s shifting away from simply congratulating kids for being smart towards helping them understand how to use their intelligence effectively. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can never convince anyone to follow you. It doesn’t matter that you’ve figured out the solution to a problem if everyone hates you for the way you provide it to them. Helping gifted kids understand their gifts and how to use them well is a crucial piece of the puzzle and what I wish my classes had helped me learn.” — Sadly Cody, G&T education has faired quite poorly since you were in a gifted program. With the enactment of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top in the last decade, grades, standardized test scores and achievement have been the main focus. Providing gifted kids with social and emotional skills and an education which better meets their unique needs has been cast aside for higher test scores. I’m afraid the G&T students today are learning their value is based on their test scores.

          What you have shared with us is information many parents of younger gifted children would love to hear–could I share your comment (anonymously if you want) on the Crushing Tall Poppies Facebook page? It really is that important!

          Again, I so appreciate you sharing some of your story as a gifted student because it is essential for all of us to understand the “do’s” and “don’t’s” of raising gifted children.

          Many thanks, Cody!

          • Celi-

            Feel free to use my comment as you see fit. I hope it’s helpful for parents raising gifted kids.

            I was very lucky that my parents didn’t overemphasize my intelligence. They allowed me to pursue whatever I wanted to learn at a given time (I started trading stocks with a little money they loaned me when I was 12, for example) but I was still expected to be a normal kid. I couldn’t just hide in my room reading, I had to go play sports and hang out with other kids regularly.

            When I was in the 8th grade I got a 1240 on the SAT (it was out of 1600 at the time) and had an opportunity to basically skip through the rest of middle school and high school in a year or two. In my situation, we discussed it and decided that the academic opportunity wouldn’t be worth losing the chance to grow emotionally alongside my peer group. I would have missed out on things like school sports, dances, prom, classroom interactions, being Junior Class & Student Body President, etc. It was a tough decision to make, but looking back on it I would make the same decision again.

            “I’m afraid the G&T students today are learning their value is based on their test scores.” – Unfortunately, I fear this is doing them a disservice and wish there was a way to help parents understand that overemphasizing academic results can actually damage their kids long-term chances at success. The real world isn’t a test and being able to get the technical, book answer to something doesn’t always translate into success in real situations.

            As an example, I just spent a few days with two teams at work. Both teams do the same work, just on opposite coasts. They also have a similar construction with a single gifted person, a few technical people, and then the rest of the team. On one team, the gifted person hoards his knowledge and tries to take credit for everything. He uses his knowledge and intelligence as a weapon, constantly making the rest of his team feel inferior. On my team, I work the other way around. I try to make people comfortable and feel empowered as often as possible. I use my intelligence to help them solve problems, learn how to do things on their own, etc. The difference in performance and happiness of the two teams is pretty stark. Our team consistently outperforms theirs and people on the other team have confided in me on multiple occasions that they wish they could switch teams.

            I’m lucky that my parents helped guide me towards learning that emotional maturity. It could have been very easy for me to use my intelligence as a weapon and as a barrier. It’s easy to say to ourselves that “the rest of the world that just doesn’t understand.” It’s easy to believe that our intelligence gives us an excuse for why we can’t fit in or why everyone else treats us different. But in many cases it’s more about how we treat the rest of the world. It’s about how we use our intelligence.

            When I was younger, I often hid behind my intelligence. I thought it was everyone else’s fault that they didn’t understand. Then I heard someone say “the value of your communication is not in what you say, but in the response you get.” In other words, it’s not the fault of my audience that they don’t understand what I’m saying, it’s my fault that I was unable to explain my thoughts in a way that they could understand. I wish I had learned that lesson earlier.

            If, as you say, G&T education isn’t getting any better, then I hope parents can focus on helping their kids grow their EQ as much as their IQ.

            Feel free to use these comments anywhere you think they’ll be useful for parents of gifted kids.

          • Cody,

            As I read your story, I realize just how lucky you are! Your parents really understood the big picture as they helped you navigate your world. Your parents rock!

            But I guess the one thing I want to say in response to your experience as a gifted child is that everyone’s journey is different given their school choices, parental involvement, cognitive differences and their environment in general. You are right about the EQ–so very right, but sometimes it is difficult to expect a child to take on more responsibility for the adverse reactions to his giftedness than he should. And I’ve seen with many families of gifted children that the adverse reactions can be fierce and out of the control of their gifted child. Society and public education has not been kind to gifted children in the last decade or so.

            Maybe this is because of the change in education in the last decade or two. All children are feeling the stress of the federal and state mandates in public schools. It is not the parents overemphasizing achievement, it is the schools and school districts which are forced to deliver high test scores from the students. One school district my youngest son attended in Alabama gave, on average, eight standardized tests to each student in one school year. The stakes are high because schools and teachers are judged by these scores. Gifted students were affected the most because their test scores are most often above the desired benchmark scores, so educators focused on those who needed to raise their scores. For years, gifted students were the ones left behind and ignored, and this produced more emotional and educational problems for G&T kids than would be expected. When parents spoke out, asking for support, they were told to quit whining about your gifted kids–“your child is smart, what more could you want?” Animosity grew.

            I have three gifted sons and the older two are 11 and 14 years older than my youngest. I’ve seen firsthand the difference in our educational system in those 10+ years and our gifted kids have suffered unnecessarily which is why gifted students are said to be the largest single population of students turning to homeschooling. My oldest son received the support he needed in school, my middle son received a bit less, but my youngest was treated harshly by teachers who expected him to perform well at all times because he was labeled as gifted–they basically didn’t have time for him. And this is how it has been for many gifted children in recent years–they just languish in their classrooms, bored and miseducated.

            Your story is a great reminder that gifted children can and do succeed with the right educational choices, nurturing and guidance, and parents of gifted children today need to hear this positive reminder to give them hope. I really appreciate you joining in the conversation about gifted students. Your perspective is very important to all of us. I hope you will continue to add your voice to this conversation about the concerns for gifted children–here and elsewhere!

            Thank you SO MUCH, Cody!

  7. Thank you so much for pointing this out! I have two academically gifted children, so I understand the issues that a child having this type of gift faces, especially with regard to receiving appropriate intervention. However, I am also a professional Gift Development Strategist and understand that other gifted abilities in children and adults do exist; gifts that do not fall into the intellectual category. I, too, use the phrase, “Every child is gifted” in my marketing literature, and for me it does not mean that every child is intellectually gifted, but includes the other areas of gifted ability that I believe we have all been given from God. Even for the handicapped child (as was mentioned in a previous post), there are gifts.

    • Thank you for your opinion. I would like to invite you to do some research and get the facts on giftedness. Giftedness is not what you think it is which is evidenced by your comment.

    • No one is trying to deceive or fool you. Our lives are not full of delusion. We have all found a community of of parents who understand the unique challenges that having gifted children creates in our lives. We share these experiences with each other as it is so refreshing to realize you are not alone. We are a minority, no delusions about a Bell curve! Therefor when we do find others who have similar experiences, we try to see if we can learn from them.

      I’m sorry that you feel the need to comment on a thread that is used for support and understanding. I wish for you some enlightenment on the subject. Until then, your comment only further substantiates our great need for gifted families to have a platform to educate.

      Wishing the best for you. And our gifted, profoundly gifted, exceptionally gifted and twice gifted community.

    • Please be productive with your comments. If you want to post a comment like this please take the time to expound on it. Very vague…who is deluded, why are they deluded etc.

  8. What bothers me about the posts on this site is not the idea that your gifted children should have special educational accommodations to address their needs and help them reach their full potential. What bothers me is that you think all the other children don’t need these things. What makes you think that the standard American classroom is appropriate for the needs of the typical child? What makes you think that typical children aren’t being held back by mediocre teaching techniques, or that they wouldn’t also flourish more in a classroom designed specifically for their unique and individual needs? Do you believe that because the non-gifted child isn’t causing problems at school and isn’t failing, that means he or she couldn’t accomplish more with the individualized education you seem to feel gifted children deserve?

    Everyone would benefit from that. But we don’t have the resources to afford it. So the majority of children, average and gifted alike must do the best they can with what is offered. If your children are so intellectually gifted, let them test into a special school or home school them. Otherwise, they need to make do with the sub optimal resources that are available to the rest of us. Trust me, they aren’t any better for most non-gifted.

    • Jane,

      Again, when I advocate for gifted children and say that they need a specialized education, this does not automatically mean to the exclusion of all other children. Gifted education is not a reward or enrichment or special attention; it is much like special education. My gifted child does not need speech therapy and the child with a speech delay does not need occupational therapy for weakness with small motor skills and the child with weak small motor skills will not benefit from gifted accommodations. When I advocate for gifted children, it is not to exclude any other child and their educational needs. And gifted education is not appropriate for all students.

      I do try to advocate for a better educational system for all, and I contact my legislators about our inadequate schools affecting all students. I have posts about over-testing and other educational concerns for all students. I was a public school teacher and I know the problems first hand. But, I’m just one person and I can’t save the entire educational system—I wish I could! So, I focus on an issue that I know all too well.

      As far as the special school or homeschooling, that is not always an option for many families. Giftedness does not discriminate based on race, culture or socioeconomic status, so many families can only make do with public schools for educating their children—they don’t have the means to homeschool. Many school districts do not have special schools either. Without gifted education, these children from impoverished homes whose parents cannot make up the educational inadequacies of the public school their child attends often slip through the cracks, drop out of school and often end up in jail. Even though giftedness is said to occur in only 2 – 5 % of the population, many professional articles quote research data that states 20% of the prison population is gifted (an IQ of 130 or more). It’s called the school to prison pipeline.

      Jane, I really do understand your concerns. Before I experienced the struggles with my own gifted children, I would have voiced the same concerns you have. Even as a teacher, I was never given enough information on gifted children. But, now I know.

      If you read just a few of the comments on some of my posts, you will see the heartache, the struggles and the real problems giftedness brings. Many teens have left comments on my posts explaining how much they hate school, how they feel like they don’t fit in, how they are teased and bullied and called names like nerd or arrogant.

      Giftedness is not better, it is not taking anything away from other children, it is just a cognitive difference some people are born with.

      Thanks, Jane, for caring enough to share your opinions and trying to better understand gifted children!

    • Hi, I understand you point in that every child is unique. The point that is being made with gifted children can be easily understood if you look at a bell curve of the student population. Any system is designed to teach to the middle. There are outliers on both ends of the bell curve and are out of the average. The bell curve for the student population for IQ shows this data. IQ ranges are for 0-165. .01% of the population has an IQ from 0-55, 2% from 55-70, 14% from 70-85, 68% from 85-115, 14% from 115-130, 2% from 130-145, and .01% over 145. If you look at this data 98% of students fall in the middle of the curve with an IQ ranging from 70-130. This is the average student. The outliers are the the low IQ scores which are students who are extremely to moderately delayed, the outliers on the other end of the curve are the children who have high IQ scores and are considered gifted to profoundly gifted. The kids on both ends of these spectrums make up only 2% of the student population. If the kids on the low end of the spectrum have needs that are extremely different (ie: special education) from the average student it would prove that kids on the other end of the curve (gifted) would need some sort of special education. It is easier to get a perspective on needs of children if you look at data. Having said that, I do understand that each child is unique and has a different learning skill. However, most kids fall in the same IQ level and learning spectrum, this is just a fact. There is some misperception among parents that a “gifted” child has it easy and therefore will survive just fine. The fact is, gifted children have extremely unique sets of learning disabilities and problems that cannot be addressed on a normal classroom setting just as special education cannot be addressed in a normal classroom setting. My daughter’s are both profoundly gifted. One chose to homeschool and enter college years early but my other daughter has autism in addition to being profoundly gifted so she requires “special education”. She would actually be considered as having needs on both ends of the bell curve. Our school district does not have any gifted program so her needs cannot be addressed and the “special education” program does not address any gifted needs. The closest private gifted school to me is 30 miles away and has a price tag of $28,000 per year. I hope you spend some time researching some of this data and understand that outlier on both ends of the spectrum has special needs and the school system is set up to teach to the average student. I welcome any feedback on this subject from anyone.

      • Linda,

        Thank you for your excellent explanation of why our gifted children have special educational and emotional needs! I hope Jane and everyone else who doesn’t understand giftedness would do a little more research. Thank you so much!

  9. ”If our child is athletic, artistic or musically gifted, as a society, we nurture their talent and we want to let them shine! Beauty pageants, pop superstars and multi-million dollar sports arenas are proof of that. When a child is intellectually gifted, they learn to keep it to themselves or face jealousy or animosity or rejection. ”’

    Because social stratification isn’t based on athletic, artistic, or musical ability. Duh!

    Also out of these four: intellectual, artistic, athletic, musical, which one do you think actually matters in the grand scheme of society?

  10. Here is another thought provoking article, which touches upon themes that rise up from the surface, the proverbial tip of an iceberg whose mass is deep below, reaching down to the depths of human society throughout its checkered history.

    In an era where, despite the monumental and abject failures of Marxist ideology in modern history, the misguided notion of egalitarianism reigns in the cultural zeitgeist, so much of the potential of human beings remains by the waysides. The state indoctrination that rends human beings, like felled timber is passed through a sawmill, is not motivated by the best interests of mankind, but by the narrow self interest of short sighted fools.

    As Harrison Bergeron, in the eponymous story by Kurt Vonnegut, is blasted down from the height of his glory by the authoritarian Diana Moon Glampers (a fictitious character who is the personification of many a public school teacher, in my experience), so the brilliant are feared, not only by their immediate peers, but by the political state. Intellectual brilliance is the greatest threat to the status quo, and throughout history, it has been the truly gifted who have offered hope for a better future for all, in stark defiance of the oppressive and unjust.

    The concept of equality, while it has some tremendous value in the legal and political systems, is easily co-opted by fascistic sophists, who promise equality of outcome to the median population, in return for unfettered access to the mantles of power. In all of the worst authoritarian regimes of history, the malevolence of the mediocre towards the exceptional has been exploited to seize power, to the end that all people, save for the perpatrators behind the scheme, are made to suffer. Equality of this kind does not issue from the lifting up of people to achieve their full potential, but by the uniform distribution of bondage and misery to all. When we look around us, and see the brutality, injustice, and sad irony of the world, we should not have to be profound philosophers to see why we are forever repeating our mistakes, emerging from the cesspit of misery for a brief moment, only to be pulled back under again. It is our base insecurity and egotism that has consistently served as the manacle with which to bind us, and no degree of prosperity or good fortune has ever been sufficient cause for us to abandon such folly. It is the power of the intellectual to discern the cause of his plight, and seek the means of correcting it.

    Whatever ideals we may cling to, we (and our ideals) are all beholden to the nature from which we evolved. Nature has shown that it does not function for the sake of abstract ideals, but seeks gradual and inexorable improvement through experimentation and selection. Those among us, who are truly exceptional, represent the will of nature to innovate and progress. All organisms obey the laws of natural selection, and attempt to secure their advancement through any means necessary- the only evidence of success is survival.

    Does the law of natural selection remove from us our capacity for kindness and compassion? Hardly so. We, as human beings, possess these virtues as our most prime assets. Contrary to the dictates of postmodern nihilism and the often-toted Malthusian imperative, it is the capacity for the strong to care for the weak that gives us the strength to not only survive the vicissitudes of nature, but to craft a sound dwelling in the midst of its chaotic entropy, in which we can achieve prosperity, and secure a respite from the onslaught of the raw natural world.

    It is not the brilliant, creative mind that seeks the subjugation of others- nay, such minds are, by their very nature, given the capacity to understand the value of justice and virtue. Even through the worst depths of abuse, I have known brilliant people to be jurisprudent and benevolent in their actions. It is those who possess, rather than authentic insight, an ersatz mimicry of that insight– having the tools to manipulate and mislead others, without the wisdom to apply these instruments to the universal good.

    The competition that takes place in natural selection can be compared to the Second World War, which was won, in the end, not by superior innovation and tactics, but by the sheer force of numbers.

    So it is that brilliant minds, whatever advantages they may have, will always be outnumbered. Nature occasionally ventures a gamble on a revolutionary invention, often with great results- but, like the arms manufacturers of World War II, they favour what can be created rapidly and in large numbers. The advances in nature, as in technology, are a luxury that takes place more abundantly in times of peace and prosperity, when the lessons learned at the cost of bloodshed can be understood and built upon, without the immediate pressure of continuing warfare. It is thus that a species of naked, toothless ape became the most prosperous species among the pantheon of terrestrial mammals.

    To reduce humanity to a state of uniformity and mass-production, as the modern state has ere sought to do, is to sever those innovative strains of human evolution that may hold the greatest promise. Not everything that is good can be stored in a box, catalogued with a serial number, or produced in quantity by a mill. Nor should human beings be viewed as grist for the grindstone, mere ledger entries whose individual existence is only consequential to the margin of profit. It should be our greatest imperative to cease the sawing-off of the exceptions and the incongruous, unmanageable aspects of humanity, and to make use of all of the bounty that nature has conceived.

    Because we may not understand the evolutionary process from the standpoint of aeons that have gone by, this does not mean that they are without good purpose. Humility before nature commands that we be stewards of the field, and not merely harvesters of fallen timber. We must embrace the transcendental mosaic that has been laid out before us by these mysterious processes, that all people, no matter their stripe, may be valued for their place in it.

    The wisest stonemasons, whose creations have survived the greatest spans of time, knew to place each stone according to its unique shape. Structures of uniformly cut stone and brick have all fallen in the run of a century or less, but the great monuments are comprised of stones that are, each one, unique in size and shape. Because these structures imitate the nature of the world they inhabit, nature has in turn spared them from being reduced to rubble, and given them such longevity that even we, in the modern day, cannot discern the mysteries of their origin with any certainty.

    If we are to act successfully upon our collective destiny, we must take heed of things for what they are, and conform our ideals to the eternal principles of truth. We must abandon the folly of manipulating nature to our short sighted ambitions, and accept what we have been given by the supreme accident of our sentient existence. To recognize gifted children, who come in so many varieties, is to build a foundation that will stand long after we ourselves have been carried away into the sepulchres of antiquity. The strength of these children will be the beatification of our humanity, the road out of bondage and suffering, and the triumph of one of nature’s most beautiful creations.

    It should be, therefore, not only a matter of pride for the parents of intellectually gifted children, but these children should be held up as the pride and joy of the community– the capstones of virtue, and the keystones of our collective happiness and prosperity. If we are to deny these children their rightful place, then we shall ultimately be the architects of our own misfortune.

    • “The wisest stonemasons, whose creations have survived the greatest spans of time, knew to place each stone according to its unique shape. Structures of uniformly cut stone and brick have all fallen in the run of a century or less, but the great monuments are comprised of stones that are, each one, unique in size and shape.” <--- This is so true and yet we continue to educate our citizenry in a one-size-fits-all, industrial-style system shaping all of our children into "uniformly cut stones." Thank you so much, Jim, for your insights and wisdom.

  11. Thank you for your article. As someone who attended highly gifted schools and who had to fight to get her children into the gifted program, I am constantly told how easy I have it, how blessed I am. No one else spent 6 months dealing with a 4-year-old who asked every question he could think of about death, questions most adults won’t dare ask. No one spent 6 months dealing with a 4-year-old who understood death better than most adults but cried out of fear every day because he was only 4. No one else dealt with a 2nd grader who was suicidal because every mean word classmates said to him hurt him to the core. How could he understand emotionally that kids say things that they don’t mean because he wouldn’t be so careless with his words? On the flip side, no one else has to deal with the amount of sarcasm I do! No one else has their kids coming to them every day stating the minor injustices that occurred at school. Then again, no one else has children who understand new math concepts well enough to teach them after a 5-minute lesson, but I usually don’t get to share those things.

    Of course, I know that it isn’t true that “no one else” understands these things – but that’s how it feels when I’m told how easy it is. How easy must it be for parents to never have to deal with depression in a child!

    It’s nice to have an online community that makes me feel a little less alone and a little less ostracized in these struggles.

    • Lisa,

      You very succinctly described what I feel is the biggest paradox with giftedness. There are inherent struggles that come with giftedness which are totally dismissed by those who do not understand giftedness. Worse than having our struggles dismissed is the coexisting belief that our lives are super easy and advantageous. We can’t talk about the downsides of giftedness because others believe we have no right to complain about our perfect lives, and we can’t talk about the upsides of giftedness because then we are seen as bragging.

      Thank goodness for all of the online communities where we are free to talk about both the upsides and downsides of giftedness with others who are in the same boat.

      Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and your frustrations with us–all of us here do understand!

  12. I would like to share my personal experience. I’m a Cuban citizen, when I was in third grade the teacher send me to see a psychologist, because I didn’t wanted to participate in class she thought I wasn’t learning, and something was wrong with me. My mother took me and after the psychologist did all kinds of test she told me that I was abnormal positive and that I was fine. I didn’t understood what she meant by abnormal positive, and she didn’t explain to my mother either. For years all I thought was that I was abnormal(couldn’t get that word out of my mind), and of course there was no special school program for me specially because I was not mommy and daddy’s baby. School was always a torture for me,like I say I thought something was wrong with me. Then I came to USA and have child, when he was in second grade he was tested and accepted in the gifted program, and I understood not only what was going on with my child but with me all along. I can’t even put in words how glad I am that my kids where born here and are going to school in this country, they love school.

    • Marilyn,

      It is so wonderful to hear your children are getting the education and support they need. I think many of us parents find out about our own giftedness when we are told our children are gifted. I am happy you are here in the U.S., too, and no longer believe there is something wrong with you.

      Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  13. As a gifted student, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this article. I can say for a fact that even in my community, where they claim to praise the gifted and help cultivate their abilities, I’ve faced unending ridicule for my accomplishments. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I feel as if I’m not allowed to discuss any of my achievements, let alone the ones I’m proud of. I’m simply here to act as the “smart-one-who-approves-of-what-you’re-doing-to-make-you-feel-better-about-what you’ve-done.” Sure, it’s perfectly fine for me to applaud when others achieve, for that means I’m an intelligent person recognizing hard-earned achievement. However, if I DARE do well in any given subject, it’s always downplayed because it “must have come naturally anyway.” Giftedness is not a blanket that covers all facets of the mind. While I excel in most disciplines, I struggle in math. (I tend to do the work in my head, but my thinking gets ahead of itself. It’s difficult to explain.) When these short comings first became noticeable, my teacher actually discouraged me from getting a tutor. I still wonder to this day why in the world a teacher would outright advise against administering the proper solution to an issue? Regardless, I eventually hired a tutor who explained the material in a way that suited me. Still, it saddens me to think of all the potential I could have squandered due to the ridicule of teachers, parents and colleages alike. Every time I left class to go to the gifted classroom, my sixth grade teacher would complain to me about how I had to go to the extra class. She’d ridicule me, even in front of other students about it. In fact, my third grade teacher kept me inside during recess nearly every day and would lecture me about asking too many questions. I was limited to give each day. (Way to encourage intellectual curiosity, hm?) I’ve had other parents tell me to curb my achievements so that their children could feel special and smart. (I never quite understood this, considering that at that very moment the aforementioned paren’t child was usually texting on their phone or chatting with other children instead of paying attention to the subject at hand. It obviously wasn’t the child that wanted to feel unique.) Through all this smart-shaming and guilt for my interests and abilities, and even a time in which the school refused to put me in the gifted program (my parents ended up taking me to be evaluated outside of school just to prove the fact that I belonged in the program, and as a result I became a member of MENSA at an extremely young age) and even then the gifted class teacher treated me with disdain for not getting in through the school’s own methods. I am well aware that not everyone is gifted, and there isn’t anything that can be done to change that. Instead, we must allow everyone to be proud of what they can and do accomplish, regardless of the level the achievement is on. Nobody should be shamed for what they can do.

    • I’d just like to apologize in advance for any errors in this comment. I typed this up using my phone, and unfortunately autocorrect is not the best of tools.

    • Rose,

      I admire you for your strength of character and resilience to continue to excel despite the push-back from others! Thank you so much for sharing your story so that those who fail to support gifted students and gifted education can see the situation from the eyes of the gifted child and not only from their parents. There is so much to be learned from your story and your message, and I sincerely thank you!

      • Goodness, you’re quite welcome! I’m glad to have found others who share my views on such a relevant issue.

  14. I think the enormous sensitivity around intellectual giftedness is the issue; it is easy to see that a child cannot run as fast as another, or cannot jump as high. The fact that these traits are concrete makes it easy to accept; its happens (or doesn’t happen) before your eyes. intellect is different it is abstract and iintelligent children (and adults) can underperform due to any number of external factors, which allows others to say; “See he/she isn’t all that special after all!”. I grew up as a gifted child and I am a gifted adult and I often suspect that the term “gifted” is used ironically! I am perfectly aware that it is a double-edged sword; in my experience a gifted child needs guidance, support and mentoring to allow them to actually benefit from their gift. I suppose just the same as an athlete may need the same. I grew up with very limited support and I suffered as a result. I have a gifted daughter now and I often feel overwhelmed, my experience of giftedness was and still is to some degree, rather negative and it weighs heavily on me that I should give my daughter the best support I can. The sensitivity around giftedness makes it much more difficult; it is a bit of a no-no to even mention it and it becomes really difficult to allow my child to thrive while having to hide the reality of her giftedness.

    Why, oh why can people not just accept that we are different, not better, not worse, just different and we did not ask to be different, it just happened.

    • Stuart, your story explains so well the very essence of why giftedness is a “dirty” word, why it is a double-edged sword, and why we feel we need to hide in the closet. The only “cure” is that we all try to bring giftedness out of the closet, and try to help others understand that being gifted isn’t all rainbows and sunshine and good grades and success. We all need to fearlessly advocate together! Thanks for sharing your story; it is so important for all of us to share our thoughts, stories and ideas!

  15. I think this article is struggling with the issue of language. If we drop gifted = academically gifted, there would be less of a problem. Intellectual or academic giftedness is just one of many types of gifts. But as a society we seem to see intellectual giftedness as a superior gift to all the others because it potentially allows for greater earning potential. So we equate gifts with money and that type of “success”. Which is wrong in my opinion. Everybody has a part to play. Everybody is a creature of God. We are all part of the body of Christ and we need each part to make the whole.

    • Yes, agreed. “But as a society we seem to see intellectual giftedness as a superior gift to all the others because it potentially allows for greater earning potential.” <--- and this is THE problem because we all compete with each other on an intellectual level, but we don't all compete athletically or artistically. And you are right again - we all have a part to play, none better or more important than the other, but intellectual giftedness is usually seen as the "more important." This has led to gifted children being neglected educationally, and many gifted children therefore give up on being a part of the whole. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Thank you so much for pointing this out! I have two academically gifted children, so I understand the issues that a child having this type of gift faces, especially with regard to receiving appropriate intervention. However, I am also a professional Gift Development Strategist and understand that other gifted abilities in children and adults do exist; gifts that do not fall into the intellectual category. I, too, use the phrase, “Every child is gifted” in my marketing literature, and for me it does not mean that every child is intellectually gifted, but includes the other areas of gifted ability that I believe we have all been given from God. Even for the handicapped child (as was mentioned in a previous post), there are gifts.

  16. I especially experienced this with my daughters school. We live in Rochester, MI and the city is marketed as having a great school system. When we approached them about our gifted child, we were told by the principal and district that they didn’t have a gifted program because the whole Rochester School District was set up for gifted kids. Which was there was of saying that “all kids” are gifted. We had to move her to a private school. She is doing great but what a shame that a self proclaimed “innovative” school district is so misled and could not accommodate her learning needs.

    • I’m gonna be a bit snarky here, but is this school district also completely set up for ALL children with learning differences therefore they have no special programs at all? Sorry… But worse than this school district saying “all kids are gifted” is this school district pretending that gifted children have no special learning needs. Gifted education is needed as much as any other special education program.

  17. The problem is with the word “gifted” itself. Most people who do not have a clue about gifted education hear the word gifted and many assumptions will come up, such as elitism, and the like. We have to be sensitive about others and take that into account and not get so offended by this! A lot of people are not trying to be rude, but if there was a different terminology that pinpointed the type of kids we are talking about here, it would be easier to explain to outsiders, like myself, who was an outsider before I was a parent. I said the same things before I accepted that my daughter was very bright and different. Someone please invent a new word!!

    • Like so many others, we wish for a new word, but regardless of which word, we do need a term for educational, psychological and medical reasons to identify and serve these children. The problem I foresee is that no matter which term we use, it will have connotations of “smarter”, “superior intelligence” or “above average cognitive function” and those connotations will trigger the accusations of elitism. It probably wouldn’t be long before our new word would evoke all the negative reactions that “gifted” does. More than I wish for a new word, I wish for society to understand our children and not get so offended when they hear the word gifted because being gifted is not all it is cracked up to be!

  18. Thank you so much for the article. It explains why my husband and my daughter are so bothered by the tag on their shirts!~ LOL!
    Gifted children need more understanding from the society, especially at school as well… Thank you and looking forward to your book in 2015.

    • Those darn tags! For my son, it is the seams on his socks! When I go to the store to buy him socks, I must look a little odd rubbing all the toes on each pack of socks I pick up! 🙂 Thanks for your comment and reading my blog!

      • when I read your comment to my other daughter, she said, ” oh my gosh!” She is just like your son. My husband even checks out the thickness and the feel of the socks.
        I am surrounded by them, and I love them so much! I am blessed. Have a blessed week and will continue to follow your blog.

  19. As a “gifted” adult who enjoys life at the tail of the bell curve, I find the defense of the term “gifted” to be wholly misplaced. Just as other terms (some clinical, some colloquial: imbecile comes to mind, as does retard, queer, Oriental…) have been replaced with *more appropriate* substitutions over time, we are overdue for a new identifier.

    Imagine that some long-ago clinician termed children with high IQs “Better” children. It wouldn’t be impossible to follow his reasoning, but clearly “better” is a loaded term, one with additional connotations that cannot simply be uncoupled once a new definition joins the train. (Consider the repercussions for the politician who used the word “niggardly,” not because it was incorrect in context, but because a sensitive person ought to anticipate how language affects listeners and behave sympathetically.) If someone– or many someones!– tells you that “gifted” comes off as elitist, why wouldn’t you want to examine whether there’s a better way to restate your message? It’s not like we’d have to sacrifice accuracy– in fact, the broadness of the term is at the root of the issue. I believe if we were more well-versed in all the versions of the human condition, and had the language to discuss our children and their needs without resorting to heirarchy, it would benefit children, and caretakers, and society as a whole.

    Additionally, because Momastery is what brought me here and made me think once again about being “gifted” (I hoped for a reprieve between graduation and parenting!), I’d like to encourage anyone who wants to continue the conversation on bragging to read more of Glennon’s writing. She specifically eschews parental bragging; not everyone believes it’s ok to brag about your athlete but not your mathlete. Love and pride and boasting don’t have to go together– in fact, they shouldn’t. Our children need to know that our affection is constant, even as measures of “giftedness” are bound to vary.

    My life experience has demonstrated that “tall poppy syndrome” is a real thing, but so are obnoxious poppies.

    • Yes, there are obnoxious people in all walks and corners of life; no group is exempt.

      The term “gifted” is unfortunate, but that is the term we inherited. It has been used as the professional, clinical, psychological and educational term to identify children who have above-average IQ’s. I don’t believe anyone would know how to go about changing such a long-standing term. The sheer scope – psychological research studies, college textbooks, standardized intelligence tests, school systems’ gifted programs – would all have to edit, change and switch. Who would initiate this change and how would we get everyone to agree on the new word. Anyway, I’m not opposed, but it would be a massive undertaking.

      But changing the term doesn’t solve the entire problem..

      Once a new term is somehow agreed on, we would still be using it to identify children who have higher IQ’s and a greater intellectual capacity. This is what is seen as elitist, not the word. The root of the problem is the fact that anti-intellectualism, jealousy, and competitiveness exists in our society, so these ill feelings will always be leveled at anyone who is deemed in any way as being better – smarter, richer, prettier. No matter how benign or neutral the word would be, gifted children will always be saddled with the stereotype of being better.

      Would we think to change identifiers such as “handsome” or “beautiful” to the more neutral term “physically competent” when referring to a very attractive human simply so those of us who are not attractive don’t feel bad?

      It is not the word, it is the perspectives of people…

      I really appreciate your comments, I agree the term “gifted” is unfortunate, but I disagree that it is the word at the root of the issue….

  20. Love your article! I have raised both gifted and special needs children. To me they both have special needs not covered by a typical school curriculum. We were fortunate to have a gifted program in our district, which performed psychological and IQ tests to identify candidates. Because of this, my child went from a situation were they didn’t even know she could read and add in kindergarten (they only tested for letter recognition and counting) to a classroom filled with similar kids (they bussed the kids to all be in one of the district school’s classroom.) And because of that program (which started in the fourth grade) my child finally got excited about school. No more daydreaming, yeah! Watching these kids in action, you see the small ways they are different. There is no one type, but I see how they can be socially awkward, easily excitable, oversensitive, contrary, challenging, and manipulative, to name a few traits common to these kids. Unfortunately, while it is nice they have a group they can cling to, it does not stop the bullying by other children. It also does not stop the other parents from thinking you are a braggart for sharing their accomplishments. When other parents share their children’s success stories, my child’s academic success is all I have to share for my child. Sorry, but my kid even uses her head to kick a ball. 😉 I find myself making a joke out of my child’s miniscule athletic ability to try and offset accomplishments I should rightly be proud of. A little more tolerance and compassion by all would go a long way.

    • “A little more tolerance and compassion by all would go a long way.” <---- Yes, wouldn't that make such a HUGE difference in the lives of our gifted children? And you are not the first one to comment and say how they have to downplay their child's giftedness by saying how bad they are at something else! I have done that, too, and I feel horrible now for having done it! Thank you for sharing your story!

  21. I have long since stopped talking about my PG son to people outside my immediate family. To numerous to count the times that I have gotten the side-eye or passive aggressive comment about my son’s abilities. With those abilities comes the out-of-nowhere anxiety, and the asynchronous emotional behaviors. His vulnerabilities are seen as silly to some or others blame me for not properly parenting him. “Spare the rod…” nonsense thrown our way, as if I am less moral for how I deal with his sensitivities. I’ve seen adults act bullish towards my son if they know about his giftedness, as in – “Well if he’s so smart, he should know not to cry over being skipped in line”. All of us who are in this community know that our kids synthesize information differently from birth (faster, deeper, intensely) and when it comes to education what should get praised instead gets caveats, as in “Sure he’s memorized the periodic table, but have you seen how messy his take home folder is?”.

    I’ve been taking the lumps quietly, and keeping his achievements to myself. But when other parents try to generalize his unique qualities to include kids who do not have to live with the daily asynchrony – it infuriates me. Yes, all children are gifts. No, not all are gifted. And I am tired of pretending otherwise. /endrant (Thanks for your article, I follow you on twitter too)

    • The entire time I was reading your comment, I was nodding my head, over and over, in agreement! How many stories like yours has to be heard before the rest of the world “gets it”? And there are many of us in the same boat, sadly!

      The most effective tool we have to positively impact the lives of our gifted children is our voice; and social media makes it a heck of a lot easier to make our voices heard! We all need not be afraid to share our stories, and many thanks to you for sharing yours here! Ranting is great – it makes you feel better 🙂 Thank you for sharing! Or ranting! Either way, it’s all good!

  22. Such a great post. One additional comment I would like to add, though. There is often the assumption that musically talented children can be easily accepted in our culture. I think this is true if the talent fits mainstream culture’s view of pop music, or if the talent is not “too threatening.” However, highly gifted classically trained musicians also often feel like nerds and outliers; they often hide their talents, are bullied and feel excluded. While most parents don’t necessarily “expect” that their children will achieve that status, the way they may expect them to be intellectually gifted, these children are often perceived as odd, and certainly not given the same status as talented athletes. Many feel shame and often leave the musical field to feel “normal” and fit in. Sound familiar?

    Gail Post, Ph.D./

    • Gail, thank you so much for pointing out the plight of the gifted classically trained musicians. I had never thought of them as outliers mainly because I so admire them! I am disheartened that there is yet another group of children we are marginalizing for their talents simply because those talents are not mainstream 🙁 My own son is embarrassed because his passion is video game development & programming, but he feels he would be more accepted if he were more interested in football or hunting…

      Thanks, Gail, for sharing this with us!

      • Thanks, Celi. I don’t think the problem stems from parents as much as from peers, who cannot understand or accept how these gifted musicians differ from them. It is not “cool” to play in the orchestra, and most kids know this. Jazz band might be OK, but wind ensemble is as bad as orchestra. Gifted male actors in musical theatre are taunted as gay. Many kids drop out of music because they want to fit in. Just like they drop out of math, chess, physics, and other academic subjects.

        Gail Post, Ph.D./

        • Gail, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. It is definitely something we all need to be aware of. Although it stems from peer pressure, as adults, being aware of this may help us to influence a change if the opportunity arises.

  23. Yes, we somehow think that if we just teach the right way or at the right time every child can learn calculus, and yet we don’t think every child can play a Mozart Concerto or become an Olympic figure skater. Athletic and artistic gifts are easily visible. Intellectual gifts are harder to discern. They make people uncomfortable. I vote for changing the word “gifted” to Intellectually Advanced.

    • Evelyn, I like the term, intellectually advanced, too. That is my first choice for a term to replace “gifted.” But then I look at the word “advanced” and I can see this: “Every child is advanced. They just show it in different ways” Or maybe I’m just being sarcastic because it is has been a long day. But, definitely, it is the word “gifted” that causes a lot of trouble! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  24. Celi, I posted this on Facebook, but I’ll say it again. Please don’t ever get off your soapbox. No, get a microphone, or better yet a whole loudspeaker system. Repeat, repeat repeat until someone understands.

    • Aww, Marilyn, thank you so much! Really, without encouragement and support from wonderful people like you, I probably would have jumped down some time ago. Thank you SO much for your encouraging words and your support for our gifted children!

  25. Thank you for this post. As a “gifted” adult, and former teacher, married to a more “gifted” adult and having been both blessed and cursed with an amazing even “more” gifted now three year old daughter, your writings are what I need as my husband and I struggle to navigate raising our child. What the world fails to recognize or admit is that “giftedness” is not “smart”. Smart children memorize well, take tests well, study well, gifted individuals, think differently and see the world differently. Gifted children and adults recognize that there are those who are more “gifted” and are able to see the minute gradations of intelligence but the one thing the “gifted” will not do, is the exact thing society is doing, clumping everyone together and saying it is “good-enough”. “Good enough” for me and my husband, however, means that we can not find a preschool for our daughter and when we ask administrators who they are going to “individualize” the curriculum for her, they say, “we can’t” we are not a “gifted school”…she will come to school and learn other things and you will have to “teach” her when she gets home. I can go on and on but I just wanted to simply thank you for putting yourself out there.

    • And I would not be able to put myself out there if there weren’t so, so many parents like you who keep sharing your experiences and stories, proving many times over, that our gifted children are misunderstood, miseducated and mistreated. Thank you, Susan, from the bottom of my heart!

  26. I can’t tell you how much this article soothes my soul, and speaks from it. It’s too bad that I can’t re-post this and still feel comfortable with my family. Getting them to understand that it’s not a rat race. And I can’t explain it to them no matter how hard I try, because they shut down and won’t look at what is in front of them. They won’t take the time to understand no matter how I try to explain it.

  27. I was wondering what the evidence is for the statement that gifted children “are… EMOTIONAL AND SOCIALLY INTENSE.” Is that a research finding, or is that based on personal anecodotes? The reason I ask is that the paragraph continues with the rhetorical question, “Do you think every child reacts to a tag on the back of their shirt like it is a piece of wood with hundreds of sharp nails protruding into their skin?” and my answer to that question is that quite a few clothing manufacturers these days make T-shirts and camisoles and other inner garments without any tags on them. If mass-market companies are making such products, and an extreme reaction to clothing tags are a sign of giftedness, that rather suggests that everybody (or at least a very large subset of the population, a LOT more than 1 percent of the population) is gifted.

    • The social, sensual, and emotional intensity or “excitability” is a proven, and very well-known scientific fact identified by Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski around 1964. Read more here:

      And much like many medical conditions, symptoms such as a headache or chronic nausea or ringing in the ear, can overlap and be a characteristic of more than one medical condition. So, of course an intense reaction to a tag on a t-shirt is not solely indicative of giftedness. That would be narrow-minded to think that one trait can indicate only one condition. Giftedness, as well as many medical or psychological conditions, are complex and multi-faceted.

      On the other hand, a tag on a shirt would make many non-gifted people uncomfortable, and given the choice, they would choose a tagless shirt. But for gifted children with sensual (sense of touch) overexcitabilities, that tag is more than uncomfortable, it could feel more like a razor blade continually piercing their back. I’m sure clothing manufacturers understand their customers’ need for comfort, and I doubt that Fruit of the Loom or Hanes believes they are catering to only gifted individuals.

      Thanks for asking for clarification on gifted children!

      • Thanks for your reply. Alas, I was afraid before you kindly replied that this blog post was all based on the passed-on views of Kazimierz Dąbrowski (1902-1980) as those appear in statements in gifted education literature. I have heard statements like yours here many times over the last decade or more at conferences (local and national) about gifted education. I am a parent of four children (one grown up and living on his own now, hurrah) and I have been curious about these issues since my own childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. I have been looking up the research base on Dąbrowski’s views (e.g., the collection of articles edited by Sal Mendaglio) for years, and have met Michael M. Piechowski, the main proponent of his views, at conferences on gifted education. There just isn’t any research base to support any of the Dabrowski ideas about characteristics of gifted kids. None. A psychologist friend of mine (also a parent and adviser of gifted children who speaks at conferences on gifted education) notes that Dąbrowski is obscure and essentially unknown outside of “giftie land” (that psychologist’s term). There is essentially no uptake of Dąbrowski’s views as a basis for personality research among serious researchers, and personality research is a worldwide enterprise with hundreds of active studies at any given moment.

        I’ll link here, for you and our fellow parents, a book chapter by a researcher on personality and on human intelligence who is a very smart man, a parent himself, and a thoughtful scholar on how personality relates to intelligence. The link is by his courtesy, a link from his faculty website. I hope that we go far beyond the outmoded model of personality from the late Dąbrowski, as that model doesn’t provide good guidance to parents about what to do when children “cry, scream, become anxious, shut down or fall apart” (in the words of your blog post), and I would like parents to have better help for alarming situations like that. The gifted education literature (and especially the popular literature like books for parents or blog posts) badly needs to catch up with at least three decades of psychological research that is nowhere reflected in most advice that parents receive on how to deal with gifted children.

        Best wishes to all the parents reading this who are looking for help for their children.

        • As a Clinical Psychologist, I would like to respond to your comments. Dabrowski’s theories have provided a valuable framework for understanding the social/emotional behavior of gifted individuals. Research about giftedness can be found in the literature, (see SENGifted, Gifted Child Quarterly, for example), but clearly, more is needed. Your point that his theories do not solve practical concerns, such as how to help a child who is anxious, is not relevant. Dabrowski’s work is not a self-help book, and parents who need help with their children benefit most from trained professionals who can respond directly to their child’s problem.

          It is alarming that you came across a psychologist who was so disparaging of information available about giftedness. It is an embarrassment to me that someone in my profession would respond like this.

          Gail Post, Ph.D./

        • This is the typical kind of response and (perhaps slightly defensiveness) gifted adults have to experience daily, from non gifted individuals. It is difficult enough trying to exist as ‘outsiders’ without then having to explain and justify just our very beings and existence. The reason that perhaps there is not much ‘mainstream’ research on it, is that gifted individuals don’t often make it into ‘mainstream’ institutions for research, to then offer the insights that would drive research further forward. I have several close friends in the Uk who have gone through to work for the department of health, with research Phds in psychology, both from Oxford University – the typical minds that produce mainstream ‘respected research’.
          They themselves however, are not gifted individuals. They are bright. There is a difference. Their minds can see differences / problems and try to make sense of it in a linear fashion. They study the subject because they don’t innately understand such topics as we LIVE. The contributors are the seekers trying to understand, what we experience.
          Gifted adults don’t often exist in the institutions that provide ‘mainstream’ research, for problems this blog clearly voices.
          If we were accommodated for and / or understood more by mainstream institutions, we ourselves could join and become the ‘recognised’ bodies of information, and provide insightful and necessary research. We could advance research across the board, (medical advancements, technology..etc) because most of us are creative minded too (not just linear). Much to our problems and our great insights.
          It’s almost a catch 22.

          • Emma, I think you have this dilemma exactly right! The only way to change this is for everyone in the gifted community to keep advocating, keep talking–keep the conversation going until enough bright people begin to understand giftedness. Gifted individuals need to be welcomed into the mainstream without having to conform and dumb down and exhaust themselves trying to fit in.

            Keep talking, Emma! You are on to something!

  28. Not to be a total downer, but not all children have “gifts.” At least, not as we conventionally see them. I know a young girl who is severely handicapped. She is about ten. She cannot sit, walk, or talk. She may have gifts of which I am not aware, but I would say her gift is helping people find their compassion. As I said, not how we traditionally think of it.

    On a completely different note, I refuse to feel guilt for sharing my kids’ accomplishments. I don’t do it excessively and I don’t always do it with pride (sometimes I bemoan the fact that I can’t find books that are age appropriate or that they have been outsmarting me since age 3), but if it were baseball and I could say it, then I say it about academics. Let others think what they will – I want my kids to hear my pride… and not just in what they accomplish, but in what they try.

    So, my son is a viable substitute for GPS in any state he’s been to (equivalent to burping the alphabet backwards.)

    My daughter (age 4) came up with “utensil” for show-n-share for the letter U. She doesn’t want to read because what she can read is boring for her. (equivalent to having your kid refuse to play flag football in PE because the kids aren’t good enough).

    But I also try to support the parents of non-gifted kids. My kids’ insane academics don’t mean it’s not awesome when their kids do well on the science quiz. And I also compliment them on areas where their kids DO excel.

  29. I often feel like I have to down play how well my 2 gifted children are doing. I am not sure why I do but I totally brag about how well they are doing in sports. I don’t think I am doing them any favors with this behavior. They should be proud of who they are and I should be more Thankful that we still have a GATE program in our school district.

    • Yes, I agree it is difficult to have to keep your child’s intellectual achievements to yourself, but athletic achievements? Brag away!<---So sad for our kids that we feel this way! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  30. I will agree with your premise. No, not all children are intellectually gifted. However, I feel that some of your post consists of generalities when it comes to what “Gifted children are…” and to the experiences of gifted children and their parents.
    I was an intellectually gifted child, so I feel that I can report that my experience was and is completely different. I will also state that these are only my experiences and observations.
    You state that “They feel like they don’t fit in.” I felt like I fit in, and I never heard my “gifted” friends ever say that they felt that they did not fit in. I was never made to feel bad or unusual by my “normal” peers because I was “gifted”.
    Not all gifted people “are born with emotional and social sensitivities and intensities which make their lives a bit more difficult.” To me that remark just makes it seem like I along with my intellectual peers were and are more likely to become emotional puddles when we face a difficult situation. Really? My friends and I were some pretty tough cookies, of course we didn’t have people making fun of our minds.
    My parents were proud of me and spoke of my accomplishments to their friends, who in turn spoke of their children’s accomplishments (athletic, artistic, musical, and academic). My friends some who are “gifted” and some who are not speak/post about their children’s accomplishments (using the potty for the first time, making all A’s, being accepted into the gifted and talented program, making the varsity softball team, etc.) without feeling like they are bragging.
    Just some thoughts from a “gifted” individual.

    • I’m happy that your school experience was a positive one, but your experience does not reflect the experience of way too many of our gifted children in our schools today. And of course, every gifted child is different and possesses different characteristics and traits. Many educational and psychological professionals seem to agree that the more an individual deviates from the mean on an IQ bell curve, the greater the likelihood that individual will experience or possess non-average characteristics, traits and issues, and the more intense those issues will be. And if these traits and characteristics are ignored or not attended to, then there will likely be negative emotional and psychological effects. Thanks for sharing your experience as a gifted individual; every gifted child deserves to have a positive educational experience such as yours!

  31. It is almost as if the goal was enforced mediocrity. Every child should be helped to manifest their potential and balance it with some real life values including consideration caring giving and their own sense of satisfaction or happiness. If we help these children to grow and flourish so will our civilization as they contribute to its well being. As one commentator pointed out we dumb everything down and give our children awards for being themselves. One of the greatest assets our society has is its ability to create and innovate. It makes our country and the world a better place to live and we should therefore nourish it. This also should cover children with the pseudo affliction of ADD or ADHD. How many gifted children who could contribute to the advances of civilization are being drugged into oblivion. Instead we should have developed techniques to help them harness their energies and thoughts on multiple tasks. Instead we have given drug companies life long customers. Instead of a disorder look at it as a gift or challenge and make it work.

    • I totally agree! One colleague of mine calls it the Race to the Bottom. And I agree with your thoughts on the diagnosis and medication of ADD and ADHD. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • Have you ever read “Harrison Bergeron”, by Kurt Vonnegut? Vonnegut understood the plight of the gifted. It occurred to me that it needs to be emphasized that, in a regular classroom, intellectually gifted kids are being held back, their educational needs unmet, same as any kid who doesn’t fall into the narrow spectrum of kids whose needs the regular classroom is designed to meet.

      • YES! And thanks for bringing that story up; I had forgotten all about it! I see where our intellectually gifted students quite easily fit into this story of equalization, but I would have to venture that the supporters of gifted and talented football players destined for a professional career would raise the roof if anyone tried to hold back or equalize everyone’s football-playing ability! Yikes!

        Thanks for sharing this!

    • The reason for the dumbing down of society is because smart people are more likely to question the government, and the government we have nowadays does not like that, since it threatens their power, so the more people they encourage to be dumb, the more people they can control. You can’t do that with an intelligent person. This is the sad fact of our anti-intellectual culture.

  32. Damn right…couldnt have put it better myself…as a gifted adult..I have struggled mightily people laugh at you or use you because you know so much more you can help them right? Or at its most awful tell you to shut up or not use “enormous” words because they didnt understand they are so much more when we are! And to put all of this venom on a child who is exquisite and sensitive and yes emotional even is awful and should be ended now..we dont allow other kinds of bias why do we allow this?

  33. Thank you! I really needed this today. I so often have to downplay how well my children do academically, and yet everyone asks how their sports are going. I am tired of hearing my children apologize for doing well (even in a gifted classroom) to their friends. I know this is a long, hard road to fight for our children’s right to be educated at their level and to have the right to be proud of their accomplishments–all of them.

    • I agree! Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience and thoughts. It helps all of us to understand and join in the much-needed gifted advocacy!

  34. One more.
    Gifted children grow into being gifted adults. Adults who are sensitive and intense, who need to be around other gifted adults, who continue to seek out more knowledge, who understand that while everyone has gifts that not everyone is gifted, and who also know that every person is valuable and worthy of respect.

  35. Well said! Thank you so much for this post. I’ve tried to have this discussion with people before-and it was like being in a “swarm” of sharks during a feeding frenzy. I work with special needs kids-and I also believe that all kids have skills and talents that are unique to only them. However, in working in this field, I have personally seen many gifted kids shrink back because of the priority placed on “special needs”. The truly gifted children are many times overlooked and often undermined due to the over emphasis we place on inclusion & making everyone feel “special”-even if they just show up. If we are all special, then that means no one really is. The gifted kids are surely NOT included in the inclusion discussion. NO gifted child should ever feel ashamed of their gifted-ness – because others have been taught to react with animosity. They should shine as brightly as they can-and maybe be inspiration to the untalented/un-gifted rather than a source of jealousy. I’m so glad to know that others feel the same way as I do! Love your blog by the way-just found it. Will be following it !

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences! I agree with many of the points you made; we have a long, uphill battle to improve the lives of our gifted children!

    • Yes, we all want to make sure our kids know that they are special, and we all want to believe our kids are smart, but until I had a special-gifted child, I had never realized how discriminatory society is towards giftedness. Anti-intellecutalism is formidable!

      • I just read your post – 2 years later! I appreciate it so much. It seems sometimes I am alone on the battle lines having had to fight for gifted programming for my eldest and it really took the wind out of me. Yes there is intellectual prejudice. I moved my children to a new school with the understanding that they would cater to gifted needs – but it was slow-going and each year required more proof with an undercurrent that they didn’t want to admit giftedness as it gave off the perception that my child was somehow “getting more.” When learning “disabilities” came into play, suddenly they were more amenable to providing needed support. The sad thing is that I have delayed advocating for my second thinking she’s probably fine but now realizing I will have to advocate yet again. It shouldn’t be this hard to get children’s emotional and intellectual needs met at school. And we should be able to talk about our gifted kids as much as star athletes’ prowess and artists’ successes. It is prejudice against kids who need something different in order to thrive and not shut down. And they are children, I am so glad that was your first point. Children! Not little adults trying to out-do other kids. We should as a society want what’s best for ALL children.

        • Faith,

          You make so many valid and critical points: There is intellectual prejudice; every child should have their emotional and intellectual needs met; they are children, not little adults; and most importantly, we should as a society want what’s best for ALL children.

          Most schools will meet the needs of a child below grade level, but a child who is above grade level is considered advantaged and not in need of having his educational needs met, so it is accepted that he can languish in a regular class, not learning anything new, because he is better off than all other students. What is not understood is that the languishing puts gifted children at risk for acting out, frustration, boredom, depression and dropping out.

          Yes, as you said, there is intellectual prejudice in our society, and it is hurting our gifted children and keeping them from getting a proper education.

          Thank you, Faith, for telling us about your struggles you have come up against trying to get a proper education for your gifted child. And remember that you are not alone on your journey trying to get an equitable and appropriate education for your child! All the best and stay strong!

          • Your post was in March but I just stumbled upon it recently. I have to agree, I was so hopeful when I learned my son was gifted. However, the journey has not always been easy and at times frustrating. I soon learned there are a host of issues, not all gifted individuals are A students, peers don’t always appreciate their intelligence and teachers get frustrated when they know and understand the topics better then them. I’ve had a vice principal tell me he’ll have to learn to adapt, that’s when I hired the advocate. Not all gifted are in the box thinkers and want to learn what the public schools teach. The material he wants to learn he does with such intensity. He has an ability to understand such complex issues. Yes, he is opinionated, can back up all his info with facts and could debate most anyone. But he struggles with anxiety and depression which cripples his academic grades. He works harder than most because he is also fighting the demons in his mind always searching for more, never being able to put a topic to rest. I think he and i would give up the burden of being gifted and be ecstatic to be happy and average. Parenting a gifted child is anything but easy for they question every boundary, don’t sleep well, know all rules and rights and push all the limits.They have more knowledge and understanding than most. Thanks for a well written post and to all the parents in the same boat.

          • Hi Sb,

            As I read your story, I was just nodding in agreement and understanding–there are many of us in the same boat. But, when I read the part about the vice principal saying your son needs to learn to adapt, I just wanted to scream, “Would s/he expect a dyslexic to have to learn to adapt? Or would s/he expect a hearing-impaired student to adapt without accommodations? Maybe s/he would expect a younger and slower student to just adapt to the faster, more advanced pace of his/her class? Expecting our gifted kids to adapt just really angers me!

            Thank you for writing and I wish you well on your journey with your gifted son! <3

      • I’ve was raised by a socially aware parents. And parents that loved me. I was labelled gifted and felt isolated at times by girls in their teens and later women when they had to face my “giftedness” part of my life. I’ve found that women more than men have trouble with gifted kids and then adults. Women think they are the norm with quickie marriages, and even quicker to have a huge brood.

        They live a sheltered life. Gifted people aren’t any different than anyone else. They just put more time and get bigger results than other people.

        But mothers with kids who may not be ‘gifted’ more normal.

        Don’t isolate gifted kids with jealousy. I’ve been there as a kid but more as an adult.

        Soccer moms have trouble with other peoples kids even grown when their gifted.

        They treat them differently than other people.

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