Gifted children and adults are different. They know it. Friends and family know it. Society knows it. But differences can sometimes foster confusion, suspicion and uncertainty, resulting in misunderstanding and wasted opportunities.
Gifted children's needs and challenges are often minimized, sometimes envied, and not infrequently mocked and belittled. Regarded as serious, driven and socially awkward, they are nevertheless expected to be ideal students, requiring little assistance from educators. Parents who advocate for an education commensurate with their child's abilities are treated as demanding and ungrateful, and chastised for requesting resources routinely allocated for average or lower ability students with "greater" needs.
Gifted individuals have IQs of 130 or above, which is two standard deviations above the norm. In other words, they are outliers. Their minds work differently. They think with greater complexity and depth, acquire knowledge at a faster pace, and grasp new concepts more quickly. Whether considered a blessing or a curse, their "gift" is something they are born with and they have to grapple with a learning style that does not easily conform to the world around them. This does not make them overachievers or hard workers; many are notorious underachievers and fail to reach their potential. They have different social and emotional needs than others, partly due to their innate intensity and overexcitabilities, but also in response to a world that often ignores and isolates them due to their differences.
This blog started in January, 2013 as an attempt to share ideas, insights, information and updates about gifted children and adults. As a clinical psychologist, I have worked with many gifted individuals, and have witnessed how intellectual strengths, learning style, and social/emotional needs influence initiative, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships. I have seen how parents struggle to nurture and support their gifted children. I have witnessed the problems many gifted adults face as they struggle to find their place in the world, or maintain a marriage where there is little room for their intensity.
Since starting this blog , I have been contacted numerous times by parents with questions about their child's giftedness, school placement, social dilemmas, and the "normalcy" of their child's behaviors. As a result, I have recently started a new service: Gifted Challenges Educational Consultation Services. More about this can be seen on the link above. My intention is to offer consultation in-person or by phone or skype to individuals or families who need some additional support, coaching or advice regarding the effects of giftedness in their lives. I also offer programs in schools.
I plan to keep blogging, advocating and working with gifted individuals in my clinical psychology practice. Thanks again for reading, commenting and being a part of this blog. Any feedback is always welcome.
Fascinating post with accurate observations!ReplyDelete
I happen to be one of those misdiagnosed adolescents who suffered a nervous breakdown because I was not accelerated academically.
Thank you so much for this blog, please subsist in writing and spreading awareness. It can be very painful to be misunderstood, especially by those closest, including family members.
Anna, So sorry to hear about your rough adolescence. I hope you have been able to find people who understand you now. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I have been following your blog for a while and really get a lot out of it. I hope you continue to write about adolescents, since my kids are getting older and I probably will need a lot of advice with them!ReplyDelete
Thanks. I plan to focus on adolescents as well as all of the age groups in the future.Delete
Washington State has implemented some new changes for public gifted education, the majority of which will begin in the 2014/15 school year. I've worked with several people already trying to get their child serviced under the districts' new highly capable plans which are quite a bit less than the shiny new objects promised. One near us vows only to serve the highly and profoundly gifted population. So sad!ReplyDelete
Kudos to you! Gifted advocacy is a huge passion of mine!!
Deborah, I hope you are able to get more going in your district. I know that it can be a long, slow process, but every step along the way is so important. It is so frustrating how every state and every school district are so different. Good luck with your journey.Delete