These Are The 6 Types Of Gifted Students
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These Are The 6 Types Of Gifted Students

Here's how parents and teachers can help them succeed.

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These Are The 6 Types Of Gifted Students
James H. Borland

Students labeled gifted are often thought to all be the same: intelligent, the best in the class, or perfect. However, there is no standard gifted student, nor are gifted students perfect. Gifted students can, however, be identified as belonging to one of six types of gifted students. Knowing what kind of gifted student a child is can help parents and teachers help these students mentally, academically and emotionally as they grow older.

Type One: The Successful

Successful types are the most likely to be identified as gifted, as they are able to learn the system and do what is expected of them to easily score high in school.

Eager to impress, these students usually have no behavior problems. However, they can grow bored, becoming dependent on the system and begin only doing the minimum to get by. These types can also be anxious or scared about failure because of their want to impress parents and teachers.

How Parents And Teachers Can Help Them Succeed

Parents - Give your gifted child more independence and freedom. Provide them with chances to take risks.

Teachers - Allow your gifted students to accelerate or have enriched curriculum. Make sure they are able to interact with like-minded peers and allow them time to explore personal interests.

Type Two: The Challenging

Challenging types are harder to identify. They are incredibly creative individuals; however, they don't conform to the system nor do they know how to work it to their advantage. These students are instead frustrated that the system does not recognize their abilities.

Conflicts between a challenging type and parents or teachers may be common. These types can be disruptive in the classroom and go on to dropout of school or become involved in unhealthy habits like drugs or alcohol.

How Parents And Teachers Can Help Them Succeed

Parents - Be your child's advocate at school. Accept them and try to understand them best you can. Let them explore their interests.

Teachers - Place students with an teacher that is able to understand and meet their needs. Have clear, direct communication with the student. Help the student improve social and behavior skills.

Type Three: The Underground

Underground types are usually middle school girls, who's need to belong rises dramatically when they are in middle school. They hide their talents to fit in with groups of non-gifted students.

A sudden change in behavior can be an indicator of a student "going underground." Parents and teachers often react to this change by pushing the girls to do better and try harder in school, which can make the situation worse. These underground girls often just want to be accepted for who they have become.

How Parents And Teachers Can Help Them Succeed

Parents - Accept the "underground" for who she is. Giver her choices when it comes to her education and allow her time with students of the same age. Provide gifted role-models.

Teachers - Provide same-sex role models. Let students take breaks from gifted classes if they want to.

Type Four: The At-Risk Or Drop-Out

This type of student is angry at both themselves and adults because the system has never met their needs. Usually high school students, these gifted students are not identified until very late in their academic career.

Because of their unique interests that are not included in any school curriculum, these students do not receive support and encouragement for their interests and abilities.

How Parents And Teachers Can Help Them Succeed

Parents - Seek counseling - this can help your child resolve their anger.

Teachers - Create learning experiences outside the classroom for your student. Allow them the ability to study subjects in-depth.

Type Five: The Double-Labeled

These students are not only gifted, but also have a physical, mental or emotional disability. They are usually never identified, as they are often ignored because they seem "average" or have been placed in a remedial program instead. Weaknesses are focused on rather than strengths.

Students of this type may be disruptive or have low self-esteem. They call their schoolwork boring or stupid to cover up the fact that is it difficult for them.

How Parents And Teachers Can Help Them Succeed

Parents - Recognize and challenge your child. Be their advocate at school. Provide them with risk-taking activities and experiences.

Teachers - Put students in a gifted program. Provide any resources that are needed, including alternative learning experiences.

Type Six: The Autonomous

Like the successful type, the autonomous gifted student knows how to use the system. However, instead of doing the minimum to get by, these students use the system to create new opportunities for themselves.

These students are successful, well-respected, and independent. They feel secure in their academic and personal life.

How Parents And Teachers Can Help Them Succeed

Parents - Provide opportunities for your child to explore their passions. Allow your child to be friends with people of all ages. Be your child's advocate at school.

Teachers - Allow acceleration or enrichment. Consider possibility of dual enrollment or early admission into a college. Allow students to study subjects in-depth.


No matter which of the six your gifted child or student is, all gifted students need three things - acceptance, support and guidance.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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