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Gifted, talented, misunderstood: 10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults

Posted Jul 08 2010 3:53pm

In her article, 10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults , Jane Macondo sheds some light on why gifted people can be baffled…and baffling.

Gifted adults are largely invisible. One of the reasons very few apply the term to themselves is due to the misconceptions about giftedness – in adulthood as well as childhood.

Many adults who have been part of the gifted community, either as children or as parents, still do not acknowledge themselves as gifted.

Adults who were identified as gifted children were often not provided information about what it means to be gifted and, as a result, think they have outgrown their ‘giftedness’.

For a variety of reasons, parents of gifted children also often fail to identify their own giftedness.

Of course, there are many gifted adults not affiliated with the gifted education system in anyway- adults who simply feel out of step and don’t know why but would never consider themselves gifted because of the misconceptions as to what a gifted adult is.

The misconceptions of being a gifted adult fall into two categories: superstar overachiever or incompetent misfit. The reality is more subtle than either of these stereotypes suggests.

While some gifted adults struggle and some achieve extraordinary things, most gifted adults are somewhere in the middle.

10 Misconceptions about Gifted Adults

All gifted people:

# Are ‘nerds’

# Are socially inept

# Were exceptional students

# Have attained a high level of formal education

# Are ‘book smart’

# Physically awkward

# Excel at everything uniformly; have evenly distributed abilities

# Have exceptional careers

# Are able to ‘get ahead’ because of their intelligence

# Cannot be successful with practical things because they’re ‘too intelligent’

A gifted adult may or may not conform to a stereotype but neither stereotype explains or defines what being a gifted adult is.

If you have rejected the idea you are a gifted adult based on any of the misconceptions above, I encourage you to reconsider but this time based on information, not popular misconceptions.

Have you been told you’re a perfectionist? Intense? Expect too much?

Are you the parent of a gifted and talented child? Did you attend a gifted program as a child?

Do you know you have a high IQ but never considered your IQ relative to how you feel and perceive?

Many gifted adults are not aware they are gifted due to lack of information, stigma and misconceptions about giftedness. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be a gifted adult.

For more about Gifted and Talented Adults: identification, traits, theories and information about work and careers, please see:

Article Source:


Also see page on Giftedness characteristics

and Self-tests: giftedness / high ability

Mary-Elaine Jacobsen. The Gifted Adult .
Marylou Kelly Streznewski. Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential .


gifted adult development, gifted adult information, gifted adults, admit your gifts

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