Gifted (High Potential)
Children and Adults
Individuals with high IQs or creative talents are also referred to as Gifted, in the Psychology literature*; the terms are often used interchangeably. Gifted adults have unique and specific emotional needs. If you are a person of high potential, you may have learned to under-achieve, to mask your intelligence in order be socially accepted, or you may have a poor self-image (“Who, me? I’m not really gifted.”). You may have been raised with a limited or nonexistent peer group, in terms of others who could match your intellectual abilities while neither over- nor under-valuing them. You may have been told that you could do anything you wanted to, but no one helped you sort out your desires and talents, nor assisted you in understanding how to turn your dreams into realities. Or your social skills may not feel as well-developed as your intellectual abilities.
High potential children also have very specific needs and face particular development challenges. Balancing their need for advanced intellectual stimulation with their often overlooked and disproportionately less advanced social needs can be a challenge for parents. Some studies also show gifted youth to be at higher than average risk for eating disorders, Asperger’s syndrome, and other difficulties. In addition, boys and girls often manifest their giftedness very differently, making it sometimes challenging to detect. If you suspect that your child may be gifted, seek a way to evaluate this.
If you or your child(ren) are gifted, or suspect that you might be, you may find it particularly important to work with a therapist who has experience with the issues you face. I have experience working with gifted children and adults, and have training in the specialized needs of this population. I am also a member of Mensa. If you are interested in the possibility of our working together, please call or email me for a free initial interview.* “Gifted” in this context is a term used to describe people of high intelligence or unusual ability. Various professionals measure this differently: as an I.Q. above 130; a test score that ranks two or more standard deviations above the norm; a standardized intelligence measure in the top 2.5%; or above-average abilities in multiple diverse areas. A child may be called gifted if he or she works 2 or more grade levels above his or her age; or if the work approaches adult-level.
Links related to Gifted / High potential individuals:
- The home page for the National Association of Gifted Children. Specific pages devoted to parenting, publications, summer and enrichment programs, etc.
- The home page for SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Specific pages addressing parenting, diagnosis, finding a qualified psychotherapist, gifted adults, and multicultural outreach.
- The home page for the California Association for the Gifted. This website tends to be education -focused, including many articles addressing various options (home schooling, advancement, enrichment programs, etc) and legislation regarding gifted education. Also includes lists of scholarships available for the gifted, and links to many other web pages.
- A list of books, articles, and websites dealing with gifted identity and development. Special pages for parents, children, & teens.