Giftedness - Ten Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should

The following is a list of facts, traits and issues many would not recognize as a part of giftedness in children.

Ten Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should

1. It is widely acknowledged that giftedness is an inherent attribute.
Giftedness is present at birth, an inherited trait. Chances are very high that one or both parents of a gifted child, as well as siblings, are also gifted. Nor does giftedness discriminate against culture, religion, social-economic status.

2. Gifted children do not always excel in school.
Being gifted is no guarantee of success in school or later in life. For many various reasons, a gifted child will not always score well on tests, ace every task or turn in their homework. Many gifted children underachieve in school and often drop out.

3. Gifted children can and do have learning disabilities.
As with any child, a gifted child may have learning disabilities which can negatively influence their achievement in school. Unfortunately, gifted children with learning disabilities, also referred to as twice-exceptional or gifted+, often go unidentified because their advanced cognitive abilities often mask their learning disabilities.

4. Gifted children often develop asynchronously.
Asynchronous development is an imbalance or uneven growth of developing traits, skills and abilities—a gifted child’s intellectual abilities can be years ahead of their emotional maturity and social skills. A 12 year old child who understands high school algebra and science, but is unable to sleep at night alone without a nightlight, a fan and all of his stuffed animals is an example of asynchronous development in a gifted child.

5. Gifted children can have overexcitabilities (OE’s).
These are the emotional intensities and sensitivities set off by various forms of physical and psychological stimuli. A constant buzzing sound which causes extreme irritability and the inability to move on until the sound is located and stopped is an example of OE’s.

6. Gifted children often have difficulty finding like-minded friends.
Gifted children, with their intellectual, emotional and developmental differences, can have a difficult time finding friends or same-age peers who share and understand their intellectual interests and quirky traits. Parents of gifted children find this common situation the most painful to watch their gifted children experience.

7. Gifted children often feel like they don’t fit in.
They realize early on that they may be out of step or out of sync with children their own age. Feelings of isolation and not belonging can eventually lead to emotional struggles, depression, dropping out of school and even suicide.

8. Gifted children are gifted in and out of school.
The emotional intensities, asynchrony and social struggles leave school with the gifted child and follow him home. Being gifted is who they are, not how well they do in school.

9. Being gifted is not a net-positive situation.
Being ‘smarter’ or able to grasp and master concepts and skills above grade level is not a guarantee that any child has it made and will be successful in life.

10. Raising a gifted child is not easy.
Given the educational considerations, overexcitabilities, social struggles and asynchrony, life with a gifted child can easily come with its share of bumps in the road. Additionally, the reality that so many only see the stereotypical gifted child—the child who has it made—means parents find little support or empathy among other parents or adults when they need it most.

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