Not everyone likes the label “gifted.” Some find it to be a divisive term. For them, the term is not useful because it evokes negative emotions among those who don’t understand giftedness. It’s hard to advocate for your gifted child if the person you’re talking to thinks you’re just a snobby elitist when you mention the needs of your gifted child. Others don’t like the term because they say the term is too vague; people just don’t know what it means. Still others simply don’t like labels. For them, labels just get in the way of seeing children as individuals, each with their own unique needs. While there is some truth in these views, there are good reasons to use the the word “gifted.”
Yes, we get negative responses, but there is nothing inherent in the word that elicits those responses. The negative responses are to what the word refers to, not to the word itself. In other words, people respond negatively to the idea of giftedness. They come to the table with negative opinions of gifted children – and their parents – even before anyone says the “g word” out loud. Say the “g word” and all those negative opinions and feelings bubble up to the surface. Change the term, and eventually those negative opinions and feelings will eventually just transfer to the new term.
And yes, the word “gifted” is a bit unclear. What exactly does it mean to be gifted? That’s a good question. There doesn’t seem to be a simple answer. Again, the fault is not with the word itself, but with the inability of the gifted community to agree on how to define what we call “gifted.” It’s a lot like trying to define poetry. We know what it is and what it isn’t, but it’s hard to pin down an exact definition. Change the term and you won’t get a clearer definition – unless you use a term like “high ability.” People might then understand the different ability level of gifted kids, but there is more to being gifted than having high ability.
Okay, so if the labels are such a problem, why not get rid of labels altogether? Why not? Because labels are useful. Labels help us understand the world around us. If we remove the label “gifted” and replace it with nothing, will gifted children be better understood? Will people be less likely to misdiagnose gifted kids with ADHD, ODD, OCD, Bipolar, Aspergher’s, or Sensory Processing Disorder?
I contend that without the “gifted” label, gifted kids would be more likely to be misdiagnosed, and we’d lose the opportunity the educate people on just what it means to be gifted.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/why-we-need-the-gifted-label/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Im-Gifted.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Im-Gifted-150x150.jpgAbout GiftednessRants and ResponsesMisdiagnosis of Gifted Children