In 2013, two of GRO’s founders sat dejected and disillusioned in a hotel room after a long day at a gifted education conference. They lamented that while many brilliant and influential professionals in the fields of psychology and education had dedicated their careers to advocating for the needs of gifted individuals, the myths surrounding giftedness stubbornly persisted. While advances had been made in the understanding of this population, America seemed not only disinterested in hearing about these advances, increasingly the mere mention of giftedness was often met with dismissal or cries of elitism. Frustrated and disheartened the GRO founders wondered what it would take to affect wide-sweeping, permanent change. Eventually their brainstorming led to the observation that throughout history, major changes in the psychological and educational professions often came as a result of advances in medical knowledge. With this in mind they began formulating a plan to create an organization dedicated researching gifted physiology. They envisioned using scientific findings to break through the barriers of perception that were preventing the needs of the gifted population from being addressed.
Returning from the conference with renewed determination, they felt that in order to best understand the current environment, they needed to understand the history of why America viewed giftedness as it does. They spent several months performing a root cause analysis, reading about how views on giftedness have evolved overtime, studying the history of gifted education and talking to parents, educators, gifted advocates and psychologists. Sadly what they discovered was that the entire concept of giftedness was encased in myths and that these myths appeared to be so deeply ingrained in America’s social fabric, that to dispel them would amount to nothing less than social change.
Armed with this understanding, they sought advice from social change experts across the country. Eventually they focused their study on the strategies used by the LGBT campaign; which took the word “gay” from something that was socially acceptable to publicly degrade to not only legally protected, but politically incorrect to demean in a relatively short period of time. In the same manner, GRO sought to change the way America felt about and understood giftedness. Utilizing what they learned, the GRO founders refined a lecture directed at educating others about how to talk openly and honestly about giftedness and how to address the misperceptions surrounding it. The message was carefully and strategically crafted to appeal to a broad audience. This talk, entitled “Elephant in the Room: How to Talk About Giftedness” was performed all over the nation and became GRO’s first major outreach campaign. It was from the groundswell of support that came from this talk that GRO was propelled forward and now stands on the stage as an entity already actively involved in groundbreaking research.
As the research arm for GRO completes its studies, the outreach campaign will concentrate on the dissemination of the research findings.
GRO was incorporated as a 501.C.3 non-profit organization in January 2015. With the generous financial support of family, friends and the gifted community, GRO has begun the work that will bring its promise into a reality.