One thing I have learned over the years as a psychologist, advocate and parent is how much misunderstanding there is about gifted people. It’s astonishing, really. Gifted children are frequently overlooked, often languish in classrooms that cannot accommodate their learning needs, and are viewed with suspicion by peers who don’t “get” their differences. Many are ostracized or bullied. And sadly, the most adaptable of the bunch may learn to “fit in” by downplaying their abilities or giving up on school completely.
Gifted adults face similar constraints. Often reeling from the stigma and social challenges of childhood, they may lack confidence in their careers or social interactions. They often feel different from the norm and struggle to find like-minded peers, sometimes assuming that there is something wrong with them.
Parents of gifted children struggle to balance supporting their child’s needs, advocating within the schools (without creating too many conflicts), and educating others who don’t understand. Many adults without gifted children think it’s easy to raise a gifted child. They assume these children are high achievers, pushed by hovering parents. They also don’t understand how gifted children can be so bright, but have social or other learning deficits. Parents of gifted children are continually explaining, educating, and, yes, apologizing when there is no need for apology. It can be overwhelming.
I started this blog to advocate, explore, and raise questions about the social and emotional aspects of giftedness. I have "visited" these issues from a variety of perspectives. As a Clinical Psychologist, in practice for 30 years, I bring my experience as a clinician to my understanding of giftedness. I have worked collaboratively with gifted education supervisors to evaluate gifted programming, and am aware of the constraints and struggles schools face as well. My experiences as a parent and as an advocate (past co-chair of a local gifted advocacy group) have been humbling and have deepened my understanding of giftedness in my work as a therapist.
My psychology practice is in Jenkintown, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia. I offer therapy, workshops, consultation, and presentations, along with an educational consultation service (provided in-person or by skype) aimed at guidance about gifted concerns.
I welcome your feedback, questions, and ideas on this journey to advocate for and understand the needs of the gifted.