Today, Amy Clark shares her vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Amy! She is a Doctoral Student and Founder of Exceptionally Engaged. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
My giftedness means that I see the world differently. I identify and solve problems often before they are recognized, I manage highly complex programs without breaking a sweat, and I intuitively decode human behavior. I am also extremely sensitive yet don’t easily show my emotions, I love deeply and take on the pain of others, I am often misunderstood, and at times I struggle with anxiety.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
Since early childhood.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
In childhood, I often felt bored. By high school, I felt the need to be deeply busy all of the time and the desire to move as quickly as possible towards my future college opportunities. In college I needed to feel like I was working on my future career while simultaneously accelerating my studies as rapidly as possible. Once in my career, I found it challenging to slow my pace down and desired roles that allowed me to problem solve in new areas regularly. In my current phase, I am parenting a gifted child with similar characteristics to myself while enjoying the opportunity of supporting families on similar journeys as they navigate the complex world of raising gifted and twice-exceptional children.. without feeling they’ve lost the parts of their lives that made them who they are. This work aligns with my need for problem-solving, understanding human behavior, and managing complex programs for diverse audiences.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
“Gifted” is the worst word choice ever! It is not a present that you unwrap and treasure always. It is not a one size fits all that you can understand simply from the word. It is instead a unique wiring of the brain that must be nurtured, supported, and explored for each individual. It impacts social relationships, cognitive function, and physical sensitivities. It persists throughout the lifespan, with strengths and challenges emerging along the way.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
Knowing that I was gifted opened doors for me educationally as a young child which truly changed my trajectory by giving me a sense of belonging amid peers with similar abilities.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
I allow myself to move at my desired pace, accepting more challenges than most think is smart… because the complexity and challenge is what keeps me at peace.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
I get most upset when I can foresee problems before others do and my thoughts are met with “you worry too much.”
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
Giftedness is just one of many factors that makes someone unique – not better. You must get to know the whole person to truly understand the individual.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
I find it difficult to be bored, I struggle with the gray-space and the indecision of others. I need to feel like I am working towards something at a pace that keeps my brain engaged, whether that is through the complexity of a single project or through the management of multiple projects simultaneously. Maintaining deep engagement in my work is critical to my overall well-being.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
I love being able to have a greater impact because I approach things differently.
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
Writing. Writing is how I keep my brain fully engaged; I doodle while listening to lectures, I make lists while eating breakfast, and I journal when the day is nearing an end. I am constantly writing and have a secret obsession with Japanese stationary and pens!
.A (MIS)REPRESENTATION (ABOUT GIFTEDNESS) THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
I want to call into question the belief that giftedness means that one excels at school. While school comes easily for the “school-house gifted” student, there are many other gifts that actually make school very challenging for the gifted. School performance should not be equated to level of giftedness.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Despite the shared label, we are a very diverse group. I am excited to learn more about your strengths and interests.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
While you need not be concerned about giftedness as a term, I hope that you can appreciate that some people experience the world differently. With great strengths also come struggles, we hope that you will appreciate us for the whole person that we are.
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
If you are wondering, you probably are! Explore the multiple ways that one can be gifted… find ways to surround yourself with others who share your area of giftedness. You may just find your place amidst these people and feel more true to yourself.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Do not feel forced to conform to societal expectations when you feel able to do more. Allow yourself the opportunity to find peace with your own level of engagement even if that means moving faster, carrying more challenges, or pursuing passions outside of your intended area of focus.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Find the pace that keeps your brain in its happy spot. When your brain is happy, your mental and social well-being will be more satisfied as well. Find a profession that allows you to work at this desired pace and to be appreciated for your unique contributions.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Look for personal relationships in the places where you find peace in your pursuits because they align with your brain’s needs. This is where you will find the people that understand you and appreciate all that you are. …. oh, and prepare yourself for a parenthood journey that is just as unique as you are. 🙂
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
Insight into a Bright Mind, Nicole Tetreault
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
I believe the information gained from the IQ test can be helpful in creating the best educational environment for a child when used as one component of a larger evaluation. In looking at a full neuropsychological profile, we can use discrepancies across scoring areas to pinpoint opportunities for supporting the individual’s strengths and struggles. I also however believe that many factors impact one’s performance on an IQ test. Some people just do not perform well on tests, others are struggling with perfectionism and anxiety about the test experience, and others have additional complexities that impact performance on this standard measure. In other words, IQ can not be the sole method for identifying “gifted” as MANY are missed and many areas of giftedness are not represented on the test. There are many ways to identify “gifted”, the IQ test is just one.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
I do not feel like you need the label to know that you are gifted. I believe individuals that are in tune with themselves know that they are different. If having the label helps you to feel confident in your gift so that you may navigate the world more effectively, then pursue a label. But if you find your area of thriving through your strengths, talents, or interests without an official label, then I do not think a score on a standardized test is necessary.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
Yes, typically within a few moments I have intuited the gifts of another. I don’t have a clear explanation of this but to me, there is an energy that can be felt…. Sometimes a negative energy, other times it is positive.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
A unique perspective on reality.
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON WITH HIS OR HER GIFTEDNESS?
Find your place of flow, zen, joy… that place that makes your mind feel at peace and your body feel calm. Embrace that place and discover how to go there often.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT
Parenting the gifted is one of life’s great rewards… and challenges. Be sure to look at the clues as they present themselves to you and seek out support to ensure your gifted child is on the journey of acceptance early.
.AN INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY ABOUT GIFTEDNESS (THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE)
Hmm… not feeling very inspired at the moment with the state of the world! I will say that I am truly inspired by the many gifts I am seeing leveraged as means for supporting the Ukrainian refugees. Amid a time of such heartache, it brings great joy to see individuals using their own strengths and talents to benefit those around the world that they may never personally meet.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
That we have less labels and more radical acceptance for the uniqueness of all humans.
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
I believe far more are “gifted” than are identified or realized.
.WHO WOULD I LIKE TO HAND OVER THE NEXT GIFTED INTERVIEW?
.THE QUESTION THAT I WAS MISSING BUT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER?
What one piece of advice would you offer a gifted individual on the gifted parenting journey?
Without judgment, honor your child’s deep interest, strength, or talent and allow them to engage deeply… for that sense of peace they find when exceptionally engaged is the same as what you feel when you finally find your place in the gifted world. By allowing them to experience this early, they will spend more time on the positive journey of giftedness.