Despite what people think, many who are gifted don’t achieve within the traditional school comparisons. Yes, they have high IQ’s and some even crazy high IQ’s, but some hide in the cracks or actually fail in school. Not all gifted students get straight A’s. Not all gifted students are even motivated by grades. Not all gifted students are excellent test takers. For some, school is so boring they tune out or become disruptive. For others, the school subjects are not interesting or relevant to them so they have already figured out the bare minimum effort needed to pass. For another group, school is so painful because of the bullying. And for even others, they purposely hide their giftedness to maintain their peer status or to not be perceived as a “know-it-all.” What is worse, many gifted find school so easy that they end up failing when they get to college because they had not learned any study skills and were not challenged.
There are other areas that the gifted may actually achieve in that are not found in traditional school comparisons such as music, art, engineering, sports, perfectionism, anxiety, fear of failure, and underachievement. I am sure you noticed some of the areas listed are not so positive. But the truth is, being gifted is not easy and comes with its own unique challenges. And, in the traditional school setting, many gifted are actually excelling in the areas of perfectionism, anxiety, fear of failure, and underachievement to their detriment. This can also lead to them not ever reaching their potential.
Often times the gifted excel at heightened senses, emotions, and energies. This is definitely the not so fun side of being gifted. These create difficulties on many levels that can include self-esteem issues, guilt, perfectionism, control issues, unrealistic expectations, impatience, friendship issues, attention difficulties, burnout, imposter syndrome, and organizational issues. However, when their energy is channeled and they are given emotional support these differences can create great strengths. There is a lot of research on the neurological differences that cause this (sensory processing or overexcitabilities). Again, this is another area that is not part of traditional achievement and ignored when people first hear someone is gifted.
Gifted individuals truly think and feel different. Their brains are wired differently. In addition, they are often asynchronous (cognitive, physical, emotional, social, and academic skills all at different levels). This is a “dark” side or “other achievement” side to giftedness. The number of gifted students leaving public school is rising due to the lack of appropriate services and their needs not being met in the traditional school setting. Gifted children need support in order to be successful.
Here are some additional readings on the “other side” of giftedness:
- “Another Side of Giftedness” from Rochester SAGE
- “The Dark Side of Being a Gifted Kid” by Marcello di Cintio
- “Watching Prodigies for the Dark Side” from Scientific American
- “10 Facts About Social-Emotional Needs of the Gifted” by Byrdseed
- “Vulnerabilities of Highly Gifted Children” from the Davidson Institute
- “Social and Emotional Problems Affecting Gifted children” by Carol Bainbridge
- “Exploring Social and Emotional Aspects of Giftedness in Children” from SENG
- “The Double-Edged Sword of Giftedness” from Psychology Today
Here are resources to help support gifted children (there are even more resources than listed):
- “Social/Emotional Aspects of Giftedness” from Hoagies’ (Hoagies’ actually has lots of resources)
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) has lots of resources and has support groups in many cities throughout the US
- “Best Practices for Supporting Gifted and Talented” from Benchmark Education
- “Tips for Teachers” from the Davidson Institute
- “50 Essential Links for the Parents of Gifted Children” from the Open Education Database
This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “Other Achievement: When Your Child Doesn’t Achieve Where You Hope.” I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.
Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser: www.HoagiesGifted.org/blog_hop_other_achievement.htm