What About the Gifted Children Who Got Left Behind?

Yes, by now we’ve seen the recent articles (see below) and studies reminding us yet again that gifted children have been getting the short end of the educational stick in the classroom for too many years. Underachievement, depression, dropping out, drug abuse, incarceration and even suicide are all resulting consequences of neglecting our gifted children’s educational needs. Some say that society is also losing out on what these highly intelligent and creative people could have offered—inventions, innovations, creative solutions, service to communities and the abilities these intelligent people have which could advance our world. But these gifted children have been prevented from reaching their full potential because they were being held back in school, wasting away in classrooms where they were taught what they already knew and tested on what they had long mastered.


So.  It sure seems as though America didn’t, and still doesn’t, want to provide the education its gifted children need to thrive in school and reach their potential.

This neglect of our gifted children by our schools has lead to some devastating consequences for these gifted children and their families.



Are we going to do something about that?



How can we make it up to the parents of a highly gifted 12 year old whose math teacher ridiculed him in class for asking her questions she could not answer, seemingly meant to put her on the spot and humiliate her in front of the class? That teacher did not know asking innumerable questions and challenging information she presented in class were common traits of highly gifted students. She was never trained on recognizing and understanding gifted students because gifted education was never a focus in her school system. Now, this highly gifted child hates math, has shut down in class and no longer understands math like he once did. His parents are struggling to budget for the $300 a month they are having to pay for a math tutor so he doesn’t fail math. And it has been an emotional burden on the family as they try to help their gifted son overcome his resulting math anxiety.

What can we do for the 22 year old exceptionally gifted woman whose at-risk, inner-city middle school could only afford to focus on the children who weren’t performing at grade level? Her school didn’t have the time, the manpower or the money to address her needs as a gifted student because improving the school’s failing status was the priority. Gifted students were no concern at all—they weren’t failing. So this bright and intelligent girl learned to relieve her boredom by simply staring out the window, day after day, watching drug deals being carried out on the sidewalk across the street from the school. From her years in school, she learned to dumb herself down because being smart became a disadvantage in school—nobody cared or had time for a student who had long mastered grade-level standards. She was bored, ignored and she was routinely used as a tutor for her struggling classmates. She dropped out of school as soon as she could and became a drug dealer until she was arrested and sent to prison.

What do we say to the heartbroken mom of a profoundly gifted teen who committed suicide because her child felt that she did not fit in at school? Given this gifted teen’s high IQ, she was most likely the only such gifted student at her high school. She seemed eccentric to her peers and even to her teachers, and they all treated her as some sort of anomaly. Her school did not have any gifted programming, much less enough honors or AP classes that might have challenged her profound intelligence a bit more than the regular classroom. There were no teachers who had any knowledge or experience with a profoundly gifted student—no gifted specialist was assigned to the school. Her teachers looked to finding answers for her unusual behavior. The mother of this profoundly gifted girl was told by her daughter’s teachers that she needed to have a complete psychological evaluation because they suspected she had a behavioral or emotional disorder. Being educated in an appropriate environment, provided a challenging gifted education by a gifted specialist, and being able to learn along with other like-minded gifted teens was critical for this promising profoundly gifted teen. She desperately needed the ability to move through her coursework at her own pace which could have given this profoundly gifted girl the educational environment she so critically needed. A gifted specialist would have understood her behavior was that of a profoundly gifted student, not a mental disorder. But she was misunderstood, left behind, totally left out, and she hated feeling so far removed from her classmates. Suicide put an end to her suffering.

What are we going to do to help the mom who had to quit her much-needed job so she could homeschool her gifted 3rd grader who tested on a 6th grade level in math and 7th grade in reading? His school did not have a gifted program and they didn’t have the resources to accelerate him, so he became increasingly frustrated sitting in class and not learning anything new.

How can we compensate the family of a gifted middle schooler who took a huge financial hit having to sell their home in order to move their family twenty miles away to a better school district that offers gifted education in all grade levels?

Can we empathize with the gifted 2nd grader we used to envy—the one who once made all A’s but now has stopped trying in school out of boredom? In class, he’s heard one too many times, “You are so smart, you should be able to easily make good grades!”

How does a family bounce back after they find themselves shelling out thousands of dollars for therapy for their gifted 8th grader who has been diagnosed with depression and underachievement due to a mind-numbing banal education?

Can we support the mother who lost her part-time job because she took off too much time from work trying to advocate for an appropriate education for her gifted 9 year old at his school?

What words would we have for the gifted 8 year old whose severe dyslexia placed him in special ed. classes for years, but his IQ of 150 was never identified or addressed?

What about the exhausted, impoverished single mom of three unidentified gifted children who were all misdiagnosed with ADHD instead?

How can we make it up to the exceptionally gifted young adult whose gifted traits were misunderstood by teachers and mistaken for mental illness?

What about the gifted teen who now hates school and is certain he can’t learn?

And the gifted 1st grader who says he is going to kill himself because he doesn’t fit in?

The gifted high schooler so bored in class he decided not to pursue his dream of being a medical researcher?



Yes, they were all left behind—forgotten, neglected, misunderstood, misdiagnosed and miseducated.


We need to stop our schools’ failure to educate our gifted children appropriately. We need more funding, more teacher training and more gifted specialists. We can’t continue to leave our gifted children behind.



But what about the casualties of a school system that has left the gifted behind? Miseducated, misdiagnosed and mistreated.


What do we do about them?




“Ending Our Neglect of Gifted Students”, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Education Next, July 3, 2014

“Gifted Children in Public Schools”, Grace Chen, Public School Review

“For gifted children, being intelligent can have dark implications”, Marcello di Centio, Calgary Herald, January 30, 2015

“Study: Gifted Students Still at Risk of Being Left Behind”, Jeff Charis-Carlson, Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 7, 2015,

“How some of America’s most gifted kids wind up in prison”, Florina Rodov, December 24, 2014

“The Gifted Children Left Behind”, Susan Goodkin and David G. Gold, The Washington Post, August 27, 2007

“America Hates Its Gifted Kids”, Chris Weller, Newsweek, January 16, 2014



“Suffering in Silence: Who’s Really Paying the Price for the Neglect of Our Gifted Children?”

“Underachievement in Gifted Children—a Tragic Irony”



“Education on the Trail” by  , U. S. News and World Report, August 21, 2015

“The Bright Students Left Behind”, By Chester E. Finn Jr. and Brandon L. Wright, The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2015

73 Comments on “What About the Gifted Children Who Got Left Behind?

  1. I am ‘gifted child’, instead im a highly sensitive, who has voices that leads to self-loathing, surviving everday till suicide brakes the cycle….

    • Hi Rommel,

      I understand giftedness and being highly sensitive can cause people to have feelings of anguish and sadness–many of us have been in your shoes. Have you confided your feelings to someone you trust? I urge you to sit down with a loved one–family member or friend, and also seek professional support. Every human is valuable, including you!

      Please reach out <3

  2. If we considered the neglect and mistreatment of the gifted as a public health crisis, how bad are we talking? In terms of financial, medical, generally stunted lives and the overall loss to society, what does it compare to? And does thinking about it from that angle suggest any additional solutions?

    • I’m sure putting a monetary and emotional valuation on the loss of motivation, expected success in the work world, happiness and emotional well-being would be subjective. I often wonder if the causative factor had been a bully, an abusive parent or a negligent car accident, how are those losses determined? Money for therapy and tutoring (due to underachievement) can run into the tens of thousands in a year–from personal experience.

      • I tried to think of something funny to say…but I’ve got nothing. And for the first time in a long time I am at a loss for words as to just how bad this is (the ‘suffering in silence’ blog pretty much described my life). Then scale it up to the whole gifted population. There must be some way to calculate the cost of large scale problems because you often hear how much stress or mental illness or obesity cost the nation.

        While I would never compare gifted to some of the worst diseases a person can get, I’ve been reading about ME/CFIDS/FM and Lyme and the similarities in response are eerie. The disbelief, resentment, contempt, and unwillingness to do anything leading to the downward spiral are very familiar. Then you realise that several of the traits of the gifted are considered precursors and warning signs for ME. Twice exceptional? More like thrice damned.

        • Again, I agree with you. Given the statistics of the number of gifted individuals incarcerated, with depression, suicidal, failure to succeed, etc., if we were able to put a dollar amount on it all, not to mention the human loss, it would astound those who want to believe “all children are gifted.”

          I always appreciate your comments and insights even when they are not humorous. 😉

          • I’ve only just seen this. This blog could do with one of those ‘recent comment’ lists to help keep track of the conversation. Also good would be a one page list of just the titles of all posts. I’m not sure which of your articles I haven’t read yet because they are spread over thirteen pages.

            Normal humour service will now resume.

            The ‘left behind’ in the title reminds my of those Vietnam movies where a bunch of bedraggled GIs are running through a rice paddy towards a Huey. The chopper either explodes or takes off without them and the next time you see them they are in a bamboo cage being poked with sticks. This speaks to my experience…except Gene Hackman never came to rescue us. Now the only question is what our POW-MIA flag would look like.

          • I love your suggestions for my website–I could make a page to list the titles of all articles with the link. Great idea! Thank you! The “recent comment” suggestion is beyond my html/website-altering skills. I’ll have to check into that, but thanks for that idea!

            And THANK YOU for your always-funny humour service. You just made my day–seriously made my day. Now, I will never get the image of a group of gifted children getting left behind in a rice paddy out of my head.

            A flag? Hmmm, the many images are running through my mind.

            I mean it when I say “thank you” for your wonderful snippets of hilarity!

  3. What do you do if you are one of them ? Where do you go ? Who would you talk to and is there anyway to find out if you can do something, councillors, teachers, mensa ? Know I know where I fit , where do I go ?

    • Hi Alisha,

      The best approach would be to read and understand about giftedness. Also, check my resource page for the links for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum–tons of useful resources, SENG–find their list of recommended therapists, and Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page–again, another site with loads of resources and information.

      Learning and understanding about giftedness, and then finding a therapist who understands and has experience with gifted clients–are both important.

      If you need more help or have other questions, please let me know. Also, my other readers may also chime in and offer some advice and help.

      Hang in there and take care!

  4. Hi Celi;

    This has turned out to be a very fruitful discussion. And I have to add a “reconsideration”. I now realize, after discussing the topic of Genius, and IQ, and IQ testing, that it actually *is* important to distinguish between someone whose IQ is either 4+ standard deviations (exceptionally ‘gifted’ or exceptionally intelligent), or 5+ standard deviations (profoundly ‘gifted’ or profoundly intelligent) above average, but who has NOT achieved eminence or not achieved fame, that is, being well known or well regarded *outside* of their own field of study/work, e.g., a Mozart, a Vladimir Horowitz, a Picasso, etc., in a unique, and, shall I say, ‘earth-shattering’ way
    The latter, if and only if they have contributed something so unusually different as to have set the (human) world in a different direction, to think about things in ways we hadn’t ever before thought about them (think of Einstein, Socrates, Confucius, the Lord Buddha, Marie Curie, Countess Ada Lovelace [world’s first computer programmer], etc). could then be legitimately labelled “geniuses” whereas (and I’m joking here) the ‘poor schlubs’ who are ‘only’ exceptionally or profoundly gifted, shouldn’t be thought of as ‘genius’ precisely because they have not made those sort of “putting the world on its ear” sorts of contributions.
    Now, having said that, I think it may be worthwhile to make a distinction between Genius, vs. genius. The former is what I described above. So someone who solves a particularly vexing engineering problem may never achieve fame, or even eminence outside that company or organization or university, but if they did so in a way that no other person had or likely would have conceived, but is so brilliantly unorthodox, and perhaps yet so simple or straightforward, then such a person deserves the *informal* sense of the use of the word ‘genius’, at least in that circumstance.
    But let’s not muddy the waters. I want to keep ‘Genius/genius’ f in that formal sense for those who do something dramatically situation-altering, in that, as I mentioned above, they did so in a way that no other person had or likely would have conceived, and in a way that alters not just the local situation, but whose actions, writings, thinking, or research constitutes a dramatic, … quantum leap, if I may be so bold as to borrow that term; something so superior in its brilliance that there is little or no doubt that that person’s intelligence is vastly well, genius.
    I’m sorry if that comes off as a tautology — where something is defined as its own self. ‘Survival of the fittest’, until the 1950s, used to be defined as the idea that those organisms that survived, must therefore be the fittest. After the 1950s. and the advent of the structure of DNA, ‘fittest’ came to be understood as those organisms that had some sort of genetic advantage, somehow.
    I don’t mean to suggest that genius is defined as what geniuses do. That is tautological. I mean to distinguish genius from those who have an equivalent IQ, but haven’t done something to make such a radical change that the world is to some large degree or another, different as a result.
    Yes, I admit it; have given in to the reserving of the term ‘genius’ to refer to those rare beings who;ve made a seismic-type change in humanity’s thinking, and perhaps, acting and doing, as well.
    Two other qualifiers have to be added; not everyone who makes an earth-shattering change is therefore by definition genius. Atilla the Hun killed hundreds of thousands of people. That caused dramatic changes in the Roman Empire. But was Atilla a genius? Probably not.
    The second qualifier is this: I can hardly think of a worse term to use to describe those who are three or more standard deviations above average as being “gifted”. My objections are two-fold: firstly, many gifted people wish they wren’t so that’s hardly a gift, now is it? My second objection is this: it’s too easy to conflate ‘gifts’ with ‘talents’. It’s like insisting that Porsches, Maseratis, Rolls Royces and Ferraris are the only things to be called ‘automobiles’, but anything else is just a ‘car’.
    Let’s face it: everybody (or most people, at least) has their own unique constellation of talents and abilities (notice I did NOT use the word “gifts”). And these constellations of talents and abilities vary among individuals. Some people are more talented, and yes, able, than are others. What makes “gifted” people so different in that sense, then, is two things (1) it’s a SPECIFIC SET of talents and abilities, AS WELL AS a host of other features/conditions (over-excitability, strong sense of justice, asymmetric development, and so forth) that occur uniquely and almost exclusively in people with IQs that test in the top 2% of the population for IQ. But that mix is not purely gift, or burden; it is more one than the other depending on a variety of factors; my father grew up in an environment where not only was he literally NEVER bullied for his unusual intelligence (for example, he skipped three grades in elementary school), but was treated with respect and admiration by everyone around him, at least for his childhood and most of his teenage years. I, on the other hand, not only suffered bullying in grades 4 – 10, I have also suffered it at the hands of fellow adults, as recently as four years ago, not limited to jealous enemies, insecure bosses and supervisors, and even a very few of my computer support clients. No gift there, I assure you.
    Can’t we just say that people with IQs three or more standard deviations above average are “especially intelligent” or “unusually intelligent”, or even — and I am NOT trying to be politically correct here — “differently intelligent”. That last one’s my least favourite choice by leaps and bounds, both because of the PC angle, and because it fails to bring attention to the fact that such people are just plain smarter than other people. Horrors, I know; we’re not supposed to believe any more that anyone is smarter than anyone. But ignoring or wishing away a well-established fact won’t make it actually go away: Albert Einstein really is smarter than was my assistant manager at the first gas station i worked at. No getting around it.

    Anyway, thanks for allowing me to vent.

    • Hi John,

      You know you are always welcome to vent here. Your wonderful insights into giftedness are legendary here, John, and your willingness to share your experiences has helped so many of us.

      You touched on something I’ve often wondered. When you said your dad, despite his high degree of intelligence, never really experienced bullying because of his intelligence, but you have. And today, many, way too many, gifted people are the victims of bullying because of their intelligence. My opinion is that a shift in the perception of intelligence, the idea that intelligent people are somehow better than “regular” people, occurred due to the way traditional education has addressed gifted education. Having a child “make it” into the gifted program is seen as a reward, a prize afforded to only the best and the brightest, the highest achievers. This gave giftedness an elitist reputation and one deserving of envy, possibly condemnation and ultimately leading to bullying.

      John, I loved having you comment here again, and I know our readers appreciate your insights! Many thanks to you! <3

      Again, you are right. There are people who are more intelligent than others, but you and I both know exceptional or profound giftedness does not always equate into eminence, high achievement or exemplary success in life.

  5. What happens to the gifted children who got left behind? They turn into gifted adults that get left behind, that’s what. Honestly, if you had believed my school, all I would have ever been able to achieve in life was typing in an office somewhere. I was allowed to take a few secretarial exams and not a lot else. I later got tested and hit all 10 Wechsler subtests and am now at university as a mature student doing a degree in cognitive neuroscience.

    Do you want to know what an incredible fight it was to get there? Admissions tutors used to laugh and tell me to go join some remedial ed classes. They would not look at any portfolio of my work, nor look at any standardized test scores. Hey, my school had written me off as a loser, so that was good enough for them. I had to jump through educational hoops and get a Professor whose acquaintance I had made to write me a glowing recommendation letter before I could even get considered for a place at a third rate university. This is despite the fact that I have a much higher IQ than most Cambridge professors.

    When I was about to look for my first job, the very worst piece of advice I think I ever received was to just get a job and start anywhere to get a foot in the door, and then if you work hard and show aptitude, your work ethic and learning ability will be noticed and rewarded with training and promotions. A fellow Mensa member I corresponded with recently – a retired lawyer – told me that in his experience most jobs (apart from the obvious) are what you make of them, but secretarial work isn’t one of them. If you join as the office girl you will always be seen as just the office girl. If you have good ideas, you’ll simply be regarded as good at your job, i.e. a good secretary. It won’t occur to anyone that you have an intellect, never mind one good enough to be wasted.

    In such circumstances, enquiring about training and promotion is seen as at best low priority and more usually is met with resentment. If you’re not happy being the office dogsbody, there are plenty more fish in the sea. And of course nowadays even secretaries are expected to have business degrees. Qualifications aren’t the escape tickets they once might have been.

    And of course you don’t fit in. It’s hard enough being a professional with a sky high IQ and having to pretend to bosses and colleagues that you’re not quite THAT smart. But support staff are supposed to be even dumber, aren’t they? However, no one will come out and admit that your face doesn’t fit because you’re the smartest in the room. They’ll attack your “soft skills”, say you’re not a team player, and do whatever they can to get you fired instead, as a “solution”.

    Having been fought and fought at every turn, educationally and vocationally, I am finally doing a degree in a subject I love and have plans to start a business so I can finance my own scientific research in the field of the cognitive neuroscience of giftedness, and coaching in how to make the most of one’s intelligence through neurotherapy and study techniques.

    The sad thing is I am 47 and have lost several decades during which I could have made far more significant contributions in the world than making sure some IQ 110 or something boss’s filing is up-to-date. There’s being left behind, and there’s being kept behind. Either way, the end result is the same.

    • Hey now, I’ll take issue with the lamenting of the time you’ve lost because you are 47 years old. I know something about this. I’m 58 and didn’t start writing about and advocating for gifted children until just four years ago!

      I have to believe your experiences, the bad ones as well as the good ones, up until now, will serve you better than if you had not had those experiences. Life experiences count for a lot and sometimes more than formal education. Life experiences can fuel your motivation and dedication. But, if it makes you feel any better, you have a decade over me to fulfill your newfound passion. You will make significant contributions, I have no doubt.

      Please, please keep in touch and share your success, research and contributions! If I can be of any help, please let me know!

    • Very well said. I too am female and on the cusp of last generations ideas. It has taken me the last 12 years to build up a place where I can finally return to study in the sciences in the hope that I can really apply myself in the way I feel I know I can contribute.
      My ideas, like your experience are above what are currently being taught and the knocks I’ve had for being judged on my current educational level and gender are exhaustive. I’ve left work places because of being held back, demoted to tea girl not for first class honours with brains and business accumen and more, that I tried to provide. On my last day on at least two experiences I can recall was a look of – keep I touch, and slight regret from both employers.

      It’s hard trying to prove yourself, it’s hard getting back on the ladder and it’s hard to do it in institutions that just want to rote teach not really teach. Too many times I’ve asked why and been told not to think about it just do it.
      I’ve even become disillusioned with supposed support groups such as Mensa, I sat the home pre exam comfortably achieved a 155 score yet in the actual examination settings, my anxiety got the better of me. I’ve asked for support With this but it’s not forth coming! I’m isolated without peers and that’s all I really wanted from Mensa..

      Well done is all I can say, and I too am in a similar situation. Looking to go into Natural Sciences, interest in gene editing and Nuclear Fusion… Not happy with a lot of the politics of today.
      It doesn’t pay to be female or gifted in this society, but somewhere, someone may just see you for who you really are and give you the guts to carry on. Well done and good luck

    • HI, SevenSigma. Your problem is far more common than you realize. In part because I am “twice exceptional”, I did NOT flourish grade-wise until 2nd & 3rd year university, when I started to learn to use computers, and so, freed from the physical mechanics of writing, my grades on essays went shooting up (I don’t know if you are familiar with North American grading systems; an “A” is excellent, a “B” is very good, and a “C” is average. Each of those letter grades also has a plus or minus above or below it.so it’s A+, A, A-, B+, B, B- etc,) from C grades and the occasional B, to A’s and the occasional B-range grade. But when I was a kid, more than one psychiatrist predicted I’d be lucky to finish high school.
      I met that psychiatrist after graduating university for the second time, and had just been accepted to several Master’s degree programs and one Doctor of Psychology program in counselling psychology. I told him all this, and he said, “I’ve rarely been more happy to be wrong”.
      I pissed away nine years working at the bottom of the seniority ladder in group homes for the mentally handicapped, where I was treated like dog-crap by my co-workers after they found out I was attending university.
      I spent four years plus, in a ghastly, boring-as-heck gas station job, because the manager immediately above me lied to me and told me that (because he answered my cell-phone to talk to my wife while I was outside doing a full-serve) my wife wanted me to work in the job, when in fact what she had said to him was to virtually beg him to let me out of the job, because she knew how much I hated it. She was in Texas, I was in Canada (long story there as to why that was) and we basically communicated by phone and email. She depended on me for most of her income (80%) so I just took it for granted that she’d changed her mind and wanted me to stay in the job; I only found out three years later that that wasn’t true, but by then our senior manager, the owner, was grooming me for an assistant manager’s position, so I didn’t want to leave. If Shell (or S-HELL, as I called it) let me have the job, my pay would have gone up 40%, so I didn’t leave the job for another year.
      I’ve been on disability for six years, and am hoping a surgery in November will let me go back to work as an IT consultant.
      I know about ten or so (at least) really really smart people nominally in IT, who are under-employed or unemployed. Bosses many times don’t like employees smarter than they are, as you said. I solved the problem by deciding to be a free-lance IT consultant, and to write a book about my experiences as a gifted person, thanks to Celi’s urging.
      Right now I live on Canada Pension Plan disability and money my parents lend me until I can re-enter the work-force. Wasted time? You’re “looking at” the Prime Example of an under-utilized smart guy.
      But good for you for what you’re doing. If you are a business person or a private researcher, you have no retirement age except the one you set for yourself. At least you found your way. Some people like us never do.

  6. HI Celi,

    Does anyone here offer any support for gifted adults – left behind?

    I have been misunderstood and have had a heavy emotional breakdown.
    I need some support to rebuild myself and trust in others. As it stands, I’m quite suicidal. Sorry for the frankness of the message, is anyone able to help at all?


    • Emma, I’m so sorry to hear this, but know that you are not alone. Many of us have gone down this path, and it is scary. My heart goes out to you <3 <3 <3

      There are many really good gifted adult groups on Facebook, closed groups which protect your privacy. I'm a member of two and find that the people in the group share deeply personal experiences and emotions, and validate each other's feelings. You may find help in joining one or more of these. Truly, I see so much deep connection between the adults in these groups. Here's three:


      If you haven’t reached out to trusted family, friends or a mental health professional, you should do that also. It is important to gather those people around you for support.

      Please let me know how you are doing, Emma! And if any of us here can help in any way, please let us know! <3 <3 <3

    • Emma, if you are suicidal, your most immediate need is to get treatment ASAP. Believe me I know what you’re going through; I have a slowly fading case of PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and clinical depression. I got some therapy and counselling, and I need more, but the fast intervention of just plain caring nurses (after I was hospitalized for exhaustion adn severe weight gain due to lymphodema) and very supportive physiotherapist who just listened really helped. Look for resources in your city or town; seeing as you are suicidal, if you go into your local Emergency Room (ER), and state that you are suicidal and are considering killing yourself, even mildly, they will respond as best they can to get you the help you need. Don’t neglect this. YOU NEED HELP, and there is NO SHAME in having clinical depression. Anyone who says you are making it up or malingering is an asinine jerk of the very highest (or lowest) order. Please get help as soon as you possibly can.

      Good luck, I hope you get the help you need

      Cheers JJW

      • Thank you for your support, still trying to rebuild. It’s just nice to know others are out there too.

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  8. I have been am so happy I found this article. I just got out of highschool. I feel like a fool. The reason I feel like a fool was because when I was younger I remember a whole lot of conversations I overheard that administrative officials had with my parents.

    They said I was highly gifted, I remember an IQ in the later stage, when I stopped caring about school in the sixth grade, had gotten all F’s and not studied for six months. I was still a few points off genius. I was even supposed to start school early! But my parents decided not to let me go because there was a concern that I would not fit in or I would be bullied too much. Waiting didn’t stop that from happening!

    I feel like a fool because, looking back at all the good things that were said about me, I was wondering where I went wrong. Since after that point I was told I was a slacker and never going to succeed FOR 6 MORE YEARS. I hated the thought of school for another 6 years, disregarding college. Because I couldn’t even stand school for another 10.

    I feel like a broken person, since not going to school stripped me of my interest of math and science until as of late. Now, I can’t even do math anymore! Since being bored in school steered me away from doing any homework or paying any attention to what was going on in class I stopped caring about missing knowledge!

    I am releasing my first book soon however, and will be going back to the education I dreamed of since I was young. Life long learning!

    I understand this post is old, but if anybody has any known resources geniuses and highly gifted students use to collaborate and talk and express their ideas, talk about science, math, reading, writing, and even arts, as those shouldn’t be undermined like they are in the school system let me know!

    I am pushing off habits that have slowed my mind that I acquired when I stopped caring about school in order to learn how to be a genius (so to speak, really highly gifted is what I mean since I’m jealous that I never hit the 140+ haha, I was so close!) again. I want to start off where I left off so any help would be appreciated.

    • Hi Usama,

      Bravo! You are one resilient and strong person to rebound from your previous issues with school! Releasing a book? How awesome is that!

      As far as groups to find other highly gifted adults, I would look on Facebook–there are quite a few. I would also look into Mensa groups–online and where you live. I’ve met some of my closest friends, also gifted, all on Facebook and online.

      I am so glad you chose to share a little bit of your story with us, I wish you luck finding other highly gifted adults to converse with, and please let us know how your book is doing!

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  11. What all students need is the ability to learn at their own pace. Give every child what he or she needs and stop drawing arbitrary lines between special ed, regular ed, and gifted. Keep up the good work and check out my blog for busy parents and educators at http://DrDougGreen.Com.

    • Dr. Green,

      Absolutely! Get rid of the lock-step age-based standards and divisions and let each and every child work at their own level and pace. So, a child who is 2 grades levels ahead in math, but struggles in reading can feel successful and not slapped with a label. We know babies, children and even adults do not grow, develop or excel at the same levels at the same pace at the same time given our ages. Why do we do that with children in school and expect them all to succeed?

      Thanks, Dr. Green!

  12. Pingback: Gifted Children Stuck in the No Passing Zone | Crushing Tall Poppies

  13. Celi and Anonymous; I just finished reading the link in “Also… “What Are Common Problems of Gifted People in the Workplace?” by Kevin Coe, Quora, 11 Jun 2013 (comments, again, are interesting) http://www.quora.com/What-are-common-problems-of-gifted-people-in-the-workplace” and my head just about exploded.

    EUREKA! I finally figured out why, in at least one respect (and it’s a BIGGIE), that I am most definitely NOT a freak!

    I read so many people all at once, on that quora.com page (a site I myself provide a lot of answers for computer technical questions, and it’s helped me feel much better about myself as to whether or not I’m extremely gifted or just a blooming idiot who THINKS he’s a genius). On that page has been my salvation. I could not figure out why, exactly, I haven’t done well in most work environments. One therapist put it down to “bad luck and bad timing”; and I kind of agree on the bad timing thing, but I am now, just starting tonight, to rethink the “bad luck” part of the equation. What if… and here’s a head-thumper; what if it’s NOT ME that is the problem? (I could turn that on its head and say it IS me that’s the problem, because I am choosing the wrong work environments). But what I mean by ‘it may not be me that is at the root of the problem’, is that me working in many of the work-environments that I did end up in was like trying to fit a dry-ice frozen apple into a octagonal space — ain’t gonna happen!

    When I think of some of the very worst work environments, they shared some common features: (1) the work was unstimulating; (2) the work was repetitive; (3) the work was highly bureaucratized and left almost zero room for innovation and creativity; (4) staff were STRONGLY discouraged from thinking ‘outside the box’; in some cases, doing so could get you fired; (5) collective thinking was strongly valued over individual thinking (‘groupthink”); (6) working harder than one’s colleagues was — unofficially, but universally — discouraged; in fact, what was encouraged, especially in the unionized workplaces, was to meet the bare minimums and absolutely NOTHING more; (7) where existing processes and procedures, no matter how inefficient, could not be changed either because small, seemingly insignificant changes had to be signed off by someone in the provincial government, like an assistant deputy minister to decide some tiny, picayune detail, or because “That’s the way we’ve always done it, it’s worked that way for years/decades, so why change it and anyway, all you (John) are trying to do is make trouble, and we don’t need no trouble!”
    Some of the other features that drove me bonkers were places where seniority was valued above merit; where brown-nosing the boss or supervisor was more important than doing a good job; where all credit flowed UP the chain of command, but all the crap flowed DOWNWARD; where status was more valuable than ability, so the assumption was that the higher-up you were on the chain of command, therefore the smarter you must be, and conversely, the lower down you were on the chain of command, therefore the stupider you must be; an Alice-in-Wonderland-Mad-Hatter belief that smart is dumb, and average is smart; workplaces where mediocre individuals were the majority, and tried to make everyone else be just as mediocre (brain-eating zombies, but without the “dead” part).
    Managers have too often been the bane of my existence for a variety of reasons, the first one of which will sound like an extreme boast, but is a fact: out of some 40 +/- bosses and supervisors, I have only had ONE smarter than me, and three who were anywhere near my intellectual level. Many of my bosses assumed that because they were the boss or supervisor, therefore they must be, ipso facto, (or as Archie Bunker from All in the Family used to say, “ipso fatso”), the most brilliant things, if not on two legs, then certainly in that workplace — until they met me. I threw 90% of my bosses for a loop. They had no idea how to work me into their world-view. Their thought process appeared to go somethign like: (a) he’s a worker, therefore he has to be less intelligent than me. (b) Oh, he’s MORE intelligent than me. therefore (c) I must do everything in my power to make him conform to (a). And thus they’d make fun of me, insult me, blow up at me if I asked “disruptive” or seemingly insubordinate questions that weren’t insubordinate at all. For whatever reason that G0d or the Devil has seen fit to curse me so, He/he made me very unwilling to do a task unless I understood WHY we had to do the task. For too many managers, the assumption they made was that I was questioning their authority. If the boss asked me why I wanted to know, I tried to explain that for whatever reason in my personality, I needed to understand the rationale as to why a certain thing or process had to be a certain way. For too many bosses the answer came back, “Oh, so you want to know why you have to do xyz? How about IN ORDER TO KEEP YOUR *&^()$#* JOB IS WHY!!!!” Or a variant on that theme was “How about BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!”; yet another response was “Who the *()&**& do you think you are to question me? BECAUSE I AM THE BOSS, THAT’S WHY!”.
    One manager was horrendous because he was essentially incompetent. He was a marketing manager, and he had put up 80% of the capital for the company. It was a computer support company, by the way. His partner, who owned 20%, was a brilliant but unassuming techie. His name was David, and the jackass’s name was Mark. So Mark decided that, because he owned 80% of the company, he was the smartest guy in the company. Too bad he “decided” that, and in fact told us it was company policy, because among the four of us, that is, David, the partner, myself as chief technician, and a younger guy named, I believe, Eric, and Mark himself, it was MARK who, though smart, was the least intelligent of the four. That came out because one day he said something about computers and I simply out-and-out corrected him without thinking about whether or not that was the wisest move (listen, it was 1999, I was much less wise then, or at least more of a fool than I am now). So he said the usual bully response, “Oh, so I suppose you think YOU are the smartest one here?” To which I answered, “No, I think David is, then me, then closely followed by Eric”. His face fell, and he said, “So you’re saying you think I am stupid?” To which I responded, “No, not stupid, just not as intelligent as the three of us. You’re obviously quite smart, just not as smart as us”. I should tell you, that’s normal in a technical company, where the techies are WAY smarter than the regular line staff, and if you want to survive as a non-techie in a tech firm, don’t go around telling everyone just how smart you are. You’ll be put in your proper place — honestly, curtly and directly but not cruelly — in VERY short order. Scientific, engineering, and technical types have no allowance, no place in their brain where “arrogant boastful bastard” computes, unless the person doing the boasting and bragging really is as good as they say they are.
    And believe me, Mark in NO WAY was as good as he thought he was, and we technical types, we “merry” band of brothers, we paid for it dearly.
    Co-workers were the other nightmare. Jealousy, hatred, attempts to sabotage or undercut gifted or highly educated (and therefore likely highly intelligent) workers. I remember one key-worker in a group home for mentally handicapped seniors where I worked, who happened to have more seniority than the team psychiatrist and psychologist, so no diagnosis (it was, you guessed it, a union shop) was permitted unless SHE signed off on it. She had the psychiatrist, and the behavioural psychologist at their wits’ end, because she’d do stuff like strike out their diagnostic codes, and substitute her own, often completely inaccurate diagnosis, and there was NOTHING the two could do about it, except appeal the decision all the way to the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister for Geriatric Mental Health Issues, which took about a half-month to process. So clients would go about floridly psychotic (and suffering as a result) while this woman with a grade 12 education thumbed her nose at these two highly educated but lower-seniority mental health professionals. Anything and everything that these JERKS could do to make smarter people’s lives difficult? They would do it.
    OH! Did I mention conformity? Why on EARTH is it so important to the corporate mentality that “tall poppies” have to be crushed, folded, spindled and mutilated into conformity? HOW can you possibly hire a very bright light and then demand that that person turn out genius-quality work, all the while having him- her-, or myself being supra-pressured into severe conformity? It’s a contradiction in terms. What was the government thinking, hiring university students to do grunt-work in group homes for the mentally handicapped (mop floors, clean dishes, do laundry, wipe noses and butts, change dirty diapers, etc.) And all because they wanted to “professionalize’ work in group homes for the mentally handicapped. GIVE ME A BREAK!

    I should add, micromanagement is my Achilles Heel; I can’t work AT ALL in a work environment where I either have fifty bosses (i.e., group homes, where EVERYONE with higher seniority was my supervisor), or else had just one boss, but that one boss had to know, own, manage, permit/deny EVERYTHING I did. Mark at CompuJerks (not its real name, obviously) grew to hate how much freedom we techies had, so he demanded that he had to be phoned for every key stroke and every mouse-click on a client’s computer. That was so efficient: he made jobs that should have lasted 1/2 hour turn into 2 hour jobs, and he had to tie himself to the office phone. Not only that, but David couldn’t go anywhere or do any work, because Mark didn’t understand what Eric and I were doing, and had to have our “tech-speak” translated into English by David. And do you think we got PAID for two hours? Of course not. IF WE GOT PAID AT ALL — and too often, if Mark didn’t understand the solution we implemented, even if it solved the client’s problem he didn’t pay us. And guess what? I will give you ONE guess. 90% of the time Mark did not understand the solution or why we implemented what we did, so we got paid, at times, for less than 10% of our work. Then clients complained about how long it took us to solve problems and that we were too dependent on head office. So rather than loosen the reins, Mark decided that WE were the problems, and would call the client and blame us, the technicians, calling us useless and incompetent to his clients. They were told BY MARK that the client should be very proud of Mark, he had “protected” the client from his own technicians by refusing to pay us. So several clients actually paid twice: they felt so horrible about how super-micro-managerial Mark was, they’d write two checks, one for me, and one for CompuJerks, then never phone CompuJerks ever again. Imagine having to pay $120/hour for a $60/hour job, because Mark the owner, wouldn’t even pay us the miserable $19.99/hour he was supposed to pay us. What a bastard. It’s been 15 years since I worked for that JERK and I am STILL just as furious with him now as I was back in 2000!

    Conversely, the BEST places I’ve ever worked at were (a) for myself, or (b) companies where the boss would give me gigantic latitude — ten times as much as most bosses could ever be comfortable with. Unfortunately, I can only think of three-and-a-half places out of eighteen where I really enjoyed working there (I say half because the job became okay once the assistant manager was forced out by a staff mutiny that I led!).
    Most everywhere else was a miserable, screwed-up, unhappy, demotivating, boring, repetitive (another hatred of mine) piece of cow feces. Or bull feces, if you include the disjunction between what the hiring manager SAID the work was like, vs. what it was actually like. Even the entrepreneurships where I partnered with someone blew up in my face (all four out of four) because these were all technical companies, where the TECHNICAL people are the STARS, and my partners resented that I was the star; they felt like add-ons, second fiddles, and they were, in fact not the stars.
    I had a contract with an ISP to be the primary network manager, and I could make additional money (most of it, in fact) by offering advanced services to clients. That was the BEST, and I was the happiest I’d ever been (despite putting up with some really miserable clients) because the marketing manager and president, after trying to “manage” me and failing miserably, let me do what I wanted with the two provisos of (a) don’t lose us money, and (b) don’t lose us clients. I made them money and added clients. The other partner of that firm basically said “John knows what he is doing. Leave him alone, he can do more good on his own than if we run and manage him”. FREEDOM!

    So in summary, I AM NOT A FREAK IN THE WORKPLACE!!!!! I am SO NOT ALONE in struggling to make Corporate Canada or Government environments work for me (the group homes, though technically independent, got their money and their marching orders from the provincial government, so it was “as good as” government, if you can call that good).

    It’s so nice, after all this time, and getting harassed and insulted by my detratcors/bullies/bullies-by-proxy that not doing well in the work-world (except on my own or the few occasions where I was granted huge freedoms) was proof of my gross incompetence. NOW I KNOW BETTER! IT’S NOT ME! I am NOT a freak in the work-world, and am making the right decision to want to be an entrepreneur and independent IT contractor.

    I feel like a thousand tons has been lifted off my shoulders. EUREKA, I HAVE FOUND IT! I am NOT the only one to suffer and be unsuitable as a corporate or government (pardon me in advance for saying it) drone.

    THANK G0D, Anonymous, and Celi, not necessarily in that order!

  14. And, a new relevant book, by Lani Guinier (an unsuccessful nominee for Asst Attorney General for Civil Rights for being too progressive) which posits (in Amazon’s blub) that at colleges “the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies.” (Colleges shouldn’t discriminate against lack of ability? Yes, exactly.) One guess who those “elite individuals” with elitist ability who need to be cut-off are. Offers “a clear blueprint for creating collaborative education models that strengthen our democracy rather than privileging individual elites,” too.

    The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, by Lani Guinier, Beacon Press, Jan 2015

  15. A bit late, but some new articles relevant here:

    “Smart-Shaming: Sorry But Your Child Is Too Bright To Qualify for Help,” by Daniel B. Peters, Huffington Post, 6 May 2015

    “Professor: If You Read To Your Kids, You’re ‘Unfairly Disadvantaging’ Others,” by Katherine Timpf, National Review, 6 May 2015

    “Inching Toward ‘Harrison Bergeron’,” by Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 7 May 2015

    (Last one is an analysis piece in the conservative National Review, some may not like it.)

  16. If we are going to talk politics, I want to focus on a very vexatious way in which the Left has damaged gifted and extremely gifted children, adolescents and adults: Radical egalitarianism

    Before i launch into my rant/diatribe/soap-box plea for sanity, please note that I am NOT attacking the Left because it is Left, I am attacking a specific policy. I have already shown my (relative) impartiality by having attacked the worst elements of the political Right; so, please, no-one bash me for being anti-Left in general. I am trying to be specific as to a policy and practice on the Left that I think is very damaging.

    Whew. Having gotten that out of the way, what’s my beef with Radical Egalitarianism (or, as I will refer to it to save space and typing, RE)?

    When we talk about RE, what we are really talking about is the extreme position that states that there is no inherent difference between individuals. It represents a strong repudiation and rejection of the scientifically sound idea that there are genetic differences between individuals.

    Charles Darwin established, with the publication of his book, Origin of Species, that there are differences between individuals, and that certain traits would be naturally selected for, because less well adapted creatures who lack advantageous traits will not be able to pass as many of their traits to their offspring as would those with the specific advantage or trait.

    This is the heart of Evolutionary theory, and it is known as the “Fact of Evolution”, from which Darwin proposed his theory of evolution. The Fact of evolution is NOT in dispute. Virtually everyone, even Creationists, agree that animals and plants with certain superior traits that give that organism an advantage will pass the trait on to their offspring more frequently than the DNA of those without such a trait.

    Everyone, that is, except for the radical Left. It doesn’t fit in with their playbook. They won’t deny that PHYSICAL traits would be selected for and passed on to offspring, but the idea of passing on behavioural or cognitive traits is highly offensive to their world view (weltenschaung, in German).

    Why? Because they wish to argue that humans are all basically “the same”, and that the only things that makes a difference are things like social determinants: race, social class, gender, poverty or wealth, and whatever social and environmental advantages the parents can give their children; they also believe that Capitalism denies and denigrates poor people’s chances for success in life, hence their favouritism toward Socialism and Equality. Now, I won’t at all touch the issue of whether or not Capitalism is as harmful as the Radical Left says it is, not because I lack the arguments, but that it would add PAGES AND PAGES to my rant, and I don’t want to focus very much on refuting their arguments, specifically or in general, except to point out what follows.

    If the Radical Left is correct, then the only reason why there are gifted or extremely gifted persons has nothing to do with how most scientists think now that genetic traits are influenced.

    Most genetic scientists believe that what influences animal behaviour (and morphology) is genetics, environment, and how the environment (not in the “climate change” sense, but rather in the sense of the situation in which the organism finds itself) affects the expression of that trait. So it’s not “nature vs. nurture” anymore, but rather, “nature, nurture, and environmental influences”.

    So if scientists who share this point of view are right, as it refers to giftedness, then some people carry genes for high intelligence, some for low intelligence, and most people somewhere in between. What influences the EXPRESSION of these genes is things like: (as an example) was the child locked in a closet for the first few years of their lives and almost completely neglected? If so, even if that child had genes for genius akin to that of Einstein or Stephen Hawking, such severe deprivation would not allow the expression of those genes for giftedness, and the child could well end up “developmentally delayed” (mentally handicapped, in the very politically incorrect parlance of yesteryear).

    Now, granted, that is an extreme example, but I use it to illustrate my point. A child from a family of 12 children, wher the parents are busy just trying to keep a roof over their heads, food in stomachs and clothes on backs is very unlikely to have a full expression of the “genius/giftedness” genes they carry. But if they have a better life, they may well pass on the “genius/giftedness” genes to their own offspring, who will be able to have those “genius/giftedness” genes expressed in their own behaviour.

    NO WAY! Says the Radical Left. The ONLY reason a child will appear gifted is because of their racial, social, class, economic, geographic (i.e., neighbourhood), and gender-treatment environment. Nothing else. They stand in absolute opposition to the notion of a genetic basis for behaviour (for humans, and possibly even for other animals as well). Instead they prefer their Marxist-based explanations for differential outcomes.

    But they take it a step further. Not only, they say, is there no such thing as inheritable genius, but (a) genius and giftedness are artefacts of race, class, and gender, and — in complete contradiction to statement (a) — , they claim (b) that EVERYONE has their own form of genius.

    Claim (a) is postmodernist deconstructionist post-Marxist gender and race/identity theory. Claim (b) is a much more intellectually rudimentary, ill-conceived, and inchoate means of the Radical Left trying to make their “client groups” (read: racial and ethnic minorities, as well as the unidentified ‘stupid’/low IQ underachievers) to feel good about themselves.

    Yes, I know I committed Political Correctness Heresy, by suggesting that NOT EVERYONE is a budding Albert Einstein. I don’t care. I HATE Political Correctness! I think it denies and severely limits real, open intellectual discourse, and is a form of “soft totalitarianism”. Anyway ….

    Inter Alia (among other things), the result of (b) is that you get all sorts of people (many of whom just aren’t that smart) jumping on ANYTHING in their lives to “prove” that they are geniuses; this can range from the size of their “pecs”, to the size and worshipful magnificence of their sexual organs, to being able to USE (not build, just use) advanced technology, like an iPhone or really cool tablet computer.

    Another negative outcome of (b) is the absurd claim that “In our own way, each and every one of us is a unique and brilliant genius, just waiting for the right circumstances”. Well, I have a hard term for that, but I will say, “Poppycock! Balderdash! Nonsense!” instead. (My original reaction was something along the lines of “male cow feces”). We all have met bad drivers, people who think,say and do some pretty dumb things; people whose academic accomplishments are minimal, and to which no amount of tutoring or special education can make a difference (i.e., they aren’t underachievers, just not very smart).

    Claim (a) is an ideological argument, dressed up in the language of science. The biggest problem with (a) is that it’s a case of the ideology forcing an extremely selective examination of the evidence in order to confirm what the believer in (a) already believes. That’s not science. I would call it “confirmation bias” or the “echo chamber effect”, i.e., people hearing what they WANT to hear (because it’s comfortable), not necessarily what may be true and uncomfortable. And since Radical Leftists rarely take the time to talk to ‘unenlightened’ people (i.e., those not on the Radical Left), they almost never encounter any arguments likely to challenge what they already believe.

    Claim (b) is absurd and fallacious on its face (prima facie), for two reasons: it contradicts itself: how can everyone possess something that doesn’t exist?; and secondly, one does not need to be a scientist to recognize that there are, to be politically incorrect, some people who are irredeemably dumb, and there are some who are irrepressibly intelligent.

    But it helps massively that over a hundred years of research on human intelligence tells us scientifically what we already know intuitively: Some people are really smart, some are really dumb, and most everyone else is somewhere between.

    So what are the policy implications of RE? Simply put, RE advocates do not want programs for the Gifted, as they believe that such programs give already advantaged (“privileged”) children and adolescents an “unfair” advantage, at the expense, emotionally and otherwise, of other students.

    The implications of (b) I believe are actually worse. While we can in fact effectively refute the arguments of RE advocates using science and research, no amount of research will refute the fluffy-minded and ridiculous argument that each and everyone is, in their own way, a genius.

    The reason why no amount of research will refute the argument is that it is NOT an intellectual argument. It is an argument of sentiment and emotion, based substantially on the very poor foundational idea best put forth by that wise and sage philosopher, Barney the Dinosaur, to wit, “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”.

    If American and Canadian society continues to operate under these two twin delusions that constitute the weak and strong versions of RE, I believe that the outcomes will be horrendous. We will end up with an educational system that, worse than its current state of teaching to the mushy middle, will actually favour both the intellectually disadvantaged, for whom a lack of intelligence is not by choice, and the mediocre children, who may or may not be smart, but who figure that anything they do will be counted as genius, so why try hard?

    The consequence for gifted people, is that they will be further and further socially and educationally marginalized, along with all the horrifying accompanying consequences thereof (suicide, dropping out, drug-abuse, etc.). And the Radical Left will do nothing to advocate for this “disadvantaged” group for the simple reason that they don’t really exist.

    Thanks for letting me vent, again.

    • I would like to know how they would explain away clear inherent differences such as dyslexia and autism?

      Thanks, John, for your tremendous insight and vent 🙂

      • Hi Celi; You ask how the Radical Left can explain away dyslexia and autism. The simple answer is, they don’t. They acknowledge behavioural disorders/diseases, and will even, at times, admit that such things are genetic. Why the two-facedness?

        The answer is simple, and three-fold: Money, power, and votes.

        Behavioural disorders in the education system means hiring special education assistants, special education teachers, school psychologists, and, of course, educational bureaucrats, all of whom (or most of whom) will see voting Democrat (USA) or Liberal or NDP (Canada) in a positive light, so as to keep the education (tax) dollars flowing.

        It also means that parents of such children with such disorders will be more inclined to vote Democrat (USA) or Liberal or NDP (Canada), because these parties get parents and educators dependent on the cash outflows that these Left-wing parties generate. Once hooked, it’s very hard to break the addiction (voting Left-Wing).

        When are they willing to admit a disorder is genetic? If it means research dollars will flow to universities, which are, of course, hotbeds of Left-wing radicalism and the source of Radical Egalitarianism, intellectually speaking.

        When do they deny a genetic basis for something? Several main reasons. One is obviously ideology, as I have explained. But admitting that giftedness isn’t simply a result of middle-class hothouse parenting, with all the attendant race, gender and class privileges that go along with it. (And yes, the Left blithely ignores the existence of gifted Black or Latino students, or shuffles the families in with struggling working-class families or worse yet, for Latinos, lumps middle-class Latino families in with illegal alien families, so as to maximize the pathos factor). Were they to admit that giftedness is a heritable trait, they’d also have to admit that Radical Egalitarianism is wrong. Weirdly, admitting the genetic basis for behavioural disorders does NOT refute RE, for the simple reason that the Left’s greed for money (Tax dollars) and power (votes) is a far stronger incentive than is intellectual consistency.

        But at the same time, they can easily “flip” and blame things like dyslexia and autism on environmental factors (and in this case, I do mean climate and the quality of air and water), but only so that they can get more regulation (read: bureaucrats and tax dollars) into place, and whose government employees will be almost assured to vote Democrat (USA) or Liberal or NDP (Canada).

        It really depends on which is the easier way to cow the politicians and civilian population into “doing something” — i.e., more and bigger government. It’s a racket, really.

        The fact is, there is no real intellectual consistency from the Left for the simple reason that there is no longer a coherent Left-wing ideology. Prior to the fall of the Berlin wall, what made the difference between communists vs. social democrats/democratic socialists (same thing) was that both wanted a Soviet-style, centrally planned command economy; but whereas the communists also wanted to ensure that no-one would undo the work of communists in building a Socialist Utopia, Social Democrats wanted people to have political and social freedom; they believed in democracy and at least some degree of liberty (not much, economically speaking; moreso politically, religiously, and socially).

        Once the Berlin Wall fell (1989), freeing up Warsaw Pact countries to, for the most part, RUSH toward liberal democracy; and then the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union (1992), the whole idea of a Soviet-style, centrally-planned economy was shown to be a falsity, a failure.

        The intellectual coherence of the Left died around that time.

        Many communists became disillusioned with Communism, turning instead to radical Environmentalism (which is where the anti-Green insult “watermelon” comes from: Green on the outside, Communist Red on the inside). But social democracy as a movement split up into multiple factions: a left-liberal rump, a political white dwarf, left after the Soviet Supernova exploded; radical environmentalism, radical “queer” (i hate that term, but nonetheless) activism; radical feminist activism; illegal alien activism, etc. And of course, an ongoing support for Big Unions, especially (and even moreso here in Canada) support for big GOVERNMENT unions. At times this means that one part of the Left will fight another part (radical environmentalism vs. Loggers and trucker’s and railroad, and Car manufacturing unions). It’s all come undone, and the Left lacks a coherent centre (A house divided, the center cannot hold, in the words of the famous poet whose name I can’t recall).

        So now, much of the Left’s politics are reduced to a mug’s game of cynically clinging on to power via incremental “bureaucratic” creep. And since gifted students don’t need a lot of edu-bureaucrats to assist them — many fewer than those at the opposite end of the intellectual scale — it doesn’t “pay” the Left to pay attention to the Gifted. After all, they will get along fine without any help or support. Giving them services is simply acceding to the whiny demands of upper-middle-class hothouse parents, who don’t even vote Democrat! The ungrateful bastards vote Republican (USA) or Conservative (Canada), and yet still demand services anyway!

        Giftedness doesn’t keep radical Left-wing educators and university professors (and all the attendant support bureaucrats) employed. Dyslexia and Autism do keep them employed, and they vote LEFT. Therefore, dyslexia and autism exists, whereas giftedness doesn’t. Ultimately, (and admittedly, I am being VERY cynical about the Left here) that is what it comes down to: money, power, votes.

        Oh, and how do I explain Political Correctness? The inherent components of it include victim feminism, radical feminism, radical “queer” theory, identity theory — the idea that people of a certain race or ethnicity will/should always vote for their interests, e.g. Blacks and Latinos always voting Democrat because that is said to be voting in their own interests, thereby marginalizing Black or Latino intellectuals who think that Blacks and Latinos would be better off rejecting the Left’s nostrums.

        All of these are what I believe to be a desperate rear-guard action, intellectually speaking. Since the Left’s mug’s game of a centrally planned utopia has been exposed for what it is — a falsity, they can’t get people to believe them any more. So instead, they seek to marginalize, exclude, shun, ostracise and even repress dissenting (read Libertarian, classical Liberal, and conservative) voices. They even seek to repress free-thinkingness on the part of their own members, and thus have a nasty habit of “eating their own”, that is, saving some of their worst anger and opprobrium for dissenting Leftists. It’s soft totalitarianism; “soft” in the sense that unlike in the former Soviet Union, no-one kills you for dissenting. Political Correctness is the last gasp of a dying ideology. Unfortunately, Saudi and Iranian petrodollars are being used to keep PC alive and well, in order to have the Politically Correct types be “useful idiots” (to use V.I. Lenin’s famous phrase) to advance Sharia law, and to keep the West dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

        Feel enlightened now? Or would you prefer to take a warm shower or two or three to wash off the sticky stench of the Left’s cynical power politics?

        • Nah, John, I think I’ll choose to continue to live naively in my “everybody loves everybody” world and ignore the rest. 😉

          Seriously, thank you for sharing this. It is enlightening, very much so!

  17. Gifted students get left behind in North American society for two main reasons: (1) a cultural obsession with conformity and (2) a political culture that is obsessed with inequality, and wants nothing to do with anything that might disprove the idea that everyone is born exactly the same, and only class and wealth (or lack thereof) produce differences. In terms of #2, in a perfect, egalitarian societies, there would be no gifted students, because giftedness is a product of being bourgeois (middle class). There are no geniuses, only spoiled kids of wealthy parents. So why give gifted students a special program? All you are doing is reinforcing the idea some people are better than others, and that is VERY politically incorrect.

    As to #1, gifted students, especially extremely gifted students don’t follow the norms of North American society. They don’t think, act, or talk like “normal” Americans/Canadians. They take on weird careers (scientists, philosophers, or fancy-pants specialist lawyers or doctors), become part of the hated University Professoriate crowd (never mind all the professors who DON’T hold to radical Left wing ideas, likely because they’re in the sciences, and can’t be bothered to be political). Or they do things like invent stuff that shuts down whole industries and unemploys thousands (never mind that these same brilliant minds end up creating NEW industries that employ thousands — don’t let uncomfortable facts dissuade you from an illiterate and foolish rant).

    The gifted just aren’t “normal” damn-it, and they have to be chopped down, brought down to Earth, humiliated and shamed for trying to be “different” (which is why some parents quietly promote their kids to bully the gifted kids, or make excuses for their bully children). Why can’t they be like everyone else? Why do they have to bring attention to themselves and make a big fuss about themselves? Don’t these so-called “gifted” types know that the only reason they are acting so damned smart is that they want attention? So why have special programs for kids who are basically spoiled-rotten by their hothouse parents, or who are juvenile-delinquents-in-waiting who only want more attention for themselves?

    Sure, every once in a few years, you get an Einstein or a Hawking or a Mozart, but most of these supposedly smart kids just want special, easy programs for themselves before they go off like the spoiled brats that they are to some Ivy League University, where they’ll just turn into annoying intellectual types and politicians who will get into power and ruin another generation of spoiled brats. NO GIFTED PROGRAMS!

    Or else: I am the smartest person in the room, because I am the teacher. How DARE little Janey or Johnny be smarter than me. Don’t they know that I am the one in charge because I am the teacher? I didn’t become a teacher to have some eight-year-old tell ME about new scientific discoveries — and I have a two-year degree in Biology! HOW DARE THEY! Well, these kids just have to be brought down to Earth. Oh, yeah, I know, the parents will complain (as they always do) that Johnny is being left behind, is getting bored, but that’s not my problem. That kid just needs some Ritalin and a good spanking, as do their parents, instead of having the temerity to challenge me, the teacher! WHO THE HECK do these kids think they are anyway?

    What else can I say. That’s how some people are. Personally, they think they are being helpful to all children, by downgrading giftedness and excellence. I call them “mediocrities”.

  18. So many of these things ring true. I was going to be a doctor – specifically a pediatric oncologist. When did I give that up? When I realized it would take another *eight years* of schooling – and I wanted no part of being in school for another eight years. The only reason I went to college/university at all was because my parents pretty much shoved me out the door and told me I was going. Now I wish I had the time and money to go after the interests I left behind, but that seems to not be in the cards. Linking giftedness to eminence hurts us there, too. All we can really do is try not to pass these consequences on to our own gifted children.

    • Thank you, Care, for sharing your story of getting left behind. And you are right, it is not to focus on what gifted children could have accomplished (eminence) as a consequence, but the psychological and financial damages that result. Not attaining a chosen career because of a terrible school experience is also a highly significant consequence.

      I so appreciate you sharing your life experience about this topic; it really gives a real-world validity to this problem!

  19. Dad wound up in juvie after dropping out of school in ’46. He roomed with another highly gifted teen who would shortly afterward be imprisoned for life for thrill seeking via violent crime. It’s a famous name, too. Check.

    My standardized math scores went from 99th percentile to 46th percentile between grades seven and the GRE because of math anxiety due to years of curricular mismatch, check.

    We couldn’t even afford the application fee for Cornell even though it was my first choice school and I was a shoe-in for vet science. I wound up ‘couch surfing’ there with friends for the social fit and taking classes at lower tier schools. Check.

    I dropped out of grad school to hire a lawyer and advocate for my daughter who the school district was labeling her ‘behavioural’ and ADHD. (She was completely typically behaved until school, but developed anxiety in grade 1.) Check.

    We just sold our house because our gifted middle school program, while available and full time, doesn’t have subject acceleration, and our son now works at the level of a university sophomore. The brightest, cheeriest child you could know – he was starting to descend into depression. In private school he is thriving. What happens to the kids suffering the same problem whose parents didn’t have a house to sell?

    When gifted education is denied in public schools, it is the poor who suffer the most.

    Thanks for this. They are such important points.

    • Your comment was the first ever to make me actually cry.

      I always say, “no child should have to suffer simply because he was born gifted”, but yet it happens over and over. The child is not the only one who suffers either. And sadly, your family and yourself have suffered so many of these preventable consequences.

      And you are right, those of us who can financially support, supplement and fight for an appropriate education for our child are lucky. Many families of gifted children can only rely on a failing public school system ill-equipped to meet the needs of gifted learners.

      Ironic that it is the law that we must send our children to school to ensure educated citizens, but we must send our children into an educational system that is failing to educate our children.

      As sad and heartbreaking as your story is, I appreciate that you shared it with us as it is so important for our stories to be heard!

  20. Celi, What a heartbreaking and sadly accurate portrayal of the problems these shockingly underidentified and misunderstood children and their families face. And your stories are just the tip of the iceberg. As a parent, a friend to many parents who went through this, and a therapist to many gifted teens and adults, this all rings true. Thanks for sharing this. A must read.

    • It is very sad that this all rings true. Although these are fictional events and people, I have seen and experienced all of these painful situations and each portrayal has been written from real people and events. The only exaggeration was in the toning-down of the severity of each–I worried that these situations would not be believable if I relayed the true costs and consequences of a gifted child being left behind.

      You have probably seen these very situations as a psychologist who specializes in counseling the gifted.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Gail!

  21. Progressives call this “social justice” and hate the gifted for having “too much” already.

    • Seriously, liberals don’t like the gifted no matter how liberal individual gifted people might be in return. (No comments spoke volumes.)

      • I can’t agree or disagree because I haven’t read anything to formulate an opinion either way, but I would love for you to elaborate because discussions on topics such as this are important if we are to improve the status of gifted children and gifted adults.

        • Well, there’s not a whole lot written, but first we’ll start with the Tall Poppy Syndrome. It’s resentment toward someone who has “too much,” usually by someone who doesn’t. And it’s human nature. (An old Russian proverb says what to do when a neighbor has a goat and you don’t: kill the goat.) The political Left makes this an ideology: The “rich” (or “1%” these days) must be made to “share the wealth” for the “common good” (or “fairness” or “social justice” or so). It’s still the same Tall Poppy Syndrome emotion though.

          The gifted and individual gifted people have “too much” intelligence already– more than “their fair share” of anything beneficial– by being born with it. Like inherited wealth, they didn’t earn it. To provide any educational help to or recognition of them is elitist, racist or otherwise unfair to everyone else. And it’s all right to be obnoxious toward to them to let them know they’re wrong (see http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED403688.pdf ) but, maybe, “cooperative learning” (where others can get beneficial grades and advancement from group work) is okay.

          Education (as in the Education field) and Psychology are quite liberal today, seeking a “social-justice disposition” in their candidates. (See the Tall Poppy Syndrome above, just Google “social justice dispositions” for more.) All the grade-skipping and cool tracked education the gifted got to do after Sputnik was because the liberal “Educationist” John Dewey and Horace Mann adherents got shouldered aside by more conservative Educational Psychology fans of Leta Hollingsworth and Lewis Terman and Industrial Psychology folk (true) for having let America fall behind the USSR.

          The progressive Educationists finally beat back all that in the Gifted field with their “Social-Affective Needs” approach in 1982 after Dallas Egbert killed himself. (Dallas Egbert actually killed himself because he couldn’t accept he was gay, not because he was accelerated, but that’s politics.) Despite oodles of studies showing grade-skipping or tracked education (grouping by mental ability) only benefit gifted students, try finding any for them since– they can have “heterogeneous grouping” regular education and all the therapy they want when that’s not enough. (Someone’s got to do all that great group work.) If liberals like the gifted, they sure don’t act like it.

          In 1975, to take this to the logical extreme, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge (quite Leftist) sought to kill not only all the former regime’s officials and supporters but (as intelligence can’t be redistributed like wealth) every Cambodian smart enough to earn a college degree in order to prevent a return of societal inequality. (Yes, like Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” or Slesar’s “Examination Day,” only for real.) Two million people (out of a population of eight million) died for equality– coercive egalitarianism indeed.

          Liberals only seem to like liberal gifted folk because it makes them look good by association. (Liberals are smart because they’re liberal or they’re smart because they’re liberal because they’re smart– whatever their circular reasoning is making liberal = smart.) Meanwhile they resent the heck out of gifted people behind their back (and wish they’d just go away somehow) otherwise. Conservatives may sure not have all the answers either but, at least, personally speaking, to paraphrase Muhammad Ali, no conservative ever called me the N-word.

          • I appreciate you clarifying and explaining this. I’ll be honest, I have never related the status of gifted people with political or social affiliation. But, coincidentally I read this blog post http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2015/04/the-des-moines-register-must-hate-homeschooling/ and the related op-ed http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/04/17/home-schooling-accountability/25921761/ from the Des Moines Register, and both discuss homeschooling in regards to liberal and conservative views.

            This is definitely a facet of education I am going to look further into. Again, I appreciate the explanation you provided and I hope it starts an informative discussion about this facet of gifted education.

          • Hardly. I’m both profoundly gifted (lowest score on an IQ test 162, estimated 180+) and liberal.

            The Right is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and tramples on the vulnerable. You think the Right likes gifted people? No. Absolutely not. Definitely not gifted women or minorities, who they’d rather see licking the boots and cleaning the homes of their precious white men rather than living up to their abilities. And if you’re not born on third base? Good luck.

            As for Pol Pot et cetera, you may be confusing leftism with the authoritarians who took it and ran away with it.

            “Conservatives may sure not have all the answers either but, at least, personally speaking, to paraphrase Muhammad Ali, no conservative ever called me the N-word.”

            If you’ve kept up with any educational policy – nay, any pronouncement ever that involved right-wingers trying to make a factual statement – that is nonsense.

        • I don’t have a lot of good things to say about the Left OR the Right’s approach to — well, let’s call it what it is — genius.

          The Left hates the notion of genius because that means that some people are better /smarter /more capable than others, which means that some people are LESS able than others. And since the left has a love affair with equality, going right up to the radical left’s adoration of “radical egalitarianism” and thus the notion that nobody should be better or better off than anyone else, they can’t stand the idea of there being geniuses — unless of course the genius in question had struggles against discrimination (Think Einstein the Jew in Germany) and said some really pithy, cool left-wingy type of things -again, think Albert Einstein.

          But the conservative Right can be just as bad in their own way: the reactionary element within the Right doesn’t trust ANYONE who tries to change the world with new-fangled ideas or technology, unless that person makes a billion dollars, in which case, the reactionary part of the Right can tolerate them, but not trust them much at all (Think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.). For this element of the Right, being a scientist or an intellectual is only acceptable if you never, ever say anything that will take away from their religiously-based attitude that “we’ve always done it that way, so don’t change a thing ever!”. Unfortunately, that means being a boring, mediocre dullard, which suits reactionaries just fine, and they don’t want people to get “too big for their britches”.

          The Left, meanwhile, have their adoration of everything mediocre — and I say this because they have a deep and abiding desire to worship the social class that generally speaking, produces the fewest number of geniuses (or at least, outspoken geniuses), not because the working class can’t produce geniuses, but rather because working class people don’t see any practical value in the sort of activities geniuses tend to do (philosophizing, wondering, imagining new worlds etc.) and instead need everyone to jut make a living. And as a result the trend is towards mediocrity or averageness.

          This is the same Left that is supposed to adore university educations, but not, I guess, for the “proletariat”. Their exception? Themselves! If a working-class young person enrols in a Humanities program at a Leftist university (which in Canada and the USA is most of them), then they have no problem with someone joining the ranks of the Left. But the Left, due to its enormous distaste for absolutely anything that suggests that someone might be smarter, better, more hard-working than someone else, prefers to turn a blind eye to the Gifted/genius students during their elementary and high-school years, for fear of violating their own “ethic” against inequality of any type.

          All in all, my experiences politically tell me that though there is a subset within the conservative political movement that does not trust the gifted or the extremely gifted (geniuses) for fear of their heterodoxy and eccentricity, the Left has a much larger antipathy — and it is a much more malevolent rejection — of genius or giftedness.

          That’s why you find so many education students running around saying things like “All children are gifted in their own way”; or saying that “some of the best and brightest can be found in the poorest sections of town”, you know, the most derelict areas, the ones with high crime rates and huge levels of drug-addiction, prostitution, alcoholism, etc. Hardly the place where any parent would want to raise ANY children, let alone for gifted kids for whom such a place would be a complete hell-hole. These are the places where people try and flee unless they are addicted or prostitutes and can’t leave the area. Yet these education (and many Humanities) students will try and claim that there are MORE gifted people in these inner-city hell-holes — only so that they can convince idiot politicians to spend money for a phantom population of an unusually high number of gifted kids — who aren’t there. But now the Leftist has good feelings, and the politicians have “done something” to alleviate the “plight” of these tens of thousands of (phantom) gifted kids. Got a problem? The Leftist solution is to throw money at it. Nothing gets done, of course, but now everyone feels better. Well, except the gifted kids from working- and middle-class neighbourhoods, but who the heck cares about them anyway?

          A pox on both their houses.

          Thanks for letting me vent. Again. As always.

          • Thanks for this John, good to know there are others out there 🙂

  22. Oh my G0d, it’s rare for one of your pieces to nearly move me to tears, but this one did. Especially: “What words would we have for the gifted 8 year old whose severe dyslexia placed him in special ed. classes for years, but his IQ of 150 was never identified or addressed?”.

    Not so much for me. I GOT identified because I had a steamroller of a mother (Jewish mothers are like that) who got me tested and identified early.

    Unfortunately, our Canadian west-coast city’s school district was (and still is) under the spell of a radically left-wing teacher’s union, and, as part of their bargaining, they got the city’s school district to agree that they — the District — would not identify gifted students (as of the 1970’s; this is still the case today), because that wasn’t “fair” to the disadvantaged students; our city has a large inner city area, and although not anywhere near as bad as American inner cities are, my Canadian city has this huge problem on its hands, and the Teachers’ Union believed/believes that the focus has to be on bringing the disadvantaged kids up to speed so they can eventually pass Province-wide exams that are needed for moving on to college or university.

    Also, even just trying to get students moved out of their neighbourhood school catchment area used to be a huge difficulty. Transferring students to another city’s school system — one of the suburbs — was damned near impossible. My mother was able to move me out of my high school in grade ten in a neighbouring high-school primarily because she was a substitute teacher herself in the system, and knew what to do to move me to a much better high school. So I was stuck in my home city, and left to struggle through, which I did, and got into college and then university; and those were heavenly compared to the super-boring elementary and, to a lesser extent, boring high school, especially better after I switched high schools.

    What made my problem worse was that, having been identified as mildly neurologically disabled at the beginning of grade eight and high school, the school board gave my parents the choice of putting me into an “accelerated” program or keeping me classified as disabled.

    The stupid joke is that the special “accelerated” program administrators tied themselves into knots trying to avoid the wrath of the very powerful union by NOT using the words “gifted students” or “genius”; 32 spots in two programs in two west-side schools, in a city of half a million residents. What a cruel joke! That is all the union would allow the city’s school board: 32 spots for 185 000 children. The accelerated program was “reserved” for straight-A students who also had a huge commitment to extra-curricular activities and basically were the annoying perfect little angels every parent prays their child will become. In the two schools where the ‘accelerated’ programs existed, the class and school Valedictorianships was almost exclusively “reserved” for the top-most of these accelerated program students.

    You can guess what happened next. No accelerated program for me; nope, I was thrown in with the special-needs kids, the ones who had really serious trouble with the basics of reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. I have the dubious honour of being one of the extremely rare students who was thrown out of the special needs “trailer” program (called that because the classes were in portable trailers, and I guess because most of the kids in the program trailed the other students). Why was I thrown out? I was reading books in a day or two that the special ed teacher had said would or should take two weeks to read. Finally, she asked me to pull out the book I was currently reading. So I pulled out all three, (this is in grade eight), one of which was a book on mediaeval castle defences, one of which was Karl Marx and Frederich Engels’ Communist Manifesto, and the third one (yes, I was reading all three at the same time) was John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government. In Grade eight. And I was supposed to be a “dumb” student because of my disability. That was my last day in the trailers.

    My wife, who is from Mexico, went through much the same experience as a gifted and disabled student, only she never was identified as gifted until University (she did two degrees despite a severe learning disability), and was not identified as Learning Disabled until she met me and I urged her to get tested for her IQ (are we shocked she tests in the top 1% of the population?). So if I went through hell in school, for her, it must have been ten times as hellacious as anything I went through (part of the reason I fell in love with her is that I admire her bravery and huge effort she put out to get herself through elementary school, high school, AND university.

    No, we have managed to get through, alright; I am an I.T. consultant, and my wife is a teacher and social worker who wants to get her Masters’ degree in counselling psychology.

    I am tremendously worried for our amazingly brilliant son, who, for example, was reading by the age of 3 and a half; lost his English speaking when he moved (at two years old) with his Mom from Texas to Mexico for a year (it’s a looooong story why and how that happened, and why they STILL aren’t with me in Canada), then regained 100% English fluency when his mom moved them back to Texas again — all the while living in a purely and 100% Spanish-speaking household and neighbourhood. Oh yes, he was speaking in paragraphs by the age of two and a half. He is now perfectly fluent in both English and Spanish, though sometimes he uses Spanish grammar structures when speaking English.

    My wife has partially home-schooled Daniel, but when they had to move back to Mexico again so my wife could get her passport and re-start the immigration process to come to Canada (like I said, long story, that), then Daniel was put into public schools where he promptly sank like a stone. Only by putting him in religious private schools has he succeeded and flourished (FINALLY, he is a straight A student!).

    So we know he needs a LOT of tutoring, a lot of counselling in order to understand his own extreme giftedness (and I have told him to NEVER tell the other children he’s gifted). But how well will he cope? What will happen to him in High School with all its “Sturm und Drang” (storm and stress)? He is a highly sensitive boy, who only recently learned how to defend himself against bullies at age 12.

    That’s what is bringing me to near-tears. Just how will this boy manage? The teachers were and still are so reluctant to see his giftedness, and he tells me that when he finishes work, they just give him more of the same work he’s already mastered, which bores him silly. He asked me to “do something” to help him explain to the teachers that when he’s achieved mastery, he needs to move on. I can’t do anything. I am sitting three countries and 4500 km away from him. I worry and worry and hope that his mother and I can get him through his education with as few psychological scars as possible.

    That’s all, but believe me, it’s enough.

    • “they got the city’s school district to agree that they — the District — would not identify gifted students (as of the 1970’s; this is still the case today), because that wasn’t “fair” to the disadvantaged students”

      The ridiculous premise the teacher’s union based this agreement with the district on is that disadvantaged students cannot be smart or gifted. Why else would gifted identification be unfair to these “disadvantaged” children? And we all know that this is a prevalent misunderstanding because minority, impoverished and disadvantaged gifted students are too often overlooked and unidentified because too many in our educational system believe this nonsense. Giftedness does not discriminate!

      John, I’m so sorry for all of the hardship you and your family have had to go through because of giftedness. It just shouldn’t be that way which is why I wrote this post. Yes, life throws us some unfortunate and tragic events which we just need to endure, but the neglect of our gifted children by schools and the terrible consequences suffered by the gifted child and her family are preventable. It is just social and educational negligence.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, John. I hope you know how much you help all of those who read this blog, and me, by sharing your thoughts and experiences! Wishing you and your family all the best!

    • Please point him to Khan academy or any of a number of MOOCs. For a gifted child, school should just be for learning social skills. There is no limit on what we can learn if we are willing to follow our curiosity outside of the school environment. You could take a course with him as a way to bond and communicate. You and your wife made it without the resources that are available today. He will be fine. I wish you all the best.

      • Hi Terrador;

        I haven’t heard of a Khan Academy in this west-coast city or its suburbs. There is a single school of which I am aware that caters to gifted kids (my younger niece attended it, but did not like it). For now, we are focused on negotiating the big gap we’ve realized exists between what our son is learning in his private school in grade 8, vs. what eh’d be learning once he comes up to Canada and has to go into grade 8. We already are aware that between the gaps in his education from his mom and his moving from location to location in the USA (four schools in Texas, three in Washington state, and home-schooled for the four months they were in San Diego California, and the lower-level curriculum his current school offers, he’s got a LOT of learning to make up.
        His mom (my wife) pulled him out of the two religious schools he attended, because he hated them. Why? He got punished for asking questions. Mind you, I don’t know too many 13 or 14 year olds who can discuss articulately what they do and don’t like about the differences between Hillary Clinton vs. (now-President) Donald Trump. She found for him a school that focuses on his apparent ADHD, mild dyslexia and mild dyspraxia (the first he inherited from both of us, the second from his mom, and the third, an inability to do fine-motor coordination activities well, like handwriting, he got from me; dyspraxia was my “twice exceptional” other disability (in some ways, the giftedness is also a disability!).
        We have to have him evaluated, both in the public system and out of our own pockets for a private psychologist. I am hoping that if one of my university professors, who taught about learning disabilities, and has a sub-specialty, as a psychologist, in giftedness and LD is still practicing, that we could get her to evaluate our son “on the cheap”, as I am in the position of soon returning to the work world after several years which had rendered me unable to work, and two reconstructive surgeries later, I can return, albeit slowly, to working.
        Once he’s evaluated, we’ll decide what to do next. What doesn’t help is taht between his lack of caring about performing well on psychological tests around aptitude and IQ, and related matters, and that his mom over-focuses on his problems and not so much on his stranghts,. leads him to be the subject of psychological assessments that lead me to think that either I am severely deluded, or the psychologists aren’t examining the same child as our son. More that once — and remember, he started to read at age 3 and a half — the assessors have claimed that he is mentally handicapped. Because he just doesn’t care what the psychologists think. By contrast, when I was assessed at age ten (back in 1973!), I wanted the psychologist to know that the teacher who’d sparked the need for me to be assessed, because he didn’t like me (I corrected his grammar; I was in grade 5), and told my parents I was mentally handicapped, was in fact wrong as I was a HELL of a lot smarter than Mr. A. realized I was.
        Thanks for the suggestions, and the good wishes. And I want to assure you that despite the enormous geographic distance (4000 KM, not 4500, as I’d said in my original comment), we have a very emotionally close relationship. He feels very comfortable sharing a lot about his life, his loves (just about every cute girl he meets, but hey, he’s 14) and his struggles with me. Considering he’s a teen, that’s a huge honour and compliment he pays me. I think we’ll manage alright, as you say. Thanks again.

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