Is there such a thing as ‘simply gifted’ or is that simply an oxymoran? When we talk about gifted we always look at some of the traits that seem to go with gifted such as ADHD, Asperger, etc. But ADHD and Asperger can also be present in those that aren’t gifted. I know there can be a huge amount of misdiagnosis where the traits/characteristics of some gifted people are similar to those who actually have Asperger/ ADHD. For example one of the characteristics of Asperger is difficulty in social situations, but this is also widely seen in those that are gifted and I wonder to how many people it has been suggested that they have Asperger Syndrome when they are ‘simply gifted’.
When you think about it a child that is gifted will be thinking and talking at a completely different level from the kids in their class so of course they have social difficulties. Firstly the other kids probably don’t understand the words that the gifted kid is using. Secondly they probably have no interest in what they are saying. While your gifted kid may be contemplating the ‘meaning of life’, the other kids are chasing each other around the yard. Ok so then your gifted kid is left on their own in the yard and is perhaps labelled as ‘not mixing well’.
Then your gifted kid sits in the class room where they are starting to sound out words, your gifted kid is already reading ‘Harry Potter’ so he/she gets restless, maybe fidgets around the place, perhaps he/she starts disrupting the class or asking questions about the universe when he/she should be sounding out C-A-T! Or maybe he/she just drifts off into his own world. Next thing you know he’s not only ‘not mixing well’ he’s also inattentive and disruptive. It is usually on this basis that it is suggested that an assessment be done, and if there is an ASD diagnosed from this assessment that resource hours are given. Notice if the assessment shows that your child is ‘simply gifted’ then no resource hours are available.
Why when a little one asks such big questions and displays such an interest in learning can’t they be put forward for assessment on the basis that they may be gifted????? And why can’t there be something in place to cater for those kids????? Why are those kids made to feel odd and made to feel they have to hide their talents????? And is it any wonder that by the time they finish in the educational system some of them have serious mental health issues!
It would be an interesting study to do to see how many young people attending mental health professionals are there because they are ‘simply gifted’ but have had to endure a system that doesn’t allow for their talents.
Think about it, how soon would you need professional help if all your work colleagues had an IQ of 70 or less (and I know IQ isn’t an absolute measure but am using it to make the point) How difficult it would be to constantly have to try and fit in with them, and if you were told there must be something wrong with you or your social skills because you didn’t make friends with them. And not only can you not make friends with them but you’re expected to do everything at the same level and same pace as them. I think you would soon be running to the mental health professionals!
That is what it must be like for those kids who have an IQ of 130 and above (again only using IQ to make the point) in the regular classroom!!
Shame on our education system for not catering for these children and shame on any one of us that sits back and doesn’t advocate for a system that can not only cater for but celebrate our gifted kids!