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Carol Bainbridge

Gifted and Profoundly Gifted

By November 30, 2010

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Gifted or not gifted. That is really an over simplified view of children. Would anyone suggest that every child who is not gifted has the same abilities? The same educational needs? We recognize that non-gifted children are not alike and work to understand them and their diverse abilities and needs.

But what about gifted children? We generally feel pretty fortunate if we can get people to understand that giftedness actually exists and that gifted children have unique needs. But like non-gifted children, gifted kids aren't all alike. The article "There's Gifted, and Then There's Profoundly Gifted" discusses some of the problems with the lack of understanding of this diversity among gifted kids.

The higher a child's IQ, the more unique his needs are and the more unlikely those needs are to be met in a regular classroom. A mildly gifted child is not so different from the average child and so the accommodations that need to be made are not so great. Moderately gifted children often need more than the regular classroom can provide and many gifted programs work well for those children and some mildly gifted children as well.

But what about highly gifted kids?  Profoundly gifted?  There can be as much or more of a difference between the IQ of a profoundly gifted child and a moderately gifted child as there is between an average child and an intellectually challenged one. Would we imagine that a curriculum that serves the needs of the intellectually challenged child can serve the needs of the average child? Would parents of those average children be right to complain that their children are not being challenged?  That their needs are not being met?

Yes, they would. And so it is also right for parents of highly and profoundly gifted children to complain that their children's needs aren't being met by a curriculum designed for average children.
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