Opinions & Experiences

Is Your Child Gifted?

Is Your Child Gifted?


Warning: I’m about to tick off the parents of “gifted” children. 



Every single child in this world is gifted.

I detest the word, “gifted”, it implies “my child has gifts, yours does not”. It’s usually based on testing, which anyone with a little knowledge of test assessment knows they are flawed instruments and speak to only a small percentage of humans who’s brains are wired for that sort of evaluation.

A child on the spectrum can have skills far reaching our comprehension, but more than likely will not test as “gifted”.

Anyone who has ever met a child or adult with Down’s Syndrome can attest, they have gifts of love, joy and compassion the rest of us strive for and will most likely never attain.

Here are some people whom would not have tested as “gifted”

Albert Einstein – Didn’t speak until he was 4. His parents thought he had a learning disability. His educators thought he was lazy and sloppy.

Jules Verne – Did poorly in school, had an inability to focus, probably would have been diagnosed with ADHD. 

Leonardo da Vinci – Savant like skills dedicated to art and science, probably would have been diagnosed with Asberger’s.

Agatha Christie –  Diagnosed with Dysgraphia which affected her ability to understand the written word.

Thomas Edison – Severely dyslexic, was taken out of school and taught by his Mother because he wasn’t able to do the work.

F. Scott Fitzgerald – Expelled from school for his inability to focus. Most likely would have been diaganosed with ADHD.

Alexander Grahm Bell – Struggled with school most likely due to dyslexia.

The point I’m getting at is this, when are we going to stop putting people in boxes? Why do we need a category for everything? Everyone is unique and everyone is born with gifts. When we start taking our littlest minds and putting them in a box we have failed them. We have decided a future for them and handed them a label.

What would this world look like if all those great minds listed above had been labeled all the many names we have for the uniqueness of children and put in a box?

A child is gifted until we tell them they are not. 

19 thoughts on “Is Your Child Gifted?”

  1. I could not agree more, every child has a gift to offer the world–until they are told otherwise. I don’t mind parents taking pride in their child but I wish their pride didn’t attempt to diminish my child.

    1. I just spent a little time on your blog and I hope you understand I was talking to you and your little one. I’ve not walked in your shoes, but I can say with out a doubt that “giftedness” as little to do with a label. Thank you for stopping by and thank you for sharing Caroline’s story. For that matter, Vivian’s as well, I love that she calls Autism “awesome”.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts. As Vivian would say all of us are on the “awesome” spectrum. Labels are only necessary when they result in services, they should not be used to place kids or adults in a box. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  2. I like your thinking. “We’ll take the label if it gets my kid what she needs”. Perfect! I started following your blog and can’t wait to read more of your journey.

  3. You certainly didn’t tick me off.
    I think that the label is highly unfortunate in its implications – however as Kacie said ““We’ll take the label if it gets my kid what she needs” – in our case “he”.
    I can’t stand the ‘gifted’ box – As you have said, it is very confining and as so many gifted people in so many other areas are missed, it has only a very narrow meaning.
    However, when our son was in school it was the only label that we could use to try to get the understanding that he needed – well, actually he usually didn’t get any help at all – but as schools are all about ticking boxes, it was the only box we could tick to try to get help.

  4. I didn’t for one minute think it would offend you, we both know and are learning the rules of the game.

    I am incensed, not with parents who get this is a game, but the parents who think their child is gifted “above others”.As I flipped from blog to blog of parents so proud of their “gifted” children I almost caught on fire. They didn’t think their children were rare or unique, they thought they were better. And that is and never will be the case.

    When I was writing this post I was thinking of the Kacies and the Carolines of the world. I thought of the many talented, creative, loving, extraordinary children and adults I have had the pleasure to know who would never have been considered “gifted”. They instead are considered learning disabled. To me this is a clear black and white issue. We can not allow children the miss out on the most basic of human needs,appreciation. Appreciation for the many gifts all children have to offer.

    1. That was a truly well crafted post. Yes, the box can go the other way. I recently read the story of a young man who was tested with a 178 IQ. From that point on he faced a mountain of “this is easy for you, why can’t you get it”. It was not a happy ending. He never found his true gifts and as an adult is still searching.

      I waiver on how to motivate my children without them getting their confidence from me. I want to support them, but also allow them to experience their successes. It’s forced me to change my ways of communicating, from “Good Job”, to “are your proud of yourself”. From “you did so good you get a sticker”, to ” are you finished, tell me what you learned”. It’s hard, I want to constantly praise my children, because I am constantly proud of them. It’s a fine line.

      I had a friend in high school who came home with a first place medal. When she showed her parents the medal she admitted to having flubbed a few bars of the song, her Mother’s response “well you will have to do better next time”. She didn’t get to enjoy, that despite a mistake, her talent was immense. Her Mother ripped that away from her. It broke my heart. I don’t ever want to be that parent.

      1. Remarkable stories, D. I’m totally with you. It’s an ongoing journey, watching and helping theirs along as much as it is ours.

        “motivate my children without them getting their confidence from me.”

        Wow, thoughtful.

        Whether you get to this or not, I look fwd to revisiting when time allows tonight. This one might zing you, too: Well, What If You’re Not Good Enough?” My guest post:


        Talk again. Here or at yours. =)


  5. Already read it! And yes, it got me, right where it needed to! I’m really enjoying both blogs. Although I am a bit confused as to who’s who, but enjoying it all the same.

  6. I completely agree with you, Diedre. It’s a phrase which grates against me no end, and generally does more harm than good. I especially like the line you finish on.

    1. It really was one of those righteous indignation ranting moments, but luckily it seemed to come across a lot softer in black and white. Thanks for the comment! I really enjoyed your post about all the ways to steal from Bunnings. Gave me quite a chuckle.

  7. Great point, Deidre, and I totally agree with you. I was in a group in elementary called “Project Potential”. We actually got to leave our regular classes at a specific time (imagine 3-4 kids getting up and leaving in front of the whole class, probably 15-20 of us total) and work with a different teacher for an hour or two at a time, a few days a week. Looking back it was actually in the style of the Montessori method…we chose what we got to work on and the teacher went from student to student working with us. I remember doing higher level math, and other things that interested me at the time. Being chosen for this group was considered when deciding which level/classes I went into in middle school and ultimately “helped” me get placed in AP classes in high school. I have a close friend that went to the same schools growing up, but wasn’t chosen for whatever reason (most likely standardized test scores) into “Project Potential”. She was never placed into “advanced” or AP classes. The kids that did go ended up in most of my classes through senior year. My close friend remembered watching us leaving for “Project Potential” thinking how less than she was that she didn’t get to go. The name of this group alone is insulting. For some reason because of our scores and maybe because we also had good behaviors in class, we were given “potential”, every one else just got the standard level of schooling. The effects of labeling go way into our adult years. There’s a powerful book called “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. It talks about the difference between having a “growth” versus a “fixed” mindset. Even labeling children as advanced can put them into a fixed mindset that stunts them from growing from failures, and once they reach their goals they simply stop there because of their fear of failing and breaking the label they live by. You’re right, Deidre: EVERY child is gifted. Every child deserves to be treated this way. Every child has their own potentials and have greatness now, no matter what their talents or interests. We need to end the labeling game in schools, stop depending on tests for funding and even teacher salaries. I read an article recently about the pressures the teachers face in how their students perform on these tests and how it can determine their salaries and their positions in the school. I couldn’t disagree with these tests and labels in schools more!

  8. “Warning: I’m about to tick off the parents of “gifted” children. ”

    Love it! Hahah! But I honestly can’t see how anyone who read this post could actually get ticked. You make some really great points and I totally agree! Every child is gifted! We all have different gifts. Now that I’m seeing more clearly how kids are being categorized, it really makes me sick. I was in an online high-school orientation for my son a couple weeks ago and I saw this firsthand as the counselors explained the three categories or levels the students would find themselves in, which to me translated to: ” 1)Failure – you’re behind everyone else and probably always will be 2) Right on Target! Good work! 3) Success! You’re better than everyone else!

    You know what I’m saying? I hope more people are able to open their minds to the reality you wrote about here and we start seeing what these children actually have to offer!

    I’m also really looking forward to my kids being out of public school very soon!

    1. If I did tick them off they didn’t have the guts to comment.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if the grading system was. “Did you understand everything?”, “Seems like you got a good handle on things, wanna try again?” and “Let’s move on, you got it.”

      The number of children diagnosed with Autism who are still very young doing graduate and doctoral level work are incredible. I found so many stories while doing research for this post. It made me wonder if perhaps Autism isn’t something entirely different than what we think it is. I started to use them as examples, but I thought people we know who have done great things would be a bit more powerful.

      I wish I had some help for you. I can tell you http://www.unschooledfuture.com has a 13 year old son he is homeschooling and is one of those parents who would be happy to share all of his resources. I understand http://www.khanacademy.org is exceptional for Math and Sciences after 3rd grade.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m going to go check out your blog now. Look forward to reading about your journey.

  9. Great post. All people have some sort of gift or gifts. We don’t have the “eyes” to recognize all gifts.

    One thing I have tried to tell my children is that smart is not something you are…but something you do! And to be “YOUR best self”…not someone else.

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