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Harder to Detect

Young gifted children work out that they are different from others their age. Dr Philip Powell says, “Most gifted children know they are different by the time they are five.” Dr Linda Silverman says, “the [gifted] child often interprets the lack of fit with the playgroup as evidence that “there must be something wrong with me”.

So they try to hide. How do they do this?

The praying mantis adopts the same colour and shape as its environment. In her book, Counselling the Gifted and Talented, Dr Linda Silverman says that gifted girls ‘learn how to blend in with their peer group so that they are just like all the other girls’. “Gifted girls,” she says, “are chameleons”.

The Alaskan snowshoe hare changes colour with the seasons. Miraca Gross tells the account of Tom who cleverly devised two vocabularies – one for home with his family and close adult friends, and one for school reserved for teachers and age-peers. She explains that Tom employed ‘his alternative vocabulary’ as a deliberate camouflage structure.

Again, Dr Linda Silverman says that these children learn that it is “smart not to be too smart”. In a radio interview with Katherine Feeney, Dr Jim Watters said, “If gifted children perceive that it is uncool to be gifted, they may not show any indication (of being gifted). If the child is not given opportunities, skills may go unnoticed.”

Hard to detect? Even harder if gifted children “don a mask before they recognize their own face.” (Drew)



ABC 612 Radio 1pm Tuesday 26/0917 Katherine Feeney interviewed Dr Jim Watters, Adjunct Professor in Education, Queensland University of Technology.

Drew, Elizabeth (1972). Learning together: How to foster creativity, self-fulfillment, social awareness in today’s students and teacher. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Gross, Miraca U.M. (1989). The Pursuit of Excellence or the Search for Intimacy? The Forced-Choice Dilemma of Gifted Youth. Roeper Review, 11 (4) 189-194.

Powell, Dr Philip.

Silverman, Linda Kreger (1993). Counselling the Gifted and Talented/ Denver: Love, p300

Silverman, Linda Kreger (1993). The Inner World of the Gifted Child submitted to Roeper Review for publication, December 1993.


Answers: Blog 7 – Coded Secret Message – Short Message: camouflage. Longer Message: The military use camouflage to hide people, buildings and vehicles. The displacement number is 13.


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