Posted: May 01, 2013 11:00 AM
 
There's no doubt that it's a blessing to have a child with above-average intelligence. But what many parents don't understand is that gifted kids struggle in many areas. Learn what a real mom wants people to know about her gifted son.

Gifted kids are exceptional, but being exceptional doesn't mean they're better than other children or that they achieve more than other children. In fact, having a gifted kid (and being a gifted kid) can be a real pain in the rear.

What is gifted anyway?

Five to 7 percent of kids in grades kindergarten to 12 are gifted.

The National Association for Gifted Children estimates that 5-7 percent of kids in grades Kindergarten to 12 are gifted. Also called exceptional students and accelerated learners, these are kids that perform well above average on various screening tests. For the purpose of education, gifted generally refers to academic performance as opposed to other talents such as athletics or art. Kids in gifted programs in public schools are screened and only admitted after a process that involves parents, teachers and support staff.

Does being gifted mean school is easy?

When I was in first grade, I started attending gifted classes. I recently found my original IEP letter from 1986. As a child who excelled at reading and writing, it was very frustrating for me to work alongside kids who were great at math. Math was, and continues to be, a huge struggle for me. In subjects other than math, the gifted curriculum kept me from being bored. I learned about marine science, wrote reports on musicians and had a chance to work beyond my grade level on reading and writing. School was never easy, but gifted-curriculum classes challenged me and enriched my school experience.

Can kids with disabilities be gifted?

He was soon diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

My son started speaking at 10 months old. People joked that he was a baby genius, but it wasn't until he was screened by our local early intervention team at 4 that I learned that his cognitive performance was considered gifted. This came as a shock to me because at the time, he was struggling with behavior, fine and gross motor skills, sensory issues and repetitive behaviors. He was soon diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Now he's finishing up first grade in a regular classroom while being pulled out for gifted as well as a social skills group to help him with his behavior issues and task management.

Aren't gifted kids really well behaved?

With these gifted kids you can see things like poor social skills, unwillingness to leave the home on weekends, over investment in video games, frustration during courses that require more soft skills, temper tantrums and sensory sensitivities.

Jennifer Daily, LCSW, works with gifted kids in NYC. "With these gifted kids you can see things like poor social skills, unwillingness to leave the home on weekends, over investment in video games, frustration during courses that require more soft skills, temper tantrums and sensory sensitivities," says Daily. Boredom, social skills challenges and elements of other existing developmental and emotional issues are just some of the reasons a gifted kid may have a hard time at school. My gifted kid excels at reading and math, but struggles with rapid-fire meltdowns, overly literal interpretations, lack of empathy and over-the-top frustration. His behavior at school is less than exemplary. I'm grateful my son's school is meeting his needs, both to help him learn at an accelerated rate and to guide him through his difficulties.

More on kids in school

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