Saturday, March 3, 2012


When my mom got mad she said, “If you’re so smart, why is your room so messy?”   
Nick, grade 7

I’d been trying to help gifted students for several years before I came across the 8 Great Gripes of Gifted Kids as compiled by Jim Delisle and Judy Galbraith from survey responses of thousands of teens.

What did the kids say bothered them the most?

  1. No one explains what being gifted is all about - it's kept a big secret.
  2. School is too easy and too boring
  3. Parents, teachers, and friends expect us to be perfect all the time.
  4. Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
  5. Kids often tease us about being smart.
  6. We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
  7. We feel different and alienated.
  8. We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.
The 8 Gripes closely reflected my own students’ thoughts.  Their concerns were universal and timeless and I was determined to do something concrete to acknowledge and resolve their grievances.

And so was born the path to self-advocacy . . .   

  • Step 1 clarifies what it means (and doesn’t mean) to be gifted. 
  • Step 2 allows students to understand and celebrate their differences
  • Step 3 identifies options that will be less boring and more challenging
  • Step 4 helps kids find advocates (parents and teachers and friends) who will understand and support them.

After our first student self-advocacy retreat, 6th grader Tina wrote: I learned not to listen to what people say if they are making fun of you – it’s good to be different, to be gifted.


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