We know how absolutely difficult it is for children who have learning disabilities to cope in the every day world but we never spare a thought for children who are children in body but much older in mind. These children are gifted.
A gifted child will often have enhance cognitive abilities and they often experience everything with an intensity that allows them to experience everything in a way that is not the normal way. This must be frightening for a child. They can’t relate to people their own age and they have no interest in child’s play.
You as a parent will be the first to notice giftedness in your child, it is often identified through the advancement of early childhood developmental phases which are reached rapidly and with ease. Parents may express their finding but be ignored and so the child goes through school with the teachers overlooking the giftedness and often identifying it as a learning disability, ADD, ADHD, or simply behavioral issues.
Psychometric testing for the gifted offer results which are not always understood and there remains a need for psychological assessments are also needed. There are various degrees of giftedness:
Moderately – IQ 135 – 145
Highly – IQ 145 – 160
Extremely – IQ 160 – 180
Profoundly – IQ 180 plus
Just because your child is gifted, does not necessarily mean that they don’t need any help. It doesn’t mean they will excel at everything. Gifted children often have a noticeable arrogance about them and placing them in advanced classes and special programmed will in effect worsen this arrogant behavior.
It is extremely important for you to take your child for a psychometric evaluation if they seem to have problems at school. It may be misdiagnosed as a disability or impairment when in actual fact your child has abilities beyond their years. Your gifted child may display similar behavior in class to those who have very real learning disabilities. Boredom, lack of interest, acting up in class, these are all classic signs of attention disorders but they can also be pointing you to check your child. A gifted child may find the work too simple and not worth them time to complete, they may become bored with the work as they know and understand it immediately, they may feel they are learning nothing new.
You may find that your child’s mind works far too fast and their bodies can’t keep up causing them to seem dyslexic or display terrible handwriting. Their bodies are trying to get out what their minds are thinking but the mind is working too fast for their motor skills to follow.
Your gifted child may display social flaws, they may withdraw from children their own age simply because they have nothing in common and no interest in playing foolish games. Your child may even be teased or picked on because he/she shows different tendencies, tendencies that normal children their age are not used to.
Children who are picked on, often become bullies to take the attention off their differences. They may become aggressive through frustration and act out rashly towards those who inferior in intelligence.
It is easy to see how misdiagnosis can happen, the symptoms and behavior of children with attention deficits and learning disabilities mirror those of a gifted child. Don’t be too quick to medicate your child, take them for an evaluation, psychometric testing as well as psychological testing. Medicating a child who doesn’t need it, is not fixing the problem, it simply places a bandied over a wound that is going to fester and could result in an explosion of frustration.
Yes, your child may be gifted but that doesn’t mean they are gifted in every area. They may show genius abilities in numbers, or language or even music, but very rarely is it displayed in every area. Your child may be gifted at Maths but need assistance with English for instance. Don’t ignore your child’s shortcoming to focus on the fact that they are gifted, you aren’t helping your child in that way. Your child needs to become a well-rounded individual in order to cope and succeed in society. Get your child help where they need it.
Your gifted child should be treated like any other, special treatment often leads to even more arrogance and that leads to social disaster for your child. Your child must learn how to interact with children their own age in order to experience life to the fullest.
Being gifted is not always the pleasure it may appear. If not guided in the right direction, these children could go off the rails. Your child is still you child, gifted or not, you, as a parent need to offer them your advice and you help whenever they may need it. These children still need attention and love like any other.
You may find your gifted child isn’t the affectionate type but you can display your care in other ways.
You have known all along your child is gifted but you were always ignored. If a teacher suddenly says your child has a disability or is displaying behavior issues, don’t take their word that your child needs help, take your child to a professional who is trained to know the difference between problem and gifted.
These professionals will better be able to help you child understand what is happening in their brain and to help them to master skills where they lack. Social skills are important if your child is to develop meaningful relationships in life. Your child needs human interaction. Your child needs love. Encourage the areas in which they display their gift but never ignore the areas where they show weakness, help them to improve themselves in every aspect.
Your child needs to learn to deal with their gift and to use it productively while still maintaining a down to earth nature and forging lasting relationships.