Maddening Myths

There are many misconceptions about what it means to be gifted. Here are a few of the most common myths we have encountered over the years.

Myth #1: Gifted kids have it made and will succeed in life no matter what. They do not need any special help in school or anywhere else.

Fact: Everyone needs encouragement and help to make the most of their abilities and succeed in life.

Myth #2: Gifted kids should love school, get high grades, and greet each new school day with enthusiasm.

Fact: Most schools are geared for average learners, not gifted learners, which makes it hard for gifted students to get excited about going. Some of the most talented students in the United States actually choose to drop out of school altogether.

Myth #3: Gifted kids are good at everything they do.

Fact: Some gifted students are good at many things; others are exceptionally able at only a few things. Some gifted students are also learning disabled, which means that they may not be very good at school work and may receive poor grades.

Myth #4: If gifted students are grouped together, they will become snobbish and elitist.

Fact: Some will, some won’t. What’s especially pernicious about this myth is that some adults use it to rationalize decisions about not allowing gifted students to work or study together or not providing them with opportunities that meet their learning needs.

Myth #5: Gifted students do not know they are “different” unless someone tells them.

Fact: Most gifted students do not need to be identified or labeled before they know that they are not quite like their age peers.

Myth #6: Gifted students make everyone else in the class smart by providing a role model or a challenge.

Fact: In reality, average or below-average students do not always look to gifted students in the class as role models.

Myth #7: Gifted kids are equally mature in all areas- academics, physical, social, and emotional.

Fact: That would be convenient, but it is not a reasonable expectation. On the other hand, it’s not fair to assume that just because someone is advanced intellectually, he or she will lag behind in other developmental areas.

Myth #8: Acceleration placement options are socially harmful for gifted students.

Fact: Academically gifted students often feel bored or out of place with their age peers and naturally gravitate toward older students who are more similar as “intellectual peers.”