Going back to the OP (sorry, I haven't read past page 3 . . .
My dh and I are both "gifted" and we attended a magnet school for gifted students. Unfortunately, this "magnet school" was housed within another inner-city school, so there were lots of clashes within the school admin over whether treating the gifted students differently (i.e., having more freedom and responsiblity) than the other students was a good idea, and eventually, the admin decided to take a firm hand and severely limit all
students. It's a long story that I don't want to get into, but suffice it to say, it was incredibly frustrating that the school admin could not wrap their heads around the idea that we were different and had different needs. We were a very good group of kids who would have thrived more if we had been recognized as able to handle more responsiblity. As it was, even if we were forced to walk with our teachers to lunch in high school and not talk to each other between classes, etc., it was so nice to "fit in" with others and not be labeled as a bookworm, nerd, geek. We had teachers who respected us and let us learn "outside of the box." It was wonderful.
Now, my dh and I have a 2-year-old dd. For anyone wondering if giftedness can be hothoused or if it is innate, you should come to my house. Ever since birth our daughter has been different. It's just the way she is. At 2 months old, she was trying to walk. She never slept as a newborn and still doesn't. Her mind will not shut off. She spoke her first sentence at 4 months old, and would giggle at our adult jokes. At 3 months old, we discovered that she had a photographic memory. When I would take her to the playground at 6 months old, she didn't want to "play" but rather she was obsessed with the bolts and screws of the equipment and wanted to watch how the swings worked. At age 1, she could read her own name and was having tantrums because she didn't have the coordination to write it herself. She just turned 2, and she does simple addition and subtraction, thinks very abstractly, and is currently learning to read. We did not treat her any differently from birth than any other AP family of "normal" children. Everything she has done has been self-driven. So yes, she learns very differently than other kids her age-level, and this in and of itself is a very "special need." It is incredibly isolating being the parent of a gifted toddler because no one believes the stories you tell about your child, and even if they did believe there is always a judgment attached to it ("Well, you must drill her to learn her letters!," or "Well, book smarts doesn't equate to a happy life!," etc.). Ultimately, my child doesn't fit in with other toddlers, and that's hard for both me and her.
Really, gifted people just process information differently than average, and they are just hard-wired that way. I get so frustrated with people who say, "Well, I don't believe in or support giftedness because all children have gifts." Of course, all children have unique gifts, but understanding giftedness is so much more beyond what these people attribute to it. It is not just about smarts or about being musically/artistically-talented, or being able to work a Rubic's cube, etc. To label a child as "gifted" should not belittle any child who doesn't have this label, but merely should be recognition that the gifted child has different learning needs than average.