6 Key Issues for the Gifted Community


gtchat 6 Key Issues 03202015


Six key issues for the gifted community were discussed at this week’s #gtchat. Each question referenced an issue. They were:

  • What does it mean to be gifted?
  • What is different about parenting a gifted child?
  • How does the very nature of HG/PG individuals separate them from others?
  • How do we help gifted students learn what they want to do; not just what others think they should do?
  • How do we facilitate social skills and leadership development in gifted students?
  • How can advocates positively affect others’ understanding & acceptance of gifted children’s needs?

Arguably, any one of these could have been the topic of an hour chat. It was soon evident a few of the questions evoked strong opinions from some of the participants, but all voices were heard.

What does it mean to be gifted? The meaning of gifted is one issue that often elicits strong emotions. As pointed out by the moderator, “Gifted means feeling the impact of so many different definitions in every facet of life – school, home and society at large.” The way in which people interpret what gifted means can affect accommodations for gifted students in school, treatment by age-peers, how parents advocate for their child, the types of programs offered by schools, and how society responds to its most highly- abled citizens. For these reasons, many people believed strongly in the need to change the term or eliminate the idea altogether.

What is different about parenting a gifted child? Parenting gifted children is not as easy as some might think. The parents at this chat made it clear that the need for guidance in the early years is so important, yet difficult to find; especially prior to identification. The Internet has certainly made the process easier in recent years, but it’s still difficult to find answers when you’re so involved in raising an intense child. Parents of gifted children often experience isolation from other parents due to others’ lack of understanding, lack of acceptance, and myths.

How do we help gifted students learn what they want to do; not just what others think they should do? It was clear from our discussion that highly and profoundly gifted children experience life in a very different and unique way. “Intensity” was an oft repeated response to this question. These are those with IQs more than 4+ above standard deviations. A major difficulty for these kids is finding peers; especially if they are restricted in age-based education systems. They are often misunderstood by age-peers as well as adults.

It’s imperative to understand that gifted students need supportive services to address complexities and sensitivities. Counselors, therapists, and psychologists who work with gifted students need to be educated in the gifted field to avoid misdiagnosis. It should be recognized that gifted students need resources and guidance in planning for education, career and life choices

How do we facilitate social skills and leadership development in gifted students? Teachers can learn how to help these students to develop social skills and inspire leadership. All adults working with gifted students need to realize that a primary need in life is to belong. Parents, teachers, counselors … need to recognize that values, ethics, integrity are integral part of leadership.

How can advocates positively affect others’ understanding & acceptance of gifted children’s needs? It is essential to keep advocacy on a positive course. Advocates need to be knowledgeable about giftedness and skills needed to be positive influences in gifted children’s lives. They should be able to identify issues, needs, resources, educational laws, and strategies. Advocates must also support the need for gifted students to develop self-advocacy skills.

A full transcript of this chat can be found on Storify.

 Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com


“Guidance & Counseling for the Gifted”

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Amazon)

Competing with Myths about Social & Emotional Development of Gifted Students

What is a Gifted Child?

What is Gifted?

Web Resources for Parents

Suggested Reading for Parents

FAQs about Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children

The Mysterious Case of Extreme Giftedness

Is It a Cheetah?

All Children are Gifted

A Handbook for Counseling the Gifted & Talented (pdf)

Counseling, Multiple Exceptionality, and Psychological Issues

The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook (Amazon)

The Professional School Counselor & Gifted & Talented Student Programs (pdf)

“Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship

Developing Leadership Skills in Young Gifted Students (pdf)

Leadership Development and Gifted Students (pdf)

Authentic Character Development – Beyond Nature and Nurture

15 DOs and DON’Ts of Advocacy

Effective Advocacy

Effective Advocates (pdf)

Advocating for Appropriate Education for Your Child (pdf)

Hijacking Your Child’s Education: Jane Andraka at TEDxQUT


Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad and the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented

Posted on March 25, 2015, in Advocacy, Education, Emotional intensity, gifted, gifted and talented, gifted education, parenting, Social Emotional and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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