Anyone wanna talk about the conception of "gifted" status in children? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:42 PM
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And what's with all the 'gifted' 1 and 2 year olds these days?? Back in my day, at least it was a non-issue til the testing in grade 4. Too. Much. Pressure.
I disagree that it is too much pressure. It is difficult to test children under the age of 8 because they do not sit still for a test well. Their behavior interferes with test results. But, more and more children are being tested at the request of their parents as schools focus more and more on teaching the basics. Often, getting a child tested for giftedness is the only recourse the parent of a very smart child has to alleviate the boredom faced in a classroom focusing on the basics of education.
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:43 PM
 
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No, not for the same reasons, because being a parent of a child who has profound developmental delays is very, very different from being a parent of a child who receives a positive label, great accolades, and shiny predictions for his/her future. Completely different things.
Yeah, for the same reasons, because to be honest, you're not describing profound giftedness in your post above. You're talking about mild giftedness. Mild giftedness really does get those positive accolades and shiny predictions because a child with mild giftedness generally does well in school -- she's challenged, but not too much, and finds school interesting and rewarding, because to her, it is. That child will be rewarded by teachers because she's so smart (and tends to be well-behaved, because she's found that those two qualities are mutually reinforcing), and will indeed tend to get bright predictions of future glory.

That's not profound giftedness. Not at all.

Profound giftedness is more like this: Your child strikes other people as unsettling and weird, and when she or he was young, people criticized you for hothousing or pushing, not understanding that it's not your "fault" they learned to read fluently at age 2. They just picked it up. Other parents isolate themselves from you and may give negative comments, including words like "monster."

They have interests in highly specific, rather abstruse areas of interest that don't really appeal to most people and certainly not to peers. In school, they are viewed as freakish or disruptive because they're so often bored to tears by the constant condescension from teachers, the irritating busywork that seems to have absolutely no purpose: "But WHY do I have to color in the number '5' in all my answers? WHY?", the fact that they're simply not allowed to read ahead to the next chapter...and the next..and the next while the other kids labor through the first one.

They're not allowed to skip the spelling test whose words they knew five years ago, so they blow it off and write down stupid sh*t, because that's an expression of the hatred they feel toward the teacher and the school where no one cares about the real stuff, the words that stretch the mind and feel "hard" and cool.

They're driven insane by the fact that the teacher mispronounces and misspells words and gets facts wrong and doesn't seem to care when she does -- and gets irritated, even to the point of referring them to the principal's office for correcting them when they're wrong.

These kids have no friends, or very few, and quite often really don't know why. People often seem strange and mysterious in the sense that they're concerned with absolute trivia and get worked up about events or issues that are absolutely irrelevant. If they're an angry personality, they can start lashing out either at others or at themselves.

Does that maybe help paint a clearer picture of the difference??
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:43 PM
 
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And what's with all the 'gifted' 1 and 2 year olds these days?? Back in my day, at least it was a non-issue til the testing in grade 4. Too. Much. Pressure.
Yeah, really! It kills me to see the way people beat themselves up over this, too. Like my 18 month old is only in the 80th percentile for pointing and babbling, omg, he's never going to be able to keep up. Or, HAHAHA my 2 year old conducted the NY Phil last weekend, we pwn u!! Ugh.

(FTR I was another one put in "gifted" programs, and in the early elementary years they had trouble figuring out if I was mentally challenged, hard of hearing, or "gifted," so unusual was my way of thinking and doing things, apparently. I think they decided on gifted mostly because of my reading level--reading adult nonfiction before kindergarten. Today I might as easily get thrown in the PDD NOS/Aspie box.)
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:44 PM
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. Many (sometimes me too!!!) have yet to gain basic social skills because we were exempt from having to get along with peers - we were too advanced to understand their behavior or fit in or whatever - Guess what - out in the real world social skills count A LOT!!
I think you're confusing cause and effect here.

Gifted/accelerated kids aren't "exempt" from getting along with peers--it truly is difficult for them.

Would you ever say that about a kid with, perhaps, Down Syndrome? Oh, he was exempt from having to make friends; that's why he never learned to make them. No, there are different things going on in the brain that actually make it difficult, with "special needs" kids on any side of the spectrum.

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
That's not profound giftedness. Not at all.
So then why are these kids in the gifted schools? Why do they get the label?

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Profound giftedness is more like this: Your child strikes other people as unsettling and weird, and when she or he was young, people criticized you for hothousing or pushing, not understanding that it's not your "fault" they learned to read fluently at age 2. They just picked it up. Other parents isolate themselves from you and may give negative comments, including words like "monster."

They have interests in highly specific, rather abstruse areas of interest that don't really appeal to most people and certainly not to peers. In school, they are viewed as freakish or disruptive because they're so often bored to tears by the constant condescension from teachers, the irritating busywork that seems to have absolutely no purpose: "But WHY do I have to color in the number '5' in all my answers? WHY?", the fact that they're simply not allowed to read ahead to the next chapter...and the next..and the next while the other kids labor through the first one.

They're not allowed to skip the spelling test whose words they knew five years ago, so they blow it off and write down stupid sh*t, because that's an expression of the hatred they feel toward the teacher and the school where no one cares about the real stuff, the words that stretch the mind and feel "hard" and cool.

They're driven insane by the fact that the teacher mispronounces and misspells words and gets facts wrong and doesn't seem to care when she does -- and gets irritated, even to the point of referring them to the principal's office for correcting them when they're wrong.

These kids have no friends, or very few, and quite often really don't know why. People often seem strange and mysterious in the sense that they're concerned with absolute trivia and get worked up about events or issues that are absolutely irrelevant. If they're an angry personality, they can start lashing out either at others or at themselves.

Does that maybe help paint a clearer picture of the difference??
This is a totally different picture, and yes I see this very differently. ITA with you tho about another label, I forget which phrase you used?

And these children are very rare. What about all the parents of other children claiming "gifted" status, comparing it to disability? Where does one draw the line?
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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By the way, these labels go both ways. I am against alot of the labels that are used to describe children as slow, delayed, etc.

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:47 PM
 
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I have mixed feelings on the subject- I'm not a big fan of labels of any kind, be it race, religion, political, or intellectual.

While these labels often help like-minded people congregate, they equally tend to divide one group from the other, in ways that aren't always fair or accurate (ie, someone not wanting to be friends with a Christian because their experience with Christians was someone pushing their religion on them). Under every general label I can think of, there is always so much variety in the individual that the label defines only itself, and never it's members.

When most people think of a special needs child, they think of one that is in a wheelchair, or mentally challenged- instead, the child could be speech delayed with perfect physical and cognitive skills. Similarly, a gifted child could be one who excels at musical instruments beyond the talent of a skilled adult, and yet cannot spell on the level of her "average" classmates.

Still, these labels, whether they be "Jewish" or "Republican" or "Gifted" help to create an umbrella for a wide range of complicated people to gather under- the key is getting people, parents, in this case, to disallow the label itself to define the child, and allow the child to blossom into their own individual person. How much their special needs will affect their lives, whether they be gifted or challenged, should be assessed on a case by case basis, whereas one child will require intensive therapy to learn to walk, a gifted child may need advanced classes to keep an interest in school. As long as a parent acts- not just feels- but ACTS in the child's best interest, alternative education and or therapies can make a world of difference for a child who is outside of the typical development range on either side.

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:47 PM
 
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Well, I think all children deserve to have their needs met, and children who do not happen to excel on the IQ test are not any less entitled to having their needs met than children who get the label.
ABSOLUTELY!!!

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:48 PM
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The truly gifted person or child is literally thinking differently than you or I. I am not truly gifted. I am just a smart person who did well in school and needed more advanced studies than average. The truly gifted person, regardless of their gift, is someone who percieves the world differently than you or I. Their brain is working differently. They are divergent thinkers, they think outside the box. They are often very focused on what interests them, be it dance, music, science, history, whatever. They often forgo basic needs in order to be involved in what interests them. They are difficult to talk with because they are thinking on a higher plane than most of us. If you were to meet them, you might find them strange or arrogant because they know so much more than you in their area of study that they are a bit obsessed with it.

Classic examples of truly gifted people are Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, J D Salinger, and Silvia Plath. Plath and Van Gogh burned out like bright stars after leaving a startlingly gifted portfolio of work. Picasso was treated as a genius from the time he was a small boy and had his needs met to the point where he developed an ego appropriate for one so gifted. He was lucky. Salinger, of course, retreated from the public eye, a classic antisocial behavior of one so far removed from average. In movies, we've seen John Nash played by Russel Crow in A beautiful mind as a person who was extremely gifted and also having mental health problems. That is not uncommon in the truly gifted. Another movie example is the boy played by Matt Affleck in Good Will Hunting. He was incredibly antisocial and difficult to teach and work with. Yet, somehow his gifts shined through enough to catch the appropriate attention.



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Old 07-28-2006, 04:49 PM
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And I have mixed feelings about abililty-grouping in schools (since I've been a teacher for over a decade) --it really helps the accelerated kids, but it pulls the lower-level kids down even more. We need SMALLER CLASSES in general!

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:49 PM
 
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But WHY is there only money for this? It is because it is valued more highly than other types of gifts, because it is seen as the only valid gift.

ETA - Cross-post - ITA, AngelBee.
In actuality, there's very little money for it. It's not federally mandated, for one thing, and therefore it's left up to the individual decisions of the states to implement a gifted program (which usually consists of the once-a-week pullout program) which doesn't begin to meet the needs of many gifted children...and it's the first to meet the axe at budget time because it's seen as an indulgence and a frivolity.

Special ed gets far, far more money. I don't grudge them a penny of it because I believe that more money is needed for the special needs of these students -- but would you say that it's because our society values disability more? I don't think it's that easy.
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Because there just is only so much money for districts and schools to use. They have to make decisions about how the money is going to be spent and they often shortchange the gifted because they think they are at least going to do ok in school. They need the money for the special education children and for counselors and for other programs. For example, I taught a gifted pullout program in a large, very well-to-do district with many, many upper middle class families. There was one profoundly gifted program in one school and there was no district transportation for it. If you could not get your child there on your own, no matter how intelligent they were, your child had to go to his/her neighborhood school where there was only a 2 hour a week pullout gifted program. That is all there was money for. It is just a reality. I know because I participated in the program review for that district. I know how much money was allocated and how it was spent to the best of our abilities. Would you have the gifted program take money away from the music program, denying elementary children music? Would you cancel their recess, firing all recess aids? Would you stop buying new books for the library? Would you cut the school day shorter in order to pay teacher's less? How would you find the money?
This brings up other issues though as to what is wrong with the public school system.

There is alot to address.

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:50 PM
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CB is, as usual, right on about the profoundly gifted. (post #62) I guess I do myself a bit of a disservice to say I am just academically advanced. I was in a gifted program all through elementary school but I don't test all that well. I tend to misunderstand questions and see other answers than those given. As a result, I was not enrolled in the gifted program in junior high. I went from getting all A's in gifted elementary school to nearly failing junior high math and english. Why? I nearly failed math because I did the homework my own way. Homework counted for 75% of the grade. My homework answers were always correct but my methodology was different. Try as I might, I did not understand why the teacher was teaching us the way she was. My test scores were always perfect 100% because she only counted answers. Inane! Yes, completely, but this is a classic example of what gifted children face. In English, I could not diagram a sentence because the grammar rules made no sense to me. My writing was grammatically correct, I was reading at a college level, my reading comprehension scores were higher than anyone in the school but I almost failed because I could not, and still can not, diagram a sentence. My mother argued in my favor to get my grades changed but they were not. In 9th grade (HS) I was put in the basic math and english classes while my peers from elementary school were all in the advanced/honors classes. Lucky for me, my math and english teachers saw my gifts and by christmas I was transferred to the advanced classes. I ended up passing the AP english test, by the way, had the highest reading comprehension scores in my whole high school all through 9-12th grades, and had the highest grades in all my advanced math classes for 4 years running. My needs were not met in junior high and I nearly failed. My needs were met in high school and I succeeded. I am lucky
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:52 PM
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And these children are very rare. What about all the parents of other children claiming "gifted" status, comparing it to disability? Where does one draw the line?
The human brain is not something that can be described or understood by finite terms. Because of this, there can never be complete agreement on what it means to be gifted.
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:52 PM
 
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Well, I think all children deserve to have their needs met, and children who do not happen to excel on the IQ test are not any less entitled to having their needs met than children who get the label.
I don't disagree with that. I would say, "I can't imagine anyone who does disagree with it," except that state budgets for education would immediately prove me a liar.
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:53 PM
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That's because of several factors:

1. Teacher bias.
By the way, I live in a lower SES area -- definitely lower middle-class, mostly Hispanic. The special ed. coordinator at the elementary school for which we're zoned told me, "We've never had [a gifted child] before."

Bull. They haven't been looking.

2. Intimidated parents who don't push for the accomodations their kids need and who believe teachers when they say "all children are gifted."

3. Parents who may not know themselves that their child is gifted -- they just know he's bored and acting out.

Yes, and people with higher incomes have more money for books, etc. So perhaps a lot of "gifted" children have just had a more enriching environment.

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:53 PM
 
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And what's with all the 'gifted' 1 and 2 year olds these days?? Back in my day, at least it was a non-issue til the testing in grade 4. Too. Much. Pressure.
It's like identifying Asperger's early, or identifying learning disabilities early -- it's a form of early intervention. Or should be.
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:56 PM
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Dude, I went to a gifted SCHOOL for years. If I've never met a truly profoundly gifted child, there is something WRONG with the system.
Yes, ITA. The entire education system in this country is created to make peole who will not question authority. It is not based on utilyzing one's intelligence to the fullest and for the best of ALL people.
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:58 PM
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It's like identifying Asperger's early, or identifying learning disabilities early -- it's a form of early intervention. Or should be.
: If I had known what I know now, I would not have taught my dd to keep her mouth shut and 'pretend' to be like the kids she saw around her. We are still dealing with the effects of my doing that to her.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:00 PM
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Yes, and people with higher incomes have more money for books, etc. So perhaps a lot of "gifted" children have just had a more enriching environment.
I was born in poverty, raised in poverty and so are my children. BUT, we have always utilyzed the public libraries. So, I agree with the part about having access and a parent who allows that access to be used.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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So then why are these kids in the gifted schools? Why do they get the label?
What gifted schools? Quite honestly, there are so few of them nationally that I could literally count them all on my hands and have fingers left. I can think of Mirman in LA, the Long Island School for the Gifted, the Illinois Math and Science Academy, and that's honestly about it. Even IMSA is really stretching it because its focus is (obviously) math and science, not giftedness in general.

From secondhand experience, I've heard that both Mirman and LISG are primarily for mildly or highly gifted folks, but not for the ones on the real extremes. Those kids are almost always homeschooled, at least as far as I know, because it's the rare, rare school that will even try to accomodate someone that different.

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And these children are very rare. What about all the parents of other children claiming "gifted" status, comparing it to disability? Where does one draw the line?
I think there are some legitimate crossovers between giftedness and disability in the sense that both are different from the norm, and the more different they are, the more things they have in common because both share a similar degree of difference.

And I have no idea where one draws the line. Should a line be drawn? I think many parents find it helpful to find allies and comrades wherever possible because the BTDT crowd really is very small. Finding someone who has shared some facet of an experience like yours is really invaluable.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I'm in Canada, so I'm speaking from that perspective.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:02 PM
 
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I agree with CB that there are two categories of "giftedness." I have a child who is mildly gifted. She's IQ tested at 142, and she's usually in the 98-99 percentile in standardized tests. For her, the school's gifted program works nicely. It's a pull out program which makes school more interesting for her and allows her to use her intelligence in a different direction than her regular classroom does. She is, btw, expected to make up the work she misses by being pulled out.

On the other hand, I have a nephew who is highly gifted. He has IQ tested in the 170s. His parents and teachers have little idea how to deal with him. The school psychologist where he goes to school admitted that they'd never had a kid test as high as he does. He has skipped a grade in school. He often gets lousy grades on tests because he can't be bothered to slow down enough to read the questions. Homeschooling is out of the question. He is fortunate in that he does have lots of friends, but that's unusual. My sister tears her hair out with this kid as do his teachers, who often can't even comprehend the questions he asks, let alone know how to answer them. I have no idea how this child could best be educated.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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Yes, and people with higher incomes have more money for books, etc. So perhaps a lot of "gifted" children have just had a more enriching environment.
I'd say a lot of "academically successful" kids have, but that's a different beastie from "gifted." I think there's a decided bias against poor people and people of color, particularly African-Americans, not the least reason for which is that not all kids present as gifted, according to what teachers think "gifted" means -- and what they think "gifted" means is someone who's well-behaved and gets As on the tests. Like I said above somewhere: that's mildly gifted -- not exceptionally or profoundly gifted. Naaaaah, those kids are just troublemakers.

Except they're not. Not just.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:08 PM
 
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So then why are these kids in the gifted schools? Why do they get the label? And these children are very rare. What about all the parents of other children claiming "gifted" status?
I would bet that the majority of kids who are in programs like GATE are not profoundly gifted -- they are just smart kids whose parents decided to GATE-track them early on. If your kids are good test-takers and well-behaved in school, it doesn't seem so difficult for them to qualify for GATE. But as CB wrote very eloquently, profoundly gifted kids are very different from mildly gifted kids (and often *aren't* the well-behaved model students that people think of when they think of gifted kids). I would imagine that each school only has a small handful of profoundly gifted kids, yet has a much larger actual number of kids in the "gifted" program. As thismama said, Where does one draw the line?

I notice parents don't clamor to have their slightly-below-average kids identified as learning disabled, but if the kids are slightly on the other side of average, some parents sure are itching to have them classified as gifted. In the end, it seems that it can be a disservice to the profoundly gifted children who truly need extra services and a different learning environment. Having so many just-on-the-high-side-of-average kids in the "gifted" program can make people skeptical about the identification system and the program itself.

It's kind of like how the phrase "spirited" is thrown around so often here. All kids have their difficult moments, and then some truly are extremely difficult to parent on a daily, moment-to-moment basis. But I never know which is which, and have come to develop some skepticism in general about use of the phrase. :

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: If I had known what I know now, I would not have taught my dd to keep her mouth shut and 'pretend' to be like the kids she saw around her. We are still dealing with the effects of my doing that to her.
Hugs to you, MITB. You gave her the best advice you knew to give at the time. Protective camouflage does work for some people, and some people can do it without selling their souls. It's not always bad advice to give; it just depends.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Naaaaah, those kids are just troublemakers.

Except they're not. Not just.
But this is it, no kid is just a troublemaker, whether they have gifted status or not.

I was labelled gifted, and in high school was a troublemaker, and my gifted status saved me or got me out of getting in bigger sh!t on several occasions, while my peers who didn't have gifted status didn't get that saving grace.

And no, I was not just a troublemaker, but then, neither were they.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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I find the whole discussion interesting. I went to a small public school with no gifted or honors classes. Everyone was thrown in together and survived to various degrees. The teachers did know everyone though and I often got support to choose a more advanced project.

Our society has a norm and needs to label all those who fall outside of this norm. What is called gifted now was probably called "odd uncle Joe" or "strange cousin Sue" in previous eras.

I have a gifted relative- he has asperger's though. I think profound giftedness usually comes with another diagnosis as well. Rather than a badge of honor, I think it is a tough row to hoe for a parent to raise a profoudly gifted child.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean

I notice parents don't clamor to have their slightly-below-average kids identified as learning disabled, but if the kids are slightly on the other side of average, some parents sure are itching to have them classified as gifted. In the end, it seems that it can be a disservice to the profoundly gifted children who truly need extra services and a different learning environment. Having so many just-on-the-high-side-of-average kids in the "gifted" program can make people skeptical about the identification system and the program itself.
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean

I notice parents don't clamor to have their slightly-below-average kids identified as learning disabled, but if the kids are slightly on the other side of average, some parents sure are itching to have them classified as gifted.
it happens. there are many,many children on Ritalin who don't need to be, because their parents or teachers or pediatrician (all of whom are usually underqualified to diagnose) decided they have ADD or ADHD. that doesn't necessarily correspond to lower intelligence but it's considered a learning disability, technically. and there are plenty of people who have one child they consider not to be as bright as their other child or children, based on nothing except their own chidrearing experience, and therefore label that child as delayed or "behind", when in fact they're just on their own timetable well within the boundaries.

most parents don't want to make their kid look "different" to other kids and parents. a truly gifted child will make it apparent themselves, and it will be obvious if a parent is being a bit pushy (also, some people really just love their kids and that's their way of showing it, in being perhaps overly proud- annoying? yes.)

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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