I love Riley's response.
I was tested and put into a 'gifted' program when I was beginning 6th grade. Same with my eldest brother (middle brother was not). This was in about 1980. Things are different today than they were then. I think it was pretty "novel" back then, at least in the small town where we lived. I enjoyed it. Not the labeling, but the actual instruction/class. We didn't go to a different school. We didn't take classes a grade or two above our current grade. What our school system had in place, was a parallel class that was taught by a teacher specializing in "giftedness".
The class that was different was the history/social studies class. Instead of going to the mainstream "regular" history class (World History, or whatever per grade) we went to a classroom of only other gifted students in our same grade to take that subject. The teacher treated us in a much more mature manner, had higher expectations, and challenged us in ways that were beyond what COULD have occurred in a "normal" classroom, because there were only about 12 of us in the class. We did photography projects, we did research and made our own magazines about periods of history, we wrote and delivered speeches, we took field trips to battlefields and wrote essays on what it was like for the folks that lived in those encampments/forts, etc. We did "normal" stuff, but to a deeper level. And we were held to a higher standard. We also did a LOT of "group" projects and because we had the same teacher for the class for several years in a row, she knew each of our strengths and weaknesses well, and organized us into groups so that our talents were matched appropriately, I think.
I consider myself an "average" gifted person. LOL I have a good friend (a year older) who was also in the program, who is profoundly gifted. And true to "type" she is sometimes terribly socially awkward. And physically awkward even. We were tested one-on-one by the tester with oral questioning, in addition to some written parts (that I don't remember specifically). I was never told my IQ, though they tested it. All of my "gifted" classmates generally tracked through all the other curriculum in the same courses with the same teachers also. 6 or 7 of my gifted classmates were in all of my other classes: the AP English, the AP Science, etc. so we never felt "singled out". I never felt different or special because of the "gifted class". But be sure, that all the teachers knew who would do well in their classes and who wouldn't, without a doubt.
My husband has a cousin who is profoundly gifted. He is an underachiever. He is also a little bit socially inept, and a lot conceited and refuses to conform to much of anything.
My husband and I have 2 kids. Our 13 yr old son is very intelligent, and has a brilliantly quick wit. He also is a little distractible, but probably not enough to consider ADD (never had him tested). He is smart, has earned a 2nd Dan in Tang Soo Do, and has had to be pushed every step of the way of most everything he has achieved after he learned to walk (early) on his own. He is sweet, but except for being outside and out and about in the world, lazy. :)
Our daughter, 10, has always been self-motivated to the extreme and excels at practically anything she has tried. When we left private schools and put them in public, I insisted she be tested for the "challenge program" because she complained daily that math was boring and too easy. (She'd been complaining about this since 1st grade). She is the child who begged me to buy summer bridge books for her so she could teach herself stuff. She begged me to teach her to read (which I did, when she was 3 1/2), and she then began reading whatever interested her (for a time it was her brother's science books). She still reads 2-3 books at a time. She plays piano (for church services). She does martial arts. She in-line skates. She turns on the Wii and does yoga and pilates. She insisted on learning cursive before her school taught it. She has had her brother teach her several of the "forms" for Tang Soo Do beyond where she is supposed to know yet (so in effect, is about 3 belts higher than what she actually has).
Every "event" that comes up, she wants to participate. She is normally fairly introverted, except when she is at home or around her closest friends.
The only real challenges I've encountered so far with her (outside the 'ordinary') is that she has a profound sense of fairness/justice, right/wrong and following the rules. I understand this is fairly common with "gifted" kids, too. This can be difficult to deal with sometimes, when she is at school for example, and something happens that she "correctly" deems unfair, like an entire class being punished for one child's misbehavior. In the younger grades, that sort of thing happens a lot, and it is hard for her to manage her emotions about being punished unfairly. She wet her pants in kindergarten one time (she was potty trained at 2) because she wasn't supposed to "interrupt when another child was reading" and she didn't want to break "the rule" by asking or getting up to go to the bathroom.
And much like her mother (me, lol) she does NOT share her inner emotions very well. She squelches them inside. That may or may not be at all related to her 'giftedness', but I think it stems from the desire to do all things well (perfectionism tendencies), which can lead us to not want to appear weak.
I have tried to always celebrate her hard work, and not just the getting of something right. Getting it right is easy for her. She knows she didn't WORK to get it right. When she struggles with something I am encouraged, because it means she is stretching beyond what comes naturally to her. She is expanding herself.
The "challenge" program she was in (when she was in brick and mortar) was an all day pull out program. One day per week, she went to a different school and stayed in the class with other challenge students all day. They did a little of everything (much like my own gifted class back in the day) and to a different level. They did a lot of "thinking" exercises. Logic puzzle type stuff. Not x + y = z. Lots of field trip opportunities not available to the "regular" classes (to museums, to art galleries, to Kennedy Space Center)...
While she never fell behind in her regular classes/subjects (she had all A's and a couple of 100s for her grades in those) she did mention a few times that she didn't like leaving her regular class. She felt like she missed some of what was going on (well, because she did). Not the academic material, but the fun stuff or the jokes or camaraderie.
I have tried since she was very young to keep her engaged and involved. And it isn't hard, since she wants to do everything. But in the early years, it was hard for me to keep others from complimenting how "smart" she was.
In the adult world... I am a SAHM. :) I don't run the most organized home, nor have the cleanest most germ-free environment here. But a bill is never lost nor late, and I am like the boy-scout motto: always prepared for anything.
I was a paralegal for a long while before we had kids. And I don't take well to "simple" explanations of just about anything.
I have a lot of tendencies that annoy my husband, but I don't think they are gifted-associated, lol. I cannot let an argument go, and I cannot let anything that can be explained, go without an explanation. I also cannot follow instructions without an explanation of WHY. Drives him nuts.
Do I think that being in a gifted program or being "gifted" made my life better, or worse? I don't really know. I don't know any other way to live. It is what it is. I found a mate who is intelligent, and kind, generous and honorable, and loyal (and sexy! lol). He appreciates my intellect and I appreciate his. I don't know that he is "gifted" or not; he was never tested, and who cares?
I think that people who know me, have high expectations of anything that I do and if I demur that I am not sure how well I can do something, I get lots of "pish posh---it'll come out perfect". At the same time, I think that people that don't know me, often underestimate me. And those can be emotionally nerve wracking places to be. I can get angry because people have low expectations, and then turn right around and feel intense pressure not to mess something up.
I have a hard time starting something new sometimes, (learning to sew for instance) because I start out wanting to do something really elaborate, and then get bogged down in the minutiae and it never gets off the ground. I didn't have much practice learning to learn.
And I have no tolerance for people missing "the obvious".
Gee, sorry I went on so long. I am also "gifted" with verbosity. :p
Now, to go figure out why my dryer's moisture sensor went out. :(