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Just because a child is intellectually bright, doesn’t mean that they don’t have struggles. Like any group of individuals who are outside the norm, myths and stereotypes abound when it comes to “gifted” children – even among teachers and school counselors, who often receive no training on the traits and needs to this population.

So what should educators know about these kiddos? Here’s what they wish all teachers knew:

  • This is a true form of neurodiversity. My brain is developing differently, so I take in – and interpret – input in atypical ways. Navigating life in this way isn’t nearly as easy as people assume.
  • The ways in which I’m outside the norm extend beyond academics. Intellectual “giftedness” often has social and emotional implications, as well. Just ask my mom!
  • I may be more sensitive to sensory input than my peers; however, that doesn’t automatically mean I’m on the spectrum. Most “gifted” kids aren’t.
Like any group of individuals who are outside the norm, myths and stereotypes abound when it comes to “gifted” children.  what do educators need to know about these kiddos? Here’s what they wish you knew.
  • Being intellectually “gifted” means that my drive to learn and be challenged can feel almost as important as food or air. When this need isn’t met (or when I’m learning about something that I love and have to switch gears), I may become really sad, frustrated or angry – sometimes to the point of full-blown dysregulation. This type of intensity is called the intellectual overexcitability (OE).
  • Being “gifted” doesn’t guarantee that I’ll succeed in school…or life. In fact, I may become so despondent that I mentally check out or even drop out. Many kids like me also grapple with clinical depression and/or anxiety disorders, which can be debilitating.
Like any group of individuals who are outside the norm, myths and stereotypes abound when it comes to “gifted” children.  what do educators need to know about these kiddos? Here’s what they wish you knew.
  • Because we’re intense by nature, many of us have an unusually strong sense of justice. In addition, we may become frustrated or anxious when others don’t care about an issue as much as we do.
  • The higher my IQ, the more different I’ll seem to my classmates, neighbors…and everyone. That can be really difficult, especially if I’m an extrovert and crave friendship.
  • I’ve always seen life through a unique lens and don’t know anything different. That makes it difficult for me to explain how and why my experiences differ from those of my age peers. As a result, kids like me often feel weird, misunderstood and marginalized.
  • There’s more to me than my potential. When adults focus on this too much, it puts an incredible amount of pressure on me. Please remind me that it’s okay to make mistakes.
  • Like anyone else, I want to be respected and valued. So, take the time to understand me as an individual; not only my interests and strength areas, but my fears and struggles, as well. (Yes, I have those, too.)
  • I’m a pretty cool person when you get to know me! 😉

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Want to learn more about all of your students? I love this teacher-student communication activity by Christine Weis, For the Love of Teachers TpT shop owner and blogger.

pattias