Thursday, March 1, 2012

Was I gifted? Are they gifted?

I admit to knowing squat about giftedness in students.  My friend K (whose own daughter is gifted) has been reading about it and suggested a book called Emotional Intensity in the Gifted Student.  She seems to think part of my children's high-strung natures (G) and emotional sensitivities (N) could be because they are gifted...not because they are raging maniacs, which is generally my go-to diagnosis.

Given my lack of knowledge, I can't begin to answer whether my kids are gifted.  I think they are bright...perhaps smart, but is that the same as giftedness?  In my head, I guess it is.   And it makes me wonder whether I was "gifted?"  And my answer to this is, "I don't know."

When I read about the characteristics of gifted children, I can see that my children have some of the attributes, but none of them are the kinds of kids that knock you over the head with their awesomeness.

And I certainly don't think of myself as ever having been that way.  Ok, well maybe I was awesomely weird, at least in elementary school.  Awesomely made fun of.  Awesomely unhappy.  

I would certainly agree that I had emotional traits of a gifted child:  anxiety, feelings of guilt, perfectionism, wild mood swings.  Still do.

And perhaps it could be argued that I had intellectual characteristics, such as a deep love of learning in general (hell, I'd still be in college if I hadn't had to grow up and all that other anti-Peter Pan stuff), ability to concentrate deeply and retain information.  Often pointless information, but hey.....

I would imagine D was gifted as a child.  He had that Bill Gates-like obsession with computers.  Super, duper, uper shy and reserved, which he still is to this day.

So maybe K is right.  Maybe what I see as my kids' insanity is that my kids are gifted.

Which means that my kids will likely be the kinds of kids I didn't like teaching in the classroom.

This should make for some interesting blogging as time goes on.

1 comment:

Keri said...

As you're learning, giftedness is SUCH a multi-faceted phenomenon. Much more complicated -- and often harder to diagnose -- than 99% of the public believes.

The two main points about giftedness that I wish I could hit everyone over the head with are:

1) Giftedness absolutely does not always look like a stereotypical gifted (i.e., smart) kid. To be frank, some gifted kids look like morons. ("A Wrinkle in Time" got it right.) Our universities do a terrible job of educating future teachers about how to identify gifted children, and missed diagnoses -- as well as mis-diagnoses -- have resulted in what I would term devastating effects for countless students.

2) Gifted students have special educational needs just like students with dyslexia, autism, developmental delays, ADD... And yet most teachers don't realize this (again, a university failing), and most school systems do a poor job of truly meeting gifted students' needs.

Think of this. The average IQ is 100. A gifted student with an IQ of 130 is two standard deviations above average. A student with an IQ score of 70 (two standard deviations below average) is classified as mentally retarded (or whatever the term is in schools now; this was the only term I could find in my study of IQ classifications).

Imagine if gifted students received the same level of differentiation in their educational plan as students who struggle with special needs in the "other" direction. Not only would you have a lot more gifted students feeling excited about going to school (many hate school because they're bored and/or in trouble for acting out due to boredom). You'd also have a lot more students reaching their potential and therefore a much more accomplished citizenship in our country.

One of the biggest fallacies is that gifted kids don't really need anything from schools because they're smart enough to fend for themselves. Not always true. Gifted students are as varied in their abilities and needs as the average population is. No two gifted kids look alike or have the same educational requirements. (Hint: look up "asynchronous development.")

Um, sorry for my rant. Apparently you got me started. ;-)