gifted steriotype - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
JollyGG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
More than one of our threads seem to have moved to a discussion about gifted stereotypes. So I guess this is a spin of thread sort-off.

So where do you think the gifted stereotypical nerd idea comes from? Do you think that most gifted kids fit it to some degree? What have your observed?

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
JollyGG is online now  
#2 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 10:10 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,524
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm not sure where the gifted stereotype originated but I do think that media has perpetuated it. We are TV-free now but before I remember being so disgusted watching shows in which some geeky/brainy person goes through a transformation to make them more attractive. The Princess Diaries, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I know there are countless other movies that use the same sort of ugly-duckling script. I think our culture's obsession with looks has only exacerbated that--it's what you look like that is the important feature about you.

As for my own experience, dh and I are both gifted and were educated in a gifted magnet school. I've seen all types. I've known some gifties who were your classic archetypes (thick glasses, no fashion sense, awkward social skills) and some who fit right in with the mainstream, polished toes, giggles, and all. Most fall between those two extremes, including myself. I'm more like Hermione Granger. I've never been fashionable and I have weird interests, but I'm not unattractive and have good overall social skills. My dh is the same way--not your typical guy (very intelligent, curious, smiles and cries, good socially, not into sports). My FIL, though, is the traditional bookworm, mathmatics nerd with NO social skills whatsoever, but he had an unusual childhood that I think largely contributed to that (his father died when he was young, his mother was blind and a recluse and didn't interact with him much, he had one brother who was in college when he started kindergarten, etc.). My personal opinion is that he didn't have social skills modeled enough for him. The only real difference I've seen among gifties as a whole (as compared to the mainstream) is that gifties are more likely to feel comfortable being different and not try to mold themselves to fit in with a peer group. And that gifties do look beyond what people look like and value ideas more so than non-gifties. I really loved that at our high school, we had a huge range of individuality, which was SUCH a beautiful thing.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
LuxPerpetua is offline  
#3 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
JollyGG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I graduated high school in a class of 600. In my high school many of the popular kids and many of the "jocks" were also those who were in the honors classes. There was the occasional kid who closely fit the gifted stereotype but I would not have called them the norm. My husband grew up in a different state and observed the same thing. My son now attends a full time gifted school and I'd say that the playground looks the same as the playground at his old school looked with a broad range of interests and activities.

So I don't think the nerdy guy with poor social skills, whose an introvert, and uncoordinated is an accurate portrayal of all or even most gifted kids.

I have noticed from my experience growing up around gifted people and watching my son that kids do tend to have more trouble acting appropriately in a social setting when their academic needs are not being met. Some turn inward and to books and perhaps appear more nerdy. Others act out and become the "class clown" Personally, I remember seeing the second manifestation more than the first. But I often saw both as a response to an unmet need.

I think that in this age of greater access to resources and information we are finding that as parents we can be better advocates and provide for out children's needs better when they fall to the sides of the bell curve. But I wonder if some of the stereotypes were formed at a time that it was a lot harder to advocate for our children and get there needs met. I think we see many more antisocial or poor social behaviors in kids who are frustrated and unchallenged at school.

I would say my older brother fits some of the stereotypes you see in the profoundly gifted. But I've also always had a strong sense that had his needs been better met in school he would have had a very different social experience. But I could be wrong. My younger brother is also gifted and he was very popular. Younger brother was also the stereotypical "troublemaker" and "class clown".

In my own son I've also seen a subtle social issue happening. My son doesn't appear gifted. He seems to be like any other 7 year old kid. But when he does do something different (such as reading the tv guide to the babysitter at 5, or people find out he skipped a grade and is now in the gifted school) they start treating him differently. It's subtle and I don't think they know they are doing it, but I see it. For a matter of fact it is one reason we don't mention his school or his grade unless we have to. I've pulled him from a babysitter because I didn't like the subtle shift in behavior. But, honestly, some of our self concept is formed by how others treat us. If others treat us a certain way based on there perception of us as weird or different or just smart I think it will cause a child to internalize that message and react to it. I've seen a whole range of subtle shifts in the way people treat my son once they realize he's as smart as he is. As parents we spent alot of time telling our children they don't have to be who society expects them to be. I tell my daughter that she doesn't have to like pink, wear dresses, or like princesses. I tell my son that he can still do sports and be social and still be smart. But the gifted stereotype is one more societal expectation that may or may not fit any one person.

I guess I'm trying to say that kids who are smarts aren't destined to fit any or all of the gifted stereotypes. I think personality plays a huge role. But I also think having needs met appropriately and they way society treats them makes a difference as well.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
JollyGG is online now  
#4 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 10:29 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
So where do you think the gifted stereotypical nerd idea comes from?
According to my gifted middle schooler (who is a cheerleader, dresses well, and has lots of friends!) the definition of "nerd" is a kid who comes to school to learn and enjoys academic clubs such as science club, chess club, etc. She feels that nerdish behavoir is all things that parents approve of and doesn't understand why a parent would have a problem with their child being a "nerd." She also feels that no matter how cute her toenails or accessories, she's a nerd because it really boils down to behavoir and attitude, not looks. Besides, nerds have each other!

Geeks, on the other hand, are the smart loners who are more concerned with things than people. My aspie DD is concidered a geek.

I wonder if a lot of kids who fall into this category have some spectrumy stuff going on, but I can also see how a child who could be a happy little nerd at one school (where there are other happy little nerds) could easily end up being loner-geek if they were in a situation were it wasn't socially acceptable to go to district in chess, state in science, etc. A child who is naturally a loner (like my aspie DD) is happy as a loner-geek, but a naturally social child who has been forced into this role because of lack of peers would most likely really struggle. It's not the same thing.

DD's school has a whole "nerd herd" and they were all at my house Saturday night. Life is easier for these kids in middle school than grade school because they can more easily find each other and do things together they enjoy -- like play chess.

I also think that the gifted sterotype comes into play because kids who have better social skills blend more, and the ones who really struggle social stick out. The sterotype is based on the ones who stick out.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#5 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 02:11 PM
 
connieculkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Gifted to me is just somebody who has a very well functioning brain.

The nerd/geek stereotype seems more consistent with Dabrowski's Intellectual overexcitabilities than simply giftedness or even just doing well in school.

http://giftedkids.about.com/od/gifte...lectual_oe.htm

Of course not all gifted kids have intellectual overexcitabilities and I think the ones who don't have a much easier time fitting in.

For children who have intellectual overexcitabilities, I'm not sure the 'quick fixes' of teaching social skills and putting them in team sports is always the best answer. I think this can give them the message at too young an age that they must hide their true nature in order to fit in. I think this could create more problems down the line. I think the best solution is to find peers who are similar and then when they are older they can learn to engage in small talk and other social niceties. It may however never be natural for them.
connieculkins is offline  
#6 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 02:31 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
I'm not sure the 'quick fixes' of teaching social skills and putting them in team sports is always the best answer. I think this can give them the message at too young an age that they must hide their true nature in order to fit in.
We must define social skills very differently. To me it is neither a quick fix or does it have anything to do with hidding one's true nature.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#7 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 02:58 PM
 
emmaegbert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I certainly do not have a stereotype about what smart/gifted people are like. I am not sure where it comes from, but IME, its simply not true.

There were a wide, wide range of personality types, interests, social skills, etc. at the highly selective gifted public magnet school I went K-12. Of course, not everyone was equally gifted or had the same intellectual strengths either. There were a group of kids we referred to as the "side hallway" people. They were the nerds of that school. Those kids were pretty much let be, as far as I can tell. There were also people I now realize had things like aspergers, tourettes, but at the time I didn't understand that. They were also, as far as I could see, accepted, or at least (in the most extreme case that I can think of) tolerated without being ridiculed, etc. There were lots of smart outspoken girls, avid readers, people into theater, music, art, dance. I had classmates who spoke multiple languages, who were former chess and violin prodigies, friends taking college-level math early on in high school, etc. There were kids into sports, kids into fashion. There were kids into drugs or other risk-taking behavior. The school had many weaknesses, but I will say that compared to what the media presents about other schools, and what I've heard from friends who went to more mainstream schools, it was a group of kids who were relatively respectful and tolerant of eachother.

Well- except for one thing. It was NOT a place tolerant of kids who were having learning issues or emotional issues that interfered with school performance. Was sort of sink-or-swim that way- 'if you can't hack it, go somewhere else'. Is this typical of gifted people, or was that a school culture issue? It took becoming a parent for me to realize how negative that sort of attitude is, though I watched my younger sister struggle in that school with low self esteem and academic problems.

What I really believed, until college where I finally got to meet some of them, were very strong and negative stereotypes about rich kids and jocks.

dissertating mom to three

emmaegbert is offline  
#8 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 05:09 PM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 9,010
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I also think that the gifted sterotype comes into play because kids who have better social skills blend more, and the ones who really struggle social stick out. The sterotype is based on the ones who stick out.


A gifted person with good social skills will not insist on talking about the life cycle of fleas with someone who is uninterested in it. The gifted person with good social skills will make the typical person feel at ease and not talk over their head. The typical person will not notice that the socially adept gifted person is also capable of being fascinated by the life cycle of fleas, and it will not occur to the typical person that the gifted person is not also simply typical.

One experience that I think many unnerdy gifted people have is the look of complete shock they get when they are outted one way or another.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#9 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 06:36 PM
 
joensally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,977
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post


A gifted person with good social skills will not insist on talking about the life cycle of fleas with someone who is uninterested in it. The gifted person with good social skills will make the typical person feel at ease and not talk over their head. The typical person will not notice that the socially adept gifted person is also capable of being fascinated by the life cycle of fleas, and it will not occur to the typical person that the gifted person is not also simply typical.

One experience that I think many unnerdy gifted people have is the look of complete shock they get when they are outted one way or another.


I think people can fit the nerd or geek stereotype irrespective of IQ. I graduated in a class of 200 and socialized with most. Many of the kids in gifted classes were socially adept or just average socially. Many of the kids in AV club were not high IQ, but did have limited interests and awkward social behaviours. A deep-seated and encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars doesn't make you gifted, it may simply mean that you have intensity about the subject, and persistently discussing it with others may simply mean you struggle to read social cues and norms or suffer from anxiety.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

joensally is offline  
#10 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 10:34 PM
 
connieculkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm getting the message from these posts that it is okay to be gifted, but you should try not to act too smart or talk about what you are passionate about with others. Having good social skills means talking to many people about average subjects that everyone can relate to.

I guess I see things differently because even though I am not gifted I love when people open up and talk about what they are passionate about even if those passions are not my own, even if those passions are somewhat complicated and way over my head. This is when you really see the person come to life, when they talk about what drives them in this world. I am curious about people and I would hate it if they 'dumbed' themselves down and only talked of things they assume the majority would be interested in. The latest movie and the weather can only be interesting for so long. If I meet somebody who has a PhD I want to know something about that..It would be unfortunate if they had to keep all that a big secret to only be shared with those in academia for fear of 'having bad social skills'.
connieculkins is offline  
#11 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 11:25 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 5,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
I'm getting the message from these posts that it is okay to be gifted, but you should try not to act too smart or talk about what you are passionate about with others. Having good social skills means talking to many people about average subjects that everyone can relate to.
I think you are misinterpreting the message.

It's certainly okay to talk about what you are passionate about, but if you *exclusively* talk about YOUR passions and have no ability to either a) read the cues that perhaps someone isn't really into it, and/or b) you never allow anyone else to discuss their passions (that you don't share)...that's kind of what people are talking about with lack of social skills and the stereotyping that can happen.

I was a gifted kid, grew up around plenty of gifted kids of all types...most people had the same range of social skills as anyone else in the schools. But in both groups (gifted and not) if someone was incapable or unwilling to ever yield the conversation or listen to someone else for a change, if they could only talk about their obsession (be it Star Trek or muscle cars or the Yankees)--chances are they would find themselves in a very closed circle of friends, assuming they could run into others that really enjoyed their endless and constant recircling almost every conversation to the philosophy behind Star Wars, ect.

I have noticed that some people who consider themselves "very smart" tend to be very offended if they think other people would like them to kind of shut up about their obsessions for awhile. Some of them even like to use the phrase "dumb down" to describe what people are suggesting they do. (I have no idea if that's what you're reacting to Connie, I suspect not) It's not so much that folks want intelligent people to "dumb down" the conversation, they more likely just want to get a word in edgewise or reciprocal listening.

I think the ability to truly listen to other people's interests that one does not share, and to take turns "naturally" is extremely rare amongst gifted people--just as it is in the general population. I think that many times gifted kids are out of sync with interests of other kids (either in depth or subject), and since kids are in the process of learning to listen and figure out reciprocity so they're not great at it in general, when there is even LESS directly in common with someone it's easier for that person to stick out like a sore thumb and/or irritate other people. And that, I think, is what people are trying to get at when they speak of "social skills". Not "dumbing down".
Tigerchild is offline  
#12 of 55 Old 05-24-2010, 11:30 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
I'm getting the message from these posts that it is okay to be gifted, but you should try not to act too smart or talk about what you are passionate about with others. Having good social skills means talking to many people about average subjects that everyone can relate to.

Social skills are things like:

noticing people's body language to see if they are interested in what you are saying

being able to greet someone

asking open ended questions

asking follow up questions

politely ending conversations

responding when others complain

responding when others state a problem

looking someone in the eye

using appropriate body language to convery interests

listening when others talk and respond to what they are saying, instead of just waiting for them to stop talking so you can talk again

being able to tell when someone is using humor

being able to tell when someone is being mean

being able to use humor

being able to initiate play with another child

being able to invite another child to one's house

being able to take turns

There's no need to limit one's self to "average subjects that everyone can relate to" but you need to check on whether or not the person you are talking to is interested in what you are talking about, and find out what they ARE interested in.

None of this has to do with "not acting too smart"

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#13 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 01:09 AM
 
Tjej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,581
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
I'm getting the message from these posts that it is okay to be gifted, but you should try not to act too smart or talk about what you are passionate about with others. Having good social skills means talking to many people about average subjects that everyone can relate to.

I guess I see things differently because even though I am not gifted I love when people open up and talk about what they are passionate about even if those passions are not my own, even if those passions are somewhat complicated and way over my head. This is when you really see the person come to life, when they talk about what drives them in this world. I am curious about people and I would hate it if they 'dumbed' themselves down and only talked of things they assume the majority would be interested in. The latest movie and the weather can only be interesting for so long. If I meet somebody who has a PhD I want to know something about that..It would be unfortunate if they had to keep all that a big secret to only be shared with those in academia for fear of 'having bad social skills'.
A PhD will HAVE TO dumb down whatever their passion is in order to discuss it with someone with no knowledge of it. It isn't a bad thing. Everyone cannot be an expert in everything.

It's great that you are curious about people and what truly drives them. In my experience, you are not the norm. There is nothing wrong with discussing passions and complicated topics, but in general social settings they don't fit well. I'm a bit of an introvert, so maybe it is my personality speaking, but I really find it socially akward to discuss my more intense interests or passions with people who are not well-known to me or within my discipline of study. Of course if the conversation turns that way I can touch on things and see if they fit comfortably, but usually they don't.

As far as "not acting too smart" I DO think that if a person has an extensive vocabulary they DO need to "dumb it down" to exhibit good social skills. It isn't polite to confuse the people you are conversing with.

Tjej
Tjej is offline  
#14 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 02:02 AM
 
emmaegbert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
A PhD will HAVE TO dumb down whatever their passion is in order to discuss it with someone with no knowledge of it. It isn't a bad thing. Everyone cannot be an expert in everything.
lol as someone getting her PhD, I can say actually its not at all easy to figure out how to talk about your work and passions to people who don't know a lot about it in a way that makes it relevant and accessible. FWIW I would not think of this as "dumbing down" but actually as a real challenge, and a truly important one to work on.

I *love* talking to people who are passionate about what they do, if they want to share it with me and can explain it in ways that I understand (I think of myself as "pretty smart" but there is a heck of a lot I really don't know about. I am not usually shy to ask questions though).

And I for one certainly didn't mean to imply that people shouldn't be nerdy/geeky/whatever. Sheesh. I married a star wars/model train/D&D/comics loving guy. And I've had my nose in a book since I figured out how to read. I just meant in my post to say that seems to me academically gifted people come in all sorts of packages, and the only stereotype that IN MY EXPERIENCE might be somewhat accurate is that these folks are not always so patient or compassionate when someone is struggling.

dissertating mom to three

emmaegbert is offline  
#15 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 04:32 AM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 9,010
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post
A PhD will HAVE TO dumb down whatever their passion is in order to discuss it with someone with no knowledge of it. It isn't a bad thing. Everyone cannot be an expert in everything.
Even with out a PhD in a highly technical feild, we all need to modify how we talk about the things we are passionate about.

As an artist who worked for a while in handmade paper, people were often quite interested in what I did. However, if I had gone off on some long monologue about using a hollander to make the abaca transparent, I would have lost anyone who wasn't also a papermaker, both in terms of interest and understanding. Instead I avoided technical specifications, and used terms most people have in their vocabularies (who just googled "hollander" and "abaca" .) I would instead focus on the more generally understood artistic aspects of papermaking, or sometimes explain how easily could be done at home with a blender and a screen. I would decide what aspect of paper making to focus on deppenind on what the person I was talking to seemed interested in. Of course sometimes they just would not be all that interested in papermaking so we would talk about something else.

Obviously some peoples passions are more accessible to the general population than others. Admittedly a gifted persons passions are more likely to contain technical intricacies that are not part of common knowledge. However, the ability to judge which parts of ones feilds of expertise are part of common knowledge and interest and which aren't is a social skill.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#16 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 09:07 AM
 
egoldber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 1,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Social skills are things like:

noticing people's body language to see if they are interested in what you are saying

.....

There's no need to limit one's self to "average subjects that everyone can relate to" but you need to check on whether or not the person you are talking to is interested in what you are talking about, and find out what they ARE interested in.
This is a great list. I mentioned in another thread that my older DD will be taking a social skills class in the fall and these are exactly the kinds of things that they will work on. I have also started to give her explicit feedback on these types of skills. Her therapist told her it was a "friendship class", and we have framed it to her in terms of it being a class on learning how to be a good friend.

IMO the things on this list are things that people I know who are nice people that I want to spend time with do naturally. Some of these are things that I still struggle with at times.

But I have seen how other kids respond to my DD when she does not read their social cues. Even when they are talking about a shared, common interest, it isn't the topic of the conversation that is the problem, it's the way my DD dominates the conversation and does not let other children get a word in edgewise. Honestly DH and I (and I think we are both gifted to some degree) have a hard time conversing with her because she tries to dominate the conversation! We will actively stop her and tell her that she needs to be patient and let other people have a turn, but of course her fellow third graders are not going to do that.

New WOHM to DD8 and DD3
egoldber is offline  
#17 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by egoldber View Post
This is a great list. I mentioned in another thread that my older DD will be taking a social skills class in the fall and these are exactly the kinds of things that they will work on.
My DD with high functiong autism is in a social skills class right now and it's wonderful.

The other kids in the class are So Nice! They all know they need to work on social skills, and the improvement from week to week has inspiring. It's all 7th and 8th graders with PDD-NOS or aspergers. These are kids who, by definition, have a specific interest and rigid thinking, yet they are learning friendship skills.

It's quite possible to stay who you are and yet be able to connect to other people, and at some point, most kids are going to want to!

It's great that you are doing this for your DD at such a young age. I think it is something we will re-do from time to time.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#18 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 10:13 AM
 
connieculkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

As far as "not acting too smart" I DO think that if a person has an extensive vocabulary they DO need to "dumb it down" to exhibit good social skills. It isn't polite to confuse the people you are conversing with.

Tjej
I understand what you are saying, but I think putting this into practice is difficult. Yes, a person shouldn't use too much technical jargon with people outside their field, but people can go too much in the other direction in attempting to sound like an average Joe. As I said before I'm not gifted, but my SAT score was in the 98% and though I don't look 'nerdy' I am intelligent enough. I have been on the receiving end of some smart people's attempts to dumb down the conversation and this can be very insulting. I think doing this might make you more likable to some, but can be very alienating to other intelligent people. You get the impression that they think you are too stupid to understand.

By definition a gifted child is more intelligent than their peers, but I think it is important for the child to fully understand that many of their peers are still intelligent even if they aren't gifted. I think having the label of gifted can lead a child to assume more of an intelligence differential than actually exists and this can lead to social problems because nobody likes it when someone thinks and acts like they are smarter/know everything.
connieculkins is offline  
#19 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 12:10 PM
 
no5no5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,635
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
By definition a gifted child is more intelligent than their peers, but I think it is important for the child to fully understand that many of their peers are still intelligent even if they aren't gifted. I think having the label of gifted can lead a child to assume more of an intelligence differential than actually exists and this can lead to social problems because nobody likes it when someone thinks and acts like they are smarter/know everything.
In fact, intelligence is a continuum, and it goes very far in both directions. A moderately gifted child may not be much different from a bright, but not gifted, child. But a highly or profoundly different child is as different from that MG child as the MG child is from a child with an average IQ. These are not small differences, especially in the childhood years, when some HG+ kids may be working at the grade level of kids twice their age.

Of course that doesn't mean that gifted people should act like they're smarter than others. To the contrary, they need to find some genuine common ground. Everyone has this issue, not just gifted kids. It's a bit like an inside joke. You just don't talk about an inside joke (without explaining it fully) in front of other people. It's rude. It makes the other people feel like outsiders. Not talking about something doesn't mean that you're dumbing yourself down. It just means that you're finding a topic of conversation that will be mutually fulfilling.
no5no5 is online now  
#20 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 02:32 PM
 
connieculkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
In fact, intelligence is a continuum, and it goes very far in both directions. A moderately gifted child may not be much different from a bright, but not gifted, child. But a highly or profoundly different child is as different from that MG child as the MG child is from a child with an average IQ. These are not small differences, especially in the childhood years, when some HG+ kids may be working at the grade level of kids twice their age.
Well, I don't just mean that a moderately gifted child would be intelligent to a profoundly gifted child or a bright child would be intelligent to a mildly gifted child. I mean that all 'normal' kids who don't have any major disabilities should be regarded and treated as intelligent even by gifted kids. Humans are a very intelligent species and even those with 100 IQs are going to have complicated emotions, substance, a spiritual side, a capacity for learning, an interest in the origins of life, etc. Many times people will say that their gifted child has a fear of death, but I don't think they realize that this is common for non-gifted kids too. I think we do a disservice to gifted kids by somehow giving them the message that it is only they who have this depth and that others don't. By teaching gifted kids that others have other types of gifts we are inadvertently telling them that others are not intelligent and this is just wrong IMO.
connieculkins is offline  
#21 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 02:46 PM
 
no5no5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,635
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
Well I don't just mean that a moderately gifted child would be intelligent to a profoundly gifted child or a bright child would be intelligent to a mildly gifted child. I mean that all 'normal' kids who don't have any major disabilities should be regarded and treated as intelligent even by gifted kids. Humans are a very intelligent species and even those with 100 IQs are going to have complicated emotions, substance, a spiritual side, a capacity for learning, and interest in the origins of life, etc. I think we do a disservice to gifted kids by somehow giving them the message that it is only they who have this depth and that others don't. By teaching gifted kids that others have other types of gifts we are inadvertently telling them that others are not intelligent and this is just wrong IMO.
I think this is totally ridiculous. "Intelligent" is not a word that means "having complicated emotions, substance, a spiritual side, a capacity for learning, and interest in the origins of life." Of course all people should be treated with respect. I'm not sure why you would put special needs kids in a separate category. To me, they are just as deep, complex, and worthy of respect as anyone else. Gifted kids are not taught, at least not by reasonable people, that they should not treat others with respect.

But there is clearly a difference between treating someone with respect and assuming that they will be able to understand and be interested in discussing a particular topic at the same level as someone who is much more intelligent or knowledgeable in that area.
no5no5 is online now  
#22 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 02:59 PM
 
connieculkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
I think this is totally ridiculous. "Intelligent" is not a word that means "having complicated emotions, substance, a spiritual side, a capacity for learning, and interest in the origins of life." Of course all people should be treated with respect. I'm not sure why you would put special needs kids in a separate category. To me, they are just as deep, complex, and worthy of respect as anyone else. Gifted kids are not taught, at least not by reasonable people, that they should not treat others with respect.

But there is clearly a difference between treating someone with respect and assuming that they will be able to understand and be interested in discussing a particular topic at the same level as someone who is much more intelligent or knowledgeable in that area.
You're misunderstanding. I didn't say gifted children should be taught to respect other kids. Respect is how you treat your teacher or maybe even those with disabilities..It's not how you should treat your peers who you want to bond with. That's why I say kids should learn to treat their peers as the intelligent people that they are. What about that bothers you so much?
connieculkins is offline  
#23 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 03:09 PM
 
Lollybrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
I mean that all 'normal' kids who don't have any major disabilities should be regarded and treated as intelligent even by gifted kids. Humans are a very intelligent species and even those with 100 IQs are going to have complicated emotions, substance, a spiritual side, a capacity for learning, an interest in the origins of life, etc.
I'm not sure what you consider "major disabilities", but kids with disabilities can also be very intelligent, and even gifted. Moreover, they also have complicated emotions, spirituality, capacity for learning, and interests.

My son has autism, albinism (which involves visual impairment), and a chromosome abnormaility. He is also very academically advanced, possibly even gifted. Furthermore, he is spiritual, intersted in many things, and has a great capacity to learn. He lacks most of the social skills Linda listed, but we work on them, as do his teachers.

Based on this and other threads, you seem to have bad personal experiences with gifted people (and possibly special needs people as well). If so, I feel badly for you. I don't think it's representative of all gifted individuals. I myself am not gifted, although I am very bright. My brother is gifted, as are a couple of my friends, and we are always able to have wonderful long conversations about many complex subjects. The gifted individuals I know have some wonderful social quirkiness, but get along well with all kinds of people, including those that you would call "normal".

Lolly
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

Lollybrat is offline  
#24 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 03:17 PM
 
RiverTam's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Posts: 935
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
As I said before I'm not gifted, but my SAT score was in the 98% and though I don't look 'nerdy' I am intelligent enough.
How do you define "gifted?" On the old SAT, a score in the 98% would qualify you for Mensa.

(I'm asking out of genuine curiousity. I am NOT trying to pick on you.)
RiverTam is offline  
#25 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 03:21 PM
 
Lollybrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
You're misunderstanding. I didn't say gifted children should be taught to respect other kids. Respect is how you treat your teacher or maybe even those with disabilities..It's not how you should treat your peers who you want to bond with. That's why I say kids should learn to treat their peers as the intelligent people that they are. What about that bothers you so much?
That's rather offensive. Maybe people with disabilites deserve respect? And are you saying that children with disabilites are not your child's peers? Do you discourage friendships between your child and kids with special needs?

I find it very strange that you are complaing that kids who are gifted think they are better than "normal" kids, and then make these kinds of statements about people with disabilites.

We seem to have very different ideas about respect. I think everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Why would you not want your kids to treat their peers with respect?

Lolly
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

Lollybrat is offline  
#26 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 03:21 PM
 
no5no5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,635
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
You're misunderstanding. I didn't say gifted children should be taught to respect other kids. Respect is how you treat your teacher or maybe even those with disabilities..It's not how you should treat your peers who you want to bond with. That's why I say kids should learn to treat their peers as the intelligent people that they are. What about that bothers you so much?
Um. Well, I think that you and I must be using the word "respect" to mean different things, if you don't think it is something one should have for one's peers.

What exactly do you mean when you say that ND kids (as distinguished from special needs kids) are intelligent people? It sounds as though you are denying that there is a difference between ND and gifted people. As I said, I believe that intelligence is a spectrum, and it makes no sense to me to think of it as an absolute, that you either are or are not intelligent.

It makes perfect sense to me to treat all people as equals. It makes perfect sense to me to treat one's peers (however they are defined) as one's peers. But it does not make sense to treat people who are not the same as though they are the same. If you are a naturally fast walker, and you have a friend who is a slower walker, you either slow down when you walk together, or you ride your bikes instead.
no5no5 is online now  
#27 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 03:50 PM
 
connieculkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The reason why I don't promote respecting one's peers is because respecting usually implies that there is some divide between two parties. For example, you respect those of a different religion or a different political party because unless you make a great effort there will be tension of some sort. You respect those you might otherwise discriminate against. But this is only semantics and we all might use the word differently. I think that teaching a child to respect other children of the same age won't be conducive to bonding.

As for children with more serious disabilities, these kids are not my children's peers as they are not part of the same societal group. The children with severe autism for example are in a completely different school. Kids with milder disabilities who they see on a regular basis are their peers.

IQ measures academic potential and people can differ widely, but this isn't really relevant in a social environment where a more global intelligence is required. It is in these settings that sometimes that non-gifted children excel and show their intelligence. I guess I believe in multiple intelligences, but not as Gardner defines it in his 'theory of multiple intelligences'.
connieculkins is offline  
#28 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
JollyGG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
The reason why I don't promote respecting one's peers is because respecting usually implies that there is some divide between two parties. For example, you respect those of a different religion or a different political party because unless you make a great effort there will be tension of some sort. You respect those you might otherwise discriminate against. But this is only semantics and we all might use the word differently. I think that teaching a child to respect other children of the same age won't be conducive to bonding.
I'm going to agree with previous posters who mentioned that there seems to be an extreme difference in the use of the word respect. I don't want my children being friends with anyone they don't respect. I am not capable of being friends with those I don't respect.

To me respecting someone means that you feel they have value and treat them like they matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
As for children with more serious disabilities, these kids are not my children's peers as they are not part of the same societal group. The children with severe autism for example are in a completely different school. Kids with milder disabilities who they see on a regular basis are their peers.
How would a child with special needs be any less my child’s peer than another ND child? I'm really not understanding the point here. My son goes to a full time gifted school, does that mean that ND children are not his peers and that he shouldn't treat those kids the same as he would the kids in his class?

Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
IQ measures academic potential and people can differ widely, but this isn't really relevant in a social environment where a more global intelligence is required.
What do you mean by global intelligence? Do you mean common sense? Do you mean having a universally excepted set of social skills? Do you mean having a baseline/functional level of academic potential? I really don't understand what you are trying to say here.

As for the difference between social skills and talking down to someone. It's really just a matter of finding common interests. Last year at my son's baseball game I remember a couple of mothers who I really struggled to find common ground with. My version of small talk was to ask if anyone family had seen the meteor shower the night before. Theirs was to describe in minute detail their trip to the zoo with their family. Neither of was really interested in what the other one wanted to talk about. Good social skills means that we either needed to find new subjects in a search for common ground in order to have a mutually enjoyable conversation or we needed to find new people to converse with. It doesn't mean that either of us was more intelligent than the other it just means that we didn't have conversational topics in common right then. Poor social skills would have been either of us missing the nonverbal clues that the other wasn't interested and insisting on pursuing our own topic of interest.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
JollyGG is online now  
#29 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 05:18 PM
 
Lollybrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
The reason why I don't promote respecting one's peers is because respecting usually implies that there is some divide between two parties. For example, you respect those of a different religion or a different political party because unless you make a great effort there will be tension of some sort. You respect those you might otherwise discriminate against. But this is only semantics and we all might use the word differently. I think that teaching a child to respect other children of the same age won't be conducive to bonding.
To me, this is a very limited view of the meaning of "respect". I think respect involves having considerating for the feelings of other people and valuing them as human beings. I could not bond with someone who does not respect me and I would not expect my child to either.

Quote:
As for children with more serious disabilities, these kids are not my children's peers as they are not part of the same societal group. The children with severe autism for example are in a completely different school. Kids with milder disabilities who they see on a regular basis are their peers.
School is not society. Your child's social world is not limited to those who attend the same school. Children with severe disabilites are at the playground, the grocery store, places of worship, community events, etc. Besides, you might just be surprised at how many kids are mainstreamed these days. Additionally, there are "serious disabilites" that are physical impairments, but do not affect one's cognitive ability (IQ) or social skills.

Quote:
IQ measures academic potential and people can differ widely, but this isn't really relevant in a social environment where a more global intelligence is required.
I'm only familiar with the term "global intelligence" in the spy vs spy sense, so I'm not sure what you mean here.

Getting back to the question posed by the OP, I think some of this goes to the question of what giftedness really is. Is it just something that can be measured on an IQ test? Is it being "really super smart"? Or is it a different way of viewing of the world around you, making connections that other people generally would not make? Are gifted people "hard-wired" differently than non-gifted people, even really bright non-gifted people? Personally, I tend to think that giftedness is a different way of perceiving and experiencing the world around us. And if that is true, it should not be surprising that these differences sometimes result in social differences and the "nerd" or "geek" stereotype.

But then again, I'm not gifted, but I am kinda geeky, so maybe I'm wrong.

Lolly
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

Lollybrat is offline  
#30 of 55 Old 05-25-2010, 05:19 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by connieculkins View Post
The reason why I don't promote respecting one's peers is because respecting usually implies that there is some divide between two parties.
There's a really wonderful little book call The Holy Man that teaches that if one looks upon every one they meet as a holy person, they will be happy. I read the book to my kids and we discussed it. We believe that every person has a part of them that is sacred, and that if we can remember that as we deal with people, it will go better for us (and them!)

"Respect" is another word for that same idea -- of remember in all our dealings that other people worthy.

Quote:
As for children with more serious disabilities, these kids are not my children's peers as they are not part of the same societal group. The children with severe autism for example are in a completely different school. Kids with milder disabilities who they see on a regular basis are their peers.
Wow. As the parent of a special needs child, all I can say is Wow.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off