Gifted Children/Gifted

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Question
QUESTION: How is being "gifted" defined? Certainly differently than being "special" which is also a positive word. lol. Is it simply someone of a genius IQ level or are there more criteria? Should I assume gifted people contribute a lot to society hence why this topic interests you?

ANSWER: "Giftedness" refers to individuals with some, but not all, of a very large number of characteristics; some are emotional, some intellectual, some creative.  Gifted people are often described as "intense" or "driven."  It can't be contained within a brief definition.

Gifted people may or may not make significant contributions to society.  It cannot be assumed about all gifted people.

A good place for you to learn more about gifted adults is, "Gifted People and their Problems", a pdf book by Francis Heylighen.

To learn more about gifted children, About.com/giftedchildren is a good place to start.

Are there additional questions you'd like to ask?

I'm curious why you asked about my interest in this topic. Can you tell me more about that?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Are gifted children often times autistic and very internal, or just as outgoing as the next outgoing person in nearly half of cases? Other than getting free schooling and potentially very good careers, what is the significance of giftedness? Why is it something to strive for? I've read up on genius and it seems that although there might be some heretitary connection, in general a genius could be born from two mentally disabled adults, and an underachiever could be born of two geniuses. In fact I knew a girl once who was a genius that got all her schooling paid for all the way up to PH.D. because she was that successful in school having to make little effort, while her sister works extremely hard and only gets Cs.

Answer
"Gifted" and "genius" are not the same thing.  "Genius"  refers to intellectual ability only. Giftedness, as you're learning, is a more-complex phenomenon of intellect, creativity, values, emotion, personality, memory and other traits.  It can be extreme, in which only one trait is beyond super-human function, for which the term "savant" is used.  You may be familiar with the movie "Rainman" in which Dustin Hoffman's character had a single, super-human ability with numbers.  When a full box of toothpicks was dropped on the floor, he could tell with the briefest glance, how many toothpicks were on the floor. He was also severely mentally and emotionally impaired, requiring a supervised and assisted residential institution.

Most gifted people have a number of exceptional traits, but not to the degree of a savant.  Some are autistic or have other disabilities. You may find it frustrating, but it isn't possible to make many generalizations.  Giftedness doesn't at all mean free schooling or a good career is always possible.  I don't know what you mean by "significance" or "something to strive for."  Whether a savant or gifted or disabled, people are equally worthy of respect and appreciation. Some gifted people are introverts, others are extroverts.

There is a hereditary component to intelligence, but that also varies and can't be specifically quantified. A genius (not synonymous with being gifted) can be born to mentally disabled parents. Parents can be mentally disabled and still be gifted, or one or both geniuses.  Some gifted people can make good use of formal education, for others it's useless. Just between you and me (and the rest of the world), I got three C's in my undergraduate work.

I'm curious to know what motivated you to learn more about being gifted. You are not obligated to tell me, of course.  

Gifted Children

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Faith A. Coleman MD

Expertise

No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.

Experience

Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Organizations
Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Publications
Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

Education/Credentials
BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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