Quickly sharing my response here to a new post up by Glennon over at Momastery:
All children have gifts. All children ARE gifts. But, no, not all children are gifted.
In the education world, “gifted”–an admittedly unfortunate term meant to denote several levels of intelligence above the norm–signifies real cognitive neurological differences. It is, essentially, the opposite of being developmentally delayed. [ETA: hmmm… Gifted kids can be developmentally delayed. I want a word here that is less offensive than the traditional notion of “retarded.”]
Glennon, while I understand your heart in this, I wonder if you would take such liberties with speech to declare “all children delayed” [or “special needs”]?
Because that would be the same logic–taking a term to define children outside the norm and applying it universally. Moreover, there are many children who are “twice-exceptional” and have special educational challenges that MUST be addressed in order for him or her to succeed in life.
The classic example [stereotype?] is of an autistic child who requires social skills development in order to truly utilize his or her strong, exceptional math skills.
Please don’t make the mistake, in trying to clarify that all children have gifts and are gifts, of further marginalizing the children and families with whom I work. These remarkable humans often suffer bullying and aggression for being “different” and this kind of post only adds fuel to the fire.
You have done such great work, Glennon, in opening hearts and minds to understand marginalized groups. Please don’t go for the easy perspective on this and alienate hearts and minds. If you wish to learn more, I invite you to check out the Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) organization as well as Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, the later of which is the group that I volunteer for. [ETA: You might also want to read up on the “tall poppy syndrome” and about the levels of giftedness.]
UPDATE: Glennon has responded via the Momastery Facebook page.
UPDATE: Even better than all the responses to Glennon’s posts by parents is this gem by a gifted teenager. If you still don’t “get” the reaction by bloggers, then go read this before you comment here, please.
Do you think we should just change the word “gifted”? Sounds easy, sure. But there’s more to it than that. Look over here at my other blog for my thoughts on that “solution.”