Some Gifts Have Strings Attached


Not all gifted students will automatically do well in school.

You might be surprised to learn that gifted students often need the help of their teachers and school support staff to avoid "falling through the cracks", just like all other students with exceptionalities.

"Be aware that strengths and potential problems can be flip sides of the same coin." (

Gifted students don't magically reach their full potential in school on their own. They face unique stumbling blocks which they need help overcoming. In addition to their need for higher level thinking due to their elevated intellectual abilities, gifted students may also require assistance navigating organizational, social and time management skills (to name but a few).

Below are a few examples of possible challenges faced by gifted students along with some potential strategies to help mitigate these issues.

Gift: Diverse interests and abilities, versatility

String: Disorganization or scattered thinking, frustration over lack of time

Strategies: Make desk cleaning a part of the daily routine; Offer detailed instructions and supervise the process of setting up and organizing notebooks and binders; Give each student two copies of all assignment sheets (one for school and one to be put up at home); frequently check on work completion and provide feedback; provide additional time on assessments; organize preferential seating to limit distractions

Gift: Speedy intellectual growth

String: Sometimes slower growth of social skills, social anxiety

Strategies: Provide clear and direct lessons about social skills; Student journaling to reflect on recent social interactions; Strategy development for unstructured school social time (ex: lunch, recess); positively reinforce social attempts

Gift: Interested in challenging themselves

String: Giving up when they realize perfection won't be achieved

Strategies: Teach students to match time commitment to the value of the assignment; Break assignments and projects down into steps and provide closure at each step; Coach students in generating goals, determining the steps needed to accomplish these goals, develop an action plan for achieving these goals, and monitoring goal attainment.

Gifted Students are students first; they are not immune from learning disturbances or even learning disabilities. Their potential is limitless... but many of them need a great deal of help to reach it.

Help tie up the loose ends for your gifted students by keeping in mind the above possibilities and implementing these strategies when appropriate.


Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?