My view: The joys and challenges of raising a gifted child
Chandra Moseley and her daughter, Nya
August 23rd, 2012
02:07 AM ET

My view: The joys and challenges of raising a gifted child

By Chandra Moseley, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Chandra Moseley is a working, single mom. A resident of a Colorado city, she makes sure to expose her daughter to small-town living through weekly trips to the Rocky Mountains.

(CNN) – My daughter, who is 5, was identified last year as "gifted.” Well, I honestly had never properly understood what being "gifted" meant. I naively thought, "Oh, my baby is so advanced, she is just so smart!”

For those of you who are truly unaware of what being gifted means, let me help you understand.

Gifted students are defined by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) as those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.

The part of the definition that’s missing - and what I so desperately needed to understand - is the social and behavioral issues that may come with giftedness.

For one thing, my daughter, Nya, is a perfectionist. She gets frustrated even if she only slightly draws outside of the lines. She also gets unnerved by certain loud noises (buzzing or toilets flushing) and even the seams on her socks.  I’ve had to turn her socks inside out because the seam on her toes irritated her so much. I thought she was just being fussy.  

I became aware of Nya’s giftedness through Rev. Regina Groff, a family member’s minister, who noticed the way Nya was coloring when she was just 2. Rev. Groff has gifted children of her own and recognized Nya's frustration each time she drew outside of the lines. That type of frustration and overexcelling is all part of the perfectionism characteristic of being gifted. Just that simple act of frustration revealed her giftedness at the right time that day.

Photos: Inside a 'genius school' in 1948

There are other characteristics of giftedness that for many, including my daughter, are telltale signs - excessive energy, unending curiosity, emotionally advanced, early and superior language skills or a need for perfectionism. Gifted children might have supersensitivities, and that’s what was going on with the loud noises and her socks.

Rev. Groff suggested getting Nya tested and recommended an early childhood education public preschool that has a program for gifted children. Her children attended the same school, and she could not say enough good things about it. I was in the process of trying to find, as many parents do, the "perfect preschool.” Thank God, I listened to her advice and pursued that specific school. I am a firm believer in the notion that God sends people into our lives to guide us, inspire us, lead us and teach us. Rev. Groff guided me that day into the right place my daughter needed to be, and Nya continues to guide me into the right place I need to be.

Nya, which means fulfilled wish, has always been extraordinarily special to me. She was a gift from the day she was born, delivered to me by another vessel. Nya is adopted. I sometimes have to remind myself of that because she couldn't possibly be any more like me. In what I thought could be only one miraculous event by her being born, she continues to produce miracles and forever enrich my life. She has not only taught me what unconditional love feels like - how to laugh until your belly aches, how to play like you are the silliest person in the room - but also how to be so aware that every challenging moment in your life exposes you, teaches you and prepares you for something to come.

I remember Nya’s first year of preschool. What could have been a 10 minute homework session (yes, homework in preschool) turned into an hour and a half of erasing and rewriting each word until in her mind it was perfect. Let me tell you, there were many pencils being thrown across the room (not by me), breakdowns, and crying (yes, some by me.)

What I didn't understand at the time was her constant quest for perfection.

Her amazing teacher, Brenda Natt, explained to me that it is all part of being gifted and that was the very reason Natt cuts off all the erasers of her pencils in her classroom. She understands that her students struggle with that issue and what she wanted them to understand was that it was OK if something isn't perfect sometimes.

The same teacher strongly advised me to enroll Nya in a gifted school to prevent her from getting lost in the loopholes of a typical school program - not only academically but also emotionally. She told me, "gifted kids are almost comparable to special needs children. While their IQs are high, they have behavioral aspects that need special attention and the right teachers with the right understanding to guide them."

After four years of questions - How can Nya go from 1 to 10 over something so simple? How can she be so sweet, compassionate, mellow and then completely lose her cool over not remembering the right words to a verse of a song? Why is she such a hothead? - all of this was finally making sense. If I only knew then what I know now.

What I have learned is not to deter Nya from finishing a project or even a simple task when she’s in the middle of it. Gifted children are not all on the same page; they all have very different levels of needs, some more than others.

It has been fascinating and amusing to talk to other moms in her class and compare how they react to certain situations in the same way. I am constantly learning and trying to gain knowledge on how to help Nya be the person she is destined to be, while she has helped me be the person we needed me to be.

One of the most important things now truly embedded in my thought process is the notion that we just don't know what a child may be struggling with or what a parent might be going through. Many of us have witnessed situations in stores or restaurants where a child is lashing out or just having a complete breakdown and we are so quick to assume or place judgment on that parent.

"They just don't know how to discipline!" "That child is a complete brat!" or even "That kid is completely out of control and that parent has no idea what they are doing!"

What I have realized is that parents are all on the same team. I really wish we would start doing less criticizing of each other and do more listening, learning, encouraging and supporting. Like my example in the store, maybe next time we see a child in that circumstance, we can evaluate that situation and maybe show support by a kind smile, a glance of understanding, a sweet distraction or maybe, for some, a sincere prayer.

That’s what it's all about, right? To learn from each other and grow with each other. To continue to become better for each other, our children and generations to come.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Chandra Moseley.

soundoff (1,064 Responses)
  1. will levine

    It interests me that "gifted children" have similar brain functioning to special needs children. It makes sense because I see more social problems among children with higher brain functioning but I always wrote it off as their upbringing and sheltering from the social "norms". I d also did not realize the emotional instabilities that go along with having a "gifted child"

    September 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  2. crazyivan2472

    This was an interesting article for me to read and in some aspects I catch myself looking back to my own past for comparison. I was deemed a "gifted" child as well when I was younger however I find it strange that my own experiences differ greatly from what is explained to be "common" among "gifted children.
    When i was nine I was IQ tested and was told I had the mental problem solving skills of the average seventeen year old. when i was sixteen I was IQ tested again and received a score of 136. I do find myself needing to have certain things certain ways however i believe that, that is also something that everyone come in counter with in their lives. I do remember having trouble socializing as I was growing up. It wasn't because i was "gifted" directly but because of the fact that my educational standing was in an age group that I was not socially developed to be around. This would be something that any child would struggle with if put into the same situation. Having the ability to be educated at your own level and afterward be able to associate with people of your own social standing and age group is an important part of children's development, and helped me become properly socially integrated as I grew up.

    September 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  3. Mike

    When I was in elementary school (back in the '80's), I was put in "Resource" class, which was an 80's euphamism for Special Education, before they had actual special education programs. My teachers assumed I had a learning disability, and that's why I didn't do homework, flipped out at the slightest provocation, etc. It took them until 4th grade to realize that, far from a disability, I actually had 145 IQ and was simply getting fantastically bored at having to learn the same things over and over again when I picked them up the first time.

    However, my parents did not take me out of public school. The main reason was, of course, that they couldn't afford it. But the second, and probably equally important reason in the long run, was that they knew the world was full of "normal" people, and I'd have to learn to live alongside them. Their reasoning was that it was better I do so as a child than struggle to figure it out as an adult. So, I did. I could've graduated early, but I stayed in High School until the end of my Senior year and graduated with the rest of my class of '97. I don't feel disadvantaged by having a public education, though my school's lack of computer classes or engineering classes did demonstrate to me that there was certainly room for improvement. More importantly, I feel accomplished. I didn't go to a special "magnet" school or charter school... I went to a normal, under funded public high school. I'm proof that the system hasn't failed (yet), as I've been a professional computer programmer for 11 years now. But, more importantly, I'm proof that the largest point of failure isn't the system, but the individuals the system is seeking to educate, and the parents of those individuals. My parents instilled in me a driving curiosity about the world around me, and ensured that my education didn't end when I left the classroom, and that driving curiosity lead me to seek out information on my own when my parents weren't around or were too busy with the challenges of adult life to hold my hand and lead me to the next challenge. That's the true essence of good education... it's not the kind of building you're taught in, or the qualifications of the teacher, it's the drive of the students and the support of the parents that yields the greatest success.

    August 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Smarter than Mike

      First off, let me say that by how you wrote that, I can tell that you do NOT have a high IQ, as anyone who actually does have extraordinarily gifted brains like myself would be able to immediately to tell. You obviously have a severe learning disorder combined with megalomania and delusions of grandeur. This is more than likely a response to your parent's complete failure to raise you correctly.

      I truly feel sorry for you lesser members of the species since you will never see the world as it really is and will always have your vision obscured by the fog of your own underdeveloped brains.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • Susan

        Wow, now that was a remarkably intelligent response.

        September 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • Jackson

        Honestly, both of you are wrong.
        Mike, I understand how you learned to accept public school, but for some people, it is simply intolerable. You probably faced no bullying (lucky you), but if you were in a situation were that happened, it is truly awful. I went to a public school of maybe one thousand, so when people were picked on, the teachers really didn't care/didn't have the time. Also, it had no gifted program. Ugh.
        "Smarter than Mike" (hur dur not funny), you're obviously a troll. Go away.

        September 4, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • Smarter than Jackson

        I feel that Smarter than Mike is obviously not only the most intelligent poster here, but also the best looking.

        September 5, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  4. Green Coffee Bean review

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It truly helpful & it helped me out much. I hope to provide something back and help others like you aided me.

    August 29, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  5. Mariah O

    I found this article to be extremely interesting. It was hard for me to imagine a child throwing such tantrums and being such a perfectionist that someone would pick up on it and call them "gifted." In fact, it's hard for me to imagine a young child being such a perfectionist as Nya is described as being, but don't think that I am judging the validity of the author on this. I have just never seen a child act that way in person. I believe the most interesting parts of this article is how Nya's teacher helps her student's with their issues with perfectionism. I would never have thought to cut the erasers off of their pencils. It'd be particularly interesting to hear about Nya's developments down the road and see how her teacher's efforts effected her.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  6. Julie Gibson

    " I really wish we would start doing less criticizing of each other and do more listening, learning, encouraging and supporting". This says it all. I enjoyed this article. It is clear that you love your sweet daughter and are an amazing mom. Keep up the good work and ignore all the "haters". Enjoy the journey!

    August 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  7. Cory

    Honestly I don't know what to think reading this. I think classifying behavioral problems and being gifted is nonsense. Being gifted and having OCD are two different things. I've lived this scenario down to the punctuation, and please don't glorify it like this. Being gifted is one thing, but obsession is another. Perfectionism is living torture that's nearly impossible to escape. There is nothing I regret more in my life than the many things I missed because I had to be perfect.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  8. Amanda L (CSC Student)

    Reading this article was extremely informative. I never really knew of the term "gifted children" before reading this. I plan to become a teacher in about four years, and it seems as though the teachers and parents are doing all they can to help these children. My main concern is that in the future there won't be enough programs to help every child. I know of many children even in my own elementary school, who "fell through the loophole." Gifted and children from all sorts of backgrounds need as much assistance as we can provide for them; academically, and emotionally.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  9. Kristina Fentress

    My mother's older brother, S., was sent home from school in 1959 for "acting up". His father asked him what was wrong, he said his teacher was mad that S. had corrected her. The principal had S. tested, in the second grade, he WAS smarter than the teacher. The principal wished my grandfather luck. He said having such a bright child was a blessing and a curse. My mother's brother, S. killed himself when he was 13. Moral of this story: Bright kids need bright classmates and teachers. They know they don't fit in. We need to help them. We help other "handicap", transgender, etc. children, don't we? Anyway, after his suicide my grandfather and grandmother became alcoholic's. My mother was neglected from then on. Hence, the curse. Let's not see this happen to anyone else.

    August 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • mom who knows

      Thank you for posting, Kristina. Your family story is heart-wrenching.

      SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted at http://www.sengifted.org) was started in 1981 after the suicide of a gifted young man. Suicide and depression are not rare among the gifted. Gifted people and their families need support, not criticism and name-calling and marginalization by society.

      August 27, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  10. momospyche12

    Never have I been very informative about the subject of "gifted children." As a matter of fact if I had not read this article I would have continued to be wrong in how I thought about them and what it meant to be gifted. After reading this article a question does pop up in my mind with limited knowledge. why, if a child is a perfectionist, and gets upset when something isn't up to their standards of perfection, would "Natt [cut] off all the erasers of [Nyas] pencils in her classroom," and then "[want] them to understand that it was OK if something isn't perfect sometimes?" Wouldn't we wish for a child, or anybody for that matter, to strive for doing a job and doing it well? I mean as a child and not knowing a lot it is hard for everything to be right, but if we as; adults, teachers, parents, etc. supported and educated them while they were seeking perfection; someday when they had been properly educated they would do everything to reach their standards of perfection. What I mean is instead of lowering standards I would think we would educate them on what would be considered perfect. Or at least really, really good!

    August 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Jen

      My husband and I are both considered gifted, with 140 IQs. Neither of us are perfectionists. What idiot thinks a perfectionist = gifted? A gifted child is one who is highly intelligent- this means they learn faster than others. I never studied until college, and even then needed less than 30 min to study- I had a double major in chemistry and biology. This article truly misses the point. With a gifted child (as my toddler is) you have to be ready to supplement the slow pace of a school. I am prepared for him to be bored (it has already happened in preschool). However, he is certainly not emotionally or socially ready to skip grades- neither was I. Maturity must occur on several levels- gifted children are often advanced intellectually, but age-appropriate in other ways. THAT is the struggle parents have with a gifted child.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
      • J.

        "What idiot thinks a perfectionist = gifted?" What idiot doesn't? You my dear, may not get it because perhaps you are not quite as gifted as you think.

        August 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • Liz

        Jen,
        My understanding of the story is that the child's struggle with perfectionism is a part of her individual giftedness, not that it defines her giftedness, and not that all perfectionists are gifted. I think the point is that many gifted children, though they excel in intelligence, they may have exceptional struggles in other areas, and that parents should be sympathetic to the individual needs of children, gifted or not.

        August 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  11. eric

    Thats the great thing about living in America. She can adopt any kind of baby that she wants. If she wanted a white baby then by god she could have got one. All children need homes thats the important thing.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  12. gosathya

    Good article, I can relate to it. Intelligence will teach her the absurdity of some prominent religions looks like the world is after all filling up with smarter humans.

    August 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  13. Eddison

    i found your article very interesting and congtraulate you on a well written piece. I think you highlited a lot of the struggles that a lot of parents with gifted children undergo and are unable to explain. I wish you and Nya much succes in the future.

    August 26, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  14. Let's be careful readers

    For the record:
    The Rev. Regina Groff is “a family member’s minister.” Not the author’s minister.
    Nya goes to a “public preschool..,” not a private kindergarten
    “Nya is adopted.” Nya may or may not be bi-racial, we don’t know. Her race doesn’t have any bearing on the points the author is making.
    From the article, Nya’s frustration (in drawing and writing) are from not achieving perfection; they are not tantrums of rebellion.
    From the article, “Her …teacher, Brenda Natt, …cuts off all the erasers of her pencils” so that kids don’t struggle with trying to achieve perfection. Nya doesn’t cut the erasers.
    The author wishes we “would start doing less criticizing … and do more listening, … encouraging and supporting” AMEN to that.

    August 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  15. Beccy

    The article is welll-written, balanced and describes OEs, which fairly often, but not always, come with giftedness. The comments are terrifying. I had no idea the wider world held such negative thoughts for kids like mine. :((

    August 25, 2012 at 2:30 am |
  16. Nancy

    What a beautiful piece and amazing mother. As a mom with a child with sensory issues, I can so relate to the brutal judgement I often receive when my daughter can't control her behavior and goes from 0 to 10 in seconds. My daughter doesn't want to act like this and will tell me she tried to keep calm but just couldn't. It's isolating and lonely and I so appreciate how brave this mom is to discuss her challenges and to shed light on the fact that before each of us judge on another we need to take a step back and think about what each other may be going through. This was such an insightful story about a gifted child and I very much enjoyed reading it.

    August 25, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  17. Valerie Pennock

    Wow is all I can say. I cannot believe the firestorm that this Mom's beautiful, heartfelt, teaching, inspiring article has created. I got mad, sad, outraged, thoughtful and thankful at the posts. You can imagine the ones I was mad, sad and outraged at...my gosh people, do you even have children? And just because you were a child, even if you were a "gifted one", that does not make you an expert. This was a loving Mom trying to share her experiences and share some of her conclusions and resolutions in a hope to help other Moms and this is how you support her?
    If you had responded with your criticism without sarcasm and blatant disrepect, you might have had a shot at a respectful post. One Mother, trying to reach out and share what she has learned, as it takes a village,for that I applaud you Chandra!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  18. Tess

    Some of those who have commented appear to have missed the part where the author states that she had her daughter tested by professionals who found Nya to be gifted under the recognized NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) standards. This is not the self chosen diagnosis of a pompous parent who believes her child to more more special than others. As a result of testing it appears Nya is now following a curriculum which will help her develop to her fullest potential. How can that be a bad thing? I did not see anything in this article to indicate that Nya is "lazy" and relies completely on her intellect as some commentors have implied, she's 5 for goodness sake. In the midst of some of the negativity that children see and experience in this world I thank God that a single parent such as Chandra is willing to provide a loving, positive home which encourages her daughter to embrace all that life has to offer her. Here's wishing Nya all the best and thanks to Chandra for giving her that opportunity!

    August 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • kts

      "Gifted" , is completely overused and overstated, especially as an excuse for bad behaviour. If I had a buck for every parent that thought their kid was gifted I'd be wealthy beyong my means. I am an MD with 2 other Post Grad degrees and an IQ of over 150 . whopty do. Im a simple Family Doc and happy to be so, and I had a suprisingly normal childhood education for which I am thankful. Treat your kid just like a normal kid and simply encourage them to do their best. "Gifted' , please give me a break. Is no-one NORMAL ?

      August 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
      • Teysi

        I am a pediatrician,was accelerated one grade level...truly gifted. Your comments are offensive...shame on you.
        If your parents pushed you a little bit more then you would have been a brain surgeon.....oooops did that hurt.? Just like the whopty do..

        Anyway I wanted to applaud this mom who is struggling to raise a gifted but temperamental child. I have one child myself who has a 158 IQ at age 8and guess what? I am struggling with his temperament. Am I giving him an excuse for this.? No but it is very challenging.... but if you reviewed the Overexcitability theory, you'll understand. I asked the principal in his school to let him skip a grade level and I had a little resistance....however after speaking with the superintendent he finally agreed to it. My older14 year old gifted child (yes, she has 15 trophies to show for Math superbowl, field day, Decathlon, etc) molds to society pretty well but not the second one. Well I guess well have to be agood parent and work that challenge. Don't say "gifted" is overused because it is not. I see 4000 kid visits a year and I could only see about 15 recognized as gifted kids . You may have been considered gifted but back then but the opportunities for advancement in learning was less than at present. We have Davidson, Gate program,Johns Hopkins, you name it!

        August 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
      • Tomas N

        This is the most realistas comente of all.... In my kids school they have tested and rated as gifted the three of my kids! Ridiculous but true... A completely overrated word and test! They are normal and maybe find it easy with math and writing... But that is all! BUT agree with you... This shall not be an excuse for bad behaviour and letting them be so perfectionist to behave right... As well said by the previous commenter... GIVE ME A BREAK! The more normal you treat her.. The more potential she will have... Socially later when she will have to deal with 99.99% of a population that are "normal"...

        August 25, 2012 at 10:26 am |
      • nurse normal

        Wow, Teysi just pulled the brain surgeon card. What's so superior about being a pediatrician? Maybe the dude likes what he does, Teysi, just like you. I do want to say in response to kts that I don't think the author seemed to be excusing her child's "bad behavior," although I don't think you could label perfectionism as misbehavior. It seems this child, being a unique individual just like all of us, has her own special needs emotionally and behaviorally. There is no perfectly behaved child, and I think any person with multiple children would agree that you approach each child a little differently depending on their temperment and response to certain learning styles. I do agree with you, however, in the overemphasis on the term "gifted." I have one toddler who was very verbal very young and still displays signs of being very bright in my opinion. Her younger sister is not as verbal or early in her development, but she is a beautiful and loving child and in my mind either are capable of greatness. God blesses us with many different gifts. I wholeheartedly believe that what makes the most difference as far as what kind of lasting impact we have on the world, is our character. Our courage, our perseverance, our compassion and our love for others. These are the traits I care about in my children, not their IQ scores, math trophies or violin-playing skills. All of these things are great to be encouraged, but must be viewed as instruments to be used for a greater purpose.

        August 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • RJ

        Many kids are normal–depending on how you want to define it, 95% or more can be considered "normal." The issue is your denial of giftedness. I truly feel sorry for any of your patients who are gifted, and whose parents look to their pediatrician for advice concerning children. Your lack of understanding of giftedness, and your apparent closed-mindedness to seeking education on the topic, is a disservice to your patients and your profession.

        August 26, 2012 at 8:56 am |
      • Catherine

        Kts, it seems that the system failed you. While you are a success because of your hard work and intelligence, you lack the restraint that comes with overcoming emotional issues. You should check yourself before you post something so abrasive about parents, especially since you are a family doctor.

        August 26, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  19. John Carter

    @Ted, I see and feel colors, hard to explain. My hot cup of coffee is "black" if the coffee is at almost boiling point, Brown as it cools to drinking temp, Light Brown as it gets cold, and almost white when cold, I see that when I touch the cup with my fingers. My desk phone ringing tone is a combination of red blue and many hues of yellow ending on green, I see the colors when I hear the sound, when my kids were baby's their laughter was like a very fast succession of little rainbows. A text is like a color coded bar chart , the word PINK is Dark Blue, Light yellow, Electric Green, Orange
    Music is like cascade of colors, and dissonant notes feel wrong. Math is Harmony all colors follow a sort of frequency for lack of a better word. A picture is just a picture, but it has a sort of afterglow, can't really describe that I'm afraid, a bit like the lights you see on the back of flat screen TV's changing color to match the image.
    that's it really, I don't really think in terms of numbers, it's more like a bar code thing, if I'm doing numbers the colors "are the numbers or vice versa, it comes to the same, but I work faster with colors.

    August 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • T.E.D.

      thanks for the answer, I only "see" colors for numbers, letters and sounds are just that. But numbers are indeed harmony, and if the result is wrong on a calculation I see, then the colors feel wrong. Like a sequence of light greens blues and yellow, ending on browns feels wrong, so is the result.
      Can't really explain neither but it is like combining a color chart or dropping a box of crayons and then looking at the jumbled mess on the floor. I also work faster with the colors, can't really explain neither.

      August 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • John Carter

        the question is: Do you see the same colors I do? some colors are hard to describe, I'll find a Pantone gimme 10.

        August 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • John Carter

      Corel draw 12 default CMYK see if you can find the pantone

      August 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • T.E.D.

        lets talk, you like Fibonacci, I'll give you my n. call me.
        (λr.λn.(1, if n = 0; else n × (r (n−1)))) (Y G) 4+1
        Fibonacci 126/55/13

        August 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • John Carter

        lol that is kiddy stuff. the lambda , can't believe you want to use that. gimme 5 to get coffee , and 2 sec to solve.

        August 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Margaret

      You have Synesthesia. Google the word and read about it. I am the same. I also "see" colors for numbers - more so when I was a kid than I do now. I don't actually see that the number three is green, I just know it is. And number seven is orange, etc. Weird, huh!

      August 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
      • Blossie

        My daughter is also gifted. She is a musician and see colors in the music.

        August 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
      • John Carter

        actually my kids find it pretty cool, they all have a lighter form and funny enough oldest daughter number 7 is electric orange.7 is for me a soothing shade of yellow.

        Music is cool with the colors, can't even imagine music without colors.

        August 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  20. Jay

    I was a "gifted" child. Got stuck in the SAGE (Special Approach to Gifted Education) program in elementary school and stayed in that through high school. I didn't have any of these oddities that this child exhibits. Sounds like this kid has issues and people just want to refer to it as "gifted" to make themselves feel better about it. Kind of like calling retarded people handicapped. Nobody is "special." We're all just human.

    August 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Erin

      Jay–I couldn't agree more with you!

      August 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  21. J G

    Adoptive parents can get so over the top. My good friends, who also adopted a black baby, post like 50 pictures a day on facebook and are always saying LOOK AT OUR BABY! The overcompensation is out of control for many adoptive parents. Rein it in people. Your baby is not more special than any other baby. You don't need to go over the top to prove you love your baby just as much as real parents.

    August 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • SheSaidGiftedNotBetter

      "Real" parents? Since we can assume Chandra adopted this child from a woman/couple who didn't want her for some reason, I'd like to know how they get to be the "real" parents and Chandra is a "fake" compensating for something you've fabricated in your head. To bring in race is asinine; there wasn't a mention of it at all in this article. Unless you might be confusing the fact that black children are far more likely to be labeled as mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed than white children.

      Just in case you might think I am just biased, I am a white woman with no children who was "gifted" as a child as well. I needed to be in special classes so I didn't disrupt class and refuse to do work because my teachers didn't even understand what they were talking about. It's not just about pandering to children who aren't behaving the way you want them to. It's about making classrooms the best environment for all the kids there.

      August 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Rinsewind

      Well, now. I see part of the problem in your answer. You said, "You don't need to go over the top to prove you love your baby just as much as real parents." Real parents? Adoptive parents somehow aren't "real"? Maybe that's why some adoptive parents go a bit over the top, as you imply. But no more so than most biological parents which've seen. And no, I'm not an adoptive parent, so you can't blame my comment on that.

      August 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Lordhelpus

      What does race have to do with this? Damn!!!

      August 26, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  22. ddoT

    AUTISM!!!

    August 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  23. RB

    Sounds like a lot of comments born of jealousy or insecurity or both.

    Gifted children don't have to have an IQ of 150 - and IQ tests cannot always even measure wisdom, which is an equally important form of giftedness. Speaking strictly of intelligence (IQ), children at the highest end of this spectrum very often have deficiencies in other areas of social interaction. While the high intelligence is a precious gift, the price they pay is a huge obstacle for both child and parents.

    The insensitivity and ignorance exhibited by most of these commenters only serves to reinforce the fact that the vast majority of the population falls within 2 standard deviations of the mean IQ.

    August 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  24. JAGL

    There seems to be a disconnect between the idea of gifted – as in inquisitive, perfectionist, and all the other traits people have mentioned – and really smart! Most people say "gifted" and mean smart/high IQ – none of the rest is tested fo getting into a G/T program – it's a combo of IQ and how well you do reading/comprehesion and math (usually). My son was tested as a "gifted" IQ and placed in the G/T program at the end of 1st grade – but at the parent meeting when they were describing a gifted kid, my hubby and I looked at one another in amazement – our son was into sports, loved to watch tv and play computer games – but was also lazy, not one shred of perfectionism (worships at the shrine of "good enough"), not inquisitive nor did he ever show a "thirst for knowledge", etc. He is now in 11th grade and other than having a high IQ (140+), he's done just fine (A/B student) – but is in no way "gifted" the way this article describes gifted.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  25. A

    No offense meant, but this article is ridiculous. Everyone thinks their first child is gifted, and half the first time parents blame this or that on giftedness. My kids are classified gifted too, but I understand that it's just as much the opportunities they've had in life than anything. Kids get tracked into "giftedness" and then they meet the expectations set. Not to say there aren't truly gifted children in the world–I just don't think there are really as many as we think. You keep calling your child gifted, and fain humility with a few examples of your child's "weaknesses," and you're going to annoy every parent except the few who are also out bragging that their children are gifted.

    I agree with the person who said that teaching your child to work hard is more important.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  26. who.is.kenny.loggins

    This article is nothing but typical soccer mom water cooler gossip. I hear the same overly enthused braggadocio relayed over and over again at the office, and it never eases to amaze me how incredibly gifted these landwhales spawn are. Sorry middle age porkers, but your stories are blubber, and you are biased as hell. If a teacher, doctor, neighbor mentions something about someone elses kid being gifted, I would more likely agree with them. Funny how that rarely happens. Parents aren't objective when they discuss their kids. Well, maybe just the parents who are very obviously not gifted themselves.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • John

      She's five and still has to have her mother turn her socks inside out for her. I figure she may have an expanded vocabulary simply for the fact that her mother doesn't know how to shut up.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • who.is.kenny.loggins

        she's gifted, it didn't say she was a rocket surgeon. socks can be complicated

        August 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  27. candros

    Not to be judgmental or anything, but the author of this story (and many responding parents) are writing with the word "I" in about every sentence. It is a huge challenge to responsibly raise ANY child (this is why most parents today leave it up to our schools and teachers, both that's a separate story).

    August 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  28. Patty

    She uses the word gifted over 15 times. It's the "my child is a special snowflake" syndrome regardless of the fact that my lil angel has an array of other problems. I think we might need a different word, "gifted" in this case sounds very pc.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • T.E.D.

      I think you misunderstand the article. Being a gifted child myself I can tell you it's all pain. a gifted child at a very young age cannot see the trees, only the forest , root systems, fauna geography, but no trees.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  29. billie

    I have two gifted children, one of them also has sensory processing disorder: hates loud noises, freaks out at the mall (too much stimulation), hates tags in clothes, eats the same food all the time, likes to wear snug things and use heavy blankets at night and goes from 0 to 10 mood-wise in a few seconds (just a few symptoms). I homeschooled both of them until 7th grade, which I highly recommend for gifted kids. When entering public school, they were both way ahead of their peers. Despite all that, I think the most important thing to teach gifted kids is to work hard and persevere. Too many gifted people skate on their intellect and expect things to go their way. Life isn't like that and if they are not able to do the work, their gifts will be wasted.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Neli42

      Sounds very much like my twice exceptional son; gifted (especially in language and visual arts), and Asperger Syndrome.

      August 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Anony,ous

      Maybe your kids have OTHER problems that medication and good behavioral therapy can help...but to say they are both GIFTED? I am still laughing. THAT is the problem- you parents refuse to accept responsibility for the fact that your children have issues and you would rather have people think your kid is a misunderstood gifted student, rather than a special ed destined child.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  30. tango_sus

    Thank you for writing this article and helping to shed some light on the difficulties that these kinds of kids face, simply because they do not fit in and are frequently misunderstood. It is wonderful that you have been able to identify what's "going on with her" at such an early age, so that you can nurture those strengths. Using the G-word can be very controversial, and, like it or not, the very very existence of your child's differentness will trigger reactions from people.

    Parenting a gifted child can be *extremely* challenging – it's the one "special need" that you must be guarded in revealing, the one topic in "special education" that gets the least coverage for teachers learning about classroom learning differences. And sometimes, the label triggers instant negativity (Google Alfie Kohn and Gifted. I used to like that author – then I found out he can't stand me or my kid.)

    Perfectionism, anxiety, sensitivity, emotional intensity, and asynchronous development (i.e. functioning at a very high cognitive level one minute, then behaving like a toddler the next) are some of the lesser-known hallmarks of children (and sometimes adults) that are highly intellectually advanced. When these children that think so differently come into a classroom or group of their age-peers, they frequently stand out in ways that are not understood by teachers, parents, and frequently even counselors, therapists and psychologists.

    A gifted child in an environment that isn't meeting his needs, because of their "psycho-motor overexcitabilities" (hyperactivity) are frequently misunderstood and thought to be ADHD. (That is not to say that a child cannot be *both* – a gifted child can have any kind of learning disability.) While the general public is beginning to become more aware of the term "twice exceptional" (gifted and ADHD; gifted and dyslexic, gifted and autistic/aspberger's etc), the difficulty in distinguishing ADHD from giftedness, and the problems that result from that mislabeling and misdiagnosis is not nearly as well known.

    If anyone suspects their child may be intellectually advanced, LEARN about it – there's so much information on Hoagiesgifted. Or if your child is very emotionally intense, or hyperactive, or can't stand the way shirt tags and sock seams feel, or doesn't fit in with the other kids, go to SENG.org and read about how these, too, are very typical traits of highly gifted kids. We as adults owe it to our children to try and understand *why* they are different, and if some of their biggest issues and challenges are caused by something that has a very positive side as well, if only we can nuture it. For many of the most highly gifted children, "surviving the gift" is in itself, the greatest challenge.

    If you have a gut feeling that your child has some innate cognitive strengths, find some kind of enrichment or a way to nuture his potential and READ about how these kinds of kids are, so you have some insight into breaking though and unlocking that potential – some very bright kids just don't perform well on those tests, especially the written ones done in large groups. (Heck, even if they *don't* turn out to be particularly advanced, they will still benefit from the enrichment, and you'll have a better understanding, too). Getting you kid into a gifted program at school isn't nearly as important as all the things you can do outside of school.

    If I sounding like some pompous, know-it-all, please understand where I'm coming from. The parent who wrote this discovered her child's "problem/gift" early on and is able to make early interventions. I come from a very different place. My child seemed extremely, verbally advanced a18 months to 3 (this wasn't my opinion – I heard this from many, many other parents and every teacher, sitter, daycare provider.) Then, at around 4, he started not fitting in in the preschool class. Although he was in a private school that boasted "An ideal Talented and Gifted Environment," kindergarten didn't go well for him at all; he was misunderstood (and by a 35-year veteran teacher, who *seemed* perfectly competent). I didn't realize then that almost every private school will *claim* they are gifted-friendly, but they really want the "easy learners" who are children of "high earners." After a difficult year of kindergarten (he just wouldn't buckle down and do the work – too easily distracted, frequently "off-task" – it was never that he wasn't academically capable – it was all behavior), we were strongly encouraged to have him repeat kindergarten. And *that* was a *complete* disaster! He was an emotional basket case. (As in, extremely depressed and frequently talking about suicide. 6 years old, mind you.) We realized something was very deeply wrong, and took him to a psychologist who specializes in gifted kids (just on a hunch – we thought he seemed "kinda smartish" – maybe top 10-15% or so). Now, I don't think that the magic number (IQ) tells everything, but he tested as "Exceptionally Gifted" – as in, only 1/10,000 kids would be able to perform at that level. (We didn't believe it – we made the psychologist go back and run the numbers again!) And boy, did she ever give us a hard time for letting people talk us into repeating kindergarten!!! And you would not *believe* what a pain it is to get them back in the grade were originally in! It certainly wasn't going to happen in the school that recommended holding him back. I'm pretty sure they thought we forged the tests or something. (I tried to tell them about Hoagiesgifted and about "A Nation Deceived," but they weren't hearing any of it.) Admittedly, my son didn't *act* all that brilliant – just... perplexing. But, we EVENTUALLY got him back in the right grade, and even subject accelerated him in math and language arts. We added some outside enrichment, some online instruction, and Boom! – he soaked it up like a sponge! Jumped 350 lexile points in reading over the course of 4 months. (That's generally takes about 3 years.) So, OK, maybe I guess there *was* something to that test, after all. Sometimes it really is difficult to tell, even for a parent.

    To the mom who wrote this article, you're probably in for a bumpy ride. You're off to a good start, though. Embrace the intensity!

    August 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Velma

      Yes!! Like a couple of other knowledgeable posters, you understand that each child is different. It is not a question of looking for bragging rights or excuses. It is a question of meeting the individual child's needs. Yes, anxiety , perfectionism, and other problems can accompany a label of "giftedness." The problem most people seem to be having is that they see labels like gifted, autistic, etc. as being value laden. This is not so! I don't really have a problem with labels, because I understand that they are just short-hand ways of describing traits without having to go into long-winded descriptions. The problem is that people do not actually know the true meanings of the labels, thus they react emotionally, not intelligently. Every time I read one of the put-down comments, the jealousy and feelings of inferiority just jump out at me. This isn't about bragging rights, folks. It is about recognizing, valuing and intelligently dealing with the differences in children. What a shame when we don't and the children (and our society) suffer.

      August 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
      • vb

        "you understand that each child is different. It is not a question of looking for bragging rights or excuses. It is a question of meeting the individual child's needs"

        amen to that. I agree 100%. All children are individual and one parent should not be criticized for responding to their child's needs. It takes a village after all.

        August 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • kelBel

      Great post. Those of us with bright kids understand where this Mom is coming from. Yes, we cut out tags and take LOTS of time to adjust hockey gear so it fits just right. Yes, we have to tell our son to please just answer the easy questions and maybe the teacher will let him get to some hard ones. Yes, we get comments about why he still acts like a kid when he can read adult level books. Parents, please ignore the negativity and do your own research by going to great sites like Hoagies. read Intelligent Life in the Classroom by Isaacson for help in working with classroom teachers about your kid's traits. You will hear that it is looking for special treatment but it is no different from any other kid with unique learning needs.

      August 25, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Eliza

      Thank you, tango_sus, for being rational. I'm fourteen and can identify with your son. In second grade I struggled with the schoolwork. It was too easy. I didn't do it. I almost failed. I cannot tell you how lucky I was to have a teacher who tested me and placed me in fourth-grade math and seventh-grade reading and writing. I am equally lucky that I remained in second grade but transfered to homeschool. It is a horrible experience to be two years younger than everyone in your class. It is a horrible experience to be labeled, and hurting inside, and then get an A- instead of an A+ on a science test.
      I hope you will try to communicate and understand your son. I'm sure you will, but my parents try, and they just don't understand. I hope your son does well in life. I also hope he finds out that it's okay to be a child. Everyone should have the right to occasionally act like a four-year-old. I belive it's cathartic.

      August 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  31. David

    "Gifted". Yet another meaningless word applied to a child to make their parents feels better and allow the school system to force them to conform. "Gifted" is an over-used and totally bogus term. Try "Over-Achiever"; try "Obsessive-Compulsive"; or try "Autistic". Look them up, I'm betting they apply far more to this situation and many other than the term "gifted" does.

    Most people (especially many parents and school administrators) equate "gifted" with "genius". Being identified at the age of 5 as "gifted" does not mean your child is a genius. Being identified as a qenius makes your child a genius. Try raising a genius child, even when you are [literally] a genius yourself. Then come talk to me about "gifted".

    August 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Luke

      By and large intellect is still highly-correlated with achievement, both scholastic and economic. Perhaps you and Rob find the "gifted" label bothersome because you are not?

      August 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
      • David

        Luke,

        You are absolutey correct: "By and large intellect is still highly-correlated with achievement, both scholastic and economic." However the term "gifted" does not necessarily correltate to intellect, but more towards behavior patterns. This is my point exactly – that behavior patterns and intellect are far too often times confused as being the same. They are not.

        As to your statement: "Perhaps you and Rob find the "gifted" label bothersome because you are not?" You are right again, I am not "gifted", but what I am is an actual, certified genius; as identified by the University of California, Long Beach in 1972.

        I was 2 years old and had already taught myself to read (and understand) the works of Homer, Thoreau, Steinbeck, Poe, Twain, Shakespeare, and the like. Through my ability to read I then taught myself both history (for which I still have a passion), and advanced mathmatics, to include algebra, geometry, trig, and calculus to a college level; all before pre-school age.

        "Gifted" has become a term applied to those children who are essentially over-achievers, not those who [necessarily] have any higher aptitude for learning. It is a far too often mis-understood term. Today being "gifted" is about drive, not intellect. That is the misnomer I was pointing out.

        August 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Amy

      I have 3 children and one of them has, so far, been identified as gifted by our school system. Does this make her smarter than my other children? No. Does this mean she will be more successful in life? No, in fact I think it is a disability for her. What makes her difference isn't Rain Main math abilities or reading at a 7th grade level while only in 3rd grade. What makes her gifted is that she processes information differently than other children in her general age group. To give you an idea there are 40 kids, out of over 300 3rd graders, that have been identified as gifted in our school. Starting in 3rd grade they group them together in 2 classrooms. This is a blessing because she simply learns differently than most children her age. It helps her grow faster and keeps her feeling like less of a freak being "different" than most of her peers. Not smarter, different. I honestly think my "average" kid will surpass my gifted kid in life's challenges because simply put, she tries so much harder.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  32. Nifer

    It's funny...being gifted can almost be a curse sometimes. It may be the school system I grew up in, but I consistently felt left out, ostracized, and frustrated with myself when not surrounded by those also in the Gifted program (we had a 2 hour gifted block in the morning, followed by standard classes after that.) Dropping out and getting my GED at 17 was, oddly enough, a godsend.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Alicia

      All parents think their kids are gifted and practically give out awards for passing gas

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
      • Nifer

        My parents had nothing to do with the decision to have me tested. A teacher recognized it and recommended me for the program. Being gifted is nothing to brag about...it just means that you learn in a different way than typical learners.

        August 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  33. K

    This child is so lucky to have such a mother! I was identified as gifted as at age 6, but my mother just used it as an excuse to mock me whenever I made a mistake. She had 'borderline personality disorder' so just raged and abused me anytime I defied her expectations or inconvenienced her in any way. Public school was boring and disappointing, and it wasn't safe to express myself in any way at home. I just shut down and made myself as invisible as possible at school and home. My grades were always good, but I was taught there was no point in excelling...stand too tall, someone will cut you down.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  34. Deni3

    There are many people who have gifted and genius IQs but no common sense. In today's world, common sense will always carry the day. And being a perfectionist at only 5 could also be an early sign of mental health issues. Revisit this story in 10 years and see how this child develops. My gifted son, now 16, was exhibiting all kinds of remarkable talent at an early age. Straight A's in all subjects, even the most difficult Honors Math and Science; and as a teen,was not sleeping to perfect every paper and understand all the minute details of every course. Then he fell apart, ending up in a mental health facility, diagnosed with depression/anxiety. We are fortunate that we saw the signs and got him treatment. He now is living a more balanced lifestyle, preparing to apply to Harvard and other top schools. Being gifted or a genius can have a very sad side. We are fortunate that our son is alive.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  35. Laurie

    For those individuals looking for resources to understand giftedness I suggest these, in this order:

    Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, PhD
    Living with Intensity by Susan Daniels, Michael M. Piechowski
    Re-Forming Gifted Education by Karen B. Rogers

    Other terrific sources are SENG (sengifted.org, Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted) and NAGC (NAGC.org, Ntl’ Assoc. for Gifted Children).

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  36. Duh

    Perfectionism is not necessarily a sign of "giftedness". Sounds like the author simply has a spoiled brat.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Berman

      This kid sounds borderline autistic to me....maybe "gifted" is another way of saying "special"

      August 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Teysi

      You duh...have the right name...because you duh are not very smart....you are jealous and envious because you are not duh wing good

      August 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  37. Briann

    Below is the source for my claim that some gifted children are misdiagnosed: ADHD, Autistic, SID. These drugs, commonly given to children, were created for adults suffering from schizophrenia and are prescribed off label. The children usually always suffer terrible side effects. When the kids get to college, the drugs are sold to dormmates as recreational drugs.

    There are many excellent programs teaching social and emotional skills alongside the regular curriculum to children in schools - special needs, gifted and average students. Children taught in these programs have significantly higher test scores than their counterparts who get the regular curriculum. These are the lowest SES schools to the kids in the most affluent communities.

    http://cbc.arizona.edu/njardarson/group/sites/default/files/Top%20200%20Brand-name%20Drugs%20by%20US%20Retail%20Sales%20in%202010sm_0.pdf

    August 24, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  38. Horus

    Great....another "gifted" child that will be indoctrinated into believing in sky fairies and how to compartmentalize rational thought; thus limiting their potential to the boundaries of religion.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Very true .. just imagine the potential if irrationality were not indoctrinated into this child or any human for that matter.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Berman

      Yes, because people like Albert Einstein were so limited by their belief in a higher power.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  39. Velma

    This is an issue not only for gifted children, but also for "twice exceptional" children. I am raising a grandson who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of five. He is also gifted in some areas. It often goes with AS. He taught himself to read at age 3 and continues to read about 2-3 years above his age/grade level. He has advanced knowledge in science, especially electronics, computers, and general physics, for his age. He also has the same sensory issues mentioned in the article, plus others, and struggles badly with memorizing math facts and handwriting is very hard for him. Due to the large imbalance of his abilities and special problems, I home school him because the schools available to him are not prepared to deal with a twice exceptional student.

    Some of the comments made here sadly indicate that people without children with special needs on either end of the continuum have no knowledge, understanding or acceptance of the difficulties as well as joys of raising children who do not fit into the "norm." As she points out, try to stop being critical and be more supportive. It would show more humanity and intelligence on your part.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      youre so right. Unfortunately the masses tend to have a very low statistic IQ so one could make the argument that they just don't know any better.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Laurie

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments Velma. All people are not created equally (thank goodness), and what works for some children doesn't for others. For the masses, it is hard to understand giftness and twice exceptional because it is out of their relm of experience. I wish more people would be open to explore people's differences, not just to tolerate them, but to value them.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  40. clubschadenfreude

    as a gifted child, and now as an adult, I often feel that was raised as a feral child, unable to ever get as far as I could have, thanks to my parents having no clue on what to do for me. It wasn't their fault, they had no knowledge of how to help but I know it did stunt me and has made me feel like the plaid sheep of the family for my entire life. I do wish our society would spend resources in helping the gifted achieve their potential, rather than only using it in vain attempts to make the mentally retarded (or autistic or whatever you'd like to call it) "average".

    August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      Were I to comment the way you did, I would say you got "issues" and don't measure what comes out of your mouth (fingers) it just seems you're a twit.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • grjane

        @mrdeepblue: Your insensitive, thoughtless trolling only serves to reiterate the phrase "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

        August 24, 2012 at 11:39 am |
      • T.E.D.

        @grjane that was a real funny comment about MrDeepblue my guess, and I am not a Hipper bright person is that you're just using a different persona to keep on trolling here, posting aggressive comments about everything.
        go read the comments the Main poster has "planted" here.

        August 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Bobby

      If you are gifted then you got a full scholarship to a great university and so you are responsible for what happened after that..

      August 24, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  41. Eugene

    As someone who went through public school as a gifted kid, it's important to note one important fact:

    No matter how special you are, the world doesn't revolve around you.

    Public school and exposure to the unfairness of life is as important, or more, than the reading-writing-math that school aims to teach.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Austin

      Agreed

      August 24, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  42. Boatswain

    This article reminds me of two things from my past:

    (1) About 10 years ago, one of the networks did a news story about which students get into public school gifted childrens' programs and why. The study found that over half the students in gifted programs had test scores from tests that measure either IQ or academic accomplishment that were no better than those of their non-gifted peers and, in about 10% of the cases, test scores qualified "gifted" students for special education classes. The primary factors in why a student go placed in the "gifted" course: parental income and parental pressure on the school to label a child as gifted.

    (2) twenty years ago, when my children were young, a woman came to the door of our home and asked if I'd like to sign my children up for Head Start. I was shocked. My husband and I are both physicians, we live in an upper class neighborhood and we provided our children with every advantage in preparing them for thei education and life. I asked the woman why she had come to my door and to my neighborhood in general. She told me that the more kids that were enrolled in Head Start, the more money the Federal government provides for the program. I've learned since then that enrolling people into government funded programs who don't qualify based on the guidelines for that program is a common way that bureaucrats keep their jobs and get control of more taxpayer money.

    I wonder how many of these "gifted" children discussed in this article and the related posts are truly gifted?

    August 24, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • clubschadenfreude

      Boatswain, your claims (baseless I might add) could be said about special education for the mentally retarded/autistic too. parents wanting their children in the programs. And as for your head start story, again, more anedotal and baseless claims. How unsuprising.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • Khamul01

        Strange, illogical, and surprisingly hostile response to a very reasonable post. Are you so troubled to lose faith in government programs, or are you a Head Start director?

        August 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Briann

      In our case, our children had Wechsler tests that scored above 130 which qualifies them as what our current educational system calls gifted. I would rather my children not be labeled anything because there are no resources for them because there is a lot of misinformation and contempt prior to investigation. To be fair, what you refer to may be that some parents push for special ed labels so their children can have extra test time. That doesn't really disqualify the argument that many students are not being given the resources to help them excel, most especially if they are gifted. Many of those students do NOT want to be singled out. What do you call someone who gets through med school with C's and D's? Doctor. Believe me, I have worked with PhDs and doctors and not all of them are gifted, that's for sure.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • ksgirl

      Our son has been in the gifted program for 2 years and was identified by his teachers – not his parents. We just thought he was a smart kid. Please don't lump parents of special needs and/or gifted children into a group of demanding parents because of your lone experience.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  43. John Carter

    This is my interpretation of the Problem of educating children.

    I am 46 years old, male, father of 3, and I work on MARS.

    I read all the comments on this thread after my wife showed it to me in exactly 4'23”67m
    I can quote every single comment word by word and will remember them probably to the day I die.
    43.32813% of comments here are from people that represent the “Plebe” or (the mob) this are the people that will resent anything or anyone that can be perceived as “rising” above them.
    These are also the kids that will bully you in school and have an IQ (in statistical terms) of 100.
    I taught myself how to read at the age of 2. At the age of 5, I was into Fibonacci sequencing.
    Numbers are beautiful to me, 5 is the most beautiful shade of Red, 2 is a sunset Orange. 4 is the Green of spring leaves sprouting. When my 6 year old daughter says “daddy” I (see) hear a symphony of colors in a rainbow combination.
    When I concentrate on a problem, I close my eyes and step into an Infinite Universe where I can walk from room to room, create machines, look for books I have read, use immensely huge chalk boards to calculate whatever drives my fancy, and when I get tired I go to a corner and do some light re-reading, then I open my eyes and 2 minutes have gone by. Sometimes a day.
    At age 6, after a week of the most obtuse tests, as I then tried to point out, I was “assigned” an IQ in excess of 160.
    IQ tests DO NOT, and CANNOT measure the individuality of the thought process. It is yet again a mere attempt by the “Plebe” to try and quantify the infinity of individuality. But “they” to dumb to know.
    So, to teaching now, HOW DO YOU TEACH A CHILD LIKE ME? How can YOU decide what my learning needs are? where my limits lay? The so called “normal” school only ever tried to HOLD ME BACK, pull me to normality, bring my capabilities down to normal. Well guess what, that didn't work.

    The problem lays not on the definition of a “label” as Gifted / Normal / Special Needs, but on the assumption that a “one size fits all” normalized system can work. It cannot, a normalized education system will only “dumb up” all kids. By wasting the Individuality that every single child possesses you teach kids that ANYTHING out of the “normal”, above or bellow, is negative. By implication the so called “normal” child will stop exploring any behavior not seen as “normal” and will remain well within bounds of the realm of “normality” for therein lay his/her rewards and social recognition.
    This very same child will grow up to be a Teacher, Psychologist, Shrink, Legislator, and will approach the Problematic with a slanted view, driven by it's own experience/instincts and social perception. And here we are back at the GIFTED / NORMAL / SPECIAL NEEDS debacle of a debate.

    My socks, have NO seam, If I am working and you come close with a vacuum cleaner, your family name better be Bolt and you are the fastest man in the world. I cut ALL labels from my clothes.
    I have no Asperger but I do like Asparagus. Yet I do not socialize well, I have no interest in talking about sports, or American Idol (duuuh...) I am a know it all, a living encyclopedia, and I can talk you dead on the fundamentals of the Chaos Theory or a wide range of other subjects where the large majority of you will be lost after the first few sentences. And all that in 12 different languages.

    Imagine what it was like BEING my Parents or Teachers. I was Labeled FREAK (gifted) by the 100's IQ squad.

    And I leave you with a theoretical question that I will not bother to even quantify mathematically.
    How can someone with an IQ of 100 /120 determine what someone with an IQ of 140 SHOULD learn?

    Finland is the place you should all be looking for inspiration on this matter.

    But I think MOST of you lack the understanding skills to appreciate that. (sound bitter? Hell yeah!)
    I was bullied, beaten, ostracized, Labeled, punished, made fun of. And all that because of this LABEL system and all it implies.

    IF your kid is labeled GIFTED, take him immediately out of school and move to Finland.

    August 24, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Briann

      Wish we could move to Finland... sigh. The very least that the 100's should be able to get (and most of them are teachers and school administrators which is why our schools are failing) is that the one size fits all education is not working for a large number of students. What is worse is that those students will also be diagnosed with some pathology and medicated. Three of the top ten pharmaceuticals in terms of sales are drugs for schizophrenics prescribed off label for ADHD, autism, etc. That is some Nurse Ratched s***

      August 24, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • clubschadenfreude

      Evidently having a supposedly high IQ (which you did have to mention but then attack, always hilarious to see the hypocrisy), certainly doesn't make you any less of a twit.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am |
      • mrdeepblue

        dude, S I N C E Y O U A R E N O T V E R Y B R I G H T, I W I L L W R I T E B I G A N D S L O W.
        Understanding a text is not a Miracle. Understanding text means how well we read the text. The concept of reading, shortly can be define as interpreting orally of the language which is written.

        Why did you even post there?? no really I'm intrigued.

        August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am |
      • T.E.D.

        I guess you resent the fact of belonging to what Carter calls the Plebe. But I agree you're a typical 100er .

        August 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Miriam

      I'm not anywhere in your class, but I bet I'd enjoy knowing you. Thanks for the insight.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
      • John Carter

        @miriam Once you step out of the "normal" parameter thing, WE are all in the same class.

        August 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • T.E.D.

      the Color thing fascinates me. Do you see only numbers as colors or also words and sounds? you mention hearing /seeing.
      I see only numbers as colors.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jay

      You come off as a dolt.

      August 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • T.E.D.

        I think that to your kind people like him always do.

        August 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Eliza

      I am fourteen. I am synaesethic, like you, and have a 'mind palace.' I love it- my mind is the most interesting place in my world. It is also torture. I am very egocentric, but have rather low self-esteem. I hate getting any answers wrong on schoolwork and throw mini-teenager tantrums. I am lazy and sloppy- if I don't understand it, if it's not going to be useful, why bother trying? This article was interesting for me because I love perfection but will not work for it. I don't focus obsessively on one thing- I get bored, I think of three other more interesting things to be doing, I get tired of sitting and have to get up and run around.
      I have no idea what my IQ is. I don't want to know. I am not anything 'special.' I am smart, I am very visual, I get easily bored, I prefer my mind to most human company. I know plenty of other people like this. We are not better than everyone else. Our minds work a bit- like mine- or a lot- like yours- differently, but if we let ourselves feel supirior we are going to be disappointed. No matter how much we might want to, we will never be the best at everything. We may be in second grade, reading at a seventh grade level, but we are not better then the seventh graders. We are different.
      And yes, I am called 'weird.' I have been called a freak. I have had people try to 'befriend me' so I can do their homework. I self-injure when I fail to meet my own standards of perfection. My biggest fight with my parents is my peeling off any and all labels- shampoo, canned beans, sunscreen. But when the classes are easy, I can educate myself. When all the world is boring and mundane, there's my mind. When nobody understands me, there's Tumblr. When I'm hiding under the water fountains or running shreiking through Fred Meyer because HELP THE NOISE IS TOO MUCH I can eventually calm down and get to a quiet spot. Taking care of me is my job. If anyone else tried to do it, I'd be quite upset.
      Acceptance of the 'gifted' by the 'non-gifted' (I hate those labels) is a problem, but so is acceptance of the 'non-gifted' by the 'gifted'. I know it hurts- it hurts me now. I know you have a special, unique, wonderful mind that is all your own, but others have minds like that too. But I will learn what I want, do what I want, and nobody can stop me thinking. I think you mean well, but you have it wrong. You say anyone not like you is inferior. That is bigoted, and prejudiced, and proves you a hypocrite. I am angry. You are angry. They are angry. But I steal and read my mother's parenting books, and I can tell you that anger is a secondary emotion. It covers up things like fear. Let's not fight, and then maybe we won't be so scared.

      August 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • nurse normal

      Wow. No argument here, you sound like a very bright man with exceptional intellectual talents. I am glad you were able to overcome the abuse hurled on you by your peers who did not understand you. From the comments of people here with intellectual gifts like yours, it seems that the way your brain works/is wired presents its own unique challenges, and I think that's what the original author was trying to convey. I have my own beefs with the limits of public education, for other reasons. However, your comment concerns me, although I get where it's coming from, with your negativity toward people like me with average IQs, calling them the "plebe." We are not all out to get you. My dad is very bright but completely socially inept. At first I resented him for it because I inherited some of his social awkwardness, but I've grown to love him for who he is. I worry though, given your comments, if you are able to see the inherent value in a human being regardless of their intellect (not always an easy feat). No lie, it must be hard having going through what you went through. My high school experience quite literally nearly killed me. I'm glad you were able to rise above your own experience and use your gifts in a beneficial way. At least I think lol – I Wikipedia'd MARS and I'm still not exactly sure what it's about. Haha. I guess my point is, after reading your post, despite not sharing your intellect, I see we still all share the human experience, which I think is beautifully illustrated in the quote usually attributed to Einstein: "gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love." In other news, it's midnight, and I'm totally rambling. Peace.

      August 26, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Joe

      If I may, let me try to put a little perspective on this. Most people, the population with average IQ's of 100, have difficulty understanding people with IQs higher than theirs. Think of how different people with much lower IQ's are than you. If you have an IQ only 30 points lower than average, you have some mental retardation, your brain is not able to do the things that the average person is able to do. Now consider the scale going the other direction. The gifted people's brain can do things that the average person's brain cannot do. Do you think that people with a 70 IQ are in a position to make education policy for the 100 IQ? Why are the 100 IQ ers making education policy decision for the 130 and higher?

      August 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  44. TimZ

    Most public schools in this country do little or nothing to address the needs of gifted kids. It is pathetic.

    August 24, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Bobby

      Most gifted people have done very well with little special attention spent on them. I went to a grade school where the first four grades were taught in the same room. So from this three room school, my siblings and I have advanced degrees in mathematics, physical chemistry and molecular biology. So I suggest, if you can't afford to buy lots of books, etc. take your kids to the library or find material on the net. If your child is gifted, he/she will still do very well on SAT's etc and get offer from colleges such as Harvard, MIt, Caltech etc. It is so much easier than in the past for smart kids to have access to interesting material. Let them be kids, deal with life's boring occasions and learn as they want and your gifted child will be ok

      August 24, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  45. cristysoh

    Thanks for this article. It was terrific to see this subject addressed on a mainstream news website.

    Consider this, please. While our children might be identified as 'gifted' through testing or meeting certain benchmarks, all parents should strive to meet their child's learning needs as best we can and work on bringing them 'up to speed' in areas and behaviors where they struggle. I thought this article did a fine job of explaining how having a gifted child might mean excelling in academics but can also have it's behavioral drawbacks. My daughter shows indications of being gifted, and we homeschool because our local school district can't accommodate her advanced reading and math level. I don't tell her she's more advanced than anyone else, I tell her some subjects come easier to her than others. It's not a value judgement. More importantly, we work daily on skills she needs help with, such as appropriate social behavior and emotional outbursts. She's able to see that she has strengths and weaknesses. My job is to help her use her strengths to excel, and to work on the weaknesses.

    Also, I'd much rather my child learn to be proud of working hard at something than accomplishing something she was innately good at.

    August 24, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • Rob

      I started this as my own comment, but see it is better placed as a reply to yours. You are very wise and rational.

      I used to assume that people gifted with intelligence, sometimes profound, would rise to the top. Er, no. It seems that our workforce requires underperformance. Anyone that rises above that will be ostracized. Therefore, being 'gifted' will not necessarily translate to contribution or success. In fact, probably quite the opposite.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  46. torchlakedays

    Wow - thanks for this article. I have two older kids who were both "gifted," and while one manages better than the other, both of them struggled with self-imposed perfectionism that nearly drove me to distraction, especially since I was always the farthest from a helicopter parent I could be. "Just do your best," I told them. I have spent many hours beating myself up about their struggles - what did I do wrong??? Now, I'm sure I HAVE done many things wrong, but it's nice to hear that someone else has experienced similar things. A word of encouragement: both my 19-year-old and 17-year-old have developed some coping strategies, and we are slowly getting there....

    August 24, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  47. SL

    Some useful resources to help understand the author's points:

    "Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities" http://giftedkids.about.com/od/gifted101/a/overexcite.htm

    "Funnel Analogy of Giftedness" http://www.shulamit.info/funnel.htm

    August 24, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  48. wyldkatt

    I have two special needs sons. They are both atypical learners. I knew that both had special needs when they were very young. One has multiple diagnoses, including sensory processing disorder and anxiety disorder which lead to perfectionism issues and social issues. The other has an IQ that if it went the other way on the bell curve would pretty much ensure that he'd be in separate classrooms and group living arrangements as an adult. He is just as different from a child with a 100 (average) IQ than the children in those classrooms are. (I have enough experience to know this because I've worked in daycare, cared for low IQ children, counseled a mixed bag of adolescents and helped raise a child with ADHD and other issues.)

    That is what they are talking about when schools and psychologists use the clinical term "gifted," a term I personally despise because it leads people to say the sappy meaningless phrase, "All children are gifted." No one would argue that all children are "tall." People would be offended if we said that all children are "physically handicapped." How about, all children are "classically autistic"? All children are NOT "gifted" (a term meaning high IQ, atypical learners). However, I agree 100% that all children are unique and deserve to be treated as such.

    My younger son does not lack discipline at home. He is not a brat. He experiences the world in a way that the vast majority of humanity doesn't. If life is a 1-10 scale and most people live at around a 5 on how they experience the universe, he lives at about a 23. He used to have screaming tantrums that lasted over an hour nearly every day just from trying to exist in the world. Thanks to occupational therapy and support from the special needs teachers at the local district he is finally able to be around other children without telling me in a panic that other kids are looking at him and I have to make them stop. He can play with other kids his age now without totally losing it over their unpredictability. He is using the potty finally now. I'm glad that I have been able to help him learn how to cope with his "complications" and overjoyed that he has learned to adjust to the world around him enough that he might be able to survive school.

    He starts Kindergarten in a week, but due to his "complications" it's in a special school setting. Well that and the fact he is learning double digit addition and has been reading since he was 2. That also has a lot to do with why he's always had an easier time being friends with children his brother's age (2 1/2 years older).

    My older son just turned 8 a couple days ago. He is taking 8th grade social studies this year, 6th grade language arts, 5th grade math, and 7th grade science. He brought home the 7th grade history book to read over the summer for fun while he finished up 4th grade social studies so he could do 8th grade this year instead. I don't force him to do any of this, in fact I subtly try to slow him down just a little. I have simply made it possible for him to learn at the pace that works for him. He is a social butterfly, charming and comedic. He is also sensitive in ways other children aren't. Things affect him that other kids don't even think twice about (the Mayan Calendar is not discussed in our house for example).

    It isn't elitism. I would NEVER consider expecting a child with an IQ of 100 to do what my sons do. Not because they aren't "good" enough, but because it would be cruel to them. They would be lost, would hate it, wouldn't learn up to their potential and would be absolutely miserable. That's exactly what would happen to my sons in a classroom set up for children with an average IQ range.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  49. Blk

    I was identified as gifted, but my parents wouldn't allow me to skip grade or go to an advanced school when it was offered because they were afraid I'd be teased for being too different. I have ~never~ forgiven them for this.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Harvey

      Same situation, especially in math and science. Every year the school system wanted me to skip one or more grades, Parents said no because they didn't want an "egghead", Damn them!

      August 24, 2012 at 1:13 am |
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