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Meeting the Special Needs of Your Gifted Child

Meeting the Special Needs of Your Gifted Child

By Amalah

Dear Amy,

You did such a great job (with the help of the wonderful moms who commented) of answering my last question about my 9 year old son with ADHD who had trouble sleeping. I have another question and was hoping I could tap into your wisdom once again.

This question is regarding my 7 year old daughter. I have four kids. The 9 year old has ADHD, inattentive type. He’s followed by our quiet, sensitive, artistic 7 year old daughter. She is followed by a loud, bossy, fiery 4 year boy and a loud, busy 20-month-old girl. Basically this 7 year old has always been the quiet, “good,” “easy” child. Until now, that is.

It was about a year ago that the 9 year old was diagnosed with ADHD and started on a combination of counseling and medication, and things are going fairly well. The year before diagnosis was basically hell for the family. I was also pregnant at the time. We used to say that this 9 year old took up 90% of our parenting energy. Now, it’s down to about 40%; much improved, but still disproportionate.

That brings me back to our 7 year old. During the year prior to diagnosis, she remained the “good, sweet, easy” child. We desperately needed her to be “easy” but I’m sure we neglected her during this time. Since the 9 year old’s diagnosis (and the medications, extra doctor visits, etc) , his behavior has improved while hers has deteriorated. She used to be kind, loving, physically affectionate, and sweet to everyone in the family. She was the peacemaker and everyone adored her. Now, she acts out (yelling, tantrums, angry outbursts), is defiant, and frankly kind of mean to both her brothers. I am certain that her behavior is a reaction to all the time and attention that we had to give to her older brother. She sees him getting “special” treatment like doctor visits and medications. We probably sometimes allow him to get away with certain behaviors that she isn’t allowed to do (such as angry outbursts during the late afternoon when his medication is wearing off…very typical for him so we just ride it out). In addition, the 4 year old has been going through some typical 3-and-4-year-old tantrums and the youngest obviously demands attention because she’s a busy toddler.

I know she feels unheard and unloved. I’m just not sure what to do about it! Over the past few months I have made a conscious effort to be more mindful of her feelings, ask her about her thoughts, and listen more carefully to her. She is naturally quiet, introspective, and creative and can often get ignored. Her dad and I each spend several minutes of quiet time in her room nearly every night, talking and reading. I make an effort to be affectionate with her but she often pushes me away. I write her little “love notes” and have done some special outings with her. But there hasn’t been any change in her behavior yet which makes me think we’re still not meeting her needs, somehow. I miss my dear, sweet, huggable, lovable girl and I want her back. Any advice on how to do that?

Thank you!


My daughter tested for our district’s gifted magnet class. She’s been telling me all year that she is so bored (she’s in first grade) even though her teacher assured me she’s in the highest level groups for math, reading etc. Well, the results came in and she scored above the cut-off for acceptance to the self-contained magnet class, within the range of being considered gifted. So I’m now wondering if this boredom at school has also contributed to her deteriorating behavior at home this year. Apparently she is “just wonderful” at school and her teacher has no concerns about her. In fact I don’t think her teacher really knew how bright she is, because she is quiet and cooperative at school. Unfortunately there’s no space in the magnet class and she’s on the waiting list. So now I suppose my question becomes a bit more complex…how do I support this girl, in light of an older brother with some “invisible” special needs, who also has some needs of her own that aren’t being met at school.

So OP’s questions came in the form of two emails, with email number two pretty much solving the mystery of email number one. But it still doesn’t necessarily constitute an answer to the main question: What should OP do about it?

Your daughter now has her own special needs, and you’re now armed with a “diagnosis” of sorts to learn about and advocate for. Just like you did and are doing for your oldest son. We too often equate “special needs” with just the negatives: the disabilities and delays. But being gifted is ALSO a special need, i.e. your daughter has needs related to her ability to learn and thrive at school that will not be met in a general classroom without accommodations.

I would personally start out by hitting the library or bookstore and pick up some books on gifted children (commenters? any suggestions?). There’s a lot more to it than simply thinking “yay my kid is smart and will automatically do well in school and life.” Quite the opposite of that, if their needs are not met, or expectations are set too high or too low.

Then I would get on your school district’s website and research EVERYTHING they have to offer children like your daughter beyond the magnet class. If they cannot accommodate her with an open spot in that class, what accommodations can they offer her in her current classroom? What’s their back-up plan for kids identified after that fills up? While I’m sure it varies wildly by school district, a quick perusal of the Gifted & Talented Programs of the last two districts we’ve lived in reveals a pretty comprehensive list of elementary level services, from in-school enrichment and pull-out services, curriculum extension units, accelerated math programs, special research projects, etc. What does your district offer, other than a waiting list? Be bold, be aggressive, be willing to get creative with your daughter’s teacher and school administration.  Her teacher has “no concerns.” That’s great. BUT SORRY, YOU DO. LET’S SCHEDULE A MEETING OR FIVE.

(Again, any and all commenters with any specific experience and insight on how best to advocate for a G&T child, please chime in!)

That said, I doubt that the school boredom is 110% responsible for allll the behavior issues you’re seeing at home. The history laid out in email number one can’t be completely wiped away: You expected/needed your daughter to be the “easy” one while her siblings received most of your mental and physical attention, and now she has officially Had Enough Of That. Usually these negative attention-seeking behaviors are best fought with positive attention and reinforcement, which it sounds like you’re definitely trying to do. Keep at it, even when it’s discouraging.

I’m wondering if she’s involved in any extracurricular activities? Something that could be “just hers” that she gets driven to and fussed over? And might offer the benefit of meeting her intellectual and creative talents beyond what school provides?

Check out the school’s afterschool activities and clubs, go to your area’s Parks & Recreation website, or pick up one of those parenting magazines that all the kid classes and camps advertise in. (I always find them in the waiting rooms of my oldest son’s therapists, haha.) Let her decide — maybe she could find a small art class, a chess club, Lego robotics/science offerings, learn to play an instrument, whatever. Heck, maybe martial arts would be fun and let her put her outbursts/aggression to better use (and teach her self-discipline and how to best assert herself). How awesome would it be for her to be able to perform in a recital, a tournament, a belt exam, an art show or talent competition…and look out see her entire family there, cheering for HER, JUST HER?

One last thing, which is hopefully just me being Alarmist-y On The Internet: It might not hurt to have her meet with your oldest son’s therapist or shrink, just to make sure that her anger issues and acting out aren’t related to something else. Like depression or anxiety. Or that there wasn’t a specific trauma or incident that sparked her anger/resistance to affection that she’s not talking to you about. Again, I think there are plenty of other “reasons” for her behavior that you’re already covered, but if her personality change was really super sudden, there COULD be something else going on her that professional might need to suss out. Either way, letting her vent to a child therapist might help her work out her feelings of jealousy and anger in general, and let her come to understand how loved and valued she is by having those feeling listened to and validated.


About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • SarahB

    February 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    “Being gifted is ALSO a special need….”

    Thank you, Amy! It’s so rare for people to get that. G&T often comes with a side dose of anxiety, but I also think there’s plenty of room to improve her situation. Do you frequent your public library? Or how is her school? Getting her books she likes at her level could help. And somehow, some way, she needs to be with her peers, meaning other children who are gifted like she is. She’s different, and she knows she’s different, so she needs people “like her.” Keep pushing back on the school district to find out what else they can do.

  • IrishCream

    February 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Gifted kids can really struggle with the knowledge that they’re gifted. It can be confusing to feel like you’re smarter than your peers. They can feel like frauds if something doesn’t come easily to them: “If I’m so smart, how come I can’t get this math lesson on the first try?” They might not develop good study habits in the lower grades because the work comes easily to them, only to crash and burn in high school or college when they can’t learn the material without those good study skills. 

    Start reading up on growth mindset! It’s the philosophy popularized by psychologist Carol Dweck. The basic idea is that people who believe that intelligence isn’t a fixed, intrinsic attribute do better than those who believe there’s nothing they can do to change their abilities. Here are a couple of good articles that could be a starting point:

    • Erica

      February 23, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Cannot agree enough with this.
      I have two children identified as gifted.  However, because of persistent equity issues, our district does not offer much in the way of services before second or third grade to give all students a chance to be able to demonstrate their intelligence in reading and writing.  Services tend to ramp up as students get older.  Keep pushing, and possibly meet with the principal or gifted coordinator for your school or district to learn what the next steps are.  Don’t be afraid to push a bit.  And do be aware that because of how they process information and events many gifted children can be very sensitive or emotional, since their intellectual processing can be at odds with their emotional maturity.  It got pretty tangled up with my daughter, but she is pulling through and so will yours.  

  • Christy

    February 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I was in a program in elementary school (waaaaay back in the 90’s!) called GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) that I thrived in. We did a lot of arts and cultural themed activities and trips. We went to the science museum, ballet, symphony, art museum, etc. I know these days districts are struggling for funds, but maybe you can do these kinds of activities together outside of school. With three other kids, it’s probably really hard for that one on one attention, but if you can carve out more time and really focus on things that are interesting to her, maybe it can supplement school and she won’t be so bored. Plus – with the added attention, the tantrums may cease. Good luck!

  • MR

    February 22, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Definitely keep on praising good behavior. Being smart, she also has figured out that tantrums get attention, and so she is getting attention the only way she knows how. It will take her a while of testing you before she’ll stop that. Talk to her and explain why her siblings get attention when they have a tantrum, and why she won’t. Then, give her a specific way to ask for more attention. “Mom, I need some cuddles.” or whatever. It would also help if you find out her Love Language. You might be trying to do language and quality time when her language is acts of service. Since your time is limited, you want to target your efforts to what will help her feel most loved fastest. And, I detected a LOT of guilt in your letter. Stop it. We all do the best we can. No parent perfectly divides their time amongst their children. The child who needs it most at that time gets the most. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. When I was a child, my brother was in a serious accident and was in the hospital for over a month. There were MONTHS of follow up and issues from that. Did he take most of my parents attention and efforts during that time? Yeah. Did it suck for me a bit at the time, yeah. But I got through it just fine and never felt unloved. Because my mom always made it a point to tell me that, as a parent, you give your attention to the child who needs it most first. And that you parent each child differently, because each child is different. They didn’t have the same rules for each of us, because what worked for one didn’t necessarily work for the other. When my second was born and we found out she had a heart defect and needed open heart surgery, I already knew I’d have to treat my kids differently, but it was still hard. I had to prioritize my youngest’s needs over those of my 3 yr old. It absolutely sucked, but I refuse to succumb to guilt over it. I did the best I could, and that’s what you are doing too. You have nothing to feel guilty for. ((hugs))

  • Feisty Harriet

    February 22, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I think it’s sometimes hard for people to remember that a significantly gifted kid often feels just as out of place in an average classroom as a student who is significantly below average. They learn differently and need different teaching styles, and–typically–a lot more information to churn through because they pick it up so quickly. If school is boring and she has been feeling invisible at home, her reaction seems pretty expected, right?

    What is she most interested in? Reading? Math stuff? Hands-on projects? If you/she don’t know, try a bunch of different things and find something she loves, and keep in mind you may need to continually find something new if she feels she’s “mastered” x, y, or z program. I also think that some kind of music class or lesson may be a positive experience: music is often linked to math and logic skills, piano or violin or something could help exercise her brain but without her sitting at a desk doing homework projects or something. I also think the karate or dance or gymnastics would be a good idea. It doesn’t need to be a crazy competitive team, try a community class first, see how it goes.

    Good luck. I was one of those G&T kids and it was hard for my Mom to figure out ways to challenge me without me feeling like I was being punished with extra work when my sisters got a pass.


    • Bethany

      February 23, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      I was just coming here to post something about love languages! For the record, they are: Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Words of Affirmation.

      There’s actually a love languages book specifically about finding your child’s love language. I highly recommend it and the original version.

      • Bethany

        February 24, 2016 at 12:45 am

        Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to a different post…

  • Angela

    February 22, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    First – A great forum with homeschooling (and not) moms is the Well Trained Mind Forum. You might pop into the Special Needs board, because several families have the special need of giftedness! If you post an introduction, the other moms there are FANTASTIC, super experienced, and out-of-the-box thinkers.

    Second – can she do an outside of school activity? Like a sport, or music, ballet, cooking… or art… something like that? Doing something just for her that she is very good at would be great. You can also make a special trip to the library for a huge stack of books, get her some audio books since her comprehension is probably much higher than her decoding, find some documentaries on Netflix… anything to get her engaged in some challenging yet super interesting stuff 🙂

  • Amy Renee

    February 22, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    In some states, gifted and talented falls under special Ed the same as learning disabilities, ADHD, etc and the district is required to do an IEP or 504 plan, so do you homework and see if you can get it in writing what kind of services they have to provide.

    FWIW, given your family history, it is possible your daughter also has ADHD – but with the inattentive type that is more common in girls, and just appears more like daydreaming and maybe fidgety, not so much the active type that is more common in boys. This was me as a child – ADHD, so I spent most of my day doodling, looking around the room and paying attention to what everyone else was doing, but also gifted so then I could rush and do the assignment in the last 5 minutes so no one noticed I was bored and unchallenged. But because I was so bored but so ingrained to “be a good girl” sitting in my seat all day long made me so frustrated, so I would lash out at home after spending all day being on my best behavior.

    Along the “be a good girl” line – make sure she is getting positive reinforcement for something besides just being a polite “good girl”. Tell her she’s awesome at her soccer kicks, praise her artwork, her Lego creations, her willingness to eat her vegetables. Make sure she’s not just being quiet and good because thats the box she got stuck in between 2 louder brothers.

    just because the teacher “isn’t worried” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push back, like Amy says, or look for ways to challenge her outside of school. My oldest has always been at the top of his class, and here is what his school has done:

    -They use Waterford reading and math in K, 1 and 2, which gives the kids individual assignments based on their current level. When he finished Waterford 2nd grade math (early in 2nd grade) they used Dreambox for math, which he loved so much he did it at home online for fun as well
    -Rather than the same spelling homework assignments as the rest of the class (boring repetitive things like write words 3x each) he asked if he could write a story with the spelling words (a few sentences each night). The teacher was fine with that, because it was taking the assignment up to the next level for him but still totally within the spirit of spelling homework. Can you look at the worksheets or assignments she is bringing home and loom for ways to take them to the next level for her that wouldn’t be too hard?
    -In relation to above, can she at least get some of the assignments the G&T class gets? Can you meet with the magnet teacher and her teacher to get some specialized work so she isn’t bored?
    -Big +1 to piano, art classes and karate as ways to challenge her. My son does all of the above and loves it
    -given that she is quiet and it’s a family of 4, does she just need more alone/downtime? Half an hour to unwind after school while she reads or draws or listens to music by herself?

    Last you mentioned she had no trouble falling asleep at 8:30- is she overtired? Did kindergarten have naps or only half day and now 1st grade is long for her?

    Good luck, you got this!

    • kim too

      March 2, 2016 at 12:25 am

      Speaking up as another gifted learner with undiagnosed inattentive ADD. The boredom could be coming from that, too, and seven is a perfect age for those symptoms to really start manifesting.  Worth checking out.

      Also, one of the best tidbits I took away from a GATE teacher training: we build self-esteem when we achieve things we ourselves see as challenging. Which can end up being a double whammy for gifted kids – not only do they not build self-esteem because they aren’t being challenged, it’s hard to build resilience and perseverance for those times when we are.  And if ADD does get folded into the mix, it’s even harder for us to connect the perceived reward with putting in extra non-rewarding effort in. We don’t do delayed gratification/long-term goals very well.  Good luck!

  • s

    February 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Just as a bit of an lol, we had a teacher who was pretty much our first encounter into a “gifted program” when it was time for the meet the teacher nights parents would walk in and he’d say, oh you’re so and sos parents, I see here they’re in the special ed program. And the parents would get all huffy because people do not realize that the gifted programs fall on the same category as “special education” because it’s not the typical everyday standard public school education.
    Also, what sort of areas do you people live in to get these services? We get laughed at and told that as long as there are children who need extra help, our advanced children will be held back in a typical class.

  • C

    February 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Just one extra thing, I am from a family of 4 kids and I have a brother with ADHD.  I always felt like he got away with everything and only had some grasp of why things were different from him, made my mom worry, etc.  As we got older,  it was frustrating to see the time and energy spent on my brother’s goals that were expectations for me.  Looking back, I wish my parents would have explained to me why things were different for him than me and continued an open dialogue as I got older and understood more.  Maybe also the occasional conversation of how it can be a tough dynamic to be the “easy” kid in.   Side note, you have nothing to feel guilty about.   Being the “easy” kid taught me to be independent and observing my brother’s struggles taught me compassion.  I learned from my parents how to advocate and how to embrace people for their individual strengths.  I’m super close with my parents and all my siblings.   You are doing great Mama!

    • Em

      March 2, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Our kids go to a “progressive” school in Silicon Valley. There is NOTHING for gifted kids here. Educators haven’t laughed at us, exactly, but they have not been accommodating of our kids’ needs. I also would like to know which areas of the country still have gifted programs, because we live in one of the most wealthy areas of the country and we have no resources at all.

      • Elizabeth

        March 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        Silicon Valley here, too.  My child is still a toddler, but I’ve been told that kids with gifted and talented special needs go to private schools. Which absolutely sucks for the gifted kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

  • Jeannie

    February 22, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I have a gifted kid — but I don’t have the challenges of the other kids, so perhaps my response won’t be so helpful. I found having him designated as gifted to be HUGELY helpful — he gets to go to pull out programs and takes on special projects he likes. And most importantly for him, he has “permission” to skip the brain-numbing (to him) repetition of math class, and just do part of the page. It helped his behaviour / liking of school immensely. 

    We also have him in a language immersion program, so he’s pretty challenged doing all his work in French. I’d recommend that if it’s an option, as it’s definitely been a challenge for him which is something many gifted kids lack in school. 

    • Karen

      February 24, 2016 at 2:08 am

      S – are you in California? We are, and gifted and talented is a joke. In the wealthiest districts parents fund the extras. We are in a great but not wealthy district so what GATE means here is you get to do robotics after school. So we homeschool. Hard for me, i left my career so also hard for our finances, but everyone is happier.

  • K

    February 22, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I second C’s comment above – I wonder if an honest, age appropriate conversation with your daughter about how different kids have different needs, even within the same family, and I might even go as far as to say be humble and honest – it’s hard to be available to that many humans, but you are doing your best. Invite her to be a part of the process – she’s old enough to help you look for and decide what outside of school or supplementary activities might be interesting for her, and she’s also old enough to have a conversation with about how to let you know she’s feeling lonely/resentful/in need of more attention. It might be a simple conversation, because she is so young, but you can still level with her in a positive way.

  • J

    February 22, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I was the gifted kid. And my little sister has ADHD. We didn’t have any other siblings. But I know how that feels! I behaved, she didn’t. My mom advocated for both of us. I got special spelling projects, independent reading projects, and other special opportunities to keep myself busy at school. She also supplemented outside of school with extra assignments and projects in order to keep me challenged. I was signed up for a ton of activities (dance, gymnastics, piano, girl scouts) where I could keep my brain busy and meet other kids. The gifted program also gave us cool opportunities such as a regional science fair, science days at the local college, etc. I was signed up for an arts day camp for gifted kids as well.  I wasn’t pulled out for complicated reasons until middle school. 

    I echo other suggestions. Find out what she’s interested in. Open up new opportunities for her to learn–a cooking class, kids STEM programming, dance, swimming, etc. Provide her with space to meet other gifted kids through regional programming. Figure out what’s missing in school for her and provide it at home–maybe it’s journal writing or coding her own video game.

    Also find things that she can do with her brother that can bring them together with both their strengths–or that they enjoy so that she doesn’t resent him. My parents made my sister the family project–we all helped her get through school. I did spelling word cartwheels with her on the lawn and played matching games with her vocab words. We all were able to revel in her success. I still resented my sister’s behavior but it was easier, because we had common goals. 

    I agree that honest, age appropriate conversation about her brother will be helpful. Otherwise, it just looks unbalanced and unfair. 

  • Meredith

    February 22, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Check out Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). Great online resources, parent groups, etc. You should also look into your state’s gifted advocacy group since they tend to have all the info on programs in your area. Hoagies Gifted has helpful book lists to get you started as well. Good luck!

  • Jess

    February 22, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Definitely go and talk tour child’s teacher. Too often gifted and well behaved children can fly under the radar in a classroom.

  • Liz

    February 23, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Haven’t read the comments, so sorry if this is already covered. If you decide to have her talk to a therapist, please try not to send her to her brother’s therapist. Dual relationships are something therapists are trained to avoid, but they don’t always. Especially if you think she might need to talk about her feelings about her brother, HIS therapist won’t feel like a safe person to tell. She deserves her very own therapist, even if she only goes to 1 or 2 meetings. (Obviously, if you live in a tiny town with no other therapist available, then his is better than nobody. But please try to find her own person.)

    And best of luck with all your children!

  • Sarah

    February 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I found A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by Webb, et al. very, very helpful. ❤ Good luck!

  • April

    February 26, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I know 9 is young, but I had friends go through puberty then and start their periods at about that age. Could be related possibly?

  • kell

    February 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    I’m not a parent, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I WAS that kid – the quiet, easy going, creative one… who got stuck with that gifted diagnosis in the 4th grade. 

    My advice when it comes to any changes (both inside and outside of school), is to really listen to your daughter.  When I was classified as gifted, in 5th and 6th grades I was pulled from my class for one day a week to have enrichment classes with the other gifted kids from schools in the area.  I HATED IT.  I hated the kids in the program (with their ‘we’re better than everyone else’ attitude), I hated being away from my friends, I hated having that “different/special” label – even though it was a “positive” one.  I was a super awkward kid, and I really didn’t want to have any attention drawn to me for any reason.  Thankfully I had parents who saw how miserable I was becoming, and they pulled me from the program.  Instead they fed my insatiable desire to READ. ALL. THE. BOOKS.  And they enrolled me in music lessons, and art lessons.  HEAVEN.  (And it was all on a budget – they couldn’t afford much, but did some digging and found a couple retired old ladies who were willing to teach me.  Nothing fancy, but the creative outlet I needed).   

    This extended into high school as well – where the “gifted” label came up every year at the IEP review, and the very strong suggestion from the school was ALWAYS to run for student council.  Because that’s what smart girls do apparently?  FYI- gifted does not always equal extrovert.  The idea of leading a student government (and other similar activities) made me want to hurl.  Again, thankful for parents who wrote the school a strongly worded “back off, she’s fine” letter to keep in my IEP file.  And then I was able to excel in the extra curriculars that I was passionate about – the orchestra, and the hockey team, and out-of-school volunteer opportunities.

    Basically all that to say, FOR SURE research all your options and resources…. but just remember that your daughter is still an individual, and many of those options are tailored towards the extroverted gifted child, which aren’t the best fit for the introvert. 🙂  

  • Jey

    March 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I strongly recommend the book Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children & Adults by Webb, Amend, Webb, Goerss, Beljan, & Olenchak.

  • Abby

    March 9, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I have a 4th grade girl and a 1st grade boy, both of who receive special classes throughout the week for being “gifted”. One thing I’ve noticed is that, with gifted children, you tend to get ignored unless you have test scores to back up your claims of giftedness (I can imagine how many moms they get every week claiming that their snowflake is a genius, she just knows it! so I understand this). It’s also sometimes considered a less urgent need than, say, a child with a learning disability who is struggling to read, thus gets put on the back burner in my experience. So, a calm, very kind approach has worked best for me. I lucked out this year and my son’s 1st grade teacher sent me home a letter Taft was all “So we don’t test first graders for being gifted? But if you were to write a letter to the principal saying EXACTLY THESE WORDS, they would have to honor your request and test him? And maybe burn this after reading, since I am not allowed to be saying this to you?”. So he tested at a fourth grade level and we met with the gifted teachers and put together an IEP for him (official disability: gifted) after discussing specific concerns and areas we felt he could be pushed a little harder in, and how to make it still be fun for him because he’s, like, seven years old. All that to say that I’ve had the most success going through the proper channels and making sure that my concerns were heard in a (polite) way. I would figure out what is standard for your district, who to talk to about this, and go from there. In our case, the teacher for gifted classes is different from the teacher for other special needs, so I can’t imagine a waiting list would be THAT long if your district has different teachers for different things?! But I really only have our experience to go off of. I would explore all of your options and then raise some hell if needed. ?

    I am so glad to see this topic addressed, because having gifted children is not an automatic pass to Never Having To Worry About Them Land. It can be difficult at times…their brains work differently, just like a child’s with autism or dyslexia does. It’s just a different set of concerns, is all.

    Oh, and we are in Tennessee for the people asking what areas still have gifted programs.