What 'gifted and talented' means (http://www.direct.gov.uk/]

“ 'Gifted and talented' describes children and young people with an ability to develop to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop those abilities):

- 'gifted' learners are those who have abilities in one or more academic subjects, like maths and English

- 'talented' learners are those who have practical skills in areas like sport, music, design or creative and performing arts

Skills like leadership, decision-making and organisation are also taken into account when identifying and providing for gifted and talented children.”

According to other definitions (e.g. Mensa), a happy well-functioning Gifted Child would achieve a score above 130 in an IQ test, this resembles being among the 2-5 pct. most intelligent of of the population.

An unhappy, dysfunctional gifted child would most likely not be able to achieve a score according to his or hers full potential.

How could it ever be a problem? To be gifted could also be described as thinking and learning faster and in a different way than your peers in one particular area or more. This has several consequences:

  1. -Even early on, carers and teachers are not always realizing the gifted child’s need for challenges, leading to boredom and sometimes the child is misbehaving (in the eyes of the teachers) as a strategy to overcome this, or is simply not participating in suggested activities

  2. -When playing and interacting with other children, gifted children are from an early age used to not being mirrored by their peers, some of them turn to contacting adults instead, some of them do not develop the same social skills as their peers. This can lead to shyness, self-consciousness or inappropriate behaviour

  3. -From the first grade, some gifted children will already master the curriculum taught to them by their teachers, this either results in rebellion, misconduct or alternatively in underachievement, i.e. the child adapts to the level taught, and never shows full potential. Both alternatives leads to low self-esteem and eventually for some children a failed education, because they never learn to learn and to make an effort

  4. -Some gifted children use all their resources on adapting during school hours, and then they are acting out in different ways when they are safely at home

In Summary...

Being gifted can be a problem for a child because the child is different than the vast majority, and it needs to be treated differently by teachers, carers, parents. No child - not even the gifted ones - can be expected to be able to adapt to ways that fundamentally do not work for them. This is the responsibility of the adults.

Some gifted children are doing just really fine! This is great, and their school, family and network have to be congratulated for a job well done. The Network for Gifted Children welcomes these children too:-)

A bit more on underachievement...

In a quote on Highability.org , Deborah Ruff is explaining that “learned underachievement can happen to any child who enters school and spends a considerable amount of time waiting for the other children to learn what she already knows. The gifted child figures out how to use that waiting time, and it’s usually not on academics

“When the school work does eventually become challenging, the gifted child often suffers greatly because she hasn’t had the opportunity to learn to take mistakes in stride, or how to study effectively, or how to budget her time when it actually requires some attention to what is being presented in school

More links are available on the ‘links-page’.