Tag Archives: gifted characteristics

Leaving Behind Normalcy: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child

By Brianna Safe

Brianna has worked at IEA since 2011 and with gifted students since 2009. She graduated from Biola University with her BA in Humanities and English and is particularly interested in how literary art can inform issues in human psychology about how individuals conceive of themselves and make decisions. 

Asynchrony and the gifted childThe word “normal” is often casually batted across the field of developmental psychology, and I shudder at the implicit limitations of such a word. Sure, “normal” is a practical point of reference for understanding how children grow, in what ways and at what ages. When used descriptively, it can be a useful tool for seeing general patterns of physical, cognitive, and emotional development. The harm seems to come when we choose, often without realizing, to see normative development through a prescriptive lens. To prescribe “normal” as the measure of a healthy, happy child may confine us to a definition too narrow to allow the perspective that each child is a unique instantiation of life, and therefore will develop in his or her own unique way.

bell-curve

For those parenting a child at either end of the bell curve, the normalcy lens can cause more trouble than not. Any parent of a gifted or special needs child (or in some cases, the twice-exceptional child) can attest to the fact that, if normal is the rule, their child is indeed the exception. For these parents, it can be a challenge to let go of normative expectations and accept their child’s distinctive development.

Read more about asynchronous development and the gifted child.

The Gift of Gab

By Elizabeth Jones, IEA Co-Founder and President

I have had the privilege of learning from gifted and highly gifted students for over 20 years. During that time, we have worked with schools, trained teachers, supported students, provided fun, engaging learning experiences, guided parents and listened to kids.

The anecdotes that follow demonstrate some of the most common characteristics of intellectually precocious youth, such as advanced vocabulary, curiosity, deep empathy, rage to master, keen observation, humor and the articulation of apparently logical theories.

Although these incidents are all unique to different children, if you have had the benefit of spending time with these amazing young people, you will inevitably relate to similar comments or events.

“Who knew? School is not a place you go to learn; it is where you go to make macaroni necklaces.” – 5-year-old boy

“There are 532 dots in the ceiling tile over my desk. I know it is a weird number but it is the number. I know because I count them every day when we read together in class. I think they should make the tiles with 576 dots or 484 dots. Why? Because it is easier to do the square root.” – 7-year-old girl

“Can I be my 8-year-old self this afternoon? I had to be my 15-year-old self all day.” – 8-year-old girl

“I learned something new in school today: you get in trouble if you tell the teacher she is wrong—even if she is wrong. That is not right—it is wrong!” – 7-year-old boy

“In my school, we have gifted kids called ‘nerds,’ and we have good athletes we call ‘jocks.’ I think we need a word for gifted kids who are good athletes—like ‘jerds!’ Ha! I am a total jerd!” – 11-year-old boy

“I just feel better when I eat only white food. What is the problem?” – 6-year-old girl

“I remember, when I was young, I cried when I saw the leaves on the tree in the back yard fall off. I thought it must hurt the tree. So I went to hug the tree, and she told me it was okay, it didn’t hurt, and new leaves would grow back. It took such a long time, but it happened. I love that tree.” – 6-year-old girl

“Home is safe; I have my books, my computer, my snuggle bunny and mom. Why should I go to some strange house to ‘play’?” – 8-year-old boy

“You are right; if you do your math work sheet upside down, it is a lot more interesting.” – 10-year-old boy

Gifted children are not better than other kids, they are just different. They think differently, learn in unique ways and they have a wonderful sense of humor. Imagine a world that celebrated all these kids have to offer! What a wonderful world it would be!

What things have your kids said to you that demonstrated a characteristic of giftedness? Please share in the comment section below!

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