Gifted Children and Tweens

If your child or tween has been identified as gifted, high IQ, or "twice exceptional" (2E), he or she may present with extraordinary social and emotional needs. Being gifted is much more than being "really smart." A high IQ often comes along with many challenges such as social alienation and loneliness, sensory sensitivity, emotional intensity, perfectionism, anxiety, and depression, as well as higher rates of autoimmune disorders and allergies. These associated challenges can feel very overwhelming, isolating, and painful. 


Gifted people are generally classified as IQ 125+. Experts agree that only about 2-5% of the population falls into this category. The world is designed for the 95% in the middle. This can make life significantly more challenging for high IQ kids in a number of ways. The gifted children and tweens I work with tend to be struggling with some combination of: 

  • Problems at school (calling out, trouble sitting still, lack of cooperation with teachers, underachievement) 

  • Increased anxiety, perfectionism, inflexibility and trouble with transitions

  • High emotional intensity (angry outbursts, crying spells, tantrums)

  • High emotional sensitivity, particularly to shame and rejection (this sensitivity may be displayed through crying, obsessing about mistakes, blaming others, minimizing or denying wrongdoings, rages, aggression or running away)

  • Role-confusion (acting as more of a teacher/mentor toward peers, parenting siblings, attempting to engage in parents' conversations and decision making)

  • Sensory sensitivities (difficulty tolerating bright lights, crowds and loud noises, highly restricted diet and wardrobe, etc.) 

  • Existential depression or panic over the state of the world

  • Trouble fitting in, making and keeping friends; and/or chronically feeling lonely and "different" even amongst those who seem to be friends


I would love to help your little one thrive at school, (re)discover the joys of friendship, find sensory strategies that work, and "take in" your attention, nurturance, and guidance. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I work diligently to make sure all the "systems" these children face can support their full potential. This means extra help collaborating with teachers, community and family members so that we can all get behind your gifted child.

Ready to start the conversation?


Looking for specialized support for a gifted teen or adult? I hope you'll talk with my colleague Gordon Smith: