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Confusion over Giftedness

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: I just want to know whether I'm gifted or not, so that I can fix this confusion of mine. I'm 14 now, so as far as I remember when I was around 2-3, I have a lot of curiosities about everything that I find suspicious. I'm a fast learner and I have a common sense, so for adults not to find me boasting about my discoveries, I tend to act as a normal child does. I don't know if it is because of common sense and being realistic that I'm trying to level myself with others just to be in.

When it comes to school, I always belong to the top 5 even if I'm not that serious and this made me lose interest for studying hard like the others. I am very competitive and this what makes me being hated by others. I can't control this competitive spirit of mine and I understand how people around me feels. I get easily bored if not challenged. I want to participate in everything as long as I know that I am able to do it and also benefit from it. I have a deep relationship with literature and music. I love reading books, both non-fiction, academics and fiction. My sister makes fun of me because I show respect to the people I find worth praising for, like Shakespeare, Chaucer, or Newton.

I know how to play the piano, I had lessons before. Now, I am able to study guitar, flute, and violin by myself. Being fast learner for me has both its positive and negative side, I learn things quickly and it gives insecurity to others. I love sports too, I play chess, tennis, and etc. I really have good sense of humour and I guess this is the only method that I can use to be in. I'm tired of adjusting myself just to be in, and this causes me to be an introvert. I would rather want to look old than to look young so that I can gain superiority. I guess, the only solution for me not to be a pleaser is to gain superiority. I problem the problems that shouldn't be my problem, and this stresses me.

Am I gifted? If I am, how can I cope with others? Or is it just because of being fast learner that I'm able to do these things? I'm confused. :)Thanks for bothering yourself reading this.

A: The best way to test for giftedness is by using an intelligence test. Scores over 125 or about 2 standard deviation away from the mean for most intelligence test could indicate higher intellectual ability, which is the single best predictor of giftedness. However, there are other more subjective methods to determined giftedness - best assessed by a professional.

From your letter, I can tell that you are a very bright young lady and interested in understanding yourself better – which is really good. The confusion is probably due to hormonal changes you are going through at this age, which is quite normal. The fact that you are able to grasp concepts easily indicates higher ability. Instead to wondering if you are gifted or not, it would be better for you to work on the wonderful skills that you have. You can really use them to improve so I would suggest that you further enhance those skills.

Competition is healthy but if you are getting “hate” messages from others, it may not be as healthy. Perhaps, there is something that you are doing that may not be easily accepted by your mates and you may not even be aware about it. I'm sure you must have a couple of good friends – ask them to tell you honestly if you appear to show off your abilities, or are seen as arrogant. To compete just to be ahead in everything may just be so obvious and your friends can see it; maybe that is why you have to work harder to gain appreciation from your friends. You need to understand that it is perfectly fine not to be good in everything. It is like being Jack-of-all-trades but master of none. Why don't you focus on a few things that really interest you and master those. That way, you can challenge yourself to get even better by having target goals. You appear to be very good in music; perhaps you should pursue it further and master it. In fact, you can look for a group of people interested in music and can form a team - or even a band. Nothing is impossible.

Sometimes, all you need is like-minded friends who understand your needs well. They would be people who think as you do and are fast learners like you. You really need not please anybody. First you would need to learn to accept yourself, and then you will see that others accept you as well. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We learn to enhance our strengths and improve our weak areas. Looking old will surely come in time but it does not make you look superior. The person you are within would make you feel good/bad about yourself, so work on that first.

Perhaps, you may want to try doing the Mensa (check if your country has a group). If you are highly able, you would get through easily and it would be a great platform for you to meet like-minded people. You should also see a counselor at your school. If you feel you are being unchallenged, say something about it. If you feel you are being a people pleaser, a counselor would surely be able to help you there. Don't let low feelings take over. You are a very able girl with so many good qualities and I am so sure that you can make your high ability work positively for you. All the best!.


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