Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


Gifted or Impostor — Living With Asynchrony In Your Kids and Yourself

photo from Krista Mangulsone, Unsplash, CC

photo from Krista Mangulsone, Unsplash, CC

If you’re gifted, does that mean that you’re always smart? And everything comes easily? All of the time?


But, that can be the expectation. Yours. Your parents. Friends. Teachers. Your dog, Earl. Well, OK. Earl just loves you. No pressure.

Does it mean that you’re a genius and if you’re not, then you’re not gifted? Instead, you’re a fake, a phony, an impostor?


But that can be the belief. Yours. Your parents. Friends. Teachers. Your cat, Eloise. Well, OK. Eloise knows that she’s the genius.

And so, as with most things in your rainforest mind, it’s complicated.

You may have heard of asynchrony. Simply stated, it means that you may be advanced in some areas and not in others. You may learn some things quickly and some things slowly. This can be confusing, especially if you’ve felt pressure to be the stereotypical super-smart person. Brilliant at all times at everything. (Note: The term “asynchronous development” is also used to define giftedness, in general. For more on this, look for articles by Silverman and Tolan.)

When applied to your kids, it can mean the following:

Let’s say her (or his) chronological age is six but her mental age is twelve or thereabouts. This means that her body does what any typical six year old body does but her thinking is more like that of a twelve-year-old (and a curious, sensitive, empathetic twelve-year-old at that). Can you imagine the havoc that might ensue?

She adores Beethoven but can only play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on her violin. He admires Van Gogh but can only draw stick figures. She understands advanced math concepts but can’t remember her multiplication facts. He worries about climate change but can’t convince friends to conserve water. She wins chess tournaments but melts down when her sister gets to sit in the front seat of the car. He loves Shakespeare but hates handwriting. She’s designing intricate imaginative games for her friends but they just want to play dodgeball. He excels at learning new languages but can never find his homework or tie his shoes.

This might be disconcerting. OK, terribly frustrating and annoying. For you and your child. Not to mention, fertile ground for the seeds of impostor syndrome.

But what can you do, other than head out to a deserted island with Earl and Eloise?

Read all about it: From Caitlin Curley’s blog post via Raising Lifelong Learners.  And in the book, Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child.

Validate your child’s feelings: You understand that he’s frustrated and upset right now. You can see that she’s confused and angry. Validate your own feelings: No wonder I feel crazy sometimes.

Then, explain to your child and yourself what asynchrony is. It’s the nature of your rainforest mind to be intense, sensitive and out-of-sync. And make time to nurture yourself.

Earl and, even Eloise, will approve.


To my bloggEEs: When do you feel out-of-sync? Have you felt pressure to be super-smart in multiple areas? How do you deal with abilities/topics where you aren’t advanced? Maybe you actually are gifted in several different domains. What’s that like? How do you deal with uneven development in your kids? And, if you’re looking for an online place to find other rainforest minds, check out Thank you for reading and sharing!