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Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students Part 4

Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students Part 4

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - May 10th, 2018

Myth: Gifted Students are Happy, Popular and Well-Adjusted in School.

Many gifted students flourish in their community and school environment.  However, some gifted children differ in terms of their emotional and moral intensity, sensitivity to expectations and feelings, perfectionism, and deep concerns about societal problems. Others do not share interests with their classmates, resulting in isolation or being labeled unfavorably as a “nerd.” Because of these difficulties, the school experience is one to be endured rather than celebrated.

Here’s what we recommend at

Find the places where your children flourish and fan those gifts into flame!  This may mean extra steps and calls (and fees) from you, but they are a valuable investment in your children’s future.  Perhaps they love languages, find areas where they can practice what they have learned and over time, perhaps send them on a summertime program in that country.  Or maybe they like computers.  Get them involved in cybersecurity programs or summer camps.  It’s likely that whatever your child is interested in, there is a place for them to take part–and if there’s not, then there’s an opportunity for you to help your child create a place for that!

Myth: Our District Has a Gifted and Talented Program, We Have AP Courses.

While AP classes offer rigorous, advanced coursework, they are not a gifted education program. The AP program is designed as college-level classes taught by high school teachers for students willing to work hard. The program is limited in its service to gifted and talented students in two major areas: First AP is limited by the subjects offered, which in most districts is only a small handful. Second it is limited in that, typically, it is offered only in high school and is generally available only for 11th and 12th grade students. The College Board acknowledges that AP courses are for any student who is academically prepared and motivated to take a college-level course.


Myth: Gifted Education Requires an Abundance of Resources

Offering gifted education services does not need to break the bank. A fully developed gifted education program can look overwhelming in its scope and complexity.  However, beginning a program requires little more than an acknowledgement by district and community personnel that gifted students need something different, a commitment to provide appropriate curriculum and instruction, and teacher training in identification and gifted education strategies.

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Be pro-active, as a parent.  If your district does not offer a gifted education program, do your research for your state and figure out what a gifted program could/should look like and present it to the local school board.  You might be the change your district needs–and it will be such a rich gift to your child and others in your area!

Myth: That Child Can’t Be Gifted, He has a Disability

Some gifted students also have learning or other disabilities. These “twice-exceptional” students often go undetected in regular classrooms because their disability and gifts mask each other, making them appear “average.” Other twice-exceptional students are identified as having a learning disability and as a result, are not considered for gifted services. In both cases, it is important to focus on the students’ abilities and allow them to have challenging curricula in addition to receiving help for their learning disability.**

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Check out these posts: Twice Exceptional Children and Gifted and Special Education

Developed from a longer list of myths explored in a special of Gifted Child Quarterly (GCQ) in the Fall of 2009
*Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., & Gross, M.U.M. (2004). A nation deceived:  How schools hold back America’s brightest students.  Iowa City: University of Iowa.

**Olenchak. F. R., & Reis, S. M. (2002) Gifted students with learning disabilities. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. Robinson, and S. Moon (Eds.), The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children (pp. 177-192).  Waco TX:  Prufrock Press.

Week One: Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students

Week Two: Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students, Part 2

Week Three: Debunking the Myths about Gifted Students, Part 3

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