SMART is not EASY
This list was adapted from the blog, “12 Things I Wish I Had Known About My Young Gifted Kids.” For the full, awesome, original article, visit: https://www.smartisnoteasy.com/blogs/post/12-Things
Gifted programs are not elitist. They are essential for social justice.
Gifted kids have significant special needs – perfectionism, intensity, sensitivity, higher incidence of learning differences, misunderstood by teachers and peers – and those needs deserve to be addressed.
The point is developing grit and growth mindset, not achievement
Schoolwork needs to be hard enough for gifted kids to have to put forth real effort, so that they develop grit, growth mindset, persistence, perseverance, tolerance for mistakes, and a solid work ethic. Those life skills matter more than any single subject taught in K-12 schools. To build those skills with a gifted kid, we need to provide them with additional depth and complexity, so that school is actually challenging.
Stealth disabilities are common
Gifted kids with a disability, learning difference, or other neurodiversity are called “twice exceptional” or 2e for short. When a 2e kid is in a too-easy classroom, they may be able to compensate so thoroughly for a disability that it becomes nearly invisible. Sometimes they are working so hard to compensate, that they don’t appear to be gifted either.
Perfectionism / Risk Avoidance
Kids who struggle with perfectionism seldom hand in perfect work. Instead, they avoid doing the work. They procrastinate. They have trouble making decisions, because they aren’t sure which is the right answer. They are impatient with others who aren’t “doing it right.” They melt down at the first sign of trouble. They are super sensitive to criticism. They are afraid to try. What’s really going on? They are dodging any chance of making mistakes. Perfectionism is about avoiding risk. And long term, that risk avoidance can snowball and become an even bigger problem. Helping kids learn to take appropriate risks, tolerate frustration, and get up and try again is an important life goal, and it takes lots of practice.
They need peers
Gifted kids have more sophisticated conceptions of friendship earlier than typically developing children, but may not have the practical social skills to go along with it. And all kids, typically developing or gifted, go through crucial social development stages that are all about “friends who are just like me.” Without access to other similar peers, it’s no wonder why some gifted kids’ social development gets pretty bumpy.
Smart kids don’t have it easy
Whether it’s perfectionism, sensitivity, intensity, existential angst, imposter syndrome, multipotentiality, or more – there’s a lot for gifted kids to manage that goes far beyond academics. People assume that gifted kids will be successful without help, and that gifted kids are overachievers in every area. But that is rarely true. The vast majority of gifted kids have uneven, asynchronous development, and have unique challenges in their social-emotional development.