There is a lot of misinformation regarding gifted children including:

  • Gifted students will make it on their own - the cream will always rise to the top. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. Gifted students will not excel in school if they are not challenged academically. And students with unrecognized, exceptional ability may struggle in school for emotional or social reasons. Paradoxically, they may have learning difficulties despite their very high intelligence.
  • Academically gifted children are "nerdy." This is unfounded. Many highly gifted children excel in several areas, including academics, sports and the arts.
  • Gifted students have a lot of social problems, especially if they are accelerated in school. The child's maturity, physical stature, and friendships should be carefully considered in making any decision to accelerate them. Gifted students are no more likely to have social problems than other children, although they may have to deal with negative reactions of peers and adults to their high ability.
  • Programs for the gifted are elitist. Gifted students have special needs that are just as important as those of disabled students. Students whose academic and social needs are unmet in school are at risk for underachievement and emotional problems. Society places a high value on outstanding athletic ability. Gifted athletes cannot reach their full potential without strong coaching and special programs. The same applies to students with high academic potential.

What are the realities?

Gifted children have the same social and emotional needs as other children. They also need the adults around them to realize that the rate at which they learn and the age at which they experience social and emotional needs may be very different from other children their age. When these issues are properly addressed, gifted children can experience a healthy and extremely productive childhood.

Joan Pinkus, PhD 
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team