Gifted children are misunderstood

Michael Tran, Staff Writer

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Gifted children are misunderstood.

This misunderstanding causes many people, to misdiagnose or misunderstand gifted children. For example, I had a girlfriend whose brother has Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disorder. He’s a good kid, who will protect other children from bullies and can build model rockets and take apart cars. But he can’t sit still. He requires standing and walking around in the classroom while the teacher is speaking. For that, he will be punished, usually with a scolding and a referral home—to which his mother will disregard.

Then there are parents who care. These parents care about every teacher’s comments. They’re suppose to be rational human beings with an undying love and understanding for all children, right? Not so.

So what defines giftedness, or in this case, eccentricity? Dr. David Weeks, a clinical

neuropsychologist at Royal Edinburgh Hospital studies gifted children and people.

He concludes that gifted people are curious, creative, idealistic, obsessed with one or more hobbies. They are aware that they’re different, intelligent, opinionated and outspoken, non-competitive, and have a mischievous sense of humor, and are awful at spelling.

Ellen Winner, a professor of Psychology at Boston University, found most intellectually gifted children say they’re bored and unengaged in school. This boredom can have many consequences, like the kid who rerouted the electricity in his neighborhood one day out of sheer boredom, or like Stephen King and his brother, who too dabbled with electricity alone one day at home while their mother worked, and nearly got electrocuted.

All of history is riddled with gifted eccentrics. From Einstein never wearing socks, to Van Gogh chopping off his ear, to Da Vinci’s thirst for knowledge and understanding, to Steve Jobs washing his feet toilet bowls—human history’s game changers have been downright “weird” and gifted.

It is this giftedness that should not be punished, but rewarded, or at least challenged.

The new surge in technology, the creation and emulation of ‘nerd culture,’ by the less nerdy civilians of society, investment in educational programs and opportunities, and the outlawing of leaded gasoline (which decreased violent crime all over the world as reported by The Atlantic), has helped foster a generation of bored eccentrics into a generation capable of spinning the cogs on the wheels of capitalism (America).

First things first, we must tolerate and accept these “weird” children and realize the geniuses they are.

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