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New Zealand Association for Gifted Children

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THe gIFTED lABEL

Labelling a child as "gifted" can have both positive and negative implications, and it is essential to consider the impact it may have on the child, their education, and their overall well-being:

Positive Aspects:

  • Recognition and Support: Identifying a child as gifted can lead to recognition of their unique abilities and talents, which may prompt educators and parents to provide appropriate support, resources, and opportunities for enrichment and advanced learning.
  • Tailored Education: Being labelled as gifted may open doors to specialised educational programs or services designed to meet the child's advanced learning needs, such as gifted education programs, accelerated coursework, or mentorship opportunities.
  • Positive Self-Identity: For some gifted children, being labelled as gifted can foster a positive self-identity and sense of belonging, especially if they have previously felt misunderstood or out of place in traditional educational settings.

Negative Aspects:

  • Pressure and Expectations: The label of "gifted" can sometimes place undue pressure and high expectations on the child to constantly perform at exceptional levels, leading to stress, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy if they struggle or underperform in certain areas.
  • Social and Emotional Challenges: Gifted children may face social and emotional challenges related to their intellectual abilities, such as feeling isolated from peers, experiencing perfectionism, or grappling with asynchronous development, where cognitive abilities outpace emotional maturity.
  • Stigmatization and Stereotypes: Giftedness can be misunderstood or subject to stereotypes, leading to stigmatization or misconceptions about the child's abilities or behaviours. This may result in the child feeling labelled or judged based solely on their intellectual capacity.

Recommendations:

  • Holistic Approach: It is important to adopt a holistic approach to understanding and supporting gifted children, recognizing that giftedness is just one aspect of their identity and development. Emphasize the importance of nurturing their social, emotional, and creative growth alongside their intellectual abilities.
  • Strengths-Based Perspective: Focus on identifying and nurturing the child's strengths and interests rather than solely on their label of giftedness. Encourage a growth mindset and celebrate effort, resilience, and exploration.
  • Individualized Support: Provide individualized support that meets the child's unique learning needs, preferences, and challenges, whether they are labelled as gifted or not. Tailor educational experiences to promote engagement, curiosity, and well-rounded development.
  • Open Dialogue: Maintain open communication with the child, their parents, and educators to understand their perspectives, concerns, and goals. Create a supportive environment where the child feels empowered to advocate for their needs and express their feelings and experiences.

In summary, while labelling a child as gifted can have benefits in terms of recognition and support, it is essential to approach it thoughtfully, considering the potential impact on the child's well-being and development. Emphasising a strengths-based, holistic approach and providing individualized support can help nurture the whole child and promote positive outcomes.

Contact us

General enquiries

info@giftedchildren.org.nz


Tall Poppies

tallpoppies@giftedchildren.org.nz


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