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What does Gifted mean?


poppy
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DS's French teacher has a good (to me) definition. She says the smart/bright kids are great about learning everything taught to them, and the kids that are gifted take all that information and either ask for more or asks questions that end up changing the lesson she started out with. 

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This might help.

 

I don't use the term gifted, though both of our boys have fallen into the category according to testing.  We tested for other reasons, and got the news from therapists, semi-unexpectedly (we were expecting different results, re: other issues).  We have had no reason to do testing for DD, and won't unless a clear need arises.  One of the boys is deeply in that category.  We just do what homeschoolers do, with him, and teach to his level, and seek to challenge him.  My reasoning for not using the label - anecdotal family issues.  I come from a family of Mensa members and "gifted" people.  The ones who were told and had it made into a Big Deal seemed to struggle with it more, with identity, and with expecting not to work as hard.  The ones who were not told, didn't have it made into a huge thing, seem more positive, more flexible, and more successful and happy.  It's purely personal though.  

 

I do think it's useful to know on some levels, because there are emotional issues that can come up, and it's important to know if you have a 2E kid, so you can teach to his/her strengths.

 

Probably not the answer you're seeking, but those are my thoughts.

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Gifted is used to refer to a student whose IQ score is at least 2 standard deviations above the mean on an individual IQ test.

 

Prodigy is used to refer to a pre-pubescent student who performs at the level of an adult professional.

 

These are the generally accepted definitions. Obviously, many school districts and parents use these terms in other ways and mix them up with the terms "talented", "advanced", and "high-achiever". And that's before you get into questions about the general concept of intelligence or questions about the validity and reliability of IQ tests.

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This site has a chart that compares three types of people - creative, high achiever, gifted.  I find it interesting, especially since I've never seen a person fall into one section of the chart but have a tendency to have a majority of one of the groups' traits, but have some in each of the other two groups as well.

 

 

My son is pretty evenly split between gifted and creative. Only two on the high achiever column.

 

I found this interesting.  I had long ago quit thinking of him as gifted even though he has some really quirky parts to his mind.  He definitely questions the need for all As.  'Now Mom, tell me again what is the benefit to all As?'  I attributed that thinking to being homeschooled and out of the loop about grades.

​Now though that he is in Vo Tech he has a grade of 100% which he is quite proud of.  And his teacher told me ds is very creative.  I know ds has never thought of himself as creative....but he is.

Edited by Scarlett
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I am seeing such a huuuuuge variety of responses that it almost seems meaningless as a category to me.  Is there a generally agreed upon definition in the gifted community?

 

Short answer, scoring at least 2 standard deviations above the norm on an individual IQ test (usually ~130) seems to be fairly accepted wrt identifying gifted students in the Hoagies' gifted community.  And I've seen that means of identification paired with a definition of giftedness as being above the norm in abstract thinking. 

 

Generally, I've seen two broad streams of thought in the gifted community - the achievement model (being gifted means producing accomplishments of note, well beyond that of peers) and the developmental advancement model (being gifted means being substantially ahead of peers in some/all areas).  With the achievement model, gifted education is about talent development: finding students with the potential to achieve and then supporting and nurturing that achievement.  With the developmental advancement model, gifted education is about finding students that are advanced beyond the norm in some areas (and so learn differently than their typical peers) and then supporting and educating them in line with how they learn.  The achievement/talent-development model focuses more on what gifted people *do*, while the development advancement model focuses more on who gifted people *are*.  There's some overlap in the two models, but sometimes the debate between the two gets contentious. 

 

Here's a pro-developmental advancement article contrasting the two: http://www.negifted.org/NAG/Spring_Conference_files/Giftedness%20101.pdf .  The author of the article tends to be pro-IQ-test for identification because it can uncover "hidden" giftedness, gifted kids that aren't obviously standing out wrt achievement in their current environment. 

Edited by forty-two
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I do think it's useful to know on some levels, because there are emotional issues that can come up, and it's important to know if you have a 2E kid, so you can teach to his/her strengths.

 

ITA

 

Even though oldest is probably quite gifted and even though we know through testing that youngest is, I usually only use the term when I need to discuss something relatied to youngest's 2e issues.

 

In general l don't like the term and think due to overuse it's become pretty much useless noise.

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It is rather overused often referring to high achieving students. But there is a big difference between a high achiever and a truly gifted student. High achievers are not outliers intellectually just at the higher end of normal ability. Gifted is above that and the effect on the person is pretty dramatic. Prodigy is yikes a whole nother ball of wax.

 

I was musically gifted and it was WELL beyond high achieving. I was uhm...an interesting child, LOL. I was not however a prodigy.

 

I have three high achiever kids whose IQ's bump gifted. I have one whose IQ at four had to be extrapolated because he was so high. He was a very challenging youngling, but is a wonderful teen.

 

Too many schools toss around the term gifted. Sheesh when my sister lived in Kentucky and worked in the local school district the "gifted" math class for 3rs graders was "we are learning our 4's times tables". Uhm really...because in my "advanced" 3rd grade math class way back in the dark ages known as the 70's we were beginning long division and adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators or easy to convert denominators like 1/2 and 1/4. No one claimed we were gifted, just capable of moving at a faster rate.

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For the mensa group on Facebook, whoever have the scores to qualify for mensa or who have kids who qualify. No one ask for proof.

 

For my local gifted children groups, both groups I know of asked for proof so we didn't join. I am not comfortable with a non-profit social organization having my kids IQ and achievements tests scores.

 

For my district and the public charter school we used, whatever the publisher of the IQ test say about the results as explained by a school psychologist. My district doesn't have a GATE program anymore but they used to have.

 

I do not think there is a generally agreed upon definition in the gifted community. There is already two local children groups for the Silicon Valley area, more in the SF Bay Area, even more in NorCal. Then there are the adult Mensa groups. Lots of local groups make their own criteria. The local private schools that claim they are for gifted kids don't have the same criteria either.

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I have a highly gifted son who falls into the genius category. He was very different than other children in many ways. It was not all sunshine and roses. He was a *very* difficult child to parent and I cried myself to sleep many nights. When your 6 month old is talking, your 15 month old speaks in complete sentences, your 3 year old is reading novels, and your 8 year old is working at a college level, but is also very immature and very intense, life is hard and other parents and children are not usually kind. The school was useless and sometimes even hostile about trying to meet his needs. Gifted kids learn and think in a completely different way than others. Our son saw a therapist who worked only with gifted kids. The therapist believed that a child on the far right end of the bell curve needed just as much educational differentiation as a child on the far left end because their needs were just as much off the norm. My awful experience in the school system with that child is why I'm homeschooling my younger children now. I have little respect for so-called gifted programs in schools.

 

Through an interesting series of events, my son met a brilliant, elderly scientist (you know some of his inventions!) who hired my son, mentors him, and paid for him to go back to college.

 

 

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2+ standard deviations above the mean on an IQ test but it doesn't have to be the full-scale IQ. "Twice exceptional" kids often have a very wide range of subscores because the disabilities prevent the child from showing the underlying high intellectual ability in all areas.

 

My youngest tested in the gifted range on a completely non-verbal IQ test but borderline low on the verbal portion of the Weschler preschool IQ test. If you look at her comprehensive language assessment, however, there are "splinter skills" that are in line with the non-verbal IQ test. So the underlying cognitive ability is there but her physical and learning disabilities are preventing her from reaching her full potential across-the-board.

 

High scores in all areas = "plain vanilla" gifted. I've got 2 of those.

High scores on certain subtests coupled with average or low scores on others = "twice exceptional"

 

ETA: The underlying high IQ is both a blessing and a curse for my 2E child. She figured out how to lip-read and use context clues to fill in the gaps as her hearing deteriorated. That is a crucial skill for her but it led to the hearing loss being missed by all her therapists, teachers, and us. If she hadn't been such a smart cookie, I am positive that somebody would've picked up on the fact that she could no longer hear properly sooner.

Edited by Crimson Wife
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What the term means depends on who is using it.  Consider context.

 

On the one hand, as the PPs noted, it is a term of art within the psychological and academic communities.  Professionals typically use the term to refer to a very particular range of IQ (see, e.g., the Hoagies references above).  Parents of kids within that IQ range typically use the term as having the same technical meaning, perhaps or perhaps not more loosely.

 

On the other hand, other people outside those communities may use the term with regard to a special talent or even much more generally, as in "every child is gifted."

Edited by wapiti
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For those with kids in public school, "gifted" can be a legal label (much like being labeled special ed) which can bring access to instruction at an appropriate level, time spent with like-minded peers, and access to certain classes and programs.  In schools and districts where many kids fall into this category, the label may not be particularly useful, as much of the regular instruction will meet the needs of gifted students.  However, in schools and districts where there are only a handful of kids who can be labeled gifted, the label can be a key tool in creating an appropriate atmosphere, both in terms of instruction level and social interaction with gifted peers, that helps to make school not only effective but emotionally tolerable.  Those two hours a week in a gifted pull-out program with peers from across the district - kids who get your jokes, who like the same things you like, who enjoy a challenging discussion or a tricky math problem or an opportunity to dig deeper into a scientific or historical topic - those two hours can keep a gifted kid challenged, sane, out of trouble, and on a good path to a stable future.

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I wish there were a different clinical label. GT is the only label my DD officially qualifies for, and the meaning is so much in the eye of the beholder that it's almost meaningless, except for those specific programs and situations that look at test scores.

 

I will tell you that it has been helpful in realizing that I wasn't just some sort of overzealous tiger mom who believed her angel was special. Having that documentation (at this point, in multiple forms of assessment) that says that, yes, this kid really does need something substantially more and quantitatively different than most kids her age has been kind of like a permission slip to meet her needs, even when it's scary. It's not the label so much, but the total picture, the highs, lows, and in betweens. The understanding that, yes, in some areas, she truly is one in a million-and in others, well, she's a plain old ordinary kid-and both extremes, and all in between levels, are part of her and need equal attention and support.

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I have a highly gifted son who falls into the genius category. He was very different than other children in many ways. It was not all sunshine and roses. He was a *very* difficult child to parent and I cried myself to sleep many nights. When your 6 month old is talking, your 15 month old speaks in complete sentences, your 3 year old is reading novels, and your 8 year old is working at a college level, but is also very immature and very intense, life is hard and other parents and children are not usually kind. The school was useless and sometimes even hostile about trying to meet his needs. Gifted kids learn and think in a completely different way than others. Our son saw a therapist who worked only with gifted kids. The therapist believed that a child on the far right end of the bell curve needed just as much educational differentiation as a child on the far left end because their needs were just as much off the norm. My awful experience in the school system with that child is why I'm homeschooling my younger children now. I have little respect for so-called gifted programs in schools.

 

Through an interesting series of events, my son met a brilliant, elderly scientist (you know some of his inventions!) who hired my son, mentors him, and paid for him to go back to college.

 

That is very cool and interesting!

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it should also be noted - gifted kids can still have learning disabilities.  1ds was in the gifted program - and had processing learning disabilities.  (probably capd - as it seems to run in the family). the gifted teacher was skeptical he even belonged in the program.  

(until one day she gave them an involved complex math problem which he whipped off - while everyone else (with no disabilities) were still working through it.)  those attitudes from teachers did derail him.  he's finally back on track and excited about what he's doing.)

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I wish there were a different clinical label. GT is the only label my DD officially qualifies for, and the meaning is so much in the eye of the beholder that it's almost meaningless, except for those specific programs and situations that look at test scores.

 

I will tell you that it has been helpful in realizing that I wasn't just some sort of overzealous tiger mom who believed her angel was special. Having that documentation (at this point, in multiple forms of assessment) that says that, yes, this kid really does need something substantially more and quantitatively different than most kids her age has been kind of like a permission slip to meet her needs, even when it's scary. It's not the label so much, but the total picture, the highs, lows, and in betweens. The understanding that, yes, in some areas, she truly is one in a million-and in others, well, she's a plain old ordinary kid-and both extremes, and all in between levels, are part of her and need equal attention and support.

Yes, the label can be useful for getting a kid's needs met, in so many ways. My oldest friend, from college days, is the director of the GT program at a magnet school. She was adamant that we have DS tested, and get that label, in case something changes re: our ability to homeschool. She wanted to be sure we had what he needed to go into a school and head straight to the program that would best fit his needs.

 

I never thought about the permission aspect, but now that you've said it - yes, having those test results made me feel freer to pursue more unusual or in depth paths for DS. That was a bonus.

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I know 35,252 kids in gifted and talented programs. I have two friends who send all their children to gifted magnet schools. Probably ... half the kids I know in public school, in different parts of the country.

I can't really believe that 50% of kids qualify as gifted; I get the impression the programs are enrichment for bored-but-not-disruptive kids.
So I guess I am trying to sort out what school means by gifted vs homeschool parents mean by gifted. 

 

I've heard giftedness described as a learning difference as profound as any learning disabilty.  ( I don't mean 2E, I mean, not able to cope in a regular classroom based solely on gifted status).

But that's obviously not the case for many.
It's a little fuzzy to me.

 

 

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So I guess I am trying to sort out what school means by gifted vs homeschool parents mean by gifted.

What school district means by gifted is school district dependent. I don't find having about half the cohort qualifying as unusual depending on the cutoff percentile used.

 

A district near mine classify this way

"We identify in the following categories:

· Intellectual: Students possessing superior intellectual ability who need and can profit from specially differentiated educational services beyond those normally provided by the standard school program. This is determined through an ability assessment which measures a child's potential to learn.

· Specific academic: Students who have superior ability in a specific academic area to the extent that they need and can profit from specially planned educational services beyond those normally provided by the standard school program. This is determined using STAR test scores.(see page 30 of the GATE Handbook)

· Leadership: Students possessing leadership ability who, not only assume leadership roles, but also are accepted by others as a leader, to the extent that they need and can profit from specially planned educational services beyond those normally provided by the standard school program. This is determined using multiple measures.

· Professional Judgment: Students who consistently function at a highly advanced level in multiple academic areas and have been recommended by an administrator, counselor, teacher, parent, student study team, and/or GATE Program Specialist. This is determined using multiple measures."

 

Another further away school district does this

"Each spring, we use a nonverbal ability test to screen all 2nd grade students for GATE services in Campbell Union School District. Students who score above a predetermined percentile are identified as GATE. "

 

ETA:

I know only one homeschool mom who tells one and all her child is gifted. Everyone else tend to be hush hush. No point making your (general) kid a walking target. Mine were targeted by their public school teachers and parents.

Edited by Arcadia
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Pretty sure my kids wouldn't test at the gifted level people are posting here (2 std deviations above), but the "standard" education in public schools here is set at such low expectations that my kids and many others would be bored out of their minds and would hate school. The beauty of homeschool is that you can do all of the wonderful enrichment stuff, extend conversations, go deeper, etc, and not have to have test scores to justify doing so!

 

I think most people want their kids to love learning, be challenged, and do cool projects and it's kind of sad that you have to slap a label on them to get that in many public school districts.

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I know 35,252 kids in gifted and talented programs. I have two friends who send all their children to gifted magnet schools. Probably ... half the kids I know in public school, in different parts of the country.

I can't really believe that 50% of kids qualify as gifted; I get the impression the programs are enrichment for bored-but-not-disruptive kids.

So I guess I am trying to sort out what school means by gifted vs homeschool parents mean by gifted. 

 

Selection for gifted programs is a tricky thing.  Some schools purposely over-select, using a variety of criteria ("body of evidence"; sorry but that edu-speak term makes me gag for some reason), often including an ability score cutoff around, say, the 95th percentile or even lower.  Others have a strict cutoff at the 98th percentile.  Importantly, note that ability scores in a school setting are typically based on a group screening test such as the CogAT, which is NOT an actual IQ test and probably misses as many gifted kids as it catches.  Hence the need for the body of evidence (teacher recommendations, etc.).  Some districts accept private testing, some do not.

 

I've heard giftedness described as a learning difference as profound as any learning disabilty.  ( I don't mean 2E, I mean, not able to cope in a regular classroom based solely on gifted status).

But that's obviously not the case for many.

It's a little fuzzy to me.

 

I would definitely not describe the difference as involving an ability to "cope."  Coping skills involve much more than intellectual ability and will differ widely among gifted kids.

 

Rather, imagine a 5th grader forced to sit through the topics commonly taught in 3rd grade math, that she already knows, every day and going on for years, with no access to the topics commonly taught at her level - sounds inappropriate, yes?  Gifted programming doesn't need to involve additional services, unlike a learning disability, but merely an appropriate level of learning.  Pace, on the other hand, is rarely on target for a gifted student in a public school outside of a self-contained, full-time gifted program or in newer situations where self-paced online instruction is involved.

 

I'll add one of my favorites from an old article at the Gifted Development Center that doesn't seem to be available on their website anymore:

 

When gifted children are not given opportunities to work at their own level and pace, they settle for less than their best. They learn to slide by without stretching themselves. Patterns of underachievement are subtle and cumulative; they become harder to overcome with each year. Students who attain A’s on their papers with no effort are not prepared to take more challenging classes in high school and college. When work is too easy, self-confidence to attempt difficult tasks is steadily eroded. A student who has the potential to win a scholarship to an Ivy League university settles for a B average at a state college.
Edited by wapiti
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I really think that every kid would benefit from going through neuropsych testing, if they are in a situation where they can actually get individualized instruction based on the results. Not to draw a line between gifted/not gifted or learning disabled/not learning disabled or what have you, but that knowing the highs, lows, and inbetweens is SO helpful. I understand why it isn't done-it's expensive and time consuming (which is why schools rely on brief screeners which probably moss more than they catch)- but it is helpful.

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No, I don't mean, gifted is a learning difference because kids are bored because they are being taught below their level.  That's any bright kid stuck in a low performing classroom.   (I grew up in a very poor low performing district , every college-prep kid was deeeeeeply bored).

I mean, I have heard it described as  pretty significant cognitive difference.

 

Or maybe I'm remembering wrong.

 

My interest: . I have one "typical" student*  and one who is a bit off the charts and am sorting through this.

* Typical meaning IQ in the normal range (above 110, below 130)  if you believe IQ scores, which I'm frankly skeptical about, but I do not believe she's at all accelerated so I guess I'm comfortable with "typical?"

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 (I grew up in a very poor low performing district , every college-prep kid was deeeeeeply bored).

 

This is one answer to your question about why so many parents try to get their kids into the local school's gifted program, teaching to the lowest level of ability, one-size-fits-all, No Child Let Ahead.  Obviously one size does not fit all, for lots of high achieving kids, but even moreso the further out we look on the bell curve.

 

As for the significance of the cognitive difference, I think it's both simpler and much more complicated than that.  Simpler, it's a disparity, and there are obviously different sizes of disparity.  More complicated in that processing can be completely different (e.g. sometimes much greater visual-spatial ability) and skills, particularly skills useful within a traditional classroom, can be radically asynchronous, i.e. not on the same level as intellectual ability.

 

This might help understanding too, the GDC's What Is Giftedness?  I could quote it, but then I'd end up quoting practically the whole thing.

Edited by wapiti
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This is one answer to your question about why so many parents try to get their kids into the local school's gifted program, teaching to the lowest level of ability, one-size-fits-all, No Child Let Ahead.

 

I'm past 40, so my childhood school boredom doesn't apply, lol.

I was in the gifted program in my school for what it's worth.  Was still bored. I didn't find it to be a meaningful category, at that time at least.

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I mean, I have heard it described as pretty significant cognitive difference.

Maybe you are thinking about savant, which was "shown" in Rain Man?

https://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/professional/savant-syndrome/resources/articles/rain-man-the-movie-rain-man-real-life/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/savants-cognition-thinking/

 

ETA:

The public school gifted programme I was in was not in the states, and had university mentorhips opportunities available for 7th graders and up. I'm more of a Wall Street person than R&D person so I didn't take advantage of the mentorship programme.

Edited by Arcadia
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I know 35,252 kids in gifted and talented programs. I have two friends who send all their children to gifted magnet schools. Probably ... half the kids I know in public school, in different parts of the country.

I can't really believe that 50% of kids qualify as gifted; I get the impression the programs are enrichment for bored-but-not-disruptive kids.

So I guess I am trying to sort out what school means by gifted vs homeschool parents mean by gifted. 

 

I've heard giftedness described as a learning difference as profound as any learning disabilty.  ( I don't mean 2E, I mean, not able to cope in a regular classroom based solely on gifted status).

But that's obviously not the case for many.

It's a little fuzzy to me.

 

In my son's school, I can tell you that 50% of the kids are NOT gifted.  For all of K-2 (612 students in the school) there were 11 kids in the Gifted and Talented pull out class.  For the entire DISTRICT (which has 14 elementary schools -- 12 of them have 4th and 5th graders), they made up a single contained class of 28. (then each school also has its gifted students in the regular pull outs.)

Edited by vonfirmath
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No, I don't mean, gifted is a learning difference because kids are bored because they are being taught below their level.  That's any bright kid stuck in a low performing classroom.   (I grew up in a very poor low performing district , every college-prep kid was deeeeeeply bored).

I mean, I have heard it described as  pretty significant cognitive difference.

 

Or maybe I'm remembering wrong.

 

My interest: . I have one "typical" student*  and one who is a bit off the charts and am sorting through this.

* Typical meaning IQ in the normal range (above 110, below 130)  if you believe IQ scores, which I'm frankly skeptical about, but I do not believe she's at all accelerated so I guess I'm comfortable with "typical?"

 

Gifted goes beyond IQ, there are usually a battery of cognitive skills evaluated in addition to the expectation that the IQ should be at least 2 std deviations above the norm.

I think, truly gifted is much more rare than some school districts define it. They don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or worse yet, get sued.

 

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No, I don't mean, gifted is a learning difference because kids are bored because they are being taught below their level. That's any bright kid stuck in a low performing classroom. (I grew up in a very poor low performing district , every college-prep kid was deeeeeeply bored).

 

I mean, I have heard it described as pretty significant cognitive difference.

 

I have, too, but iirc it was usually in the context of people who were 3-4 or more standard deviations from the norm. It's the idea that once the quantitative differences get large enough (how fast you learn, how deep you learn, how abstract you think) it makes for a qualitative difference in how you learn. And, actually, bright kids (call it 115-130 IQ) stuck in a low-performing classroom (targeted to the lowest "typical" IQ range, say 70-85 IQ) are three standard deviations above the targeted instruction level, and that's comparable to a kid with an IQ of 145 being in a classroom where the instructional level is geared for the "normal" child of 100. So I'd think your experience would be a decent comparison. I tend to experience that kind of boredom as there just not being *enough* to think about - not enough material, not enough depth, too much repetition. It's like being at a feast where there's two bites per course and there's five hours between courses - and everyone else seems to eat at a 1 bite/2.5hr pace, like it's the most normal thing in the world. But you are starving and ready to eat the tablecloth. At a certain point, when the differences in speed of learning and amount of material become great enough, it kind of becomes a whole 'nother way of learning.

The therapist believed that a child on the far right end of the bell curve needed just as much educational differentiation as a child on the far left end because their needs were just as much off the norm.

I've heard the same - that a child with an IQ of 130 is as far from the norm (and as equally rare in the general population) as a child with an IQ of 70 (two standard deviations from the norm); a child with an IQ of 145 is as far from the norm as a child with an IQ of 55 (three standard deviations); a child with an IQ of 160 is as far from the norm as a child with an IQ of 40 (four standard deviations); and a child with an IQ of 175 is as far from the norm as a child with an IQ of 25 (five standard deviations). Edited by forty-two
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I have met a half dozen moms who tell me they began homeschooling because their gifted kid is so advanced and the school couldn't accommodate. I take them at their word and assume the kids is working above grade level. I have yet to see that actually ring true. Then eventually they start talking about how the kid is struggling with grade-level Saxon math, reading low level books and struggling to write - definitely not academically advanced. Some are new to homeschooling and so maybe they haven't yet figured out how to work out of the box? And maybe the school wasn't a good fit for other reasons. But I don't even talk to people about how my kid is working 2-3 grades ahead across the board, so it perplexes me that parents are so open about their exceptional kids. Especially when it is easily verified, you know?

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I'm past 40, so my childhood school boredom doesn't apply, lol.

I was in the gifted program in my school for what it's worth.  Was still bored. I didn't find it to be a meaningful category, at that time at least.

 

On the other hand, perhaps that applies even more now than it did then.  I am 48 and at least back then there seemed to be some classroom grouping by ability, more than there is in many schools now.

 

I would agree that many school gifted programs aren't necessarily meaningful, particularly weekly pullouts.  Our district has a full-time gifted elementary program, but the child must be one grade level ahead across all subjects - I don't know any gifted kids like that LOL.  (I have kids on level in language arts and 2-4 grade levels ahead in math.)

 

Maybe the issue still is one of terminology.  If we lived in a place with an exact replica of the bell curve, the top 2% are still around us, not super-rare unicorns.  Also, there is sometimes confusion between the frequency of giftedness and something like the unofficial term "genius."

 

Possibly some groups of people skew more heavily toward one side or another of the bell curve and that may contribute to our perceptions.  For example, many/most of my dh's partners near our age or younger (dh is 50), would be in the top two percent for intellectual ability.  Giftedness isn't a rare beast in our world at all.

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I have a highly gifted son who falls into the genius category. He was very different than other children in many ways. It was not all sunshine and roses. He was a *very* difficult child to parent and I cried myself to sleep many nights. 

<snip>

 Liking this wasn't enough.

 

I understand completely. Most of my young mothering years were spent running to catch up with my DS. It was exhausting, physically and emotionally. 

 

Along the lines of a PP, our DS's intelligence level masked a number of issues that lead to problems down the road. By the time he was no longer able to compensate, the issues needed immediate and ongoing treatment. To this day, I wonder how things might have been different if we would have caught things sooner.

 

I was quite lucky to have met a group of mothers with gifted boys at a homeschool conference. Being able to share experiences and learn how others were dealing with similar situations was life changing. It was where I learned about Hoagie and the Davidson Institute. The resource sharing was priceless. I think quite often parents of gifted children find themselves feeling alone, inadequate, and helpless. Finding appropriate resources for the parent and the child is foundational to future success.

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No, I don't mean, gifted is a learning difference because kids are bored because they are being taught below their level.  That's any bright kid stuck in a low performing classroom.   (I grew up in a very poor low performing district , every college-prep kid was deeeeeeply bored).

I mean, I have heard it described as  pretty significant cognitive difference.

 

Or maybe I'm remembering wrong.

 

My interest: . I have one "typical" student*  and one who is a bit off the charts and am sorting through this.

* Typical meaning IQ in the normal range (above 110, below 130)  if you believe IQ scores, which I'm frankly skeptical about, but I do not believe she's at all accelerated so I guess I'm comfortable with "typical?"

 

My 6yo would be labeled gifted in a public school classroom.  Here, he's proud to wear the label of 1st grader, a huge step up from Kindergarten.

 

He ebbs and flows.  Once he is introduced to something he mulls it over and then outperforms his peers.  At times he can look behind (having no interest) and then the next week or month jump far ahead and skip half a dozen steps in between.  He's not always a pleasant child.  He gets frustrated when others don't make the same jumps he does.  He doesn't want to slow down and pace through the gaps again.  He also doesn't ever think he's wrong  :lol: unless it's a correction by someone he respects.  It's a little like living with a miniature Sheldon Cooper. Our schooling is starting to run more toward child-directed because it's exhausting trying to keep up some days. And now we just found out he may be musically inclined and well, that's going to be more fun if so.  Perfection drives him.

 

At the same time, I don't know if he's gifted at all.  He's just My Kid, and develops at My Kid's pace.  I don't have a classroom to compare him to and sometimes I think he's just difficult.  Or I would really like to be able to take credit for teaching him something, not just facilitating it. :laugh: Maybe he's not being taught the right things, and would have a difficult time in a public school classroom. 

 

I haven't had him tested.  He'd need to cooperate with the tester and not be suspicious of him/her.

 

I was actually tested as a child and placed in a real gifted class.  We each had an area we shined in and a dedicated teacher who spent her time fostering those gifts.  It was not the pull-out class of the current school system here, but was more akin to a special ed classroom, with individualized learning and group projects.  I wouldn't mind something like that still in the system, but it was removed due to budget cuts and parents. 

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I have met a half dozen moms who tell me they began homeschooling because their gifted kid is so advanced and the school couldn't accommodate. I take them at their word and assume the kids is working above grade level. I have yet to see that actually ring true. Then eventually they start talking about how the kid is struggling with grade-level Saxon math, reading low level books and struggling to write - definitely not academically advanced. Some are new to homeschooling and so maybe they haven't yet figured out how to work out of the box? And maybe the school wasn't a good fit for other reasons. But I don't even talk to people about how my kid is working 2-3 grades ahead across the board, so it perplexes me that parents are so open about their exceptional kids. Especially when it is easily verified, you know?

My kids work ahead of grade level and I tend to call them average as well. They're bright, but only one do I suspect is profoundly gifted. That said, IQ being the litmus my husband and I both qualify easily and these things tend to be hereditary, so I'd expect our kids to perform similarly so it's 'normal' for us. We have one member of the family who is indeed profoundly gifted in a family of high achieving more typical range gifted people. Big, big difference, and not necessarily for the better. That person struggles very much with boredom, pessimism, social cues, etc, even while being confoundingly brilliant.

 

I'll take the normal level around this family - I don't think any of the adults have an IQ below about 135 in the immediate set of family members. But most of us aren't wired so differently we strike people as 'abnormal' and that's so much easier :(. We can 'pass' for average in most situations that aren't work/academic.

 

At least when I was in elementary school in the 90's, I missed the cut off for the GATE class in third grade by a few points overall. Turns out I was topping out in several areas and just average in others, but still not well served in normal track classes. They retested me one on one by a different metric and moved me the next week. Much, much better fit academically. I continued in that track until high school and then went on to the AP/accelerated track with no problems. I would say most of us who had those classes together were more high achieving, bright, typically gifted than profoundly gifted, many of those kids just ended up at a charter school or homeschooled due to social AND academic misery. That was a common theme among the scary-smart, bored, and 2e kids I can remember seeing. So in some ways the GATE classes still self selected for middle of the pack gifted, more than the full range.

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I think I've decided "gifted" has just about as much meaning as "middle class" (yes, that is sarcasm).

 

Two books that I found interesting and that really challenge some of these definitions:

 

Ungifted

 

The End of Average

 

The first explores the development and usefulness of the idea of giftedness and IQ, and the second really challenges the idea using a bell curve to categorize people. Both of these books gave me some different ways to think about these issues.

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I know 35,252 kids in gifted and talented programs. I have two friends who send all their children to gifted magnet schools. Probably ... half the kids I know in public school, in different parts of the country.

I can't really believe that 50% of kids qualify as gifted; I get the impression the programs are enrichment for bored-but-not-disruptive kids.

So I guess I am trying to sort out what school means by gifted vs homeschool parents mean by gifted. 

 

I've heard giftedness described as a learning difference as profound as any learning disabilty.  ( I don't mean 2E, I mean, not able to cope in a regular classroom based solely on gifted status).

But that's obviously not the case for many.

It's a little fuzzy to me.

 

Well in theory only 5 in a hundred, or 1 in 20, kids will score above the 95th percentile.  But kids aren't spread out evenly.  In my area, some districts are full of the children of professors who work at a highly selective college; others are full of the children of folks who didn't graduate high school.  The proportion of gifted kids in each district is significantly different.  In my own district, there are only about 20 gifted-identified kids at each grade level, district-wide, and that's after many years of building up awareness of the program among teachers and parents.

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I think some schools start really low. And, in a way, they should. Kindergarten is the beginning of school so it makes sense to start at the beginning. Lots of kids from more enriched environments start kindergarten way above grade level without too much effort. They can read and add and subtract within 20, etc. The two kindergartners in my neighborhood are still doing colors, shapes, counting, forming letters and numbers, letter sounds and rhyming in school. They are way ahead of that. And kindergarten these days is very academic-which is so boring if you already know the material. So parents push for their kids to get gifted education so their child actually learns something during the day. Most of the kids probably aren't actually gifted, but they aren't getting an education in the regular class either.

 

I get it. My 4yr old can read and does well with lots of math things. He likely isn't gifted. Four is in the range of normal for learning to read. However, he doesn't start school for another year and a half. Of course he would be bored in kindergarten by then. And if he had to go to public kindergarten, I would be pushing for gifted ed for him.

 

ETA: I guess I define gifted as having an IQ of 130 or higher. Of course, the IQ test has lots of problems.

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Also, sometimes they are gifted in one "category" or whatever and not everything.  I can try to find the link on Hoagies Gifted later that breaks down the categories.  My 11 year-old is working at a beginning college level in one subject.  I have to take her to a teacher (a real teacher - Lol) and pay her to work with my daughter once a week.  But, my daughter isn't accelerated in anything else.  I've never had her tested, but she's probably exactly on grade level for everything except that one subject.  In fact, she has a tendency to choose books that are a little below what a 6th grader should be reading.  Also, she still spends most of her day playing with Legos, little animal figurines, matchbox cars, etc - so she probably would seem off-kilter compared to other 6th graders.  

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Also, sometimes they are gifted in one "category" or whatever and not everything.  I can try to find the link on Hoagies Gifted later that breaks down the categories.  My 11 year-old is working at a beginning college level in one subject.  I have to take her to a teacher (a real teacher - Lol) and pay her to work with my daughter once a week.  But, my daughter isn't accelerated in anything else.  I've never had her tested, but she's probably exactly on grade level for everything except that one subject.  In fact, she has a tendency to choose books that are a little below what a 6th grader should be reading.  Also, she still spends most of her day playing with Legos, little animal figurines, matchbox cars, etc - so she probably would seem off-kilter compared to other 6th graders.  

 

Yes.

 

I believe that most newer criteria for giftedness no longer look at just full scale IQ but rather at the individual subcategory scores.

 

Youngest DS's (2e) full scale IQ only puts him in the high average range. But that's because his profile is so spiky. In some categories he's two to more than three standard deviations above the norm, and in other categories he's almost two standard deviations below the norm. The peaks put him solidly in the gifted category. The psychiatrist who did his testing said that his profile is so spiky it's impossible to pinpoint his full scale IQ with any degree of accuracy and so it should be disregarded. And she pointed out that full scale IQ isn't really relevant anymore anyway.

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