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Sonia Dabboussi

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If 'gifted' is a bad word, what term can we use to describe the highly intelligent and creative members of our societies?

The word 'gifted', technically meaning intellectual giftedness, has become a terribly misused term.

'GIfted' has been used to refer to anything from any kind of elitist, socially challenged group of people, to a type of characteristic of a person or object that varies even slightly from the norm.

Many intellectually gifted people refuse to attend gifted programs in their local schools because they don't want to be labeled with something so many people think to mean 'better than others'. Then they don't get the help or varied learning experiences they need to make the most of their abilities, and therefore in essence 'waste' their talents and skills that could so definitely be used by the world.

So what word can we use for the 'learning enabled' individuals so that they can feel confident in their strengths and abilities but still get the help they need? What kind of phrase can be used to refer to the gifted that everyone will find acceptable and satisfactory?

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  • Mar 8 2011: When kids hear the idea of other kids being discovered as gifted, the word itself suggests to them that they have been shortchanged in life. This brings about insecurities at an early age which which may lead to kids being primed to believe that they are not intellectually capable. Harmful for a child's brain development i would say.
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      Mar 8 2011: Sanjay, I understand what you are suggesting and yet, what do we do with the extraordiary hunger for learning and knowledge that so called gifted kids have? Are we leaving some children without the proper nutrition in terms of brainfood so that others will not feel like they are less? Are we then starving our societies of some great minds? How do we meet each child's needs for both stimulation and for self esteem?
    • Mar 9 2011: In addition to what Debra said, the word is just not the problem. Kids have been taking umbrage at the unfairness of things for as long as we've had some kids who were sharper than others.

      Bullying takes place regardless of the label. Feelings of inadequacy, too. It's not the terminology.

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