A gifted individual is a quick and clever thinker, who is able to deal with complex matters. Autonomous, curious and passionate. A sensitive and emotionally rich person, living intensely. He or she enjoys being creative. -definition of giftedness written by the Netherlands Study on Giftedness in Adults

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What I'm Saying...

When I say that my child is gifted, it is not a value judgment. I'm stating a fact about the way he is wired, that's all.

Too many people still see this word as a measure of value. All children are valuable. All children are gifts and have gifts. But not all children are gifted. That would be impossible: in order to have above-average intellects, you must have average and below-average intellects- that's the way of the bell curve. I am certainly not saying that he is perfect. I am certainly not saying that he is a great student. I'm not even saying that he can do everything that other kids his age can do.

What I am saying is that he is a voracious learner, and needs a pace that is about 7x faster than the average classroom. In many cases, you don't even
have to finish your sentence and he'll pick up what you started.

What I am saying is that he is asynchronous - he's AMAZING at math and science (and grammar), but struggles to express his ideas in writing.

What I am saying is that he thinks about things in a way that is far beyond his age and maturity, but he struggles with those thoughts because they are beyond the capacity of his lagging emotional maturity.

What I am saying is that he has a profound capacity for empathy, but you'll likely never see it like I do, because it overwhelms him.

What I am saying is that he is wired to experience the world with an intensity that is exhausting, overwhelming, and like nothing most of us can imagine.

Speaking of imagining, what I am saying is that he's got the kind of imagination that could solve huge global problems like hunger, disease, or the Middle East; or maybe will get stuck on the problem of what to have for lunch.

8 comments:

  1. This is so well said, Mona! All of those who believe "gifted" is a value judgement decided on in school need to read this. This is as clear of a picture as I've ever seen! Thank you!

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  2. So tiring that people STILL view giftedness as a statement of value. Your child didn't choose to be gifted any more than he chose the color of his eyes or his height. You list some great points.

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  3. Good luck with lunch; fingers crossed for peace. Both can be intense, and both can be easy, depending.

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  4. I'd pack his lunch if he sit long enough to eat it.

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  5. I often wonder whether giftedness, especially extreme giftedness, is not a form of neurological neoteny. From introspection, and conversations with other profoundly gifted family members, the salient features of our minds seem to have a lot in common with those of children, yet enormously overexpressed and retained into adulthood. Perhaps asynchrony is a miscategorisation which is erroneously attributed to a statistical effect (where intellectual and emotional development are partitioned and viewed as following independent trajectories, and therefore it would follow that a child in which BOTH such pathways are exceptional would be vanishingly rare), and could be better explained as another effect of the same developmental mechanism that is responsible for a powerful intellect. Just a hypothesis, but maybe worth thinking about.
    It's good to hear about your son- he sounds a riot :)

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    1. Interesting, Alan. I've often said that the Teenlet has spent so much energy, especially in early childhood, on brainpower that his social-emotional and physical growth lagged behind. I don't really see them as independent, but rather as highly intertwined. Once he hit puberty, both his S-E and physical growth skyrocketed to bring him securely into his appropriate age range, while his intellectual development has continued its own growth, but at a slower pace (probably due to insufficient stimulation, but that's another story altogether).

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  6. I wish I could ditch the term "gifted" and instead use a phrase like, "he has an intellectual exceptionality." The term "gifted" just seems too nice, and doesn't convey my son's experience (which includes some very real challenges!) very well.

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