You have probably always known you were smart, or creative, or a great problem solver. Now you are working to use your gifts and talents in new and more challenging ways which is so exciting but can also feel overwhelming. This page is designed to help you answer the question: What does being gifted mean to me?
First, giftedness is defined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as:
Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.
Let's break that down:
Students, children, or youth (that's you!) give evidence (these are your test scores, portfolio, projects, or accomplishments) of high achievement capability (you pick up new ideas really quickly, you understand things before they are explained to you, or you are really passionate about something and you work on your own to know more about it) in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields (people can be gifted in just about anything--gifted just means that your brain is wired to be on overdrive, to understand, to try new things, in a really big way!).
Along with your the great parts of being gifted you may have also noticed that some things are tougher for you than your classmates. Do you have a hard time making or keeping friends? Do you get frustrated or stressed more often than your peers? Is it difficult to keep your emotions from taking over sometimes? Are you harder on yourself than anyone else is on you? If any of that sounds familiar don't panic-- you are one of almost 5 MILLION gifted kids in the United States (not to mention how many exist around the world) and with your extra fast paced brain can come some extra challenges.
One of the best way to take on a challenge is by gathering as much information as you can so that you are prepared to find the best solution. When it comes to your giftedness no one knows you better than you. Grab a piece of paper and take a few minutes to answer the following questions--remember there are no wrong answers and not every answer has to be about school!
· What are some activities you are great at doing without a lot of effort?
· What are some activities that you usually find challenging?
· What are three things you KNOW you have gotten better at in the last year?
· What are three things you love to spend your time doing alone?
· What are three things you love doing with other people (family, classmates, friends, relatives, neighbors...)?
· Who do you trust the most in the world?
· What do they do for you?
· What do you do for them?
· What are three ways you and your classmates are similar?
· How are you and your classmates different?
· What are you most proud of?
· How does being gifted change your life at school?
· How does it change life at home?
· What do you want people who already know you to know most about you?
· What do you want people who you meet in the future to know about you?
We get so caught up in learning that sometimes we forget to study ourselves. Did any of your answers surprise you? Share your responses with someone you trust (teacher, parent, sibling, friend) and even ask them a few of the questions as well! Getting to know yourself is a simple but powerful way to help you have a better understanding of who you are, what you want, what you need, and what you have to offer!
Last but not least, here are some links to share with your parents, read through them together, and don't be afraid to ask questions! Being gifted does NOT mean that you always need to have the answer--you are completely capable of finding the answer :)
Extreme Explorers, Director