So, I have been trying to stay on schedule with this blog, releasing something every Wednesday, but I could NOT be doing a more horrible job with that! I have either imagined the task of mincing together thought-provoking ideas based around education an arduous task, or I may have wanted to keep my wit short and snarky with Twitter or FB, but I mostly just kept these complicated thoughts to myself.
Ahhhhh, the intelligence pangs of a moody, gifted child!! How we suffer…
Yes, I am gifted, the tests say so!! I’ve had every test run on me, IQ you name it, since I was 5. Every school I have ever attended demanded an exam, even kindergarten. I have been doing science projects since kindergarten with Ms. Daniels which led to placing in state fairs by 7th grade Mr. Wolinsky. We took multiple foreign languages, played instruments, took voice, danced, prep schools came scouting, Regents in middle grades, AP (advanced placement) in high school, we were on top of the world!! Then something happened. I found out, after being told otherwise for years, that I could NOT just DO everything I wanted.
Now, I wasn’t boastful about my ability, but people noticed something and had an expectation. In turn, I had an expectation of them: to praise me and greenlight any idea I had. I began embarking on situations that I could not wrap my head around. Life started becoming difficult and the world right under my nose became hazy. My mind would race and I couldn’t make sense of things that were happening around me. Soon, ideas, thoughts, and desires became jumbled blobs in my head because I could no longer control how to take an idea from fruition to completion. It’s like I needed an idea mentor. But who does the smart kid go to? Everyone is expecting magic 5 minutes ago from the smart kid. I am expected to be given a task and have the ability to complete it with no guidance. That used to be easy, then you get older…
Did I forget how to be gifted?? I mean, there were those times I suppressed it because those guys didn’t want someone that knew more than them and that crew I wanted to hang with didn’t constantly have conversations about the last book they read and let’s not forget how I needed brain space to remember the words to all the dance hall music out to be right with my other crew…
Naaaah, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. One issue is that Gifted children are especially hard on themselves. We see the world through different lenses and have an intense empathy for many situations. So, the smallest things seems to bug us. If we are not good at something, that is one of those things that bugs us! What people fail to do, because gifted kids have such deep understanding, is remember that they are kids. Stress must be placed on the EFFORT made in completing tasks. Though it may seem minimal in many tasks a gifted kid performs, it is key to how successful a person is. Many people (and studies) say to praise your child. I don’t agree, I am a first hand receiver of praise and the one thing it taught me is that when you’re not immediately good at something, just drop it. Praise is detrimental when there is no specific action attached to it. Saying “You’re so smart!” is very different from saying “You are extremely talented with writing complete and correct sentences!” The latter specifically informs a child of what a great sentence looks like, reminds them of what they did to complete that sentence, and makes them wonder what else they can do if the expend similar effort.
I am not telling parents and teachers to go out and “diss” their children as the answer to making them work hard. Never do that! But, from experience I know that feeling of being deflated when you cannot accomplish something. That feeling of everyone believing you can do it yet you’re not convinced because it’s difficult. However, now that I’m The Colored Teacher, I know a bit more about how to cultivate that child. And I am my first work in progress….
Perspective #1, female, 22 years old: “I loved being in the gifted program though. We did in-depth projects and research papers on everything from oceans to elections. I think it really, really helped me to develop even basic writing and research skills in the first and
Perspective #2, male, 21 years old: “I’ve learned to ‘dumb’ down my language because these words come as naturally to me as breathing does to everyone else. What held me back the most, was the fact that I never got the chance to be put into advanced classes. My family moved around far too much, and it reflected poorly upon my grades. Harrisonville was the longest we stayed in one place, and that was about 1 1/4 years in high school. Its tough on a child to constantly move ,and i rebelled against my parents and the school by not doing my homework. I would ace every test passed my way, every exam placed in front of me, but when it came to doing homework. I was very bored and really didnt want to do it. Made it feel remedial. Made me feel as if my classmates were holding back.”
Perspective #3, female, 21 years old: “I strongly believe that gifted programs are only as good as their teachers. Gifted brains just function differently, and require different challenges. I had a few INCREDIBLE giftedteachers that understood the strengths and weaknesses of the gifted mind, and a few AP and gifted teachers that were horrible because they equated gifted classes simply with above “grade level” work, which was still not challenging nor interesting. Gifted classes really are a blessing to kids who want to be there, and it is my experience that they help with A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. problems that spawn originally from just not being challenged in a regular classroom setting.”
Young Albert Einstein, 1882
Wow, so Albert Einstein didn’t evolve into a Butterfly?
[This is a response to josiahd’s I don’t like the concept of “gifted”. It took on a life of its own so it gets its own post. Warning: It’s all concrete personal experience, not an abstract deconstruction of IQ. Because that’s how my brain works.]
I hate it. In gifted programs I saw kids being indoctrinated into arrogance, elitism, etc. I think that’s how they get ideas like “I don’t even know how to talk to someone with a normal IQ, let alone a low one.” They’re often the same ones who refuse to believe my IQ went down to 85, and would probably be even lower now. Because talking to me online, or knowing I was once in gifted programs at school, they think they can predict my IQ.
In fact I was tested three times in my life and only the first time, probably because of hyperlexia, being white, and a biased tester, did I test in the so called gifted range. I mean reading superficially well at an age when most kids barely just learned their alphabet goes for a lot, especially with a tester who doesn’t believe it’s truly possible to get both high and low subscores. Getting older just exposed my weaknesses, my losses, and my failure to shoot forward in a typically developing way, so my IQ shot downward. It’s like having a big head start in a couple areas of a race of academic skills when first grade started, but then walking slowly, turning around backward, and wandering off the track entirely. I know a lot of autistic people of my general subtype this happened to.
And what happened to me as a result of this classification of gifted when I began falling behind is awful, even if it postponed my classification as broken for a couple years (but amplified that classification when I crashed and burned for good). But I’ve gone into that other places and lack cognitive spoons to describe it again right now. Being presumed bored when falling behind leads to pressure that can kill you. Everyone presumes this false idea of giftedness is permanent. And it’s horribly biased on the basis of race, class, and disability. There’s a terrible underside to this classification that affects both those classified and those not.
I went to a college when I was 14 that was not only for gifted students but just anyone who went to college at high school age. It had college classes mixed with some high school curriculum. I hung on by my fingernails but not very well at times, very much doing the faking of comprehension. Which only helped sometimes. The next few year, I was only in institution schools and special ed. When I was in school at all.
This gives me a fairly unique opportunity to observe things that most people flat out wouldn’t believe. They wouldn’t believe it because they tell themselves stories about what gifted and special ed mean. Those stories make them interpret identical behavior in extremely different ways. Then they don’t remember the behavior, just their interpretation and the stories in their heads. This is maddening to me because they just cause so much destruction that way.
So what I saw was that in both places you saw identical behavior. Lying on the floor. Eating inedible substances. Stimming. Playing with objects in highly abnormal ways. Motor and vocal tics. Etc. But in gifted settings that stuff is considered endearingly quirky and a sign of an advanced mind. In special ed it’s because you’re too stupid or crazy not to.
It made me so angry when I needed to lie down on the floor during a visit to MIT. I was terrified to and my hosts were bewildered and told me everyone did things like that there. Mind you I was terrified to be at a place like that at all because during my last attempt at university I was told people like me don’t belong on university campuses. But the lying down. I’d been through years of humiliation, behavior programs, and being pathologized for lying on floors until I was deeply ashamed and afraid to do it when necessary. And here was this place for gifted people telling me I could do it and talking about their endearingly quirky students. I’d just come there directly after a developmental disability conference and was acutely aware most people like us are forbidden in such places. And it really fucked with my head. I couldn’t handle it.
Mind you I think it’s right for people to be allowed to lie down on floors. That wasn’t my problem. It was the contrast. It was things I can’t even name that make me want to cry. It was horrible. I felt so acutely uncomfortable on the MIT campus. The same way I do in the kind of neighborhoods most likely to call the cops on me for being outside alone. I felt like everyone would discover who I really was, under their admiration for me. I felt like a traitor to other people like me. It’s so hard to explain.
That was when I discovered I am more comfortable at self-advocacy conferences, full of people who live roughly the way I do, usually as clients of the same system, than I am in any other place full of tons of people. I don’t ever have that experience of coming home to any community, but there at least I feel I don’t stand out or feel weird and out of place or like I have to prove my right to be there. And around here at least it’s a real community. One that gets things done that help real people, and helps its members, and sees its members as people, and doesn’t require us all to have the same opinions or believe in an ideology. Which is more than I can say for a lot of things that call themselves communities. It’s far from perfect but it’s better than anything else I’ve seen.
So when I went from there to MIT I was in culture shock. I mean I spent only maybe a total of six years (and I may be counting some things as years that were shorter) in academic gifted programs, but I’ve been in disability programs, either DD or mixed psych/DD or physical/DD, for about 18 years now. And my parting with attempts at college and university was far from on good terms. So visiting MIT felt intimidating as hell and like… just wrong all over. It’s indescribable.
And the place felt wrong too in a way that wasn’t connected to me. Because I know that only certain types of people can go there as real students. I wouldn’t be among them. Even though I could very well contribute to their projects in ways that they couldn’t. There are huge amounts of people who could contribute but aren’t allowed there. I did my best to see if they would let more people do what I did. But that’s not enough. It bothered me that they had this exclusive place where weird behavior is tolerated and encouraged and considered endearing and part of the culture because they are gifted enough to earn that right when millions of disabled people around the world will never be able to earn that right in that manner. I don’t mind that there are places that allow it. I mind that it has to be earned through presumed intellectual capacity.
That’s why I was so angry when they let me lie down. I’d just come from a place full of people who are very much my people, who would have been punished and may still be, for doing things like that. I knew this was a privilege they think they earn. I knew I was being falsely invited into the group of people who have earned it through what they believe intelligence to be. I knew they meant well and had no clue the significance of their actions towards me or other disabled people they were not even imagining. Especially DD people, who are usually presumed not smart enough for the privilege. And it just felt so very wrong in ways that can’t be described. This isn’t how the world should work.
So much of “gifted” and associated concepts involves picking out a group of special people who then get things everyone should have. And it has an undertone of a really toxic competitive outlook. I just get to see it from both sides because I’ve appeared to both professionals and laypeople as both gifted and an empty shell. That gives me a perspective most people will never have.
I am Tera , i may not show this to anyone but i may show it to some of my best friends and i may post this on tumblr. I am a gifted, a geek, hypoglycemic, lactose intollerent, teen who is highly self concious and i have been unschooled my whole life. i read a lot i’m mostly psychologically correct i think, i hate my hand writing i love drawing i love typing, and eating. i like boys , unlike no one, well except for lesbians. i’m driving to washington to go to my eighteen year old cousins memorial, who died of cancer last year. i love greek mythology, architetcture, i hate stupid people but since i’m gifted most people seem utterly irresponsibly stupid and childish. I dont act my age, I act a lot older.
When i talk to most people they dont understand the context i guess, well i’m done here for now. but i’ll be writing on the next few pages about, er, everything
Please excuse the bad capitalization/grammar.
Whenever I talk to like, anyone, I feel like I’m speaking another language, i have no way to express my emotion in a way that anyone can understand, i’ve only met a few people who can understand, and i’m not gonna name names because i’m sure that someone that reads this will get hurt. I really hate most people, you know, saying that I fell like I cant talk to anyone, ever. Unless its about like, makeup, my fandoms, periods, etc. I cant talk about stuff I actually really like, about stuff that makes sense to me, because it wont make any sense to anyone else. There are some people that I like but none of them know that I exist, except for one but I dont even know his name. I danced with him, but I think he likes me, I’m not sure though. I wont be able to see him again until next year. I dont even know why I’m posting this but I am. I will be posting other things like this, sad things. this will slowly probably turn into a half depression blog for when I feel down, I sound fake probably because I dont self harm, but I’m doing this so that I dont self harm.
Thanks for reading, and I love you if you read it this far<3
Like come on though I’ve been gifted in learning sense preschool why hasn’t mom caught on with the fact that my grades are dropping because of stress and anxiety. I took my ACT at age 12 as a part of the Duke University Talent Search and I don’t have amazing grades in school SHOULDN’T THAT TELL YOU SOMETHING?
“An exceptionally gifted child may have difficulty finding appropriate challenges even in the gifted class, because of the need to move at a much faster pace, the ability to process material in greater depth, and the increased sensitivity, awareness, and intensity typical of this population. Secondly, there is evidence to suggest that the social/emotional development of highly gifted children differs somewhat as well (Hollingworth, 1942; Roedell, 1984). They often exhibit an emotional intensity greater than that of many children.”
……yeah, this is Camille to the life, basically. In this discussion they are just using ‘exceptionally’ as an umbrella term for >160 IQ, which I think it’s virtually certain he must have been (of course we can never know! but in thought experiment terms), but I have read other analyses which narrow it down more into categories beyond that.
Anyone know any good Tumblr’s about this subject?
ive been registered as a gifted child since kindergarten way younger than my signs should have been showing but i showed sings early, i never really did my research i just thought it meant i was smart but its becoming “worse” i think differently based on how other people react to me and its effecting my family life and i dont know what to do so if anyone has done research or is gifted or knows any good websites or books so i could read up on my condition and how to handle it please help.
We’ve all seen the social caricature of a “problem” child who seems so highly intelligent in certain areas of life but just can’t seem to get it together in others. The youth who become labeled “troubled” teens because they seem pent up and frustrated with life rather than flourishing.
Unfortunately, in many cases, these youth are truly gifted beings hiding under early pigeonholing by a system that failed to recognize their unique situations early on. Understanding the “gifted” child is a key element in helping he or she lead a successful and productive life.
Here are some common MYTHS about gifted children:
Some TRUTHS about gifted children:
Children who are gifted but not identified as such or supported can develop certain issues in their lives. They oftentimes feel different or alienated from others.
They grow bored in school because they already know the material being taught and tend to checkout, become inattentive or disruptive and are seen as having behavioral problems. This can lead to their giving up on school all together and a resistance to learning. They can become anxious, depressed and at high risk for underachieving, performing vastly below their ability.
Gifted children are likely to have uneven, or asynchronous development whereby their strengths are being missed and their weaknesses are being highlighted or ignored as well. Learning to understand and facilitate a gifted child’s unique path in life can sometimes make all the difference in their achievement of a fruitful life.
*Lists adapted from College Planning for Gifted Students: Choosing And Getting into the Right College by Sandra Berger
“The gifted adult’s moral sensitivity and concern for justice can lead him or her to a life of service, performance and/or achievement in diplomacy, the law, medicine, philanthropy and other fields. However, it can also lead to depression and other psychological difficulties, as the state of civilization and the condition of the planet can seem overwhelming to one with unusual clarity of thought and depth of perception combined with strong empathy and moral concern (Roeper, 1991). In addition, such a person may find the ethical corner-cutting, deception, outright dishonesty, and competition of the workplace intolerable (Hollingworth, 1937).”“Those who have chosen a career path that puts them into contact with other gifted adults may regularly experience the joy and excitement of the intellectual synergy that occurs in such a group. In person or on computer networks these people build on each other’s ideas, moving with great, exhilarating leaps through complex intellectual realms. There can be a sense of almost magical connection as the ideas flow from one to another, seeming to take on a life of their own. When unusually capable minds are working together there is a powerful sense of community and belonging.”
“A gifted adult may find herself in the workplace and/or outside associating with many individuals who do not share the complexity and depth of her perceptions. She may find it difficult to share important aspects of herself with others. She may have to weigh her words, simplify her conceptions, hold herself back in conversation. This experience is both tiring and frustrating.
Particularly if she does not understand or accept her giftedness, she (and others) may interpret her difficulty as social ineptitude. Even if she is able to match her interactions to her companions’ level of interest or understanding, she may leave a social event feeling isolated, “weird,” dissatisfied, unhappy.”
“Gifted children do not disappear when they graduate from high school or finish college or graduate degrees. They become gifted adults. If they enter adulthood blind to their unusual mental capabilities, they may go through their lives fragmented, frustrated, unfulfilled and alienated from their innermost beings. What is different about the gifted individual is his or her mind. Not understanding that mind makes it virtually impossible to honor the self.”
- Stephanie S. Tolan