What is Giftedness?
The Colorado Department of Education uses the term "gifted and talented" to refer to children who have abilities, talents, or potential so outstanding that they have different educational needs. These students are in the top 1-5% of their age group in their specific area(s) of giftedness.
In fact, they are so significantly advanced that they require a greater content depth or faster instruction. Locally, we avoid using this term, gifted, since all children have gifts; Student Services works to give all students the support they need to be successful. For some we simply provide extra-challenge and rigor in their area of strength.
The National Association for Gifted Children describes gifted kids as, “…those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.” A group of respected giftedness professionals suggest the following definition based on the child’s differences from the norm:
“Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” The Columbus Group, 1991.
Thus, gifted students may pick up on some concepts more quickly than others. While sometimes helpful, this may also lead to problems, including boredom or other frustrations. We aim to keep these students challenged and to help them to understand how learning works for them. One goal of the program is to teach students strategies to advocate for and regulate themselves effectively in a regular learning environment, so they continue to enjoy and thrive in school and beyond.
Though some children may outpace their peers in the area of their strength, we recognize that they are gloriously complex, charmingly flawed, multifaceted unique individuals. The student services department endeavors to approach every student as an individual with unique needs. Part of our mission is to help the entire school system do the same.
The following video addresses some of the myths around giftedness; it may help all of us in thinking about our students: