Overheard on CNN.com: Myths about 'gifted' kids
November 27th, 2012
04:12 AM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Myths about 'gifted' kids

by the Schools of Thought Editors

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Some comments have been edited for space or clarity.

(CNN) – Educator and author Carolyn Coil recently wrote a “My View” piece for Schools of Thought titled “Ten myths about gifted students and programs for the gifted.”  In the article, Coil points out that American educators have struggled for more than 40 years with a definition for ‘giftedness’ as well as national criteria for identifying gifted students. As a result, there are misconceptions about gifted kids and the best ways for them to learn.

Readers posted over 700 comments in response to the piece.

Some readers questioned the focus on the ‘gifted’ label:

K: So many "gifted" kids out there, yet so few intelligent adults making scientific discoveries, helping mankind move forward. Personally, I think overbearing parents use the term, "gifted," FAR too much and since these kids grow up to be nothing special, why waste any particular time or funds on them? Let them be the kid everyone goes to for help with their schoolwork. Let them be the ones who never have to study. No need to put them up on a pedestal and give them a swelled head. They’re going to have enough trouble when they get into the real world and realize nothing comes easy any more.

Andrea Saylor: They wanted to test my daughter for "gifted" and I opted out. I didn't want her to be "different" from the other students. She was shy by nature. She tutored other students and went on to be valedictorian of her graduating class. She went on to get her Masters in Psychology. She now tests students for "gifted" "special needs" "autism" etc. Funny how things turn out......

Tom: In my experience working in science almost all our notions about 'giftedness' or 'genius', including a few in this article, are BS. Your success in science is almost entirely determined by your motivation, i.e. your willingness to spend a lot of time to learn something hard, not by any innate talent. And any talent you have always comes from years of practice. The rest is mostly luck.

A few said that we should be supporting, not bashing, giftedness:

All for gifted kids: Why are so many of you bashing giftedness? If a kid had excellent sports skills would you downplay it and not encourage him or her to play the sport or do whatever you could to help them excel? Then why not encourage giftedness and make the most of it too?

Many commented based on their experiences as gifted kids or parents of gifted kids:

Meghan: I was in Gifted Ed and I may sound like I have an inflated ego but the real world IS easy. I'm at the top in my field at 29, am in the public sector in a position where I can be inventive and create efficiencies, earn 6 figures but am bored, and am trying to determine what to do next. You may not personally know a gifted person who has made a difference but we are out there. Also, I can speak to the "well-behaved" myth. I was frequently kicked out of class and/or reprimanded for talking because I was bored. Once I transferred in to the program where the district hired a professor for 6th graders (through high school) and challenged me, the behavioral problems ceased…

KO: I have a very bright inquisitive son who so was looking forward to school. We had been in preschool and pre-K where he got along with everyone. Kindergarten was devastating to him. He woke up nightly screaming "something is wrong" for the first 3 months but never could verbalize what it was. He just missed gifted education by 1%. After he tried for months to toe the line and being bored to death he started acting out. We lost our happy, questioning kid. He was miserable. In 1st grade this continued. The teachers said they wouldn't give him more work because he wouldn't finish what they gave him. He said it was too boring to even do. We would argue for 2 hours to do 5 minutes of homework. Finally, one day he broke down crying and said "you have to get me out of here, mom, I am so bored"....we retested him privately for public school gifted program and he qualified. He is now in his 2nd year of gifted education. We have a happy kid again. He is positive, laughs, loves his classmates and learning. I can't imagine what K-12 years with no gifted education would have been like. Gifted education returned our kid to us. It also returned to him his self esteem.

SC-B: I am fortunate enough to have two "gifted" daughters, or at least two children who fit our state's view of accelerated learning ability. I think it is wonderful that this article points out so many misperceptions that people have about these children. Just between my own, I have an introvert and an extrovert, an artist and an athlete, a good test taker and an outside the box thinker, a model student and a mischief maker. They both have been put in the position of helping other kids; one loved it, the other was uncomfortable. They have both felt social pressure to pretend they knew less than they did, because it was not cool to be smart, and some of it because of their gender. Our school does have a gifted program, and we believe it is important to support more rigorous and creative learning for these children. The real benefit, though, is not always the curriculum content, but finding themselves in the company of other kids who have experienced the same things. Our society may say that academics is important, but our experience tells us that there is an anti-intellectual climate which makes gifted children the target of ridicule.

Ashbee: I was in "gifted" grade schools. I was constantly bored because I finished assignments very quickly and would ask for more work to do. I never had to study to make straight A's. After ninth grade I began my freshman year of college. Even in college I found that I picked up concepts quickly and continued to get A's. It wasn't until I began graduate school at nineteen that I began to struggle. I had never gained effective study skills and time management skills because everything had come so easy previously. Graduate school was where I learned to work hard in order to succeed. Thankfully, I rose to the challenge. Several of my college peers (who also began early), however, never learned those skills and, indeed, peaked in college. It does seem to even out in the end. From my experiences though, it was beneficial to have had the opportunity to attend "gifted" schools and move through my education at a pace that suited my learning style and ability.

HowGiftedBecomesAProblem: I have three children –The gifted child has been my biggest struggle in school because he is so quiet and well behaved his teachers basically ignored his academic needs. He was reading at a 2nd grade level when he was 4 but despite this and being tested by the schools to confirm it, his kindergarten teacher insisted he "learn" to read with everyone else "just in case he doesn't get it..." so frustrating because clearly he gets it. In first grade he was penalized for not sounding out words even though he tested at a 5th grade level for reading and sounding out "cat" is not relevant at that age. He didn't understand why they were asking him to basically pretend that he didn't know how to read the words – it was that ridiculous…I got so fed up we transferred him to a private school that was able to help and not see his "giftedness" as a problem for the teachers. He's so happy now that he actually learns things at school. I especially liked the part about not using gifted kids as teachers because in my son's case as the article says – he honestly has no idea why everyone doesn't know what he knows.

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soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. RR


    December 4, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  2. RR

    My gift is most unique: It's called "pure evil."

    December 4, 2012 at 5:37 am |
  3. abby

    i was in gifted math in 3rd grade but now i dont see how my math grades stink!i was always told i was gifted!if i'm SO "gifted" why do my grades stink?!? 🙁

    December 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  4. STRETCh Instructor

    I am the STRETCh – Striving To Reach Every Talented Child Instructor from Wisconsin. ALL students have gifts and talents and it is our job as educational coaches to uncover those of EACH and EVERY child. With the infusion of technology, it is possible for EVERY child to be "STRETCh'ed" in their thinking and ability to grow as a learner.

    The notion that some students are "gifted" means that others must not be "gifted." This does not honor the diversity upon which the country was founded. The reason that no one has been able to quantify or agree upon a definition of "giftedness" is because NONE exists. The concept is too multifaceted and diverse to be quantified.

    Honor the diversity of all our children and give teachers the skills to differentiate and help ALL learn to grow academically, socially, athletically (for healthy habits), and personally to their fullest!

    Please join the STRETCh Instructors facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/STRETCh-Instructor-Striving-To-Reach-Every-Talented-Child/172282802807283

    A group of concerned individuals who are interested in allowing ALL children to reach their fullest potential in life!

    Why set limits on what our children can do? Our educational system is under radical change, and students need to be pushed in their talent areas in order to create a society of productive and enthusiatic learners. "Giftedness" is grown and nutured over time; it is not something we were born with! The human brain is a living, functioning organ that can grow and develop. What we do with our gifts and talents over time is what we should be focused on.

    THE QUESTION SHOULD NOT BE: Is my child gifted?

    But rather... Are my child's needs being met!

    December 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • LittlebabyJesus

      Every child has gifts and talents, blah,blah, blah. I guess you are a proponent of No Child Left Behind. Talk about a dismal program there. Yes, every child will have gifts and talents. However, their are going to be those children that have more gifts and talents. Yet, our education system tethers them to the inadequacies of those that are just going to be mowing someone's lawn or flipping burgers one day. I agree that parents should be asking if the needs of the child is being met, and if a child is 'gifted' more than likely, they will not. Certain traits and gifts are at a predisproportional nature iin some children.

      December 6, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  5. Jim

    My neighbor's son is profoundly disabled and will be forever stuck developmentally as a infant. Despite this, the public schools are bound by law to educate him, so since he was 3 years old, a bus comes to pick up his wheelchair and take him to school where he requires an attendant all day to help with his health problems.

    Yet my daughter's education needs don't matter, because she is advanced. If she spoke another language, had physical or mental disabilities, then the schools would bend over backwards making sure her right to an education was not being violated, but a 5 year old who is reading and writing at a 2nd grade level is expected to sit thru kindergarten and learn social skills and finger painting. So we're spending $13K a year on her private school education because public schools don't give a – about gifted kids. You have to wonder why the public would rather spend tax dollars babysitting disabled kids rather than giving the best possible education to the best and brightest students.

    November 30, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  6. rak

    Gifted or enrichment programming should support all children who need more than what the classroom provides. If the majority of children are mastering what's happening in the regular classroom quickly, the classroom program needs to change. If only a few are moving more quickly, they need something else. Forget the label, "gifted," just provide an appropriate education. My son has begun crying in school because he is so frustrated that he is not learning anything at school. He wants to learn new things, not repeat things he already knows. Lots of people think "gifted" children are somehow smart enough to teach themselves. They aren't. They need teachers who can help them dive into and master materials and learn important study skills–and they can often do it faster and take in more complexity and depth than others.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  7. Dewey Decimal

    I believe that kids need to be challengened in school, but not treated as more important than the other kids. Programs that teach kids at a higher level are great, but shouldn't be treated like they are above the other classes, just different. When they cut out all advancement in middle school, I thought it was very inconsiderate of them. Kids are taking algebra for the second time in our school. Right now they should be taking geometry. Fair is not always equal, and our school needs to see that before we are all considered "average."

    November 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  8. db

    I read through most of these posts and found myself bored. Maybe I am genius. lol. get over yourself already...that internal drive to be good at what you do or are, is universal. There have been a few geniuses...I guess...what qualifies? This is the issue in America today...sounds like a new whiny reality tv show. Everybody wants attention so badly....to phrase a great commercial...just do it....and add shut up already. The superioriness (thot make up word) on this board is stifling my stupidity..

    November 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    As a gifted program instructor at a public school, I believe gifted children are only gifted with the ablilty to be "smart" and that they must push themselves to acheive their goals.

    November 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • zoey27

      As a teacher and a parent I have experienced intelligence in multiple forms. I can recall early on sending over-achievers for testing and being surprised when they did not make the cut. I came to notice that certain children had something unusual in their intellect that would show up in conversation most often. They'd see things differently, have an unusual slant on a discussion, etc. and somehow set themselves apart because they did indeed "think" differently. My own two boys had this in spite of not doing one thing "early" in the child development books we all follow when they are babies. The older one had some capacity to build mental constructs on which he placed material he learned and could then mentally play with this information to take it to a new level. I've never understood it, but I have no doubt there is something very different going on in his brain than in most children I've ever taught. We've had long conversations about it as I try to figure out what happens in his mind and how he rapidly handles information and makes connections. He is in his 2nd year of med school. Last year he came home at Thanksgiving and asked me some questions about a 12 year diagnosis I'd always questioned, did some simple balance tests, and told me to go back to my doctor and ask for an MRI of my lower back. Turned out the 12 year diagnosis was wrong, and am now being treated successfully for LSS. What I know of his mind is that he absorbs information rapidly and never forgets. 2nd son is a highly disciplined over-achiever who also stands out in conversational repartee and quick humor. We've never had the in depth discussions of his learning processes so I don't know as much about what goes on in his brain. He was Phi Beta Kappa, and scooped up by Exxon-Mobil out of grad school. Interesting that the 2nd son refused gifted testing because he said that he didn't want to have to do the extra work he saw his older brother doing for these programs! I thought that was a sign of intelligence in itself!

      November 30, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  10. WisEd

    There is no such thing as a gifted student. To all parents their child, unless in need of special ed, is gifted. The gifts are discipline, interest, involvement and effort. Gifted children are not in need of higher standards all children are. All children should be required to take all high school math courses up to pre calculus. All children should be required to take biology, chemistry and physics at a high school level. Those courses don't take extraordinary talent, effort, yes, "gifts", no. BTW we don't need more years of US history, there have been thousands of years of history before that that we should also know.This is the only way we can escape the mediocrity and ignorance that is pervasive in this country. Instead of spending all weekend on the couch watching sports on the couch take your kid on a nature walk and have your kids observe what they see. Have them read a book or two, particularly the banned books of all stripes, make your children thinkers, not memorizers. Don't make them agonize over an A or a B its a letter grade that no one will know or care 15 years down the road. Instead of worrying about the grade worry about what they know and how they can apply that knowledge to real life, you cant really teach anything to anyone they have to learn it themselves, the job of the teacher is to guide them through the learning process. Tips from a "gifted child" who regularly got F's in school and now is a successful physician with multiple post graduate initials after his name. By the way, I only use them to impress the banker when I need a loan!

    November 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • veronika

      You truly speak my mind. Unfortunately, I did't have a chance to meet a person with a similar point of view yet.
      Are you from Wisconsin by any chance?

      November 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
      • STRETCh Instructor

        YES! YES! and YES! I agree with you as well Veronika. I am the STRETCh – Striving To Reach Every Talented Child Instructor from Wisconsin. ALL students have gifts and talents and it is our job as educational coaches to uncover those of EACH and EVERY child. With the infusion of technology, it is possible for EVERY child to be "STRETCh'ed" in their thinking and ability to grow as a learner.

        The notion that some students are "gifted" means that others must not be "gifted." This does not honor the diversity upon which the country was founded. The reason that no one has been able to quantify or agree upon a definition of "giftedness" is because NONE exists. The concept is too multifaceted and diverse to be quantified.

        Honor the diversity of all our children and give teachers the skills to differentiate and help ALL learn to grow academically, socially, athletically (for healthy habits), and personally to their fullest!

        Please join the STRETCh Instructors facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/STRETCh-Instructor-Striving-To-Reach-Every-Talented-Child/172282802807283

        A group of concerned individuals who are interested in allowing ALL children to reach their fullest potential in life!

        Why set limits on what our children can do? Our educational system is under radical change, and students need to be pushed in their talent areas in order to create a society of productive and enthusiatic learners. "Giftedness" is grown and nutured over time; it is not something we were born with! The human brain is a living, functioning organ that can grow and develop. What we do with our gifts and talents over time is what we should be focused on.

        THE QUESTION SHOULD NOT BE: Is my child gifted?

        But rather... Are my child's needs being met!

        December 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Maria Smith

      Ok, maybe you don't need more history, but you do need more time to be creative, to learn how to solve problems, to learn how to work together, to learn it's ok if you're not "gifted" in everything, to have time with your peers, to NOT be the class tutor, to explore things that are interesting to you that there's no time in the regular classroom to get to or get that deep into.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • rh

      Actually, my child who needs special ed is gifted – it's just that he is gifted in math and music, but not in dealing with people. It is a myth that special needs children are automatically below average intelligence.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • rak

      Were you Ds and Fs a result of boredom? Should everyone suffer the same fate? Schools don't have to be boring. Most are because they focus on economies of scale–like factories. It is more efficient and "cost effective" to give everyone the same worksheet/workbook instead of providing students with opportunities to choose small group investigation projects.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  11. SPF

    Oh lord. Here we go. Gifted this, special that. If a child is "gifted" then parents and teachers can try to challenge them. Ultimately however, a "gifted" child should never be bored because they know how to challenge themselves. If parents actually had "gifted" children they would know that. A "gifted" child can certainly challenge themselves, and have really no need for much intervention. Second, gifted children need to be taught more creativity. Like the poster who apparently was gifted and is the top of his field at 29. That is because you have no creativity. I could be at the top of certain fields too, but I choose ones that require as much creativity as intelligence.

    November 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • JosephS

      SPF said: "That is because you have no creativity. I could be at the top of certain fields too, but I choose ones that require as much creativity as intelligence."

      That's a load of bs! First off, how would you know he has no creativity? You assumed based on a short post he wrote that really doesn't even address that issue. Second, you also assumed that you could be top of certain fields.. oh really? Which ones? And if you're that good at doing the job, why aren't you doing it? Sounds more like wishful thinking on your part to me.

      November 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  12. Tor

    It really depends what "gifted" means. Just because a child got bored in class and couldn't handle it anymore doesn't make him or her Einstein...these children have a sertain way of learning, unlike the rest, I don't think special or gifted is an appropriate description for anyone.

    November 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • JosephS

      Typically gifted in the education sense means they have an easier time with absorbing/learning new ideas and concepts, may not need to study at all or as much, and generally "get it" before anyone else does. Your right, it doesn't make them an Einstein, and depending on their goals, they might not even be interested in such things.

      I wonder how many "gifted" children have grown up to be the greatest burger flippers this side of the Mississippi?

      November 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • SJS

      Speaking of Einstein, did you know that "Einsten was so smart, he got bored in school and got bad grades." is a myth? He actually did very well in school.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:03 am |
      • JCL

        As I recall, he didn't like his teachers because they were too rigid (?), but he didn't actually fail school.

        I apologize, I haven't read any biography of him in years.

        December 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  13. name a name

    i think it's a wrong to expect more from a gifted person that (s)he would give more to the society. They are just people with enhanced capabilities. Gifted people, the pressure is off!

    November 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  14. E's madre

    I love my gifted child. He is far from perfect, and his boredom definitely has gotten him into trouble. However, his behavior improved tenfold when they put him into the gifted program. It gives him something to look forward to as well as enriches him. Therefore, unless you have a gifted child, you could not possibly relate.

    I, too, was a gifted child. Gifted now, you ask? No. My redheaded gifted child took all of that like a sponge.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Tom

      I've come to see all parents think there kids are gifted. Sadly, untrue.

      November 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
      • yoloswagswag


        November 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  15. Trish

    Both my sons are gifted. They hated Preschool and Kindergarten, because they were so bored. My oldest was in trouble for his behavior several times, until he went into a "Hi-Cap" classroom in 2nd grade. I wish they would test them before the end of 1st grade in Washington state, because he's finally happy-except for when kids tease him. He has low self-esteem as a result of not fitting in. When I read the comments here, I realize that quite a few of the "adults" commenting here aren't gifted. They sound like the jealous school-yard bullies my son has to endure his recess with. My youngest is the opposite of his brother. He is a happy, relaxed, social butterfly. He doesn't fit the definition of gifted in that sense, but like his brother, acts up when bored. Outside of school, we keep them busy with both fall and spring sports.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • E's madre

      Same here, I keep my son busy with football and baseball. My son is gifted, but he's only teased occasionally. I think all children get teased every once in a while. Some more than others, but ...kids are just cruel. And if they see an easy target who crumbles under the pressure of it...well, it's like sharks smelling blood. They'll be all over 'em. Just make sure you encourage him to keep his head up, and ignore those silly mean kids. It will all change in a few years. None of his peers will be mean to each other. They just grow out of it.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  16. Kaschap28

    I can relate to those who said they felt uncomfortable not being 'normal'. I was bullied from elementary school for being 'too smart' and was made to feel like an outcast. When I was placed in GT classes I was ridiculed and made fun of for it. When I got into Jr.High it was optional to take advanced courses and I opted out in order to fit in. I wish I hadn't 'dumbed' myself down to please others. Goodness knows where I'd be today if I had pushed myself and used my intelligence rather than stunt it. Now that I'm seeing my son exhibit signs of 'giftedness', I'm not going to pretend he's normal, because he's not. Two year-olds are not supposed to be doing 1st grade math. A gift should be nourished and applauded.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  17. X-men

    Yeah...gifted. That's the same thing Professor Charles Xavier said to me too...

    November 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  18. not gifted

    I was never labeled gifted.... but my teachers in a public kindergarten in New England did encourage my parents to place me in a small private day school in the same city, saying the small student:teacher ratios would benefit me, as I could already read and do math several grade levels above my age level.

    I owe those teachers and my parents a great deal. Throughout my primary education, I was at or near the top of my classes in that small school, where I did feel adequately challenged, and where working on "different" math or reading assignments, as I and 2 of my classmates did, was not a social stigma (as far as I recall).Without those early years, I don't think I would have ended up at or thrived at Harvard, in medical school, and even in my residency and fellowship training.

    I am now in my mid 30s, and an assistant professor at an excellent medical school, and love my career and family. I have met support staff who are certainly more innately intelligent than I, but did not achieve the level of education or career advancement they are capable of or desire. I think this is a tragedy of of our public school systems. Some of these individuals are clearly unhappy about not having been steered in different directions early on. On the other hand, what I did have going for me was that I was a very complacent, rule-following child (and am the same as an adult). Encouraging creativity and free expression may work for some, but having a "track" to follow was the way to go for me.

    I have a little daughter now who is almost 3, and is starting to read, do math, etc. I attribute any achievements to a lot of attention from my wife, who works part time and spends a great deal of time with our daughter, our excellent nanny, and a great Montessori pre-school. I don't think this has anything to do with her innate "giftedness" or lack thereof.

    I have not seen a public school option where we live (Brentwood, CA), that would offer my daughter the same opportunities I had. However, there are at least 3 private school options close to us that would offer her these opportunities. My wife, who was a product of the CA public schools, and is also now a physician, agrees with me. She feels classroom sizes are too large and the funding too diminished now compared to how she had it over 2 decades ago. So, as much as it pains my wife, we will be going with the private school option.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  19. tx1

    Like athletic abilities, or height, or anything else, kids have intellectual abilities that vary. Like most other things, their abilities will follow some sort of a bell curve.

    It is true that there are probably some kids that are in the top half (above average) who have helicopter parents that act obnoxiously, but that doesn't mean there is no such thing as "gifted".

    At the extreme ends of the bell curve, highly intelligent people are as different from "average" as are the severely mentally disabled on the other end.

    And though I think the word "bored" is inappropriately used to cover a lot of other things, for those that think that the bored gifted kids will take care of themselves, consider that for every smart above average engineer at Apple, you still need a Steve Jobs to come up with revolutionary products.

    It is essential that we get the bottom 50% to graduate high school (and beyond) and learn how to read, but if that's all we do and we ignore the bright children, we are doing our country a major disservice.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Excellence in education at all levels is the cornerstone of a democracy. Knowledge is contained in books. Going to school or college can prepare you to be educated, but a lifelong intimate love affair with books is the definition of education.

      It is important to our democracy that all of our citizens have a desire to read and know. Lifelong education is the goal. I'm no genius, but the home I grew up in was filled with books, magazines, newspapers, and Bible. Discussion and debate about what we read was a large part of our family life.

      The Saturday morning family trip to the library was the high point of my week.

      A family without books in the home is a family that is raising a handicapped child.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Tom, Ton, the Other One

      I haven’t seen any comments suggesting we ‘ignore’ anyone. The point you seem to miss is that most parents that think their child is gifted…is wrong. Besides if they truly are gifted they won’t need your help to excel.

      November 28, 2012 at 8:20 am |
      • phoenix1920

        Just like a person with great eye-hand coordination does not need a coach to show them how to excel in sports. They just naturally are athletes and naturally will have the dedication to get there and don't need to practice

        November 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  20. TM

    I have 2 sons, 1 in GT and another on the border. Sad part as I see it is that "regular" classes should incorporate more GT style to excite the kids to want to learn. I know my son not in GT would benefit greatly from such an atmosphere fully knowing that he is not going to be PhD in mathematics at 21 or Nobel laureate. But he will be a better student and a better person prepared for life. And that is the point of school.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  21. Sagebrush Shorty

    A "gifted" young person today is one who can read his or her graduation certificate.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Tell us the name of the book you are reading now, shorty.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  22. Norman Bates

    I know some "gifted" people and most of them suffer from the same thing, an overblown sense of self importance. In reality, we all have our place and who is to say one is more "giftet" than the other. The truly gifted are those that can enjoy who and what they have in their lives. It is about time we drop the labels. The "gifted" children are those that have parents that love them.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • name a name

      One of the best comments!!

      November 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • GiftedGOD

      Spoken like a true commoner.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • MNmama

      No one is saying that one "gift" is better than another. The label is only useful if it allows access to appropriate curriculum and classes. Parents of "gifted" children only are asking for appropriate education, just as all parents want for their children. Our district doesn't have any accelerated, advanced or honors courses in middle school, so we found a charter school that looks beyond the age of the student and places them at the appropriate level. If more schools were open to meeting the needs of the students at their individual levels (rather than placing a limit on their learning by assigning them to a "grade level" only by age), then there would likely be less of a need to "label' students. Gifted athletes aren't made to play in sports several levels below their capability, so why are we doing that to our academically gifted students?
      Excellent websites:

      November 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • LorieR

        Hear, hear!

        November 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  23. Darth Commenter

    @Tom: Having a certain amount of motivation is a gift in of itself.
    @SC-B: Being intelligent is not uncool. Flaunting your intelligence is. Your children have to be smart without letting it show (a nearly impossible task I know), but the hate comes from jealously, not merely the fact that your kids are smart. Pretending to be dumber is the easiest way to avoid this negative attention, but clearly it is self destructive. Unfortunately, I don't have the answers, but I'm sure smart children can figure out the problem, once they know what the problem is.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  24. WNC

    I might be a bit out of line for this thread, and NO I’m not gifted, just a curious/concerned parent.

    My son (9 years old), and is an extremely intelligent kid. His vocabulary and inquiries are off way above kids his age, but takes on the following symptoms:

    -Takes minutes if not hours to convince him to do a small homework assignment
    -Doesn’t finish test in class (so yes this does affect his grades)
    -Is a bit immature
    -Tends to get frustrated quickly
    -Would prefer to carry on conversations with our friends (adults) rather than kids his age

    Seems like there are both professionals and or experienced people that might be able to shed some light for us

    FYI…we’re in the process of having him tested with his school, so we’re hoping we can diagnose sooner than later

    November 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • hunsbergerpta

      Gifted children often suffer from perfectionism, and therefore are wary to start a project sometimes where they may make a mistake. In addition, timed tests are very difficult sometimes for them to complete – any question they do not know the correct answer to immediately sends them into a tailspin of self doubt and frustration. It sounds like you have a child who is a verbal auditory learner and would benefit from a learning environment that included opportunities to learn new concepts through meaningful debates and discussions. As to his immaturity, gifted children are definitely not all mature for their age. Socially, they are stuck in a place where the majority of children their age are their level of maturity but do no have the same interests or levels of background knowledge gifted children have. This is why separate gifted classrooms benefit these students – not only academically but socially. They can be with a group of children like themselves,and in turn, are given the opportunity to develop the social skills they may be lacking. In many highly gifted classrooms, social behavioral skills are part of the curriculum. The benefit can be profound. In addition, having your son or daughter in specialized instruction can put you, as parents, in touch with other parents and professionals that can serve as a supportive network. Good luck to you, and I hope you find what is best for your son.

      November 27, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  25. susanlc

    Gifted Ed has become a big topic these days because Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind have got all the education decision-makers putting all the money and resources into the bottom 50%. Very little is left over for adequate or gifted students.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  26. El Flaco

    Geniuses are doing just fine. According to this article, their biggest problem is boredom. I'm sure that they will think of things to do that amuse them without our help.

    Our problem is the bottom 50%. A Democracy needs rational voters. We can beef up our educational support for those who are not brilliant but whose skills could nevertheless be maximized. Half of all Americans have a below average IQ. Let's work with those folks. That would raise our overall quality of life much more than sending bright kids to the science fair.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Bax

      Good point! Never thought of it that way. Are you by any chance a genius?

      November 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • El Flaco

        A psychologist tested me and said that I had an IQ of 125. That is bright, but far from brilliant and certainly not a genius. I would not qualify for any gifted program. I would classify myself as a solid B student.

        I do have a great deal of respect for the accomplishments of very smart people, but if I could take a pill and increase my IQ by 40 points, I think I'd just pour it down the drain instead of taking it.

        November 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • El Flaco

        I should also mention that I consider myself to be a genius in one area: taking tests. I always get a good score on standardized tests. On a bet, I made a C on a test where the questions were marked out and I only saw the multiple-choice answers. I am an idiot savant when it comes to test taking.

        I suspect that there are others like me who score high on tests but who really don't know what they're talking about. In college, I often scored higher on test than other students who were unquestionably much smarter than me.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bored

      Yes, you can be sure they will think of something to amuse themselves when they get bored. But if that happens every day at school, the rest of the class and the teachers might not appreciate it. That is how the bright kids end up in trouble, with behavior issues and bad grades. They are just "amusing themselves" when they can read long chapter books in first grade, but instead of being able to do that they are asked to sound out three letter words! That is exactly what some of these programs are supposed to do: provide the right environment to let the bright kids find educational ways to "amuse themselves" instead of bothering others and not learning anything in a regular classroom.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Silly1

      I love the comment "half have a below average IQ"...do you understand how averages work? 🙂

      November 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • name a name

        umm.. there's a difference between median and mean (average) sometimes...

        November 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • LorieR

      Making a gifted child sit through regular grade-level classes for seven hours a day, day after day after day, is like keeping a cheetah caged up day in, day out. Or like withholding food from tall children because they're taller than their age-mates. They can't help how they're built! All kids need to learn and grow, including gifted kids, otherwise they become depressed or make trouble. In our Madison, Wisconsin schools, my oldest child became withdrawn and listless, my middle child got cranky and obstreperous, and my youngest got physically sick. I would never put them through that again.

      November 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • Jay

        Exactly, you wouldn't expect an adult with a high level degree to enjoy working at McDonald's for 8 hours a day, but we don't understand why an intelligent child doesn't enjoy being forced to sit and be bored for 8 hours a day for 13 years. It's not about arrogance, it's about common sense. My child doesn't hat school, but he has asked me why his teacher doesn't let him work ahead or why he has to keep doing spelling homework for words he already knows. I know the answer is because that's what the average child needs, but it doesn't seem quite right. It is just as bad as the slower kids getting left behind. My child is in the gifted program, but it is only half a day a week and is more enrichment than anything else. He is no genius, but it is clear that he is not average. At times it seems that we are supposed to pretend that he is to help teachers and average students. I see homeschooling or private school in our future, but I pay a lot of taxes for a system that will ultimately fail my child according to his potential. If intelligent people can just figure it out than why even have universities? Intelligent children need an education, but they don't need the same education as average chldren. I want to talk to anyone who enjoys wasting their time going over things they already totally understand over and over again.

        November 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  27. John_DD

    If a child is gifted, rest assured its parents will the suck the life out the child and claim credit for recognizing the ability. For every 1 gifted child that escapes 99 more will be tormented and crippled by their parents.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Like you were, presumably. Got any kids?

      November 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  28. madihwa

    At a time when there were no gifted classes and at a school where they did not promote students ahead my daughter was a prodigy. She spent her class time as an unpaid teacher's helper. She would often take half of the class while the teacher took the other half. Some teachers gave her special work. She was not popular except when someone needed help with her homework. Finally after her junior year of high school she was able to enroll in a university and earned her Ph.D. at age 23 and her MD at age 26. Today she's the best in her field in her area.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • susanlc

      Tell them, madihwa!

      November 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  29. Ulvskog

    It isn't the "gifted" kids we need to identify and care for. It is what I refer to as "Outriders." The upper 10 to 20% of the "gifted" range. Individuals whose intelligence and reasoning capability are so advanced they have very little in common with the rest of humanity. This is a category we need to identify early and provide advanced education and opportunity topology at an early age. Without it, people who reason at an intensely abstract level can become criminals or terrorists who may cause serious damage to societies whether our own or in the third world. These individuals are not a threat if dealt with compassionately. And they can produce radically new technologies and advancements if given the correct training and resources.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Bax

      This is an interesting perspective. I think that deep down a lot of parents who worry about their gifted kids are really worried the world won't find out how special their kids are. It's driven by their own insecurities and desire to show off. I think it's possible that my son really is one of the 10-20%, and if he is, I would like it if the only way the world finds out is if he does something wonderful. Other than that, I just want him to be happy. Maybe I'm wrong and he's just regular old gifted, in which case he'll probably end up like his mom and dad, justifying our existence, hoping for a steady paycheck, hoping that our life's work makes a difference and realizing it might just be a bunch of forgotten paperwork.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  30. Bax

    I have a gifted kid. He's only 4 and has never been tested, but the things he does are so far beyond any other kid his age, I really don't need a test. So far I've tried to do my best to focus on making learning fun. I try to protect him from getting a lot of attention for his gifts so that he doesn't feel he has a role to fill or he has to perform for praise. I try to think of his success in 2 ways. That he is a happy adult someday (a must). And I would also like him to contribute to making the world better, but if he doesn't want to in the end, I'll let that one go. I don't tell anyone outside the immediate family what he is capable of. It really doesn't matter if you think about it. I'm a little nervous about how things are going to go once he starts school. I figure I'm make sure he takes part in any programs for kids who learn fast just because I think those programs will be fun for him. I've also really focused on building social skills. He struggles when interacting with other kids. I don't think it's that he's smarter than them. I think he actually has some deficits when it comes to communicating and control of his emotions. I figure that by focusing on helping him build skills in those areas, I'll be equipping him to deal with life as a gifted person. Or really just life as a person for that matter. I do often worry if I'm doing the right thing since I'm not doing a lot of the things I see in articles about gifted kids.

    November 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Mama Marconi

      You may want to consider having him tested- not to brag but for support if you don't receive it within the school district he'll attend. Like you we knew our daughter was smart- but we pretty much left it at that and were content- UNTIL this year when she came home and told us that she wasn't allowed to check out longer books at the library because they weren't on the 'first grade' cart. She also wanted to dive deeper into topics but the teacher didn't have the time while also trying to also teach those who were still struggling with the basics. I don't blame the teacher...but she slowly started disengaging and refusing to do what she called "baby work". We just moved her to a school with slightly more challenging curriculum and moved her to second grade. Our district has no gifted program and we'll be moving to a district that has one so she can have fun at school and actually be challenged. From what I've seen in terms of posts most gifted kids do well when in programs designed for how they learn (quickly). Best of luck and whatever you do it's clear that you have your child's success at heart.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  31. David

    Every parent: "My child is gifted" or "He is really bright, he just has trouble with math (or reading, or writing, or . . . )." It seems that 99% of all children are above average, when in fact, half are below average (by definition).

    It reminds me of when someone is asked if they have children. They never answer, "yes, I have two boys." They always answer, "yes, I have two beautiful boys." The fact is, either the parent is lying, or we have diluted the definition of "beautiful" (or gifted) so much that the word is rendered meaningless.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • bnakka

      Well said. I think all parents seem to have a bias against their own kids. I have yet to see a parent who is honest about their kid.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Pyratekyd

      Wow – the cynicism I am reading here is absolutely astounding. It seems more people are likely to beat down on those who are gifted or who have talented children. Is it that threatening to believe that a child can actually possess academic talents or gifts? Good grief, you need to relax!

      To the commenter who states that anyone who claims their child is gifted/talented "but has some trouble in math" may be ummm...full of crap...- I have one of those. A 14 yo who legit tests out on a college level in reading and writing but also happens to have dyscalculia. And you know what? I am the same. I tested out at much advanced levels in reading and writing but also had the learnign disability. Does that make us any less gifted or talented? I should hope not. That would take away from a skill and a gift and a part of us that gives us great joy. Did it make school any better? No, it made it worse. I had to hear over and over that if I could read so well, why couldn't I add? Damn fine question. I'd like to know that myself.

      Don't take away from our gift. These gifts, talents and extra abilities exist. They are real and they are not just wishful thinking. Lord knows there is enough testing in school to make it apparent. I would like to schools actually do something with it.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • David

        Wow – a little defensive there. I simply provided an observation. As far as taking away your gift – I am confused as to how I would do that or why I would do that.

        But your reply does support my statement that everyone is gifted (whether it is math, reading, music, basketball, memorizing dates, cooking, climbing trees, . . . – just keep looking, you will find something you are gifted at). In other words, the word "gifted" is no longer useful.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • bnakka

        Sorry to have ruffled your feathers but the "Math" tests even graduate level tests in the US can be aced by majority of 8th graders in India and China so where does that leave these tests.

        No one is upset at parents claiming their kids are special but the push shouldn't be to get your kid to be called gifted but to lead them to a path of success in hopes one day he/she will succeed in life. All the other aspects are by products like inventing a revolutionary technology, saving mankind and things of that sort. The push these days is to claim their kids as being exceptional nothing more.

        Just remember there are plenty of children all over the world who don't even get to study and here we are arguing about who is gifted and who is not.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Eric

      David-your understanding of the concept of "average" is flawed. It is not generally the case that half of a set is above average and half of a set in below average. The term you are describing is "median".

      November 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • David

        Ahhhh – technically you caught me. But I know a way to wiggle out of this one.

        Assuming we use IQ scores as our means of measurement, then since the distribution of IQ scores is fairly symmetric, the mean and median will be the same. Only in asymetric distributions do they differ. Phew!

        November 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • h311r47

      Sorry, I have to be "that guy." I agree with much of what you say, but your argument that 50% of kids are, by definition, below average, is simply flawed. With regards to intelligence, or indeed just about any measurable trait, average is a range which encompasses more than just one person or score. In fact, by definition, only about 16% will be determined to be below average, just as only about 16% will be deemed above average. The average range will thus include approximately 68% of the population. That's how a normal distribution works. The problem isn't that parents are calling their below average kids gifted, it's that they are calling their average kids gifted.

      November 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • JCL

        I'm not good at statistics, but I think what you are describing is a "standard deviation" (?). Therefore, if they are less than one standard deviation away from the average, they are termed "average". An average is a single number. If it were a normal distribution, then the mean would be smack dab in the middle. Then half are above, and half are below. Only in rare cases are a significant amount exactly average.

        December 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  32. RickInPA

    I agree Zebula, but easier said than done. After 16 years of trying to foster curiosity for learning in my two kids, I would rather swallow nails than see the blank expressions and eye-rolling when trying to pass on a tidbit of knowledge from my 56 years. However, I continue to try and maybe some of it sinks in anyway.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  33. Yahbo

    Since there are so many "gifted" kids nowadays maybe it's time to rethink what average means? Gifted now = average and the old average now = dumb?

    November 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • David

      In a similar vein, grade inflation is rampant because every student wants to be considered above average or excellent (a C used to be considered average and nothing to be ashamed of – now it is almost akin to failure). By definition, 50% of children are below average – their parents simply will never admit or accept it.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • h311r47

        My significant other actually got out of teaching due to grade inflation. Everyone thinks they ought to be given an A, and even a B is considered a near-failure. I do think we need to go back to a system where a C is average, if only to better differentiate between students.

        November 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
      • Pat

        Technically, 50% are within the average range of roughly 90–110 IQ. Only a quarter are below, and a quarter are above.

        Nevertheless, your point is taken.

        November 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mama Marconi

      There are actual standards for who can be considered gifted. Often it involves psychological testing and administration of IQ tests. To be considered gifted your IQ has to be above the norm for other peers (down to year and month of birth). It doesn't mean that a gifted person is a genius. It just means that they learn a lot quicker than their peers and spending three weeks on a topic can cause them to disengage from classroom learning. As it is often kids who are gifted or highly gifted don't necessarily get along well with their peers or become ridiculed for being smart. "Teacher's Pet" was never a term I've heard used positively. Identification of giftedness and support of this special education need is as important as identification and work on a learning disability.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
      • bnakka

        I haven't seen any of these tests but the IQ tests I have taken are multiple choice. I think the exams should be Q & A not multiple choice where random clicks (or checks) can get you a great score these days.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • Mom of 2

        bnakka–they are not all multiple choice. In some cases, the children are "assessed" and not tested. They use some of hte same tests, but they do not simply put a list of questions in front of the kid–the child interacts with the tester who asks the questions to them. This is more expensive, but considered much more accurate than the mass testing you are referring to and that many schools use.

        What many people on this forum are missing is that for alot of us don't care about the label for our kids, and it's not about them being "better" or "worse" than anyone else–it's about getting them a good education. Getting them identified as "gifted" is the ONLY way to get ANY resources for them in the public schools (and I don't have enough money to fund private education) . Without that identification, my son would be doomed to year after year of boredom in classrooms that don't challenge him. I agree with many posters that some of the tactics used to teach gifted kids would benefit many other children, and I would love to see education go in a direction that allows teachers to use these techniques and encourage our children to learn at their own pace and level. Unfotunately, our education system is not designed for this–it's designed for kids to pass standardized tests.

        Second, many folks here don't seem to understand that being gifted or smart is not synonomous with good grades. Boredom leads to frustration, lower grades, and often behavior issues. A gifted child who has already mastered a concept will often see no need to "do it again" just because the class needs more work on it–they don't understand why everyone else doesn't learn as quickly as they do–this is when they start getting into trouble.

        November 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  34. marilyn

    As an adult, I realized I was smarter than everyone else. It has been hard to feel like I have someone to talk to on the level I need. I have basically given up trying to find friends that have the same interests in the same depth as I do.
    I figure things out pretty easily and have navigated through life with great results. Grew up poor but I retired at 51 and started a new business because I was bored even though I had never had any direct experience in that field. It was very successful . Now I am consulting and that is a challenge to a certain degree because it is all problem solving which i love.

    But I always feel separate from others because I usually do know more about certain subjects than they do. Mostly I keep my mouth shut and read all I can. Books are my best friends and salvation.
    I have never told anybody this.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Lorraine

      have you tried MENSA? http://www.mensa.org i think. It's an interesting organization for adults to get in touch with other adults of simlar caliber.
      I must admit that i haven't joined because i can't be bothered to take the IQ tests!! 😉

      November 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
      • bnakka

        Mensa breeds arrogance. Ask me my roommates in college are all mensa members and I could have easily qualified to be one if I so chose but didn't. They all sound like they are better than everyone else..... High IQ is good but being good natured is even better.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • C to the J

      You sound just like me!

      November 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • madihwa

      Gee, maybe that's why everyone keeps trying to shut me up and I spend so much time either blogging or reading. I have no idea who in my family I can leave my library of books to. The only one who is really interested, my daughter, doesn't have the time.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Hiding

      I do worry my life is heading this way. Here's the thing, I (and possibly you) don't just know more in certain subjects than other people, but I can start from no knowledge in a subject and get to more (core) knowledge in a very short time.

      The CEO of my company 'motivates' us by explaining how he started in poverty, was first in his family to get an education, immigrated to the US, built the company from ground up, and after 13 years has managed to reach this point. He tells us if we just follow in his footsteps we might have such success some day: do you really think he'd appreciate me letting him know I can do a weeks worth of projects in 10 hours? Yes, he probably would appreciate it as he could fire a few of my coworkers and maybe if I'm lucky he'd give me 1/3 of their combined income. I don't need the aggrevation. I know it comes off as arrogance, John. I also know to keep my mouth shut and nod my head out here in the 'real' world.

      November 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  35. Mamato3

    I believe that my oldest child is gifted. We have not had her tested yet as she is only 4. But she is already reading without having to sound out every word. She is in a Montessori Kindergarten program this year because she had teachers and administrators that recognized her potential. We live in a school district that has an excellent gifted program and I look forward to her progress.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  36. jeninky

    It's great to see comments that are mostly positive and thoughtful. I am going to attribute this to higher level thinking commentators. My Son couldn't get into "GT – gifted and talented" in KY schools, but the problem lies in the "definition" or lack thereof. THEY decide IF kids are gifted. I believe it's a highly political process. He took the ACT in 7th grade but no one took interest in challenging him. I am so glad to read that there are plenty of people out there who got opportunities that my Son didn't. He's 19 now, with no direction except for what he got being raised. I often think that a great program could have made a difference for him. Our 15 year old daughter is in college classes while in high school; why can't this be a norm? Fight the good fight for giftedness so that our future children have a chance at developing to their potential.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Hiding

      One of the things to keep in mind is that gifted children and young adults really need to be taught to focus and develop a direction for their life. As John says below, gifted individuals have passions, drives, causes, callings, and want to make a difference. I am no different. Motivated, non-intellectually gifted, people have passions, drives, causes, and callings, too. I think these 'non-gifted' individuals are better groomed to follow those passions because for me it is hard to focus and I was never taught to put me first, then pursue passions in hobbies and 'free' time. Quite frankly there are so many things I 'could' be good at that nobody wanted stifle my 'potential' or free will by exploring specific directions in life for me to follow.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • bnakka

      Opportunity is easy to come, it is identifying the opportunity that is hard. Maybe you should have taken more interest in your kid instead of expecting the school to challenge him. I think parents should take the time to be the ones who do something about the gifted kid not expect them to pass an exam and get into a program. So sad now everyone blames someone else for all their missed opportunities.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  37. Hiding

    I agree with the article's comment by Meghan: life really is that easy for me. I'm also 29 and I hear all the time about how far I've come. I've done a lot of things, and they were EASY for me, that others, even others who have done them, claim to be hard. Whenever I've wanted or needed to do something, I do what many intelligent people do. I hit the web, ask friends, read up, get advice. I find out how 'tough and hard' and 'difficult' it is: then I start it and it really is SO much easier for me.

    Now a lot of people say that's because you have a good job with lots of money or you are so laid back, you are flexible, you studied hard. The fact that I have an IQ estimated at over 200, that I was reading before age 2, that I was on a game show to assess whether I was the most gifted out of other kids with such outrageous IQs, that there is something 'different' about my intelligence (not better, different) is never the reason for my success!

    Intelligence is one of the 'allowable' and lauded forms of discrimination for children. It is something to be hidden in adults. Praises are heaped on the kids who learn it faster and in more depth. Adults who perform better, faster, more efficiently, are 'privileged' or 'selfish, greedy, kiss ups'.

    I think if the goal is to get the highly intelligent to 'help' society then maybe we should invest in gifted programs. The problem is in the real world, not the childhood world, where kids are mainly entertaining and striving for praise of adults, who want them to do something amazing and out of the norm, the intellectually gifted adult often has other more typical pursuits....the same selfish ones that most of us have: family, love, happiness, money, not working to death.

    I'm perfectly happy working my above average job that challenges me very little, contributing very little to new innovation, having time to travel, learn languages, adopt children, foster dogs, and enjoy life. The thing is I typed this up after sitting in meetings half the day being told we MUST meet our deadline of 8 projects in 3 days with everyone stressing out and redistributing work. I can run 5 projects a day easy. Sometimes I do, but I never send them to the boss sooner than 4 hours prior to their maximum alloted time. In this case I haven't even started them yet. It really is that easy for me....I know you don't want to hear it but it is.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • John

      As I try to ignore the arrogance in your comment, as well as in Meghan's as cited in the article, I can't help but think that maybe you shouldn't be gifted. Bragging about how smart you are on public forums is not how gifted adults should spend their time. You can throw around IQ scores all you want, but to me, intelligence is so much more than that.

      Gifted people challenge themselves. They use their time and their talents to make a difference in the world. They have passions, drives, causes, callings...they work for things. Happiness and family are the most important things, certainly, but complacency isn't something to be proud of.

      I don't know, maybe I'm just crazy.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
      • Lorraine

        One thing i did learn when i ended up studying for a highly educated degree that resulted in the majority of the attendees being clearly gifted: being very very smart doesn't prevent you from being an a**hole... 🙂
        Yes it's important that, whenever possible, gifted kids are given more opportunites/challenges when in school so that they don't drop out of society from sheer boredom. It took me a long time to understand that my abilities don't match the "average" by any stretch of the imagination.
        Only as a 45+ year old adult did i understand that giftedness often (always?) comes with high emotional sensitivty; this has helped me understand and suport my gifted daughter much better, though it's been very far from perfect on my part! I'm very thankful to http://www.sengifted.org for their insight and helpful literature on the topic – i learned a lot about myself while trying to understand my daughter.

        November 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
      • JJ

        John – You're not crazy, but to think that gifted people should be a certain is ridiculous. They can work hard or not. They can be motivated or not. Just because they are gifted (not by choice) does not be they cannot live just like folks that are not gifted. It's not necessary to put them on a pedestal. They are human too.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • Miss

        Well said John, you are the most level- headed and intelligent poster so far! It boggles the mind that virtually every poster is gifted themselves or they have one or more gifted children.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Asymmetric

      Story of my life. However, the article doesn't address asymmetric learning and giftedness. I used to get my textbooks the week before school (even through grad school), read all of them, and then just destroy the entire school year. In college I did the same thing, except I would usually read three textbooks per class before each semester started (from the library); then never go to class. I do the same things with new client projects – digest impossibly huge mountains of written data in a day or two then complete projects in near no time, with no effort.

      I am brutally smart to begin with, but data retention is odd. The reason I can do what I describe above is because I have multi-decade perfect visual retention. But, I can't capture or retain almost any audio information. Lectures, speeches, shows are all near worthless to me. One argument for gifted programs is that they should have a greater degree of flexibility to address this kind of issue than standard programs do.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • SPF

      All that intelligence and arrogance and selfishness, and not a drop of creativity. So sad. Whats wrong, afraid to try a field where creativity is a necessity in addition to intelligence?

      November 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • SPF15

        What do you suggest? It actual sounds like this gal has a complex job involving board meeting, product creation, high salary that typica other applicants who are similarly paper qualified churning out about 3 per week with 8 being difficult. My guess is she is a scientist at pharmaceutical company. For what it's worth sounds like she keeps busy too. Apparently adopted a child, hence why i say she but truely would be impressive if a he did that, foster dogs, and studies a language. For what worth my ex tells me they want to test my 8 year old for gifted program. Interesting meeting folks with so many opinions

        November 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
      • Hiding

        @SPF15: I'm a statistician, female. Scroll down to see the post by dan. He is spot on, that is what you need for your daughter.

        To all the parents out there know that I don't think my parents could have done much to 'accelerate' me or 'enrich' my learning. The enrichment irritated me, dumping extra work on me. Time to read and think is all. I'd say push them too as I started and quit a lot of things. Something where you can't max out...like musical instrument or creative writing or whittling or something where you can tinker and constantly improve on. I guess art but I always hated arts and crafts. Non academic stuff because there is always potential to max out on academics...learn all I care to know on a topic, form opinion, discard topic.

        again see dan's post!

        November 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  38. Sagebrush Shorty

    My child must be gifted. He is neither a Democrat,a Liberal or a follower of Islam. That alone should qualify him.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • curious thinker

      Very interesting article, great insight on how some gifted people see the world.

      As for Sagebrush Shorty, I can assume that insight is not a gift of yours, but gifted on ignorance and lack of humanity. As open as people should be about approaching gifted kids in a healthier and more stimulating manner, I hope you will be open to raise your child in a less ignorant world.

      All the best to all of you that are struggling with your gifted children on finding how to keep them excited about learning, as opposed to bored.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • madihwa

      If he's a Republican he's already flunked as studies show that right wingers tend to be less intelligent than left wingers. This is due in part to a lack of curiosity. Also republicans tend to have less depth of feeling and sensitivity toward their fellow creatures which generally translates to less intelligence.

      I'll agree about the part about Islam though as they have a great deal of inbreeding (marriage between cousins) and very much of this can lower the intelligence and cause all sorts of birth defects. One Islamic scientist or writer (I'm not sure which) did a study of it which probably did not endear him to his fellow Islamics. A study of the European dynasties and in particular the Habsburg Dynasty show just how bad the effects of inbreeding can be. And then anyone who has grown up on a farm and had a lot of cats will also have seen in; cats born with tails the wrong length, feet missing, all sorts of weird things. Cats seem to be especially vulnerable to the problems of inbreeding. I've been studying this since I was 9, having grown up on a farm with lots of cats.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • bnakka

        Says who. Seriously?? So being a democrat automatically makes you smarter and a republican dumber? That is some new news.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Ok, I'll add Republican to the list. Happy?

      November 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  39. dan

    I was tested and accepted into a "gifted" program as a child and believe that it helped me greatly in primary school. The program challenged me it the areas that I was already strong in (math, science, and visual arts) and helped develop me in the areas that I wasn't as strong but still above average (reading and writing). At the end of my junior year of high school, I had acquired 12 hours of college credit and had all the classes that I needed to graduate. All while being, captain of the football, wrestling, and track teams. I never had to study..
    The "gifted" programs are not the problem. It is our culture. The ol' mighty dollar rules all. Athletes are groomed because sporting events bring funding to the school and community. No one goes to watch academic bowls, and when intelligent individuals go to college they often don’t return. Until we can get the greed that our culture has been so infatuated with under control we will continue to wane as a country and world power.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • dan

      One more thing. My parents didn't ask for me to be tested for the gifted program. My teacher asked that I be tested so they could decide whether I needed to be put on ADHD medication. This was first grade. From what I have read of Hiding's post, he/she works just like I did before the gifted program. Doing only what one has to, instead of what one is capable of and screwing around afterwards. If every great mind is forced to do this in our culture, we will have very few great minds. They will stop thinking or burn out due to the monotony. A career has to challenge an individual otherwise it is nothing more than a job.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • madihwa

      You are SO right! I remember when my daughter was in junior high. There was this special award thing called the 200 club. If a student scored above a certain point (very rare) they were then part of the 200 club and were given a special award in a ceremony before the entire school. Well, the day came for the ceremony. The athletic awards were given but nary a 200 award was given. Actually my daughter might have been the only one. She was a child prodigy. She was also unpopular. We never did see hide nor hair of that award and I was livid! Well, my daughter went on to do better than any of their stupid atheletes. She received a Ph.D. in Bio-Physics at age 23 and an MD at age 26. She possessed practically every talent there was but she had to choose among them something to make a living at. She wanted to go into research but the Islamic doctor she was working under at one of the country's top hospitals made that impossible, so she opted for a very profitable private practice instead. She is the best in her field where she lives according to a local magazine. God, she hates it when I say that. Good thing she never blogs, huh?

      November 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  40. FrankH

    I am one of those who was looked at in my early years in school as smart, but because there were 7 kids, we didn't get the individual attention and support at home that a child really needs for guidance and direction. School was my last link of support, but by the 4th grade, I had a teacher who didn't care about the children she taught and I slid by from then on, often getting average or sub-par grades. I grew up feeling ugly and stupid. It wasn't until I was 34 and feeling like I had more in me than many thought that I finally took a Mensa test, just out of curiosity. I qualified for Mensa with a 144 I.Q., and when I opened the results with my invitation to the organization, I cried for a long time, out of relief, but also loss and grief.

    It was after that when I found out that many thought I was smart but a tremendous underachiever. Had I been recognized and taught as a gifted child in grade school, that, at least, would have given me support and direction, as well as a sense of pride in myself that I WAS worth more. Instead, I went into what was a decades-long journey through a chronic depression I was not even aware of until a girl friend almost pushed me into therapy. My wonderment at having so many interests, but no follow up on any of them, jack of many trades and master of none, moving from job to job, industry to industry, all the time wondering why I couldn't settle on something, why I couldn't find my direction, why I kept finding other ways to distract myself, cost me much in my life.

    Smart kids need to have that extra push and encouragement. The last thing you want to do with someone like that is ASSUME they're smart and will "pick it up on their own". There are those who do. There are a great many out there who don't, and they are not the only ones who lose out. Society loses the benefit of their minds, loved ones lose as well, and finally, if a mind is hugely active and is not fed, as an adult, many dull their pain with drugs and drink, or otherwise occupy themselves, often with anger and crime, so there's that detriment to society as well.

    Feed gifted children whatever they need. Feed that mind. The cost to avoid doing so is so very great.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • David

      Kids that are truly gifted, find outlets for their knowledge cravings, you don't need to be concerned with feeding it. This is why gifted kids can come from any culture and anywhere in the world regardless of socioeconomic background. I think a lot of parents confuse intelligence with knowledge. They believe that by forcing kids to memorize things and excel academically, so they can score high on their SAT's is being gifted. A truly gifted child does not need to be treated any different, they will excel naturally outside of the classroom. What we learn in school is such a small amount compared to what we learn outside, gifted children will have no problem excelling on their own, that is if they are gifted. The biggest problem a gifted child will experience is an overbearing parent who cares more about their own ego then the welfare of the child.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
      • FrankH

        You obviously did not read her article closely enough. The point you make is one of those 'myths' she wrote about, and is
        ABSOLUTELY not my experience, nor that of several of my 'gifted' friends.

        November 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • madihwa

        Gifted kids WON'T thrive if they live in a poverty stricken home or go to a poverty stricken school. Even gifted kids need a happy comfortable home environment.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • bnakka

        @madihwa Says who. Look at all the geniuses and scientists in history most of them came from poverty. Maybe you should think before you sound off on a public forum.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  41. erika

    We've had giftedness in our family for at least three generations, frequently coexisting with autism. We tend to intermarry when we have significant social differences so the traits can get passed on through families this way.

    This is to say that frequently gifted kids have additional needs associated with the developmental patterns in their cerebral cortex. The brain development is different, not BETTER, but different, and we frequently need accommodations for this in school. For example, one recent preliminary study by the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation has found that up to a third of children of IQ over 130 have neurosensory difficulties. That is to say the oversensitivites many bright kids suffer are based in the biology of atypical nervous system development. The 'absent minded professor' phenomenon is frequently a sensory disability or attention difficulty that can also be associated with this type of cortical development. We don't know exactly how these connections happen in the brain yet, but science has made the correlations that tell us that intellectual talent almost always comes with other psychosocial needs that must be met in the school system.

    Before gifted programs existed in our schools, my father's generation would most often drop out of school somewhere along the way, branded as delinquents for their boredom or sensory seeking behavior in the regular classroom. The military was a typical outlet for gifted men of the Silent Generation, for example, because it was the only training program around that did an IQ test before placement. They still do. Gifted women? We only got our chance at intellectual equality when the public schools implemented gifted programs and the military allowed us to become officers. This was in the Boomers' generation.

    Similar to my father, when I was eight I began to hide from the school bus until enrichment was made available by my rural school district. My son would have dropped out at grade four two years ago if the gifted program hadn't kicked in at that point. My daughter got halfway through kindergarten before dropping out. Then she dropped out of grade one. Then she dropped out of grade two. We have no primary gifted program here until they're nine. SAME thing with my father in the 1940s, SAME thing with me in the 80s before they put me in a gifted class. Meeting these kids at their intellectual level isn't elitist. It isn't optional. Not doing so is considered cruelty by our supreme court.

    On the 'elitist' charge, I agree with this quote from Linda Silverman, "When provisions are denied to the gifted on the basis that they are "elitist," it is the poor who suffer the most. The rich have other options." We don't want to railroad our brightest kids into private schools or juvie hall depending on their economic class, and that's exactly what happens when public gifted programs aren't available. Parents will remortgage their houses for private school if they have to, if at all possible, because these kids frequently cannot tolerate the grade level curriculum without suffering anxiety, depression, and high dropout rates. Those whose parents can't come up with the money? I'll leave that one to you.

    If you don't like the terminology, that's fine. Most of us don't like it either. But I urge the public not to throw out the supports necessary for all our children's emotional and educational health due to a simple quarrel with an anachronistic term.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Asymmetric

      The military doesn't administer intelligence tests before boot camp. The administer the ASVAB which is best characterized as a test evaluating the potential to learn various skills. If you crush the ASVAB, they used to administer additional tests (EDPT) that were also not intelligence tests.

      The DOD doesn't administer intelligence tests in general. I had a group of three people from some department administer an intelligence test to me at the very end of boot camp, but they wouldn't identify themselves, didn't wear uniforms, and spoke as if they were in a 'civilian' branch of the government. Also, the test results weren't for the DoD – that is all they would tell me.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • madihwa

      You're right. My kids were picked on, harassed and bullied because they were different (half Chinese). When my daughter became sick and missed 3 months of school, she discovered when she went back to school that she was STILL ahead of everyone else. That was when it dawn on her that she did NOT have to go to school every day to do well in school. God, I wish we'd had home schooling back then! She's 48 now. Every day became a knock down drag out battle of will-she won't she go to school? Most of the time it became 'she won't' and I had to call her in sick. In all fairness she still was sick a lot–but not THAT much! The schools didn't like it and gave me trouble over it. Even when she was in school most teachers gave her special advanced work and she served as an unpaid teacher's aide with the teacher taking half of the class and her taking the other half. Heck, she was smarter than the teachers, so why not? Her Calculus teacher said at the beginning of the year that that wasn't going to happen in HIS class, but guess what? It did! And I have read a lot about autism. I have a cousin who is autistic and my ex-son-in-law has a nephew and cousin who are and I think he carries the gene because there is that about his personality which would suggest it. I understand that of these people many end up as scientists which he is.
      I can't find your blog now so I can't write anymore.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  42. cryofpaine

    The state of our education system practically demands that we have gifted programs. Every Child Left Behind means that we're teaching to the lowest common denominator. We're going to have more and more stories of kids acting out because the schools are failing them.

    At the same time, there is something to be said for some of the points made by the detractors. One of the things I struggled with is that, as someone identified as gifted, throughout school I constantly had someone there saying "go here, try this, you'd be perfect for that", etc. As soon as school ended, I was lost. I got taken advantage of by a college recruiter (ironically for the same "university" who's ad I'm looking at now) because I was used to going along with what others in authority said, and being better for it. So when a representative of the school said I should go there, that I'd be perfect for it, i went along as I always did, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • ICU_RN

      Our schools actually cut the gifted programs for elementary schools in our district. I have a son that is gifted and was looking forward to him finally being "challenged" and instead I get told that the programs were cut. I would consider your situation to be a good one.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • madihwa

        Unless something is done about our economy a lot of programs such as the gifted programs are going to end up being cut. Just one more way the rich are screwing the rest of us.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  43. bob

    Gifted has nothing to do with how hard you are working in school, it has nothing to do with if you have pushy parents, etc. gifted is specifically about being an outlier on intelligence testing which is not something that you can cheat at... either you are gifted or you aren't. It's not a choice. As a gifted child and now gifted adult , there were many days i wished to just be average. In retrospect now I appreciate what I am gifted with, but it is NOT easy, nor should anyone be asking for their non-gifted kid to be labelled gifted.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  44. Movieslinger

    3rd grade was terrible for my son. A teacher that punished him for reading after his work was done. He started to hate school. He had qualified for the gifted/talented school in our district and after much thought and discussion we enrolled him in the program. Best decision ever made. He returned to his happy self. He thanked me daily for putting him in that school because now he wasn't "different" and the students and teachers "got him". Having a gifted child is a challenge, as parents we feel we can't brag on our child's accomplishments because we'd be bragging. They are a different breed, think in a different way, and everyday is different. And I wouldn't change it for the world!

    November 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  45. kc123

    I was tested for the gifted program at my public school when I was in 2nd grade. I didn't make the cut, which was surprising to my parents who had spent years fostering my intellectual curiousity and love of learning. They requested to see the results of my test and found that although I had a very high IQ and test scores, I was considered ineligible because I scored poorly on a test of social skills. Specifically, they said I was "too shy". My parents were confused and angry. They issued a formal request to re-test me for the gifted program and the next school year I took it again with the same result. Intellectually, I was "gifted", but my social skills were not up to par. Again my parents could not understand how the school could refuse to recognize my academic abilities for a largely academically-focused program because I was a shy child. Shouldn't a gifted program be a vehicle to improve such areas in young children, espcially those with so much to offer? After that, my parents refused to test me again, and to be honest I wouldn't have wanted to anyway. I didn't feel the need to prove myself to the school or anyone else. However it always made me angry to know that the gifted program was afforded separate classes I could not enroll in, special career and college fairs I could not attend, and a curriculum I did not have access to. By the end of high school, I was in all AP classes with the gifted kids (most of whom admitted they just assumed I was a part of the gifted program anyway) and was accepted into a great college where I continued to succeed. Now, I have a Master's degree and am working on a PhD...while many of the gifted children from my high school have accomplished far less. I do not question the concept of giftedness, just the ability of the schools to truly identify and foster that giftedness in their children. Anyway, that's just my personal two cents.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • GvilleT

      You summed up my point quite well.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  46. eclare

    Things are not always "easy" for a kid with an exceptionally high iq. Tedium gets to the them like water torture...and it isn't as though just because they have a high iq, they are automatically gifted with social skills or maturity. Sometimes acceleration isn't the answer. They often see the world differently. They often don't fit in–they feel like outcasts. Kids often think they are quirky at best, and teachers often see them as willfull. They often DO NOT do well in the classroom because they are SOOO bored that they end up missing information. They are lonely because they have no real peers–would you have the patience for a group of vapid kids talking about the latest installment of Hannah Montana when you are reading the New York Times? They need to be around their own kind–but who is that? "Normal" kids? Adults? No...the answer is other kids with the same intelligence and interests...they crave intriguing work! Projects! Rote work kills them while some kids are okay with that. AND you can have a high iq AND a learning disability at the same time and that can be devastating to a person's self worth. It's not about building them up, giving them a "swelled head"–it's about SAVING them! They are 5 times more likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol and 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts if left in the regular classroom. Our psychologist explained it this way: there is a bell curve. Most–more than 80% of the population falls inside the curve between 85 and 130. Only about 5% falls over that, and less than 1% is above 160. Would you put a kid who had an iq on the opposite side of the curve–like an iq of 60 in a regular classroom all day long with no other support? NO!! It would be torture for EVERYONE!! Any parent who has had a child with an extremely high iq KNOWS life IS FAR from easy for these KIDS! AND THEY ARE KIDS!!!

    November 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Belli

      So very true.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Audra

      Well put. The few short hours a week I got to spend with other young people who could understand the concepts and ideas swirling around in my head were like a cool drink of water in the middle of the Sahara. I would have dropped out of high school otherwise.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • John

        Truly gifted kids don't drop out of high school. Maybe kids that scored high on IQ tests do, but real intelligent, motivated difference-makers do not.

        November 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
      • eclare

        Thanks, Audra...cool drink...that's exactly how my 9yo describes her gifted summer camp–it's not even an academic camp–just a place where she can "hang out" with others like her...she doesn't really even know what her iq is...just that she is smart and different...and has to watch what she says, how she says it, and not use too big a vocabulary when she is around other kids. One mom told me "Your daughter make the other kids feel bad about themselves by constantly talking about science facts that they don't understand." She was 7. The comments here are painful. Yours was really special to me!

        November 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • madihwa

      That reminds me of the grade school my daughter went to. They seldom promoted kids ahead but they did promote ahead this one boy who my daughter had helped with his math. My daughter they would not promote ahead because she was 'small for her age'. Well, she's still small for her age. She was a child prodigy with every talent (artistic and intellectual) one could possibly think of. She has an eidetic memory for both reading and hearing. She received her Ph.D. in Bio-physics when she was 23 and her MD when she was 26. The MD they never let you hurry through, no testing out of subjects or anything.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Annabelle

      I couldn't agree more. As the mother of three high IQ kids, I find it interesting that our school has an entire team of folks labeled "learning resources", focused on kids with learning disabilities, but there is not one person focused on kids with learning "super-abilities". In my mind the needs of children are unique on both ends of the learning/IQ spectrum. They are all "special needs" kids!

      November 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  47. kikiandkyle

    I was a gifted child, but because I was passing every course with straight As without needing to study, I never learnt how to actually learn. I'm 35 years old today, and I've failed out of college 3 times, I'm currently a housewife because I can't earn enough in a job to make it worth paying for childcare without a degree. I needed the kind of support and challenge as a child that I'm now fighting to get for my own kids.

    It's heartbreaking to see your 5 year old bored out of their brains in kindergarten because they're supposed to be learning the alphabet while they can already write stories. If my children were outstanding athletes there would be no hesitation among their teachers and school boards about whether or not to nurture their talents.

    You can see in these responses how little people seem to know about giftedness. It is petty jealousy that has brought the word gifted to where it is today, a joke among those who simply don't understand what it is. It is no surprise that so many of our children are not going on to be the scientists, mathematicians and leaders that they could be when the people making the decisions about their education are so misinformed.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • ohReallyhmmm

      So you consider yourself a "gifted" person, and are a three time college drop out, housewife, and have deep seeded pyschological issues from your experiences that are now a driving factor in the raising of your children, when pure logic and pyschological studies would be a better basis on how to raise a child. That's not being gifted – truly gifted children succeed no matter what...and there are very few of them out there. No....what you were was more intelligent than the children at your school(s) in your grade level...congrats....as you have proven you are nothing special. Or at least no more special than the rest of us.

      You're children have inherited your intelligence – don't allow them to inherit your arrogance or your propensity to blame others for your problems.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • Liz

        I'm very interested in the study that shows the truly gifted succeed no matter what. Can you please provide a link? Thanks!

        November 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • Jeremy

        Only the most stupid segment of the human race could believe that gifted kids "succeed no matter what". I know many geniuses who have gone no where in their lives. Put aside your pre-conceved notions and start using the gray matter between your ears.

        November 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
      • bnakka

        I would like to know how you consider someone a genius but they never succeeded in anything? People stop mistaking great memory for being a genius. A genius will know how to succeed...

        November 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Zebula

      You are so right about the talented athlete comparison. It's a shame that this country's priorities are so skewed.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Liz

      I agree – it is tough. And clearly, from the reply above, many people do not understand how tough it is when you go from not needing to study at all to needing those tools for learning. We are currently working with our 5th grader on his toughest subject. I have told him, in these words, that I am going to help him "learn how to learn" in that class. Mnemonics and other memory devices, primarily.

      My eldest hates school because of the extreme boredom. We are trying to get a modification for his math. I'm hopeful he'll be pulled out of his in-grade curriculum entirely, but we'll have to wait and see. If not, I don't know what we'll do. The mere thought of homeschooling makes my anxiety levels spike to insane levels, but private school is far too costly. 🙁

      Good luck with it. And with your own learning.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
      • Rick

        To be fair, you took the "one reply above" and extrapolated that as proof of "many people" just as you called him out asking for the study that showed all gifted people graduate from college.

        November 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • Rick

        Correction: you had asked for the study that showed truly gifted children succeed no matter what.

        November 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
      • madihwa

        Gifted children from poverty stricken environments and the same kind of schools are not likely to succeed no matter what. Only the rare gifted child will succeed from that kind of environment. My children were both gifted and have both succeeded but they were not from that kind of environment. I was gifted in a period when they never mentioned the word but we knew I had a high IQ. I married though and had my kids and then helped raise my grand kids so my daughter could pursue her career without difficulties although her husband was the biggest problem and eventually she divorced him. I provided a good place for kids to learn. Even gifted kids need a good environment to thrive in although my daughter probably is one of those rare ones who would have succeeded regardless. She worked her way through medical school and didn't owe any money when she graduated at the age of 26 with both an MD and a Ph.D.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • bnakka

        There in lies your problem. Memory has nothing to do with being gifted. Stop feeding your kids ego by telling him he is bored because the school is lacking. Your main problem is you are not instilling any discipline in your kid by accepting his word as the truth. A gifted kid will find ways to improve his knowledge outside school.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  48. Rick

    As for myself, I was in gifted programs in public schools as a kid, was taking the SAT in 6th grade. I felt the stigma of being too smart when I was in public schools, kind of like a white Steve Erkel with a head of blonde hair that looked like it had been struck by lightning. My nickname was "Doogie" after Doogie Howser M.D. However, I was not quite that talented. Some subjects would bore me and, before high school, I made it a habit of never doing homework while acing the tests so that I'd pass the class. This led me to have horrid study skills and, in general, meant I lacked some discipline and organization skills in my adult life. Later in life, even for subjects I was interested in, I'd get the passing grade but fail to understand/absorb some information. I tried many foreign languages and was never able to pick one up and my problems understanding geometry caused me to hit a wall when I started taking calc-based physics.

    I went to a gifted public "magnet" high school with dormitories in the 90s. All of our teachers had either Masters or Ph.D.s. I know a lot of my classmates were intimidated by the environment at first, but pretty much all of them that I have talked to enjoyed the experience. It was a bit like the movie "Real Genius" without lethal lasers. It was definitely a major change for me, no longer being the smartest kid in school. In addition, I learned that some people were smart in some things and other people were smart in other things... so I learned not to look down on people I thought were "stupid" at something because I realized I might need their help on something I was "stupid" on later, even if they weren't "labeled" gifted.

    And how did we turn out? Some of them became bartenders and hairdressers. Some of them created major companies or invented products and ideas that, if I named them, would give away which high school I went to. Nothing wrong with either the former or latter group as long as each are happy with what they are doing. We also have some ministers, some teachers, and philanthropists (though no professional athletes yet that I know about).

    And myself? I make about 80k designing reports in SQL and Excel/VBA and spend my free time either teaching myself Java by coding up an Android game or writing a sci-fi baseball novel... when I'm not singing karaoke. Generally, I'm pretty happy while bearing the general assortment of bumps and bruises everyone, gifted or not, acquires in life. Sometimes I still sleep in a bit too late and other times, I don't check my mailbox for a week. The lightning hair, after a sojourn into hippie dreadlocks, was flattened into a combover which gave way recently to a shaved head. I have a bachelor's in History and a Masters in Education, neither of which I've used except in the infrequent conversations over a cup of coffee. Tried for a Ph.D. in Education because I'd love to run a charter school but, alas, I keep getting in the way of myself when I read textbooks from the 60s on Student Social Life. So, in the meantime, I do good work accompanied by a great idea every now and then. I haven't revolutionized the world like some of my peers, nor had a loving marriage like some of my other fellow high school graduates... yes, even hairdressers can have great families. But, to paraphrase the essay/song..., "Don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, its only with yourself."

    November 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  49. Jen

    I am an actual "gifted" kid, and have been since I was in third grade. I am sixteen now, and being pulled out for gifted classes was the best thing that ever happened to me. I believe that in order to be gifted, and put it to good use, the kid needs to have or be taught a level of maturity and a strong work ethic. If my parents hadn't instilled that in me from a young age, I would just be an ordinary smart person whose intellect would be wasted as soon as I got older. Thanks to some great teachers, I am now full of ambition and drive to make a difference when I get older. If societ their efforts they put into gifted kids to pay off, they need to focus on teaching maturity and work ethics more than just knowledge.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  50. Marx

    Giftedness does exist, and is not BS. The definition is a little different than people are trying to label though. It doesn't mean you're super-intelligent, it just means you're impervious to our BS educational system and can recognize that all we're being taught in school is to regurgitate "facts" in exchange for good grades on tests. Being gifted means thinking outside of the box, learning to analyze and ask questions, to deviate from the "norm"... this is why these kids are sometimes viewed as weird and don't have a lot of friends, because they don't learn the same as everyone else, because their mind is already being trained to think outside the box and not be blind sheep to our system....As opposed to the "normal" kid who blindly does what he's told and doesn't really think for himself and doesn't question anything...

    November 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  51. laurie

    I am a 55 year old female adult that was tested in college and found to be mildly dyslexic. It was suggested by my psychology teacher that I be tested, because he could not understand why I was an outstanding student verbally in class, but bombed the test. All the way through my school years my report card read, "a very bright student, but not working up to her potential". I was bored, I got into trouble because I talked a lot, I was labeled as average and was told so. They started the teams back then, which everyone knew was for the real smart kids down to the "stupid" kids and the middle teams for the "average learners"... While growing up in a New York school system and then onto college, seldom did we know a "gifted" person. There were the honors students and those (not many) that graduated early (maybe they were the gifted).... Now, every family has a "gifted" child... I'm a parent of two different very bright young men (22 and 25), that I had tested at a younger age and I never told them what it was for. By the test standards, they are "gifted". To this day, they don't know this about themselves. One is getting ready to take his LSAT test this week and hopes to be accepted to GW law school and graduate with an enviornmental law degree. The second son is an athlete and is thinking through the idea of getting a degree inHomeland Security. Labeling any child is a terrible thing for a parent to do, gifted or otherwise. My husband is "gifted" (IQ 168), and holds 4 degrees in the science field and 1 in law; plays several musical instruments, plays in a band, and has accomplished many, many great things in the world. He never was put into a "gifted program or class" because there were none back then. I've gone on to do some serious accomplishments as well for someone that was labeled "average".... What point am I making here? The point is, when we label our children, who the heck knows what it will do to their self image and/or confidence, or even to their siblings who stand next to them and compare themselves. Looking back at my sons peers parents conversations, all I'd ever hear was, "my son/daughter is in the gifted program" or "my child was tested as gifted"... followed by "all the homework that takes hours to do".... HELLO!! Gifted kids should not take hours to do homework. P.S. A few of those "gifted" friends of my sons went onto college and did "average", graduated college and are your every day "average" person.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  52. Adam

    When will people stop looking at the education system as the problem? Teach our kids to be self efficient and learn things on there own. Does anyone pick up a text book on their own anymore?

    November 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • WickedOoloi

      The problem with the educational system is that, in general, kids aren't encouraged to learn on there own, engage their curiosity or be a self-sufficient learner. Now I understand that schools aren't the only places where kids should be encouraged to do these things but it should be one of them.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Zebula

        It should be the role of the parents to teach a thirst for learning and knowledge. The school system is the place where these things should then happen.

        November 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • MNmama

      As parents we DID encourage a love of learning in our child. When he began school, we mistakenly thought that this would be seen as a "good" thing. However many public schools actively discourage any advanced learning above what they perceive to be grade level. Even if we offered to help find the correct level books (3-4 grades above what they wanted him to read), they declined, instead wanting him to remain at "grade level" and wait for others to catch up. There were other students at a similar level but they didn't ability group, so none of these students were being challenged academically and were scattered amongst 5 first grade classes. Our student was reprimanded for asking above level science questions & told to "be quiet" because they were only to talk about dirt and water and sunshine but not photosynthesis in second grade. When students sit in an environment that discourages learning 7 hours a day, 5 days a week it diminishes the spark for many advanced & capable learners. We did do "enrichment" activities on weekends, after school, breaks BUT students should be learning WHILE at school. Most "gifted" programs only offer an hour or 2 a week if a pull-out program (not enough) OR say they differentiate in the classroom, in which case it is often left up to the individual teacher if they know how or have the time to do that. Advanced learners need to continue to advance at their pace and reach their potential, they need to discuss ideas with students at their level who have interests in advanced topics and can comprehend what is being discussed (also they realize they AREN'T the smartest or the "best student" out there!), and they need to struggle to learn new concepts so they learn HOW to study and be ready for college. Grouping students according to academic level (not age) is an easy & economical way to address most of these concerns–high schools and colleges already do this (that is also why most gifted students finally get a chance to learn once in HS/College–but WHY make them wait 9 years?? How many students are we seeing drop out, lose their interest in learning while WAITING to learn??) Students can be accelerated by an entire grade or subject, but many schools/districts are resistant to change. We finally found a charter school that doesn't use grade levels, but classifies levels in learning–some students are at higher than grade level in some subjects and below grade level in others and all are ensured to have a year's academic growth. Each student can advance as they are able to do so (either quickly if able or with more study/tutoring if necessary).The focus is what the learner needs, not the needs of the administration. Needless to say, it has a long waiting list. It is interesting that several people posting mention they knew gifted students that didn't do anything "special" or wonderful. I can think of many wonderful high school athletes that were stars at their school or even region, but didn't become stars in college or become pros, but the school system doesn't hold all athletes back to the same level and they invest a lot of money into athletic programs. Why wouldn't we want to give high potential students the same opportunities that those who are talented in athletics (or music or art or drama) receive? For those who want more information on what "gifted" really means PLEASE go to Dr Deborah Ruf's website Educational Options. Another excellent resource is the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  53. Jen

    I'm 16 and have been a "gifted" child since third grade. I was pulled out for two classes a day in grade school, and they were the best two hours of the day. I believe that gifted doesn't not always mean high intellectual levels; it means maturity, too. Being labeled "gifted" can have social affects on kids and teens (trust me, I would know), and it depends on the kids maturity to determine whether they can handle that. If not, then maybe those classes aren't for them, at least for a few more years. But if your kid, like me, is able to endure the few jokes from immature kids, I believe gifted classes really do help. Without them, I would never had had a role model to not only make me smarter, but give me a gifted work ethic to put it to good use.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  54. Paul

    Some years ago I had my gifted class over for dinner. One of them stepped on the pizza.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • laurie

      TOO FUNNY!!!!!

      November 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  55. paige

    I entered the Gifted program in 4th grade and remained there through all of middle school (our high school didn't have a formal program, but plenty of honors and AP courses filled that gap for the most part). I am grateful for my "gifted years," and I think most of my peers from that group would agree. We started high school ahead of everyone else in math (geometry instead of pre-algebra), and that made it easier to advance to the highest math (AP Calc BC) as well as other high-level classes. Most of us were athletes and/or musicians outside of the classroom, and most of us got along very well with the "non-gifted" kids.

    Simply put, it wasn't a big deal. We were just ahead of most others academically. Our IQs are higher than average. We thrived in more challenging classes. What's so bad about that? Most of us also went on to very good colleges, participated actively in our programs as well as other things (like collegiate sports and Greek life), and have now moved onto good jobs or graduate school.

    The gifted program was exactly the academic environment I needed to maximize my potential as I entered some of the most important formative years (transitioning to college, etc.). I hope schools continue to offer this to students who can truly benefit from it.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  56. Heather

    I was a gifted child. I found there were 2 kinds of teachers: those who were genuinely happy and appreciative to be teaching a gifted child and those who were irritated every time it became apparent that I knew something they didn't.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jobeli

      It's been pointed out that society would get much more bang for the buck devoting just a fraction of the money they use to making sure every last human with a heartbeat can count to ten to accelerated classes for the gifted.

      But this falls prey to the "ZOMG ELITISM" meme, and we can't be seen as giving any assistance to elites, can we now? Some of the replies at the beginning of the article of this page itself (e.g. "Tim" and "K") reflect this very idea.

      Worse, "Andrea Saylor", you did your daughter a massive disservice. I'll bet if your daughter were special in something absolutely irrelevant like athletics, you'd cheer them on. But for something so vital and core to what it means to be human, the mind itself, you fall prey to thinking it's some kind of elitism to be ashamed of.

      Excellence in stupid things is cheered. Excellence in vital things is something to be ashamed of. Don't worry, buffoons. We will still keep inventing things for you to buy, even as you culturally p00p all over us.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  57. ElCranium

    As a teacher and a parent, I have seen excellent gifted programs in the hands of teachers who truly understand gifted children and I have seen disastrous programs because a random teacher was used to fill a vacancy. No two schools are the same. No two gifted classrooms are the same. No two children are the same. The problem with any class is the cookie cutter teaching trap some teachers fall under. Parents need to maintain a productive dialogue with their children and the teachers to make sure the child's personal and academic goals are being met. If they are not, changes need to happen and happen fast.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  58. HenryMiller

    The first myth that needs to be busted is that being smart is a "gift." It's no such thing–it's just an innate characteristic of some people. Some people are just smarter than others, but admitting that seems to offend the equality-of-results crowd who then do their best to subtly imply that smart kids are cheating by being given a "gift" that not everyone gets.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • logicalgirl

      Totally agree. People pick up different things differently. If you are better in school, you get labelled as arrogant or unlikeable when that isn't necessarily the case. I was in the gifted program and have, per tests, a somewhat high IQ. But that doesn't mean that I think I am any better than anyone else. I simply have a different set of abilities. Other people can be "differently abled". Why are "gifted" kids bashed for it?

      November 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  59. Steve

    The notion of "gifted" is completely subjective. For example, getting high grades in school doesn't necessarily mean you are especially brilliant or creative, especially these days when the educational standards and teaching philosophies and complete garbage. In the current environment, every average student from the 1980s would be considered gifted by that measure. Furthermore, IQ tests are flawed with respect to actual applicable intelligence.

    I was in the "gifted" program in a large high school in the early 1980s, and I learned a lot of things I wouldn't have otherwise. However, I can't say that it really changed what I or anyone else in it did afterwards, or that it said anything about the people in it, other than they were people that got good grades. The fact is, while most of my classmates did go on to have professional and other successful careers, NONE of them really went on to do anything particularly exceptional – no great researchers, professors, entrepenuers, discoverers, or leaders. There's certainly nothing wrong with being successful in a mainstream profession, but the notion that these classes identify the people who are going to make the big impacts isn't typically the case.

    Over the years I've seen a parade of "child geniuses" doing math problems or something on a TV show – usually pretty standard stuff but most people don't realize it – or hear about how some 14 year old graudated from MIT. The trouble is that I've never heard about any of them again, even though they were touted as the next Einstein. I like to think that they all went on to successful careers of some sort, but they didn't change the world.

    So, rather than waste time and money trying to decided who is "gifted" and who isn't, it makes a lot more sense to me to simply increase the normal educational standards, bring in people to teach and design curricula that are actually competent in their field and know what's required beyond high school, and stop inflating grades in the name of false self-esteem. Then the cream will rise to the top on it's own.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • laurie

      ABSOLUTELY!!!! Back in the seventies when I was in high school, most teachers didn't even recognize female students in their math and science classes and honors was predominately for boys. When our school received it's first few computers, only the boys in the honors classes were taught how to use them. I have a lot of hope for our education systems future. Since the age of mass media information, the awareness of the USA's lack of graduating students and our rank in the world in education, I've been watching the push for better teachers and better schools.... GO USA!!!

      November 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • madihwa

        Late 70s my daughter was in high school. She was always the best student in the math and science classes. She was also a child prodigy. Most of the time she helped the teacher teach the class. lol Girls win!!!

        November 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  60. T-Roy

    When 40% of America believes the Earth is 6000 years old, that Global warming is a hoax, and dinosaur bones were put in the ground by the devil to test your faith, clearly the USA has an education problem. Ignorance is contagious

    November 27, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • D

      great point!

      November 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rapp

      I am an evangelical christian and I have read a lot about what many of us REALLY believe and the nonsense spewed about by ignorant atheists about what they say we believe. Let's have a look at your post..." When 40% of America believes the Earth is 6000 years old" Wrong! Some believe this but if you do a bit of investigation you will find many of us believe the earth is very old.
      "that Global warming is a hoax" Nope! This is something believed by Christians and non-Christians. I have atheist friends who question the science behind global warming. I think it is a serious issue.
      "and dinosaur bones were put in the ground by the devil to test your faith." Trying to be funny or just showing your ignorance. I guess in your case it is contagious.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Dawn

        What did T-Roy say to indicate he/she is an atheist? Do you consider everyone who isn't an evangelical Christian an atheist?

        November 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Rapp

      You're right. Possibly an erroneous assumption on my part.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  61. atl

    does Gifted=Rich Parents nowadays?

    November 27, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • BobbyGB

      Not in the slightest. Most gifted students are usually from middle to lower income homes.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • HoneyFern School

        But they are generally not identified in lower income homes, or in minority homes.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • laurie

      It also means that parents want their kids to attend better schools than their neighborhoods can provide so they get their kids privately tested, and what do you know, they're gifted.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • JAGL

      You bet gifted = rich parents. Because those parents spend $$ to get the best tutors, etc. to help their kids be gifted. And you need to be "gifted" and rich to go to the really good schools. Until we have real scholarships for smart kids to go to the best schools – you know, like we do for athletes – only the rich kids will go to the best schools – and the rest of the gifted but poorer kids will end up with either mountains of debt or a second rate education.

      November 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
      • ElCranium

        Complete nonsense. I work in a public school and I have been in education for seven years. I have experience in dealing with gifted programs in four different public schools NONE of which had gifted classes with socioeconomic distinctions. In the PUBLIC school I currently work at, we have a large gifted program with many students who are on free and reduced lunch programs. Way too many assumptions being thrown around.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  62. Ari

    I think it is easy to see it as gifted students having a big ego but it's really just asking for a challenge. If I didn't have teachers that nurtured my desire to learn I probably wouldn't even have gone to college. I know I wouldn't have gone to college. I sent my high school English teacher a copy of my thesis when I graduated with a gift and a note saying I wouldn't have been there without him. Honestly, one teacher really greatly influenced my life, gifted or not I owe my success to his believing in me and challenging me to be better. It doesn't matter how gifted you are if you don't have a good teacher.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • GvilleT

      Way to go Ari!!! A great teacher can make such a difference in one's life. I had 2 teachers that made such an impact on my life. It's really neat that you let that teacher know what a difference they made for you. We have been blessed with some awesome teachers for our kids so far. I hope the trend keeps going. I'm not a teacher and could NEVER be one, but TEACHERS ROCK!!!

      November 27, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  63. atl

    I was a gifted kid too, but no one knew, told me or even thought it. That hurt my feelings.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Ruby

      Me too. One thing I learned early on is that being smart is a social error and will be punished. I kept my secret well hidden and acted dull witted for years. In HS they gave us some tests and someone finally caught on to the difference between who I was and who I pretended to be. I liberating challenge followed.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  64. Kieran

    No Child Left Behind essentially stopped gifted programs. All the money was spent on trying to get the bottom 30% to come up to the 'middle'. Gifted students fended for themselves. They're often shy and quiet and so teachers faced with a larger class full of behaviorally challenged students find it easiest to just leave the gifted ones alone, or maybe to let them tutor. Yeah. They will get by with the basic education available and end up wasting their talent working in some middle-income, middle management job.

    Small little gifted classes are offered here and there. But truly challenging, envelop-stretching learning is not available to most gifted children. Over-reporting of giftedness isn't the problem. Under-reporting is. There are a lot more smart kids in our schools than we currently think. And gifted kids have a trickle down effect. A gifted child who is motivated and engaged in learning will rub knowledge off onto the students just not quite at the gifted level, and so on down the line. A gifted child ignored becomes bored and acts out. And takes a few other friends down with them. And then is lost to our society possibly forever.

    Home-schooling isn't an option for 2-income families or single parents, who have become the norm. We're left with the children of affluent families getting the private schooling they need, perpetuating the divide between rich and poor.

    The kids at the bottom will end up in low wage jobs. Even though we throw all the Federal funding at them. Who is going to be managing your retirement fund? Who will discover that next scientific breakthrough that saves your life or gives us a modern renewable energy source? Who will engineer new technology that changes how we work, or creates the next big thing? Then ask yourself who we should be throwing education dollars at.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • GvilleT

      So now we're blaming poor behaviors in the classroom on the fact that they are "gifted"...LOVE IT!!!

      November 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • KC

        I don't think anyone is asserting that acting out in the classroom is because of gifted kids- I didn't read it that way. As a parent of a gifted high schooler in a system without gifted programming, I can tell you it is a hard road for kids that are bored in school. They spend a good part of their day on idle if the school/teachers don't recognize what is going on for these kids. NCLB has made our public schools a place where the brightest kids are left to wait for the others to catch up. It is a reality and not an opinion.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Tony

      I basically agree with this. My son is "gifted", although we never propped him up as so. Fortunately for us, he was smart enough to know that school was not challenging for him, so he created his own challenges by reading more, studying more than required, etc. We didn't push him at all. He did it on his own. However, other's that may not be as motivated or have the resources should be put into more challenging situations. Dumbing down of education for higher achievers doesn't make sense.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
      • HenryMiller

        One of the best presents I ever got for my daughter was a Kindle book reader and absolutely unlimited authority to buy & download any book she wanted. She's learned more that way than anything they've taught in her various schools–at least most of the teachers have the sense to leave her alone and let her learn things her own way.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  65. Cheryl

    My son is gifted and had the worst time in Elementary School. He was always bullied for being "the smart kid" and even began to "dumb it down" to fit in. Fortunately for us, we were able to place him in the MYP International Bacclaureate program in Middle School and High School. He thrives in this program because he is constantly challenged and the program teaches the courses in a challenging way. He even has to participate in community service programs so that he has social interation with others. For the parents of gifted children, you don't need to push the children, but do seek out all academic and learning opportunities for them. The right learning environment whether at public school, private school or home school is out there. He is now in high school and is excelling in all of his courses and the boredom of the past is gone. Since he is with other children like him, there is no more issue with being the "smart kid".

    November 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • GvilleT

      Lots of kids don't have access to programs like this. Buying your kids way into college is a great plan and I just wish we had the money to do just that. Our kids go to a regular school and have always done community service (meals on wheels) because they want to not because they "have" to.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • MNmama

        My student is at a MYP International Baccalaureate program school–it is a PUBLIC school (so free) but it is a charter school. It took a while for us to find the school (it has a waiting list & quite a drive since it isn't in our school district), but our student loves it. The students are all able to advance at their own pace and level at this particular school. It is a joy to see our student love learning again.

        November 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  66. Dr. B

    The biggest problem is that our education system is not set up to meet the needs of either the top or the bottom students. It's only designed for the middle, and thus the poorly performing kids fall further and further behind while the top performing kids become bored and start to tune out. In both cases, you get behavior issues that interfere with learning (one group acts out because they are frustrated, the other because they are bored). It's the system that's broken, not the children.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  67. Susan

    I grew up in "gifted and talented" programs. I also tested with an IQ of 155. I will say, no matter how smart you are, it takes motivation. It was very easy for me to be lazy growing up. Classes were boring. I remember being so frustrated we had to go over the simplest of concepts multiple times and yet the other students still wouldn't "get it." It was easy to never study or do anything, and still pass with A's. When I was in college I remember everyone thought I was crazy because I took 21 hours one SUMMER semester (of mostly science classes, because I changed to a B.S. late). I passed with all A's, even with the heavy load. But I had to challenge myself like that, take heavy loads, difficult classes, pursuing things above and beyond. I'm thankful to have grown up in gifted programs, otherwise my schooling would have been even more boring. I'm not arrogant though. I grew up to be a computer programmer, which isn't that special, but it pays well! I think the biggest difference I see now, even among my very bright peers I work with, is that I can think outside the box and be more creative in my solutions. I frequently am given the projects that need a good "problem-solver" to work on them. But on the other hand, many of my peers know more programming languages than I do, because they put a lot of work into learning them and studying, which is something I need to improve on myself. We all have out strengths, no one is "better" than anyone else.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • gypsarella

      You are so right, Susan. My son was tested early and put into a weekly gifted class. It allowed him to think more creatively, but the rest of the week he was in the regular classroom. He was so far ahead of the students, one teacher left him in charge of the class while she worked grading papers. I was not pleased and complained. He became the class clown. We moved back to the state we came from just to attend a better school. He slid through high school doing the least amount he could. NO motivation despite Honor's classes. We had discussions, saw therapists, and talked til we were blue in the face. He remained a wonderful polite, helpful, non-partying, Honor Society kid who was in band and on the football team. He graduated with scholarships and graduated college achieving Honors and the Dean's List. He does well enough in his chosen field of computers. He helps others learn and catches on quickly to new concepts. But he has his dad's laid back personality and is not motivated to learn or achieve more or climb his way to the top. He had the IQ to be an Attorney, Doctor, Pharmacist.....whatever. I flooded him with articles and ideas of a future career and what to do to achieve them. Nope. He is who he is. I had to learn to accept that it was HIS life and HIS choice to become who he wanted to be, not MY expectation. It was very difficult. But without motivation to achieve and reach high, a gifted child will merely become a competent, helpful, comfortable in their own skin employee.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:47 am |
      • Tony

        Perhaps your son is happier with living his life the way he has choosen, not the way you wanted it to be. Over-achieving is over-rated.

        November 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  68. Perspective

    Think of it this way...the 'average' IQ is 100. Those are your normal, everyday students who complete their work, can keep up with their peers, etc. A child with an IQ of 70 is considered to be a special needs student who needs a specialized education to meet his/her full potential. Either of them have the opportunity to succeed in life if they work hard...and I'm sure you don't think we should just forget about the child with the 70 IQ and say oh well, too bad if his/her needs aren't met and he/she falls hopelessly behind in school and never graduates. Right? Right.

    Now, a gifted child's IQ is normally 130 or greater. That child is just as far from the norm of a 100 IQ as the 70 IQ child is. Gifted children are, by legal definition in some states, SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS with special learning needs. If their educational needs are not met, they can develop social, emotional and behavioral problems very quickly and may never reach their full potential. Why would anyone be opposed to ANY child receiving the type of specialized education they need (and deserve) to help them be the best they can be?

    If you have a gifted child, or if you are gifted, you know it's much more than being 'smart' and you know that it doesn't equal perfection or success. It means you're as different from 98% of the population as someone who is mentally disabled, just in the opposite direction. It makes many aspects of everyday life harder, NOT easier.

    Those of you who think gifted students all have pushy parents who force their kids to learn so they can make it into a gifted program, and therefore be better than everyone else...what do you think of the parents with a mentally disabled child who make sure the school meets their child's unique needs to give them the best chance at succeeding in life? Do they try and make their child NOT learn so they can get special treatment?

    Please, do some research and learn about what gifted really means and adjust your perspective accordingly. If you knew how our brains worked, perhaps you'd understand us better.

    A gifted adult with a tested IQ of 151.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • GvilleT

      I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you at all. Look at the post 2 below yours. It's a teacher that says at her school ANY student in the 85% and up was in teh GAT program. At my child's school you have to pass a puzzle "thinking outside the box" test. While YOU my truly be a "gifted" person like my brother, most of these kids the school district is labeling as "gifted" are not. That's what the article is about and msot of these comments.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • Perspective

        It depends on the school district and what state you live in. In my state, children are given a multidisciplinary evaluation by a psychologist and it is very rigorous. There are normally two or three gifted students per grade with an average grade population of 180.

        November 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Bruce Li

      Really... Tested online with one of the thousands of bogus tests/apps? Or were you one of the ones that took the test 195 times so you could continue to increase your score? I doubt you took the official MENSA test. Posting your IQ online to prove a point or end an argument or put an exclamation on a statement just proves how petty you are and that fact that you are probably bending the truth as usual. It is about the same as people who post their salaries online in forums as arguments/bragging rights/other bs.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • Perspective

        Actually, Bruce, that was a test given to me by a school psychologist in second grade. Not an internet test, which can often be quite less than accurate. And, it was ONE test. That's all I needed. 🙂

        November 27, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • KfromMO

      Thank you for having the courage to say everything I have been thinking for years.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Tulsa Mom

      Thank you for so eloquently expressing the IQ "argument." Our elementary aged daughter is gifted, having gone through academic testing to assist in pinpointing behavioral issues at school. Your points perfectly state what we have read over and over, and are the biggest argument for gifted education. A 30 point IQ deficit is significant in either direction and should not be ignored. Truly gifted children should be given access to "special" education – we would never deny a child struggling academically this attention. We chose private school when the public school told us we'd have to wait a couple of years to enroll her in a gifted program, which then equated to one hour a week. I am grateful we are able to have this option for our daughter, as the school works very well with us to address her individual needs. Most parents are not seeking out this label for our children, nor are we merely presenting our personal opinions regarding the giftedness. The last thing I do is pressure my daughter – I just want her to be happy, and for her being challenged is a big part of that happiness. I would ask for those posting negative comments on this subject to open your mind just a little and do your research. Much luck to all parents.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  69. Bruce Li

    Kind of ironic that almost every poster on here is either gifted, genius, or has a high IQ. That is the problem with the internet. 98% bullsh1t and most of you people are AVERAGE. It is okay to be average, the majority of the world is the average. When you accept it then you might be able to move on and move into the above average category. Stop being delusional.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • GvilleT

      LOL! love it, "Delusions of Grandeur!" It's like the trophies my son gets for "playing" on a team. My husband makes him throw them away, he will on his own anyway. He keeps the trophies he earned that mention 1st or 2nd place. He has 3 on his dresser and he cherishes them.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • JoJo Biggins

      The average will always resent the gifted, just as the poor will always resent the rich.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Heather

      What Bruce fails to take into account is that most of the readers who were intrigued enough by the headline to click on this article ARE probably either gifted themselves, the parent of a gifted child, or both. (A few are, of course, like Bruce, jealous and average.)

      November 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  70. Karen

    I used to teach Talented and Gifted 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. It is difficult to pin down "gifted" versus just "bright". Our program accepted anyone who scored in the 85th percentile or above on standardized tests. We also accepted those who teachers recommended and sometimes those who parents recommended. The kinds of things I taught in TAG were skills that should be taught in every classroom. I taught critical thinking skills, problem solving, how to do research, which reference books provided information, how to create a presentation or formal paper, how to cooperate with other students to accomplish a task as a group, and more, all within a framework of content that held their attention. While I taught a unit on astronomy, my students learned how to solve logic problems, research details that interested them, and learned basic physics associated with beginning astronomy. Were they quicker than other students? Of course. I always told them that they were in TAG not because they were *smarter* than everyone else, they were just faster. The other students can learn the same things, but they may take a while longer.

    Critical thinking, problem solving, and how to research; these skills should be taught in every classroom, not just for those who are really fast learners.

    By the way, my TAG students ran the gamut from being merely very bright to being brilliant. They all benefited from the program. Yes, there are truly gifted students, but in my years of teaching, only five come to mind as the geniuses we tend to think of as gifted. Still, all of those other less gifted students learned a lot, and hopefully, went on to accomplish great things.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  71. phoenix1920

    Reading these comments shows that so many people really don't understand "giftedness" at all. Being gifted does not make one success anymore than height or good eye-hand coordination makes anybody a great basketball player. In fact, a professor named Gardner recognizes Multiple Intelligences, including bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. I think it is easier to understand giftedness in terms of looking at athletics and that type of intelligence involving hand-eye coordination, and all the mental process that go along with athletics. Being gifted intellectually means that you have the ability to understand higher levels of thinking, but without motivation, effort, and practice, it is for naught. If you have a child who has an unusually high ability in eye-hand coordination and balance, you don't use that child to teach others how to swing a bat or shoot hoops. Chances are, the child doesn't realize himself know the proper way to hold a bat–he is just gifted naturally and will actually compensate for a bad grip. But he or she still needs to practice, practice, practice and to be taught the correct method to hold a bat, etc. The coach must help that child expand his or her abilities by raising the bar, learning his or her weaknesses and having the child practice in those areas. It is no different as to intellectual intelligence.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  72. Amanda 14

    One thought I had was that why do we all of a sudden have all these gifted students? I think that standards have been lowered and actually these kids are just normal. I look at the standards in my mother's high school years-EVERYONE took Latin and studied Shakespeare, could write, knew complicated grammar and could spell. When I was in high school there was nothing expected of us. We didn't learn any more than simple grammar, took no extra languages (weren't even offered), quit studying spelling at 8th grade, studied no literature. I had a son who was bored and wouldn't do his work. I took him out and home schooled him.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • GvilleT

      Exactly Amanda!!! Everyone has the "my kid is special" syndrome. A kid like that is a rarity these days. My child fall into this catagory and they keep wanting to test him. We just say "no" now. LOL My children are very "special" to me and my husband, but they're just kids to everyone else and they're growing up. Labeling them "gifted" and/or special in school is just stupid unless they are truly "gifted", which I'm sure these parents will admit they all are.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:06 am |
      • EarlGrayHot

        In my daughter's school she was offered a chance to sign up for advanced, college prep type classes which would allow her to get early college credit. I think they just looked at her previous successes and gave her the option. I would hate to see parents hold their children back from the potential of learning things early just because they somehow feared their children being – what? Learning ahead of others? Being labelled advanced? I left it up to her rather than trying to keep her from finding her full potential. That sounds like keeping a child from learning as much as he or she can.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Angela

      Amanda – right on! You nailed it. My daughter makes all A's, behaves, participates in class, works hard, takes pride in her work, reads above grade level, etc. However, these things do not make her gifted. This only means that she's rising to the expectations we set for her. We expect her to give her best effort. Period. Her Dad and I see so many parents of children her age that are convinced their child is "special" or "gifted." I just smile and nod. These parents are falling victim to the "my child is special" syndrome. The trophy for participating crowd. No thank you! We're trying to raise a child who can become a capable adult. Someone who can think through problems and critically analyze situations to make wise choices. That ain't gifted – that's life.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |
      • HoneyFern School

        This a motivated student, not necessarily a gifted one, and good on you for recognizing that motivation is such a valuable commodity. One of the biggest myths of the gifted is that they are motivated, self-directed and successful. NOT. When things come so easy for them in their early school years, they are never taught how to work to find an answer, problem-solve or persist. Some of my laziest kids are my most gifted, and add in the perfectionist syndrome of many (if it can't be perfect I won't do it) and you have a perfect storm of failure. Many gifted kids drop out or just barely coast along, convinced that there is nothing for them.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Jo Ann

      I don't know how old your mother is, but the kind of curriculum you describe has never been one that EVERYONE took. While some schools may have been filled with primarily college-bound students, who did take such a curriculum, that was not the norm everywhere. Additionally, drop out rates were much higher in the past, so 30-70% of the cohort weren't in school at all. My late father (born in 1927) went to a rural school – no foreign languages, no formal writing curriculum, very little science education, etc. and 2/3 to 3/4 didn't graduate, even though graduation happened after 11th grade. I graduated from a mid-sized high school in the midwest in 1975; about 40% of the class dropped out before graduation. Only the college-bound students took the English classes with Shakespeare or significant writing requirements, most didn't take a foreign language, and most never took college prep math courses.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Pete

      The Lake Wobegon effect is the human tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It is named for the fictional town of Lake Wobegon from the radio series A Prairie Home Companion, where, according to Garrison Keillor, "all the children are above average".

      November 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • madihwa

      Yes, I've been wondering about that. When I was a Senior in high school we had to memorize a section of the Canterbury Tales in Old English. (I still remember it.) No school requires that anymore. I don't think they require as much writing either. We had to do a lot of specialized poetry writing–which I loved since I was always writing poetry. I have 2 granddaughters who I helped raise and I haven't seen any of that in their homework.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  73. Maria

    Well when my oldest boy was in first grade he cried every day that he did not want to go. I thought he was being picked on or something worse. Then I met with evey one I could and had to figure out for myself he was bored. He has since been put in the GT program, and does excellent in school with little help from me. Just a reminder to do his homework or encourage him to read more. So I think it is great to have a GT program, but I also think that there is a lot more to a well rounded child than school.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  74. GvilleT

    Society now a days wants to put a "label" on EVERYTHING including our kids. The only truly "gifted" person I know is my adopted brother who has an IQ over 140, yet he can't function in society properly. He has trouble just casually talking to people. Trust me, it's not a good thing. My son is the top of his class and Valedictorian. EVERY year they want to test him for the gifted program and EVERY year he doesn't pass the test. It's a test of puzzles and "outside the box" thinking and he just is not good at it and never has been. I would never consider my kid "gifted". I'm sure every school district is different, so what one district calls "gifted" another may not. My son is at the top of his class because he enjoys school, he has repect for others and his teachers, he does what is asked of him including completing homework and studies for tests. He's a good kid. He's very inquisitive and already "thinks" he know what he wants to study in college. It's just his personality, it's not anything I as a parent did. The sad thing is that in this day and time, my child I just described is a rarity. I hear people talking about their kids in the "gifted" program and all this and that. It's just a label and my kid has better grades and a better GPA than they do. Every school is different. The term "gifted" is way overused.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Jose

      PhD is not just about hard work and NOT everyone could get a PhD if they just worked hard at it. That is ridiculous. It would be more accurate to say that more people than the current number that have PhD's and those on track to get PhD's have the necessary potential to get a PhD. But you can't just will yourself to one, its not a rags to riches type of thing. Just try passing a qualifying exam without being gifted.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • Jose

        I I didn't mean to reply to your post, that is why it sounds off topic. Sorry!

        November 27, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • EarlGrayHot

      I think what you describe is a child with a social disability and it is not the result of being smart. There are kids who are very smart and have no trouble socializing with others; being smart is not at all a problem nor does it definitely mean a child will be a social outcast.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • madihwa

      Some of these tests are not made right for people who have very straight forward (not twisty) thinking. My granddaughter who is a senior had taken the SAT 3 times and had still not gotten the scores that everything indicated she should get. Oh, they were excellent scores but not as high as she wanted. The SAT is a twisty thinking type of test. She took the ACT and did fantastic! The ACT is for straight forward thinking. They did mention too on the ACT that she needed to improve her imagination, her creativity. And here I thought all those bad sentences in grade school were the result of laziness. Use the word red in a sentence. A cardinal is red. Lazy, much? That was always my reaction. But maybe that was just how she thought–very straight forward. Grades K through 8 she never had to study and always got As. The only reason she's not valedictorian is because freshman year she had to go to a school where none of her friends were and some of her grades were Bs.

      November 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  75. jameswalker601

    Growing up I went to private Catholic school. Always had C's in 6th grade i was tested to see if I was slow or why I wasn't paying attention and doing better in class. After being tested the found out i had an IQ of 127 and was just not challenged and stopped paying attention. I believe my experience shows IQ has little to do with success. I had no push behind me, being the youngest of four my parents didn't encourage me and my school didn't care aslong as they were paid. I have had to push myself since I young to go forward. But for a younger person that gets hard in high school and college. I was lost in the mix of things and now have an average life.

    IQ tests should be given and the intelligent encouraged. It won't make much difference if you kid has and IQ of 180 and you don't get him tested because you don't want him to feel different. He will be the out cast at school and picked on wether he knows he is smart or not.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  76. Silly1

    Are we trying to correlate the term "gifted" with accomplishment? Having an efficient/effective brain is not the same as using it. Anyone can get a PhD with enough effort, but that does not make them "gifted" or even intelligent necessarily.
    Accomplishment is very important and comes from having drive and the right environment.

    Given the likely physical differences in the brains of truly "gifted" people, it might someday be determined that genius level accomplishment is only capable with a "gifted" brain, drive, and environment, but we are a long way off from knowing that.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  77. Deacon Sadler

    I love hearing anyone in their twenties talk about how gifted and successful they are. I was 'gifted' in school, followed a unique path of language study only to find myself 'at the top of my field' as one of the only non-native Arabic language interpreters in the entire country of Iraq, making more money than anyone I knew.
    Funny how a few poor personal mistakes can throw that all under the bus, like marrying a pregnant girlfriend who makes it her life's mission to string you as far along as she can before the lawyers come to pick your abandoned carcass.
    I self published several novels and made dozens and dozens of music recordings all because I thought I was 'gifted.'
    I regret the day anyone ever gave me the idea I was gifted and all the days I believed it, because I am unemployed, behind in child support, facing a jail sentence for that and living off of charity from family, all thanks to my firm belief that I was gifted.
    Gifted program is just another way to sell people stock in bridges and avoid the simple truth that science and math will always be more important because we depend on them.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • j.

      I think the problem today is that "gifted" children aren't taught how to have reasonable expectations when life events occur (the slowness of resolutions, psychological fallout, et cetera) or how to cope with those events. They're also never told that they may need lifelong counseling to interact with the general public and to succeed.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  78. proceednet

    As an electrical engineer, I find that "giftedness" is a result of hard work, an not an innate ability!

    November 27, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • canuk100

      You are exactly right... but what is missing in all this talk by what our family has termed 'binary thinkers' is that those that are found early on to have that spark of innate ability, pushed to perform at their best level, put in peer related challenges, tend to lead innovation. The important point here being peer related challenges. What we are seeing is the next expression of humanity at its earliest stages. You can either fight it like some on the religious right (in all religions) or foster it and allow it to take hold like those developing the scientific and technology break through that we all take for granted. The real challenge for most of these people is monetizing their ability and keeping them from disintegrating due to emotional failures. (as pointed out in several ways in the article)

      November 27, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • BioGuy

      I'm sorry, but hard work won't turn everyone into a neurosurgeon or aerospace engineer anymore than hard work will turn a 5'2" kid into the next Shaquille O'Neil. There are those among us who have abilities that others do not possess, and those abilities provide a distinct advantage in some disciplines.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • madihwa

      Gifted or not, you still have to work hard. My daughter was a child prodigy but she still had to spend 10 years in college getting her Bachelor's degree, her Ph.D. and her MD. Fast but not effortless and she worked in a lab to pay most of her expenses so she wouldn't owe anything at the end. That was a lot of hard work!

      November 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  79. Jason

    I have a daughter in Kindergarden that I wouldn't call gifted, but is very bright. When we had her parent teacher conference a month ago, you could of cut the evaluation in half. The academic side she was the strongest reader in the class by far and the teacher was having trouble finding a reading partner for her. She was just reading words she was supposed to be sounding out and getting in trouble for ruining it for the other kids. She was the most advanced math student as well. The bottom half of her evaluation was poor marks in behavior, talking during class, arguing, not focusing, etc. Again, I don't think she is gifted but I do think having the sight word "the" or "an" when she is reading 3rd grade level books would bore anyone. Anyone have any experience with this that could give me some ideas to help with the behavioral issues? How do you make a bored child listen and pay attention?

    November 27, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • JT

      Talk to the teacher about switching her into a higher grade level for reading. It might not be possible depending on the size and flexibility of the school but that's what I did when I was in elementary school. I could read really well and got in trouble for the same things. Since classes aren't really all that structured (or at least they weren't with me at that age) the teachers were able to move around 5 kids into the next classroom just for reading/language arts instruction. I didn't actually skip a grade, I just sat in for the parts that would benefit me and then went back to my other classroom when they started working on something else.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • tenz

      I have a son(3rd grade) and a daughter(5th grade). My daughter is a good, B average student without a single behavior problem at school. On the other hand, my son scores in 95th- 99th percentile on standardized tests and he's the one with behavior problems (talking in class, not waiting for your turn to speak, etc...) at school.

      Finding the right school or the right teacher is very important. Eventhough, he scored in the 99th percentile in both reading and Math in his 1st grade standardized test, it was a very difficult time for him that year. The school itself was ranked in 700s out of 2200 school in the state. I have no background in teaching/education, but with few keystrokes on google search, I'm able to find out lot of information on behavariol problems associated with very bright kids.

      I don't think the school or his home room teacher looked at all possible angles. The school Psychologist didn't even consider the fact that he might be a gifted student and problems associated with that group.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
      • Jason

        Thank you, that made me laugh because we are always told my 4 year old is a joy and never has any issues at preschool but she isn't as advanced as her sister. The big sister was getting in trouble in preschool just like now. She is such a sweet kid and it really surprised me when she first started getting in trouble. It is endlessly frustrating to try different rewards and consequences at home to try and improve behavior at school but nothing seems to work. One day we were talking to someone who works with kids with learning disabilities because we thought maybe she had ADD. He observed her and read books with her and said flat out she is brilliant and that may be where are issues lie.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  80. BioGuy

    I'm a teacher. Gifted students often fall further and further behind as they progress through school.

    I know how awful this sounds, but to understand why it is so difficult to be gifted or smarter in a normal classroom, imagine being a human living in a troup of chimpanzees. Everyone around you wants to talk about where to find ripe fruit and which grubs are tasty, and which chick has the rosiest backside. They pick each other's fleas and scratch alot. This goes on and on every day, and if you ask WHY the tastiest grubs are under the oldest palm logs, or suggest a way to use sharp sticks to dig 'em up, your companions ignore you or just stare into the distance. I felt this way every day of my high school carreer – and it sucked. Worse: you're not going to be productive or innovative until you are around others like you, and see that your interests are valid and are worthwhile. You'll just keep trying to fit in, learning to keep your "bizarre" ideas to yourself, and imitating a chimp.

    Not every gifted kid becomes a rocket scientist or brain surgeon, but all rocket scientists and brain surgeons were gifted kids.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Jason

      "Everyone around you wants to talk about where to find ripe fruit and which grubs are tasty, and which chick has the rosiest backside. They pick each other's fleas and scratch alot" This comment just goes to show how closely humans and chimps are related. I know many guys that don't do any deeper than this.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Silly1

      Believe me, not every rocket scientist or brain surgeon was/is "gifted".

      November 27, 2012 at 10:35 am |
      • BioGuy

        Yes they were/are – by the standards we use as educators to define "gifted". That does not imply that they're brilliant or even terribly productive. They could not, however, have made it through an aerospace engineering or neurophysiology program without some pretty tight intellect.

        November 27, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • Silly1

        Not at all true. "Gifted" is closer to a way of thinking than a level of knowledge. I have met many highly educated rocket scientists that are not "gifted". I've met some that aren't even all that bright.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
      • Silly1

        I do respect the likelihood that the "standards" are different everywhere though. I know the standards for "gifted" when I was in school 30 years ago in a different state are very different to what my daughters have now.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • mpls

      Excellent analogy BioGuy, you just described my life. Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • madihwa

      And most of the 'chimps' will harass and bully you for being 'different',

      November 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  81. Angel

    It is a misconception that most parents "push" their gifted children. If your child is truly gifted, then you will have your work cut out for you and you will have to push yourself to try and keep up with their needs. Gifted children are often held back, so allowing them to soar may seem like they're being "pushed". But, if a child is bored and frustrated and verbalizes it, then it is up to the parent to expose that child to a more stimulating curriculum in order for him or her to be happy and achieve their potential.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  82. Patrick

    WOW, it takes real guts to go on CNN and admit (almost sheepishly) that you are gifted. Yes, I am being completely sarcastic. Sounds a bit more like underhanded narcisissim.

    I go to a lot of chess tournaments, does this mean I am gifted?.....no, I am an average player, but I have worked hard at the game and it is something I love, so I do it. I will tell you this though. At these tournaments I do see a lot of "gifted" children. Most of them are of Asian descent. Sure, they are probably above average intelligence, but from the outside looking in you would just assume that they are gifted. in addition to being "gifted" (I use this term cringing), they have unconditional support from their parents. They are very well behaved and handle losses admirably. The opposite end of the spectrum would be the kids without that kind of support and familial infrastructure, the sidewalk flowers that continue to excel even without the basic support system that a lot of upper middle class or affluent families are able to provide for their children. It all boils down to the child ultuimately and with that, it is usually best to allow your child to do something that they "love" to do. If they are good at something, foster that and eventually with enough dedication, they can be good at it...or even great.

    "Gifted" is a term that should be reserved for people to apply to a child from a position of profession, not speculation. It is easy to be amazed by things you don't understand. For some reason, people tend to get caught up on this "gifted" thing. All this does is turn it into the new "average". If you have a room full of kids at a public school told that they are gifted and will wind up being B and C average students excuses can be made about how they are underwhelmed, bored, hyper active etc.... or maybe it's the teachers fault, or perhaps the school is biased or whatever. There are always a million excuses to allow you to hold on to the idea that your progeny is somehow better than other kids.

    The truth is, not all kids are brilliant, but they can learn to be. This involves acknowledging the truth about your kid though and comparing it to your expectations. Don't inadvertently set your child up for failure by having impossible expectations. There will always be someone sweeping the floors and there will always be someone going to space.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  83. Betsey

    Schools (and articles like this one) would do better to be more clear about the difference between "gifted" and "intelligent." Gifted children have extreme abilities in one area of their lives– they play piano concertos at age 5 or read at a 4th grade level at age 3. They are generally average in all other areas of their lives. Intelligent children usually score at 2 standard deviations above the norm on intelligence tests, which are generally a more well-rounded look at a person's ability– though, they can have substantial deficits in one or more areas (mine are spacial– I score well below average in those abilities, though my IQ is 2+ SD). They have vastly different needs from each other and from typically-developing children.

    My point is just to be precise about which terms we are using. And I agree, IQ is pretty much what you make of it. When my IQ test came back, my parents were quick to point out that there were many people sitting in jail with IQs higher than mine, and many people on the faculty in my mother's department at the local University with IQs much lower. My brother's IQ is actually a couple points higher than mine, and he barely made it out of high school and has struggled his whole life while I achieved a doctorate. Same genes, same environment– why the difference? There is clearly more to life than IQ.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • BC

      Betsey, you make a number of excellent points. There's just so much more to success and failure (and happiness and disappointment) in life than just whether one is intelligent or gifted.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • GvilleT

      I agree. Most of the kids labeled as "gifted" are not really gifted at all. I'm sure they are intelligent, but not truly "gifted". The word is not even properly used today.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  84. Angel

    Having a gifted child can be very frustrating and difficult, for both the child and the parent. My son was reading at age 3 and reading the Harry Potter books in Kindergarten. Even at a private school, some teachers rolled their eyes at me when I asked them to give my son more advanced reading or math. He spent his elementary years bored out of his mind in school and I turned to outside resources to keep him stimulated and challenged: CTY (Center for Talented Youth by Johns Hopkins) was a great help. The child has to test into the program and they only take the truly academically gfited kids, offering online courses and summer programs that teach math or verbal courses like Flight Engineering and Forensics or Arabic. Another great source for critical thinking are the TED TALKS series of videos (online) that feature brilliant gifted people of all ages and fields, talking about their inventions or philosophies. Gifted kids need constant challenge and stimulation, especially of their Critical Thinking skills. It is hard work to keep up this regimen. I am a stay at home mom, but I have done so much research on the subject over the years, I'm in the process of writing a book for parents on how to stimulate your child's critical thinking skills. We need more Out-of-the-Box thinkers who can change the state of the world we live in!

    November 27, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • J

      As a former 'gifted' child myself, here's a few thoughts. Take advantage of outside programs like the one mentioned above. The schools are not designed nor equipped to handle an actually gifted child. I had completed learning everything from the 'advanced' high school classes by age 10. From then on, school was a social education. That's important, but it wasn't helping me move towards 'science breakthroughs' as an adult. There were no outside programs where I lived to help me further that. However, my father was an avid reader and handed me book after book. He made the difference in my education. Parents, if you truly feel your child is gifted, it is up to you to supplement their education. I can assure you that schools will not do it no matter how upset you get with them. No teacher with 30 students per class will manage to create individual programs for each student, nor does the state mandate they do so. But a parent with 2-3 children and some motivation and a willingness to listen can do it. After 8-10 hours of work, that is not easy to do, but it is one of the things you can do to make a real difference in the future of this country, and mankind for that matter.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  85. Jet Li

    I do not want my son to be a genius. I want he has a happy and enjoy life. Many parents put too much pressure on the kids and make them to learn everything.. Learn all day.. the poor kid has no time for other things.. Many drop out kids turn out to be very successful in life so defining genius is not helping the kid at all.. !!

    November 27, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Really??

      As working parents of a gifted child, I can tell you that we never had the time or the energy to put too much pressure on our child to learn all the time, as you phrase it. We did notice that she had faster learning skills than her class mates since she was in pre K and would finish her assignments even before she got home. That said, she is a normal child and does act up every once in a while like any other 6 yr old. So it is not like she is any special otherwise...
      Please don't generalize about what parents do to gifted children. Every decent parent wants what is best for their child, academically gifted or not.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  86. Dave

    Giftedness is only as good as what you put into it. I've got a genius IQ, but I'm lazy, I only work on what I care about and am interested in.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Really?

      Dave, what is your IQ?

      November 27, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Jeff

      Agreed. I'm in the top 1% IQ wise (138), there is no way I could do grad school or get a PHD, like so many "smart" people. I simply have no interest, no amount of intelligence could overtake not caring.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • ohReallyhmmm

        Not quite genius level, eh there buddy?

        November 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • tx1

      This is exactly the result of schools that ignore highly-intelligent children. They are not challenged early on, and can easily perform adequately enough to not cause problems, but never learn about working hard, overcoming obstacles, failing at something and then persevering, etc.

      By the time they are given access to things that are challenging, many highly-intelligent kids have poor work-ethic, no study skills, and general laziness. This is a waste of our nation's resources.

      This dynamic has had the perverse result of people not having their kids tested, or not wanting to be seen as "different." It is true that an average or above average student can work really hard and become a more successful scientist (or whatever they want to be) than a really intelligent kid that was never challenged and now doesn't have the drive to go through grad school labs.

      But imagine if that highly-intelligent kid was also challenged and had to work really hard to get good results? Think of what they could accomplish!

      November 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  87. Dennis

    I have a son who is a PhD in Comp. Sci and works for DOE, took 5 years to get through highschool, did not go to college right away. I believe what Einstein said about genius......99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.......... he worked very hard for his PhD.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • JoeyJoJo Junior Shabadoo

      That was Thomas Edison idiot...........

      November 27, 2012 at 9:43 am |
      • Canopy

        JoJo did your response need an expletive? Its quite indicative of the quote below.

        To quote the article "Our society may say that academics is important, but our experience tells us that there is an anti-intellectual climate which makes gifted children the target of ridicule."

        November 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Kelsey

      I hate to burst your bubble but earning a PhD doesn't make one a "genius".

      It's obvious your son is bright & hardworking but so are many people – many of whom have post-graduate degrees, many whom never finished high school.

      It's great that you're proud of your son, as you should be, but to put him in the same sentence with the words "Einstein" and "genius" simply because he graduated from university is inappropriate and probably highly inaccurate.

      Take your well-intentioned yet over-the-top pride down a notch Pop.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:46 am |
      • madihwa

        That's true. My daughter has a Ph.D. and an MD but she never finished high school.

        November 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • rh

        We had one student who got married the day before his doctoral defense (suddenly), and had a job lined up for the next week, so the advisor passed him though his defense was horrible. Another student had such poor command of English that the International Support department had to rewrite her whole defense.

        A PhD shows some kind of determination, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be. It was tough to get one, especially as an adult with a family, but it means not much except you can be called "doctor".

        And my parents never paid for any of my graduate work, so they don't feel much pride in it.

        November 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • lxNay

      Congratulations on your son's academic success. I can't imagine why the poster below would berate you for bragging a little. You are absolutely right. For some kids, academia is a breeze, but for others, like my children, and it seems yours, they have to work hard for every good grade they get.

      Kelsey is jealous.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Brenda

      Congratulations on your son! Hard work is definitely a key ingredient in success. Unfortunately, after reading some of the other replies, it's obvious that our society needs to devote as much time (or maybe more) to teaching manners.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • atl

      does Gifted=Rich Parents nowadays?

      November 27, 2012 at 11:48 am |
      • kikiandkyle

        Actually it usually means broke, as you end up having to spend thousands on private education that they should be getting for free like everyone else, or even worse, you have to quit your job and educate your child at home.

        November 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • Berenstain

        What makes you think his parents paid for his education? Maybe he got his own student loans, maybe he worked his way through school. Or maybe his parents did pay for his degrees .... so what? Even if someone else pays for it, you still have to go to classes, study and pass all the exams on your own. Most people don't have the mental horsepower, motivation or stamina to accomplish this even if someone else foots the bill. That's why the word "average" exists ... because it describes most of us.

        November 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • BurleyGirl

        Gifted does not = rich parents. I know many of the parents in my son's classroom and although some are more successful than others, most are not "rich". In my town there are 3 out of 5 elementary schools that offer full time gifted classes and they have full classrooms in each grade. My area isn't wealthy but it is a nice area, a bedroom community type. Most of these kids probably aren't geniuses but at this point they are gifted students who need to be challenged on their own level, just like any other kid. I hope that my son's gifted eduction/school experience gives him something to be excited about and gives him opportunities that I may not be able to offer.

        November 28, 2012 at 12:04 am |
      • Tom, Ton, the Other One

        @ atl
        Yes, but only on paper.

        I see there aren’t very many ‘gifted’ posters. They seem to have completely missed the point.

        November 28, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • El Flaco

      I thought it was Mark Twain.

      November 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Darth Commenter

      Oh dear, how did this comment go so off track. Congrats to your kid Dennis. Bring it, books!

      November 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • rh

      I hate the fact that most articles that "dispell myths" actually end up perpetuating other ones.

      Congratulations and all, but by saying that your son must be gifted because it took him five years to graduate HS but he ended up getting a PhD later is just as bad as saying all gifted kids finish HS in three years.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |