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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 13 2011: When trying to find a word for “that”, be it “gifted,” “good,” or even nxlcskjalnriaautn, you are assuming that some children are intrinsically more capable than others. Ken refuses to use “gifted” and all other synonymous not because he wants to change the word, but because he denies differences are fundamental, intrinsic, or more then observation bias.

    You are assuming, explicitly, that there are “'learning enabled' individuals”; he disagrees, vigorously, with that assumption.
    • Mar 13 2011: There have been studies to suggest that giftedness may have roots in differences in hormonal exposure during fetal development. This article was posted just yesterday. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311153549.htm

      Giftedness has also been correlated to physical brain differences, particularly those that relate to the frontal cortex. Here's a brief summary, but you'll be able to find other links a the bottom that provide more detail and give you a springboard for further investigation if you're interested: http://giftedforlife.com/1146/can-neuroscience-see-giftedness/
    • Mar 13 2011: I think that there is much yet to learn about giftedness, but it includes so much more than just being smart. It's more about the way these people look at and experience the world. Intensity and complexity, for example, are very common among the gifted, but these characteristics aren't always the focus of academic success.

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