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Growing up gifted has often been viewed through the elementary school prism that everyone should ‘stay within the lines’ when coloring, but a gifted child may want to do anything but … they yearn to color outside those lines! They march to their own drummer.
So … this begs the question … do societal attitudes affect the decision made by parents or an individual to forego confirming potential giftedness? Parents often make decisions based on prior personal experience; wanting to shield their children from negative experiences. Older gifted children want to ‘fit in’ and may attempt to avoid identification as gifted. There are also many gifted students who will not care about societal attitudes and go on to create their own path.
Being identified as gifted as a very young child can affect age-peer relations. Unfortunately, some kids can be cruel. Gifted kids may be singled out for being different. When young gifted kids are bullied for their ability, they may seek out older intellectual peers.
Negative aspects of identification include adults having unrealistic expectations concerning a child’s abilities and putting pressure on them to achieve. Gifted children are the subjects of many myths; adults and teachers may not understand apparent inconsistencies in ability and behaviors.
There are positive effects of being identified as gifted. Identification can be the basis for accommodations and interventions in gifted individual education plans. It allows for exploration of possibilities in areas where a gifted child can achieve their passions.
Is giftedness something that continues across the lifespan? Gifted children grow up to be gifted adults and this shouldn’t be based solely on achievement. The role of environment cannot be minimized; it’s effect must be understood. Many people do not realize they are gifted until adulthood.
Being identified as gifted as a child can affect how someone parents their own children. Many parents base their parenting style on how they responded to being considered gifted or not. Those who were identified as gifted may have a better understanding of what it means for their child.
It is important for adults who work with gifted children to fully understand the nature of giftedness and to not have expectations based on myths or incorrect information. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK 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. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bright Adults (Great Potential Press)
Off the Charts! Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (pdf, preview)
Many Faces of Gifted (pdf, PP)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.