The Burden of Giftedness

boy running in the woods

The idea that giftedness is “not a burden” or deserving of resources is making the rounds again. It never really left but it’s loud right now. And it’s bullshit.⁣

Sure, giftedness does not have to be a burden. If you’re wealthy and white and in a neighbourhood where there are resources and you have peers and teachers and mentors and psychologists that get YOU then it can be well, a gift.⁣

But that’s not the reality for many. At all.⁣

It’s like saying my uterus isn’t a burden. But if I’m broke and spending my grocery money on menstrual products, if I’m making 79 cents or whatever it is on the dollar, if I’m prevented from making decisions about my body because of it, then it damn well becomes one.⁣

A lot of the issues gifted kids face are rooted in their neurodiversity, but if that neurodiversity is embraced and cherished then sure, it can be a wonderful thing. Being accepted for who you are and stretched the way you need to be stretched is wonderful for anyone. But if they are shut down by their peers, their teachers, the people they respect and rely on; if they are constantly denied having their very real and very different needs met, then it can be crippling. ⁣

Moral of the story: anything can be a gift or a burden depending on the culture one’s in. We like to say we’re a culture that admires “genius” but that’s only when we can exploit genius. That’s only when genius fits into the box that we expect it to. And often times it doesn’t.⁣

So maybe giftedness wasn’t a burden for YOU. But for many it is. Which is why we need better identification methods, better training and awareness to improve access to programs rather than disintegrating them altogether. Giftedness doesn’t have to be a burden, but our society often makes it one.

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