BabyCenter: Can behavior problems be a sign of giftedness?

Interesting perspective.  I’m sure there are some children who are genuinely gifted, and others who may just have behavior problems,  other developmental disabilities that outwardly manifest itself as a behavioral issue, but be indicative of something deeper…but I guess ultimately, this really makes me think of 2 things:

1)  The issues an “atypical” child would have in a rigid, one-size fits all educational environment, and how opportunities could potentially be lost to maximize potential

2)  The way many, including those in the medical community, are quick to categorize, without doing their due diligence, and potentially resorting to medications that may not even be necessary if other, proper, interventions are utilized.

Anyway I feel for anyone who has to evaluate these children and make a decision, because the labels they place on a child and decisions they make can have long-term effects…in some cases positive, if the child gets what they need, but also negative, if the child is “mislabeled”.   So I urge professionals in this position to do their best, and consider all options, rather than making quick judgements because of the way it can shape a child’s future iA.


Yes, absolutely. Children who are gifted are often mistakenly suspected of having ADHD or other disabilities with behavioral elements.

That may be because along with other gifted characteristics, many gifted children exhibit so-called sensory sensitivities, which can make them seem difficult or uncooperative.

Such kids may become exhausted by classroom noise or be distracted or disturbed by the flicker and buzz of fluorescent light. They may complain about scratchy shirt labels or sock seams and recoil from bright lights, harsh sounds, “bad” smells, or certain food textures. They may also talk rapidly or compulsively, have boundless energy, or display compulsive habits or tics.

Heightened sensitivity combined with heightened intensity is known as overexcitability. Kids with emotional overexcitability experience a more intense range of emotions – whether happy, sad, or angry – than a regular kid. Sensitive kids are more prone to depression, guilt, and physical responses to emotions, such as stomach pains or headaches due to anxiety.

Some gifted kids’ brains consume glucose far more quickly than is typical. If their blood sugar levels dip too fast, it can cause sudden, inexplicable meltdowns, poor judgment, or lack of impulse control. (Frequent high-protein, low-sugar snacks can alleviate this problem.)

Very bright children are often unusually strong willed, negotiate like lawyers, use sarcasm to make a point, refuse to suffer fools, or are overly critical. Sometimes, gifted children are disruptive in classrooms because they refuse to do exercises they consider to be busywork. Of course, all of this can be true of any kid, it’s just more so for gifted children. Misbehavior in the classroom can sometimes indicate that grade-skipping could be in order.

So how can you tell whether your child’s misbehavior is due to giftedness? One sign is if the unwanted behavior is specific to a situation. Maybe your child mucks up only at school. But at home, he’s consumed with a project or pastime, often getting lost in the activity and losing track of time, or isn’t easily deterred from the task (he doesn’t hear you calling him for dinner because he’s engrossed in a book, say).

If that’s the case, you may have a gifted kid on your hands. In either case, misbehavior needs to be dealt with and not just tolerated, regardless of the reason for it.

Another way of teasing out giftedness versus straight-up misbehavior is to observe how your child acts in settings where he’s engaged in activities he likes with kids who share his interest and abilities. If he’s focused, engaged, and cooperative, that may explain why he acts out in situations where he’s not stimulated enough.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s