Maybe My Child is “Gifted”, Maybe Not, Maybe It Doesn’t Matter.

Daniel, my first born, has always been an inquisitive little guy. He was more interested in babbling and listening to books being read than walking or climbing as a baby. As a toddler, his favorite thing to do was recite letters and numbers on flash cards. Now he’s three, about to enter preschool and he’ll tell you the difference between the Jurassic and Triassic period, knows what great white sharks eat and has very strong opinions about his favorite varieties of squid. He also refuses to wear pants 75 percent of the time. Roughly. Because, again, he’s three.

I think he’s brilliant because he’s my child and every parent thinks their child is special in some way, right? Other people have commented on how intelligent he is or how he may be “advanced” and I can’t help but feel a little… uncomfortable. Honestly just typing that makes me cringe a little bit. Here’s the truth– maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, it doesn’t really matter either way.

That’s right. Unclutch your pearls from your white knuckled grasp. I just said it doesn’t matter if my child is “gifted” or especially “smart”. It doesn’t matter if yours are either.

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My special snowflakes.

Many of you probably have memories of being a child in school and the day came to separate the “gifted and talented” students. These special snowflakes were deemed so intelligent that they’d surely be bored with the standard curriculum and would likely be hindered by their peers of average intelligence. There were the special kids and the regular kids. The kids destined for success and the kids destined for mediocrity. Us and them.

Well, spoiler alert… it didn’t matter. Now that you’re an adult, if you actually remember which of your peers were in the gifted and talented program and which were not, you may stalk them on Facebook and see that they now live similar lives. Maybe the “gifted” person is now working to cure malaria, maybe he’s living in his mom’s basement playing X-Box 12 hours a day. The distinction made in elementary school isn’t truly an indication of lifetime success despite the attention and anxiety we gave it.

In fact, the whole theory that “gifted” students perform better when they’re surrounded by other high achieving students has been debunked. Students who qualified for gifted and talented programs scored very similarly to their peers who did not qualify for the program. Despite all the resources, funds, the whole process of distinguishing the gifted– no big results.

Say I do consider my kid to be “gifted”, then what? When he’s in high school, does he still have to study for tests in order to get an “A”? Will he still have to read Beowulf? If he doesn’t get into MIT, should I write an scathing letter to the dean about how gifted he is and how he knew the difference between a pterodactyl and a pteranodon before preschool?

I have another kid. She just turned one. She can’t recite the alphabet. Her current favorite hobbies include eating dog food and trying to climb in the toilet. Maybe she is gifted. Maybe she’s not. She’s one.

Frankly it would seem unfair to me to treat one kid differently than the other based on any perceived notion of intelligence and “giftedness”. It’s important to us that they’re both given the same opportunities and encouragement. One kid wants to get into an Ivy League school, OK. We’re going to do everything we can to make that dream a reality. One kid wants to twirl signs outside an Ashley Furniture, well, I guess we’re going to encourage them to be the best damn sign spinner out there.

The National Association for Gifted Children (because of course that’s a thing) advocates learning opportunities appropriate for the child’s individual abilities and learning style. But isn’t that appropriate for every child? Whether the child has developmental delays or is getting bored in class, both the teachers and parents at home can identify this and make sure they’re thriving in their educational environment. There are many opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities to be successful in higher education and beyond. Given the chance, any child can be successful.

I truly believe hard work is a more important factor than intelligence and that’s what we’re going to focus on with our kids. Instead of praising them by saying, “you’re so smart”, I’m going to try saying, “you worked really hard on that” for example. Intelligence is really a matter of luck anyway, isn’t it? So, why should that be more worthy of praise than something they actually worked for and accomplished?

I constantly hear parents humblebragging about their toddler’s achievements while other anxious parents are concerned that their kids are falling behind. With the utmost compassion, I say to both groups of parents– it doesn’t matter. You’re noticing these things because you care and you’re a kickass parent. Due to your awesome parenting, I have no doubt you’ll give your kids every opportunity to succeed in life and they will be awesome.

After all, everyone has gifts and talents and that’s part of why every parent believes their children are so unique and special. They really are! Every child is gifted and talented. So let’s stop distinguishing which children are gifted and start celebrating our children’s unique gifts. How is your child gifted? Think about it and please comment here or on Facebook! I’d love to hear.

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27 thoughts on “Maybe My Child is “Gifted”, Maybe Not, Maybe It Doesn’t Matter.

  1. C.m. Johnson says:

    Best thoughts I’ve ever read on the subject, and oh, so true. By the same token, some of histories most gifted inventors, creative artists and writers, and international leaders were diagnosed as “learning disabled”. Enjoy the gift of a child everyday in every way.

  2. Natalie PlanetSmarty (@PlanetSmarty) says:

    When my daughter was the age of your son, I felt pretty much the same way. I did not know then what I know now – how public education works, how different my daughter will be from other kids and how much I will have to advocate for her in our state where public gifted education does not exist. Now I know better, and I think you will too.

  3. Alice Ayres says:

    How many parents of gifted children did you speak to before writing this? How many gifted specialists? How many studies on gifted education did you read? Did you read anything beyond the one study you quoted that happens to fit your narrative? There are countless others that contradict it.

    In 2014, we moved from Pennsylvania to Southern California for my husbands career. My son went from having pull out classes with a gifted specialist and cluster several times a week to no gifted support at all. I couldn’t even get his teacher to give him a few challenge words a week, even after winning the school spelling bee. California allows LEAs to determine how to handle gifted education. So many do nothing.

    My son went from an eager learner, excited about going to school to crying each night before bed and each morning before leaving for school. He was used to be challenged and was now sitting bored. In the 4th grade his teacher was covering things he’d already done in 1st and 2nd grade. He was miserable. Imagine if you will, having to spend 7 hours a day stagnating- learning things you’ve already learned. My husband took the first opportunity to return to Pennsylvania and once again my son is thriving with pull out every day for math and humanities.

    Picture a bell curve of academic ability. The bottom 5% is going to need various support services to help them thrive. So what about the top 5? Should they be left to sit unchallenged? You mention them “still having to study for tests.” The problem is, if a child is never challenged they never learn to study. So when they are finally offered something at or above their ability in high school or college–they fail. Leaving these gifted kids to recieve no support sets them up to fail later in life. Did you know there is a higher than average rate of gifted children who drop out of high school?

    Unfortunately, there is this idea that it’s okay to be proud of a child exceptionalities in any field but intelligence. Social media is loaded with kids in sports videos but I’ve been insulted for referring to my son as gifted. The problem is the word “gifted.” There’s this attitude that it’s elitist and insulting to imply that not every child is gifted. I almost think if it was called some odd acronym, it might end much of the debate. Because you can’t deny that some children have an exceptional aptitude for learning

    • Farrah says:

      Hi Alice. Glad you found an outlet beyond 140 characters. You are one of many, many parents of gifted children who have contacted me today. Please understand that I’m not in the parenting community with gifted children. If you’re adhering to the NGCA definition of gifted, you’re right– not every child is gifted. A small minority would be. I write for a wiiiiide audience, but even just parents. So I speak very generally. Going by the literal definition of gifted, yes, I think every child has gifts and could be considered gifted in one way or another. If your child is gifted academically, that’s great. I absolutely think it’s OK to celebrate that. I’m certainly not an authority of what is OK.

      So, as I said, I’m not an expert regarding gifted children. I was curious about the effectiveness of G&T programs, so I did what any non-expert would do and Googled it. I found several articles like this one http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/do-gifted-programs-improve-learning/282532/ that addressed the success of the programs are overstated. There wasn’t a measurable difference to show the programs were effective. I cited that in the blog post because that’s what I found, not because it fit any narrative.

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with your child not being challenged. I understand that must have been incredibly frustrating for you. However it sounds like your child is incredibly lucky to have a parent who cares so much and is passionately advocating for his education.

  4. Lisa Swaboda says:

    I grinned the whole way through this, but probably not for the reason you think.
    As a former public school educator for several decades, I could have written this article myself up until several years ago. I’d had “gifted students” in my gen ed classes & imagined that giftedness was more hype than reality.
    Then I had my children. Sure, they were smart- their mother was a teacher.
    When my son hit 3rd grade and the tantrums began, I researched giftedness. Only in my desperation did I come to realize why it was so difficult for me to see-it was also me.
    Giftedness is much, much more than intellect. If you have a gifted child or are, you know what I mean. I’ve come to realize that giftedness is easy, ‘normal’ is not.
    Read, research, discuss, learn. If you do, you’ll be amazed at the myriad of differences.
    All my best,
    Atlas Educational

  5. Lisa Swaboda is Atlas Educational says:

    I could have written this post back when I was a public school teacher for decades-before I had children of my own.
    I’ve had gifted students in class. I’ve seen different versions of gifted programs, but like driving a race car or traveling to a new country, you can only imagine what you haven’t directly experienced.
    Giftedness is more than advanced intellect- much, much more. Just like your own children are different from each other, so are gifted children (& adults). We experience the world in a different way. I don’t know if it’s possible to explain it because I only discovered my own giftedness by discovering it in my children.

    I invite you to read, research, and dig deeper. You just might discover more than you imagined. And if not, that’s okay too. Those of us who know will smile and chuckle at how “easy” being gifted really is!
    https://atlaseducational.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/gifted-is-easy/

  6. Nicole says:

    That’s great that you wrote this without much knowledge and that the Huffington post picked it up to once again, mis-educate the public.

    And to “defend” yourself by saying you’re not going by the NGCA, and your just talking about gifts, then you need to pull the gifted and talented part out of your piece, as by law, it’s designed to “cater” to those children that are diagnosed/identified and fit under that definition.

    I get some points you made, like tailoring learning to each individual. And that making pull out programs are not going to equal success.. but “giftedness” as defined by the NGCA itself doesn’t equal success. There are MANY UNDERLYING factors. And for the most part, I’ll give it to you, some of what you wrote was right.. like every child has gifts and talents…. here is the damaging part.. its the way you wrote it.. when you say it doesn’t matter. When the kid in class is underchallenged and you say, it’ll eventually work itself out in higher education… no that’s wrong. There are many studies that I can sight, that state that these are the kids that are more likely to become angry, frustrated, disengaged, depressed before they are even a teenager, be diagnosed with ODD, become anti social.. etc. The higher up you go In IQ, the more fragile the person and child is. The more OE’s the more Sensitivities… From environmental to internal.

    School is targeted to teach to the average, and when you have kids on both ends of the spectrum suffering but the lower end are given a chance but the higher end, we just say, it doesn’t matter.. thryll eventually do great.. that’s where we fail, not just these kids but society as a whole.

    I invite you to join a gifted group on Facebook and get to learn what these families go through. Not with a judgmental hat, but from a humble place and from an empathetic place. Maybe then, you’ll truly understand why it matters.

    And no its not because their kid can’t get into an ivy league college.. it’s because the average highly gifted kid can’t even get through grade school.. thats right! Especially those that are considered gifted 2e. (Gifted twice exceptional)

    And here’s a little interesting tid bit.. a good bit of those who have droped out of school early, because they weren’t pulling good grades and we’re rebellious. . We’re gifted but unidentified. They struggled, school failed them and they quit.. quit mentally and emotionally way before they ever did physically. It’s much more to do with everyday survival and mental health than successs.. that’s what the average person doesn’t understand. And when society gets that part.. then improvement will happen. Until then, more misinformation will keep getting pumped out there. And most of it is due to media.

    And why does this matter? Because the average person thinks that gifted means, everyone has gifts and is talented.. but don’t realize the formal definition. And when articles like yours spread, then teachers read this school personal read this, and many of them already think the way you do, but this only reinforces how they feel .. and when the concerned parent goes to school, the administration say, but this child will eventually even out.. this child isn’t a concern, hes privlidged.. but they are mistaken.. it’s not a privlidge. It’s a struggle. And the higher the IQ, the more the struggle. But people don’t care to understand because of their preconceived notions. And where do you think most gifted individuals end up, especI ally the ones with the high iq who were greatly underchallenged, they probably dropped out of school and struggle to keep most jobs. Thats your average highly gifted individual. It’s not the ivy league kid, or the college bound kid, or even the kid with a great job. Your average highly gifted is like the neighbor next door. The one struggling to pay bills, living in mom’s basement.. why? Because school didn’t meet the kids needs because they were “gifted”. So you’re right, they don’t have a better chance at success than the average student. They have even more of a struggle to survive and get through the early years just to make it to higher education.

  7. Christina says:

    Really good article! I learned a lot of this in my Teaching Exceptional Children class. Giftedness is not necessarily a gift. It is an innate way the brain works and processes information. Gifted children can struggle just as much if not more than other children who are not properly challenged and directed and many suffer from a fixed mindset that can lead them down a path of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety.

    https://freespiritpublishingblog.com/2016/08/11/gifted-talented-or-just-hardworking/
    From the article- “The term “gifted” is highly charged and is often misused in education. I often hear people say that all kids are gifted. This simply is not true.”

  8. Gia says:

    This particular paragraph, is just wrong… “Many of you probably have memories of being a child in school and the day came to separate the “gifted and talented” students. These special snowflakes were deemed so intelligent that they’d surely be bored with the standard curriculum and would likely be hindered by their peers of average intelligence. There were the special kids and the regular kids. The kids destined for success and the kids destined for mediocrity. Us and them.

    Let’s talk about this for a second, you mentioned that the “these special snowflakes” would be likely “hindered” by their peers of average intelligence.

    Hold up a moment. Would you say this about a child who had a disability? That those of average average intelligence those “average special snowflakes” , wold he hindered by their disabled peers and that they would need a special class to separate the two. But instead of the average being cut out, it’s those with learning disabilities, those “special snowflakes” as you so eloquently phrase.. as not to demean either, but you know theyre “special” and “fragile” would need a class of their own. Would need more attention, more help.. but how dare they.

    Have you heard of being simultaneously intelligent and also learning disabled? Many highly gifted (yes a good chunk those in the 98th% and 99% are in fact learning disabled) those special snowflakes, those students that you so eloquently speak of, also have to deal with ASD. What? No! You don’t say! THOSE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES the top percent have disabilities and ASD?? yep! Those very ones you “so nicely demean” are the ones who usually end up playing xbox in mom’s basement, because the gifted and talented program that was supposed to offer support, only offers a few hours of time where others get them, that pull out program also fails to see that these kids need much more than just a few hours of a pull out program. Because they’re special? No, because they NEED it.

    Who made it about you against them? We’re you that hurt in school that you didn’t make the cut? Well guess what, neither did I. In fact, I was highly gifted but learning disabled. My learning disability overshadowed my intelligence and my intelligence overshadowed my learning disability. Both cancelled one another out. So I “averaged” out academically.. but here is where school fails those who are like this, from average to your “special snowflakes”, intelligence isn’t about academic prowess, it’s not about how well one does in the books, or on paper, it’s NOT about success.. that’s where you fail to see this. It’s where most of the world fails to see this. It’s about the individual and meeting their needs. Does a pull out program once a week meet their needs? Absolutely NOT. Does a child who goes to a class specifically designed for their learning disability get the help they need, more so than the gifted student. What about those who are identified as being learning disabled, but fail to test with academic strengths, what about them, so they receive the services needed in one area, but what about supporating their strengths? Many don’t get both ends. Many are in the learning disabled “special ed” rooms but never are able to “connect” with like minded peers. Most are made to feel incompetent.

    So while I agree with the premise of your post, academic needs to meet all the students needs, the way you wrote it was just from a place of hurt. Of frustration and anger, bit terns clearly shows through. Because who in their right empathic, mind, would call kids, “special snowflakes” meaning to demean them into something less significant than what they appear to be.

    Have you ever heard of tall poppy syndrome? Might want to look into that.

    Also might want to look into gifted underachievers. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.giftedstudy.org/newsletter/pdf/underachievement_handbook.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiB9uGSn9rOAhUF7yYKHVG6DPAQFgg6MAY&usg=AFQjCNGR3CPSjR4Rxj7emTc1PD0WZ4xGlw&sig2=km-jXe5fnBtORbCS7Zob0Q

    It’s not about the success, it’s not about academics, it’s about supporting a misunderstood group of people that need “special services” just as those who are learning disabled need too. It’s about supporting the child emotionally, physically, mentally, socially.

    Imagine going to school and not being able to relate with your peers. Are your peers holding you back? Why put the blame on them vs their peers, why paint such a picture. When a sports player in a swim team is Olympic material, do we keep the rising team member with those who he can’t relate to? Do see keep him training in a kids swimming pool? What if Michael phelps, had trained in a kiddie pool, because we didn’t want to make his peers feel bad. Because he’d be deemed a special snowflake? What would that have done to phelps, mentally, emotionally? Think about it, would he have high self esteem? Would he yearn to go to swim school? Or would he have become depressed? Would he have been frustrated, disengage and dropen out?

    Take out swim school and replace it with academics.. suddenly it’s threatening. Suddenly he’s a threat.. it’s “him agains us”.

    And I hope you enjoyed my surplus of words like the person who commented above. Who oh so took the time to pour her heart out, and the first thing you did was sarcastically put her down regarding how much she wrote. Yet it’s OK that you publicly wrote a post overy a certain word count to get your message across, but how dare anyone that comments. Good grief

  9. mesomama says:

    When I read your post yesterday, my first thought was, “I can’t even.” I closed it and went about my business, but could not put it out of my head. After we put our (probably twice exceptional and definitely suffering) child to bed, I began to read it to my husband. He wouldn’t even let me finish. You’ve heard from many parents of gifted children, so let me tell you the story of two gifted adults.

    My husband and I were both “identified” at eight years old. I attended a large public school in the capital of my state; he attended a tiny public school in a tiny town about an hour and a half from the nearest large city. We both received the pull-out services of which you spoke in your post. He went to the special education room and worked by himself with no help from any teachers. He remembers one math program on a computer that challenged him, but otherwise it was mostly busy work to keep him from bothering the teacher. I was pulled once a week for three hours with several other children. We had a different gifted teacher each year and no clear vision for the program. It kind of felt like a free-for-all. By junior high, both of our programs were discontinued.

    Our memories of school are of mind-numbing boredom. By second grade, we had both already given up on the school ever teaching us anything. We both retreated into the world of fiction books. We would literally read all day long, unless there was a test. If there was, we would take the test (remember we had not been taught anything on the test because we read while the teacher talked), made an A, and went back to reading. How does a child prepare for the real world with that? I’ll tell you; they don’t.

    While school is about learning facts, it is also about learning to space out your time, break down an assignment into smaller parts, experience failure and success in a smaller setting, work with personalities that might be at odds with yours, and many other things. Because neither my husband nor I had these opportunities, we never learned these skills. I worked two jobs in high school and three in college, threw together assignments an hour or so before they were due, and still aced everything.

    Part of your post was that those gifted and talented kids don’t do anything different than everyone else now. Do you want to know what I do now? Therapy. Lots of therapy. I spent my entire life feeling “wrong”. Gifted is not smart. Gifted is wired differently. I have sensory processing disorder. I have anxiety. I’ve been depressed since I was eight years old. EIGHT. I have executive dysfunction. I graduated college with an education degree determined to not let what happened to me happen to other children. I lasted three years. By all measures of the word, I am a failure. But the more therapy I receive the more I see how if I had just been supported even a little as a child, I could be healthy or thriving today. If I had experienced challenge and failure in elementary school instead of (or prior to) my job in the real world, I would have had coping mechanisms. If someone had noticed my SPD or my anxiety or my depression, I could have gone throughout life feeling anything but wrong. But none of that happened.

    You say no one should be told how “smart” they are and should have to work hard. Would it surprise you that I agree with you? My husband and I both HATE being called “smart”. If we made a mistake (and what kid didn’t?) we were told, “You’re too smart for that.” We wanted to work hard. Every single day we hoped and prayed for something, ANYTHING, that would challenge us, make us work hard. Every day. It never came. Not even in the gifted pull-out program that you so scathingly mock. I promise you, none of us felt like special snowflakes. We felt like freaks. Every day. The reason so many “gifted and talented” children never succeed is that they are never given the opportunity to succeed. They are broken, time and time again, by the school system. The reason you had so many parents of gifted children come to your page and speak so passionately is because most of us were gifted ourselves, broken at a young age. We lived it. We now work hard so that our children will not have to live it. Sweeping generalizations like yours, with no research to back it up (except one cherry-picked article from a quick Google search), are what we fight against every day. I can point you to article after article, book after book, that show that if a gifted child it’s met with appropriate, on- their-level work and are allowed to proceed at their own pace, it makes a world of difference. Those are the kids that go on to cure cancer our discover star systems or create Hamilton. The rest of us struggle to pick up the pieces of ourselves every day.

    The other gifted child in my story, my husband, is now a computer programmer. From the outside looking in, he succeeded. From the outside looking in, you would never know he also struggles with depression and executive dysfunction. He changes himself based on what he thinks others want, because he was never allowed to truly be himself. He wonders if he has any true friends. He has a terrible fear of not being “smart enough” – also known as imposter syndrome. He would not allow me to finish reading your post because it is the same drivel we’ve heard our entire lives. I urge you to consider the feelings of the entire group of people you so callously dismissed. If your call is for differentiated education, then we are the same. It is what we want too. We want our child to never feel “wrong”. We want our child to have an opportunity to learn something new every day, just like the other children. We want our child to try and fail, and try and succeed, in a low-stakes environment. We want his feelings, his very being, to not be dismissed.

  10. Stephanie Sill says:

    It’s discouraging that you write these things as though you have knowledge of what you speak when anyone who has done any research at all knows that you most definitely do NOT. Good luck praising the “hard work” of a gifted child in a regular classroom setting where they literally haven’t tried or learned anything in three years. And good luck motivating a kid to study for that test in high school when they’ve spent the last 8 years not spending a single second studying and skating by with near-perfect grades. Oh, and good luck picking that same child up from college mid-semester when they finally reach their academic ceiling and need to apply themselves but have no idea how to do so, since they never learned that skill in school, after they receive their failing mid-term grades and have a nervous breakdown from the internal pressures they place on themselves to perform. Then come back and revisit this snarky blog post. Until you’ve lived it, hold your tongue. Those of us who have been there don’t appreciate it.

  11. Allison Blaisdell Chalifoux says:

    So, if you’re “not in the parenting community with gifted children”, “not an expert regarding gifted children”, and writing for a “wiiiiide audience” about what your own personal definition of what you think the term gifted means, why are you even writing an article that is firmly rooted in your ignorance of, and unwillingness to truly educate yourself on the topic. Your tone is dismissive and inflammatory. “(because of course that’s a thing)” It appeals to the ever increasing anti intellectualist sentiment in this country, and reinforces old stereotypes about parents of gifted children being pushy, overbearing elitists. I’m sure by now you think I need to “unclutch my pearls from my white knuckled grasp”, but you weren’t there when my SIX year old started expressing suicidal ideation because he’s a kid whose academic assessments had him performing at a high school level in first grade, but he was lagging behind in emotional regulation skills and couldn’t deal with sitting through “See Spot run.” at circle time.
    Articles like this, hurt kids like mine.

  12. Jen says:

    The word “gifted” needs to be replaced. These kids at the top end of the bell curve are special needs just as surely as the kids at the other end. I can promise you with 100% certainty that if your son truly does turn out to be gifted, you will backtrack on the things you have said here. These kids struggle, big time. Imagine being forced to color and do ABCs all day when you really just want to get back to reading your novels or learning basic algebra. That’s the level of discrepancy we are talking about, no exaggeration, and it is just as painful and frustrating for these kids as it would be for you or me. And while it’s lovely to imagine that a teacher with a classroom of 25 kids can really meet the varying needs of each child, the reality is that they usually cannot meet the needs of these outlying students. Not without individualized plans and programs in place. I know you won’t believe the parents who are telling you this now – all I can say is, in the words that so many people use for new parents – just wait and you’ll see.

  13. quark says:

    Farrah, in your reply to Alice, you said, I quote “So, as I said, I’m not an expert regarding gifted children.”. If you truly believe in that response, you really shouldn’t make claims like “Every child is gifted and talented.”

    There might come a time when you might feel like you should have waited to write this. If that time comes, I warmly invite you to get in touch.

  14. Lisa says:

    I hope for your children’s sake they aren’t gifted, because it is no walk in the park. As you said, they may equally grow up to be in their parents basement playing games, rather than curing malaria. My son is more likely to be the former, due to the crippling anxiety, lack of appropriate understanding of his overexcitablities and bullying.luckily, due to him being quick to process new information, he has kept up with his peers, despite never spending a whole day in class.

    Whilst I appreciate you are writing to the masses, if you wrote the same article demeaning children with autism or low IQ, all hell would break loose. I just hope through this exercise you gain some insight into what it’s really like.

  15. Erin Schmidt says:

    The problem is what you looked at does not lead one to draw the CONCLUSIONS that you have.

    The study you quoted says this They focused on students who just barely made the threshold for their schools’ gifted and talented programs—and those who just barely missed it.

    So in other words, they looked at standardized test scores of kids who are all pretty much the SAME intelligence level – IE the kids all likely have IQs in the 127-133 range (since the cut off for most gifted programs is 130). The expectation actually IS that these kids should still have about the same standardized test scores. There is going to be some difference, depending on the gifted program, but if you are pulling from all states, that is going to even itself out, since a gifted pull out program 1 day a week likely adds very little to the gifted education versus an inclusive gifted program class all the time (which would add a lot more).

    So what the study actually showed was that if you look at a bunch of kids with about the same IQ, and you don’t even bother to hold constant the TYPE of gifted program they have, and you have a large subsection cut from all types of gifted programs, the aggregate is their isn’t much difference. (A better study would have been to seprate out the kids by TYPE of gifted classes they are taking and then see what happens)

    AND that study does not compare the difference between kids with a much larger gap in IQ levels. Nor does it take into account that giftedness can be asynchronous, nor does it take into account that not all kids actually test well on standardized tests… even gifted kids. Oh and let’s not forget that standardized tests are just that standardized and if the cut off to get into gifted education is 98%, the child scoring the 98% really can’t go up very much versus the child not making the cut and scoring 97%. Because standardized tests have ceilings. You can’t measure above the ceiling. Which is another reason why looking at standardized tests doens’t work.

    BTW you could have read the comments on that article to clearly see the flaws of the study

  16. Theresa Maher says:

    You are absolutely right. You are no expert . You think of it only as a privilege program. You don’t realize that students who are intellectually different from their same aged peers often struggle with hypersensitivity, anxiety, depression and bullying. You also don’t understand that oftentimes enrichment programs like the pullout program you described in your blog often decrease disciplinary problems in mainstream classrooms. You are right when you say that some gifted adults live in their basement and are less successful than you. You are misunderstanding that gifted programs are more about the now than the future, they serve children navigating their way through the challenges of school in the present.

  17. Beryl says:

    Dear Farrah, it would be great if every child’s education needs was supported. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen here in the U.S.A. All the school funding goes to the minimum required by law. Every child is taught the minimum required by common core, because it is easier and cheaper not to differentiate. In fact, a full third or more of the school year will be used to review and prep for tests to prove that the minimum standard is being taught. In some richer school districts where parents can and do support levys, referendums and the like, you may have special schools that offer more and have specially trained teachers that can really challenge gifted kids, but that is not the norm. The little differentiation in most public schools is slightly faster pace classes offered beginning in middle school, 6-7 years after most gifted (high IQ, several to many grades above in ability) have suffered through schooling which has taught them only to hate school because they aren’t learning anything, year after miserable year after miserable year. The educational system in the country has been broken for a long time and is only getting worse.

  18. clhermansen says:

    Do you understand how damaging and hurtful the attitude in your article is to children who do fit the narrower definition of gifted, and to their parents? It sounds like ridicule of parents who are doing their best to advocate for children who are psychologically wired differently than most people. It has nothing to do with academic performance. You may not be writing to parents in the gifted community, but your article promotes a perspective that mocks parents who are in the gifted community and alienates a population that is already so misunderstood.

  19. Edward Spiegel says:

    I am not sure if you have read the many thoughtful responses to the version of this piece that appears on the Huffington Post that try to educate you about aspects of “giftedness” of which you seem unaware. They are well worth reading. I hope that you will follow up and do some research about the needs of the most extreme of those called “gifted” and why it is sometimes critical for parents, teachers and educators to understand that some kids are so atypical for their age that their needs are not met in a typical age-based American classroom.

    Here are a few papers that might be worthwhile for you to read:

    http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/underserved.htm

    http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ746290.pdf

    I’ve posted some thoughts about your blog piece over on Scott Barry Kaufman’s blog:

    http://scottbarrykaufman.com/giftedness-matter-giftedness/#comment-91204

    I hope after reading these, you will be moved to revise your blog piece to be less dismissive of those whose viewpoint (often informed by much experience with the subject) differs from yours.

    Best regards,
    Edward

  20. Llama Llama says:

    Giftedness is not the same thing as being bright, and saying gifted kids don’t need support makes about as much sense as saying kids with special needs don’t need an IEP. Really and truly it’s a different world. Even more so for a twice exceptional child – what compensates for what? Of my two kids, the one who is bright will have a much easier time of life than the one who is gifted,

  21. evaconstruction says:

    Yes, of course the National Association for Gifted Children is a thing. It’s for parents like me who felt a lot like you did when their child was 3, but now are hopelessly searching for help and support. My daughter was diagnosed as “gifted” in first grade. She is now 12 and is suffering from depression. She doesn’t fit in at school, probably because so many other children’s parents have the same prejudices and judgments as you. She is upset because this year two of her close friends, who were also diagnosed as “gifted”, switched schools because they were being bullied. I’ve watched my daughter turn from an extrovert to an introvert because none of her peers understand her. Her classes are finally starting to become challenging for her in middle school, but she is such a perfectionist that if she finds a subject hard, she either shuts down and doesn’t do any work at all, or she has a major breakdown and freaks out. And I’m freaking out for her. She IS different from other kids and it DOES need to be acknowledged. Gifted kids are still kids. Stop making fun of them by calling them special snowflakes and writing insensitive blog posts about how they aren’t any different and should just get over themselves.

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