A support for gifted children

A support for gifted children
Many times, a child may show exceptional aptitude and parents may be astounded by the intellectual and creative ability they demonstrate at early stages. It is imperative that one promptly identifies the traits of child giftedness and support such kids in achieving more at an early age.

The concept of giftedness, intelligence and talent are characterised by an overall ability to apply the information perceived and skills to diverse and appropriate situations. Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10 percent) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity be it subjects such as mathematics, language abilities, and areas like painting, dance, sports.

Traits of Giftedness

How does one identify giftedness? The following are some of the archetypal factors that are stressed by educational authorities as being indicative of giftedness:

A precocious ability to think abstractly and an extreme need for constant mental stimulus.

Shows advanced reasoning powers and discernible ability to handle ideas with spectacular problem-solving skill.

An ability to learn and process complex information swiftly with high retention power.

Shows persistent intellectual curiosity and asks probing questions to explore in depth.

Has a broad spectrum of interests.

Is noticeably superior in quality and quantity of written and/or spoken vocabulary; is engrossed in the subtleties of words and use of language.

Reads ardently and comprehends information easily.

Shows insight into arithmetical problems and grasps mathematical concepts readily.

Shows creative ability or imaginative expression; be it music, art, dance and drama.

Sets pragmatically elevated standards for himself/herself.

Developing their interests

Early identification, specifically between the ages three and eight, helps foster early intervention for gifted children. Parents of gifted children need to listen to their children and provide space for their interests. In the early years, parents can help their children discover their personal interests, and encourage them to learn about a wide variety of subjects such as art, nature, music, and sports. Home stimulation and support of interests is vital to the development of talents.

Parents need to collaborate rather than resist the special needs of such children. What they need most is to be heard and to encounter someone who is willing to think differently.  Acting in a friendly and not superior manner can make such kids reciprocate with their amazing abilities. Being flexible and willing to think differently helps create a win-win situation.

Teaching gifted students

Due to their rapidity of thought, gifted students complete assignments before other children. Due to outstanding speed they get bored easily and need more demanding assignments to keep them motivated. What is really going on is a mismatch between the scholastic needs of the student and the pace of the curricula and instructional program.

Because a student is smart, not always he/she is well behaved. Recurrently, if there is a mismatch between classroom instruction and a gifted student's intellectual needs, that child may "act out" or misbehave. It's not an attention-seeking act but because they need more academic stimulation than the rest of the average students as they are critical thinker’s not mere followers. Teachers need to be flexible, clued-up, and be willing to let these kids try innovative things.

Gifted students are developmentally asynchronous, meaning that their cognitive and emotional developments are out of sync. They need to be handled independently, by appreciating their key strengths and coaxing them to take up distinguished academic projects. Gifted students prefer to be self-regulated and work in isolation. Too much monitoring of such students may suffocate their talents. Hence, provide space for their scholarly growth, and they will amaze you with performance.

Early identification and intercession are crucial for the growth and development of young gifted children. Equipped with practical teaching strategies and ingenious resources, classroom teachers are in a unique position to advance their talents in a thought-provoking environment of original thinking and discovery. Sensitivity to the special needs of extraordinary children can make a momentous difference to their future development and happiness.

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