Gifted Children Harmed by School Environment

Throughout the majority of elementary and middle school, gifted children are identified, clustered, and depending on your state, they can even be taken out of the classroom on certain days. However, when many gifted teens enter high school, most special programs that target them fall by the wayside. In their place, gifted kids participate in honors, AP, and IB classes. These classes, which are not restricted to just gifted teens, contain many different academic levels including high achieving, but not gifted students. If your gifted teen is lucky enough to be a high achieving student as well as a gifted student, then the change might very well benefit him or her. However, many gifted students fall through the cracks in such programs. Gifted teens who are gifted in the arts or another non-core subject, may not be placed in the high achieving and gifted peer group of the honors, AP, and IB courses. Also, gifted students who are not as motivated, or are twice exceptional may be left out and are not always placed with the peer group that they should.

As the high school system becomes increasingly focused on getting into college, and getting a good grade is more important than expressing your creativity, many gifted teens who were nurtured in elementary and middle school, may fall by the wayside in high school. In order for your student to get into college, it seems that they must sacrifice some of the very essence that made them exceptional in the first place.

Sometimes, the high school experience may also lack the challenge that your gifted teen needs, especially in the first two years of high school where AP and IB programs may be limited or non existent. If you find that your gifted teen is either being held back from reaching their full potential, or they are being frustrated by a lack of challenge in their classes; the best course of action is to try and meet with your gifted child’s teacher to try and arrange for a differentiated learning curriculum. Another option could be to pursue a distance program that might allow your child to interact with a more suitable peer group. Also encourage your teen to join a club or organization at school where they might meet others with similar interests. Another way for your teen to meet others with similar interests and intellect is to have he or she participate in an extracurricular activity.

The problem that faces our gifted teens today is a problem that needs to be addressed, but in the mean time, allowing your gifted teen to branch out and be creative outside of school could very well help solve their individual problem. Keep advocating for change at your individual school and eventually the change shall occur.