The Invisible Gifted Child: Mislabeled, Misdiagnosed, Unidentified and Misunderstood

misdiagnoses misunderstood gifted

The Invisible Gifted Child: Mislabeled, Misdiagnosed, Unidentified and Misunderstood

Gifted kids do not all fit the common perception of gifted. Many go unidentified or misdiagnosed, so while these kids may know that they’re different, they have no idea what it is they’re doing wrong (spoiler alert: it’s nothing). Move from misunderstanding to recognizing giftedness in children who are not typical. Learn how to help these kids and those around them understand why they’re different from others, and create a supportive environment for them to thrive.


misunderstood giftedThe Frustrating Discussion Dialogue: No Wonder My 2E Child Feels Misunderstood ~ A 2E Fox Revived (Carolyn Fox)

Every time I have to give details or a more involved explanation on my 2e son’s special needs and giftedness, I cringe. I sigh. I tailspin. We’ve just moved (again). I have to register my son with a new GP. I am dreading it. I have to go through the laundry list again and get the glazed doughnut eyes and the blank stares all over again. Every time it’s the same song and dance.

misunderstood gifted

Giftedness Diguised: Misunderstood. Mislabeled. Misdiagnosed. ~ Raising Lifelong Learners (Colleen Kessler)

Behavioral issue? Attention disorder? Sensory seeker? Anxiety riddled? Maybe… maybe not. When an alphabet soup of diagnoses doesn’t solve anything, it’s time for teacher, parents, caregivers to look deeper. Maybe then we’ll all see our brightest minds for who they truly are meant to be. Maybe then those misunderstood kiddos can get the support, accomodations, and, most importantly, the attention they deserve.

misunderstood giftedHow We Missed It ~ Wibbly Wobbly, Neuro-UNlogical Stuff (Anya Warde)

Builder Boy was about to turn 10 years old when he was officially identified/diagnosed as autistic (ASD1). Early Bird was almost 8 when he was (ASD1). We didn’t have a clue about either until Lady Bug was first identified as ASD3. Why did it take almost a decade for us to see it? How did we miss it?

misunderstood giftedI See You ~ Laughing at Chaos (Jen Merrill)

Mislabeled. Misdiagnosed. Misunderstood. Missed. Unidentified. Invisible. Hidden in plain sight. Twice-exceptional.

misunderstood giftedI See You, Son ~ Homeschooling 2e (Mary Paul)

A letter to my son – the invisible, misunderstood 2e child. I want him to know that despite all the judgement and misunderstanding he faces from others, I support him. We support him. And we believe in his potential.

misunderstood giftedMisunderstood and Gifted: How to Parent When the Label Doesn’t Fit ~ Not So Formulaic (Ginny Kochis)

Professionals and Educators love labels. Sometimes, those labels are wrong.

misunderstood giftedThose Crazy College Years: Misdiagnosing Mental Health in Early College Students ~ Everyday Learning (Alessandra Giampaolo)

Highly and profoundly gifted students with a host of overexcitabilities – not a whole lot of experience with advocating for their own health care – and a health care system that generally allows about 15-minutes before a diagnosis is made – are at risk for mental health misdiagnoses and unnecessary prescriptions.

misunderstood giftedTroublemakers and Miscreants ~ The Fringy Bit (Heather Boorman)

The picture of the typical kid referred for gifted evaluation: sits nicely in class, raises hand to answer every question, aces all tests and quizzes, wants to please the teacher, is typically fair-skinned, middle class, and generally well put together. These kids could be gifted, sure. But, the reality of gifted often looks more like this…

misunderstood giftedThe Twice-Exceptional Child: Hidden in Plain Sight ~ Gluten-Free Mum (Kathleen Humble)

If there is one thing my life has hammered into me over and over again, it’s that with twice-exceptional children, their struggles and abilities can be hidden in plain sight. It has certainly been the case for us. Again, and again, and again. For us, hitting a developmental milestone on time has become not a sigh of relief, but a 10 metre high red flag.


misunderstood giftedWe. Misunderstood. ~ Free Learning (Julie Uzelac Schneider)

In short, being misunderstood is something that arises because, as Stephen R. Covey so aptly pointed out, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

So then the best thing we can do prevent misunderstanding is to hold space with each other…
It is so simple that it is almost like doing nothing except walking alongside me. You will hear about my good days and know I’m not bragging. You will bear witness to my bad days and know that I’m not a bad parent. And I will do the same for you. That is how we all will be less misunderstood.

Resources for Understanding Giftedness

gifted resources

Giftedness is not just test scores or academic achievement. It’s not all difficulties, either. Jokes about duct tape and soundproof closets aside, it can be helpful to understand what your child is feeling, how they are developing, and what they were thinking when they asked that unusual question or performed that dangerous experiment alone out in the shed (and how do you explain the damage to your neighbors?). After all, not all children are gifted and  all gifted children do not learn alike. These kids are asynchronous, intense, and endlessly fascinating to live with. Sometimes their giftedness may be easy to communicate to others in the community, but sometimes it’s hidden by twice exceptional (2e) issues or by the expanded complexity of race and culture (Gifted Cubed). Having a gifted or 2e teenager can add a whole new layer of complication to parenting. Additional resources here give some perspective to those of us raising such children and reassure us that we are not alone.


Don’t miss these topical books from GHF Press:

when homeschooling is a dragMaking the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child

by Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mika Gustavson, MFT

A concise guidebook for parents considering their educational choices, Making the Choice discusses how to balance the emotional and academic needs of gifted and 2e children, their parents, and their families. In Making the Choice, Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and Mika Gustavson, MFT, demystify and de-mythify some of the perceived barriers to homeschooling and other alternatives. For those families wondering if alternative education is an option they should consider, Making the Choice offers ideas, guidance, and encouragement to fully evaluate the option.

If This is a Gift Can I Send it Back - New Book by Jen Merrill

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional

by Jen Merrill

When is life like a prize fight, a garden, and a quiz show, all hurtling down the road on an office chair, wrapped in song? When you’re living in the land of the gifted and twice exceptional. Jen Merrill, author of the Laughing at Chaos blog, brings laughter, tears, and honesty to her latest book by GHF Press, If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional. Join Jen on her journey through discovery, understanding, and acceptance, as she copes with the challenges that only the gifted and twice exceptional can create. So, pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine, and start reading. You’ll swear Jen’s written about you!


GHF also offers resources for understanding your gifted/2e child’s social needs and finding community for yourself and for your child. Check out our online classes, where kids make friends and gain mentors. Dear GHF also answers questions about


FREE Downloadable Brochures:
The Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children
The Educators’ Guide to Gifted Children
Twice Exceptional—Smart Kids with Learning Differences
Gifted Cubed — The Expanded Complexity of Race & Culture

What is a Blog Hop?

A Blog Hop is a way to discover and follow blogs, as well as share your own. Every month or two, we pose a topic, our blogging members discuss it, and we link to their posts. GHF blog hops include bloggers from around the world, all of them committed to articulating the unique concerns, needs, and perspectives of gifted/2e families, especially (but not exclusively) those who choose non-traditional education for their kids.

Past Blog Hops




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