Special Needs: What About Gifted Children

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I’ve decided to start a series called “Special Needs”- this includes anything from gifted children, handicapped, ADD, Aspergers, SPD, left handed- any child who needs a little extra help and care for whatever reason. Don’t get me wrong- EVERY child needs extra love and care as they are growing up- every person does for that matter! But some kids just need a little bit more.

I am in NO way a doctor or medical professional, this is more an informational post/discussion for those of us who either have children that follow under that category-whether at home or in the classroom, and also for those of use who really just don’t know much about it!

Gifted Children

I am slightly overwhelmed at the hugeness of this topic! Every parent wants to say their child is gifted or smart. Let me just say that every child is special no matter what their IQ or personality says and focusing on their “giftedness” really can be a detriment. In my honest opinion, raising a gifted child is extremely harder than that of the “average” or “bright” child. It’s a constant learning process!
Is being “gifted” the same thing as being “bright”?
No! A bright or smart child is one who is taught and rapidly picks up information and can apply it. These students tend to be your straight A students and smart in most all subject areas. Having a bright child is a wonderful thing and easy to be proud of! Generally speaking, school is not a struggle for them and they can soak up information very quickly!
On the other hand, a gifted child, although they can be brilliant in one or two areas, does not have the “all around smartness” that you would see in a bright child. A gifted child does not need to be taught- they learn on their own and in their own way. In fact many of them do not like when you try to teach them something and refuse to try and learn what you are trying to teach them. They are extremely talented in one or two areas, and may be average or even severely below average in other areas!
At what age can you tell a child is gifted?

This answer varies! There are a select few gifted children who you can recognize their specialness even before they are 1 year old! Then there are those, who may never even realize they are gifted! Many children do not become “classified” as gifted until they are in upper elementary school-or even older, if ever at all.

Many gifted child are seen as “problem” children in school and are not understood. Some are even consistently kicked out of schools for behavioral issues! Whatever the case may be, being the parent of a gift child myself, these children are grossly misunderstood and looked over.

One site that I love for gifted resources is Hoagies Gifted Education Page. It really helped me when my son was little!

Gifted Children in the Classroom

Finding the right teacher plays a key part in helping a gifted child succeed in a classroom. Many gifted kids can get overwhelmed or under stimulated causing them to act out and be seen as a behavior issue. Emotions is a hard thing to understand and sometimes grasping basic concepts can seem difficult. If you have a child who is constantly disrupting the class, ask yourself if they are engaged enough? Are they interested in what is going on?

It is hard to keep a healthy balance for accelerated learning. On top of academics you also have different levels of social ability which further deepen the issue. Gifted children can have very sensitive feelings, but then have no clue about other people’s feelings.

It is amazing to me how my 3 year old can master an upper level I Spy computer game and build small electronic kits to make lights and fans, and at the same time he is crying and screaming because his brother took a sip out of his drink. It’s quite the conundrum!

Parents of the gifted child truly have an extremely exhausting and unique job. Not only do they want their children happy and healthy, but many of us are presented with issues we never dreamed about. Who would have thought my 1 1/2 year old would unlock all the keyed locks in my house, walk outside, and climb our 7 ft. pool fence just to get his floaties and be a big helper?

Gifted kids just think differently- it’s not a disease, it’s not a deformity, it’s a different way of thinking. Gifted children tend to be extremely literal. They do not understand jokes and humor, or teasing. If you told me son to run into a busy street, he would not even hesitate he would take off running. You may think that sounds absurd or funny- but it’s not! This is very typical of a gifted child.

I can write you a whole book about the ups and downs of gifted children, and I feel so passionately about this subject because we have found ourselves with a gifted child and a twice exceptional gifted child. To say we stay busy in our household is an understatement!

Just because our children don’t look physically handicapped doesn’t mean that they don’t require extra treatment or special care. I’ve heard so many times from parents that wish their child wasn’t gifted because they are treated so poorly by people who don’t understand.

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  1. The Teacher's Wife says:

    Thanks Laurie! I tried emailing you but it wouldn't go through. Of course you can use this article! I'll try to contact you through your site tomorrow and see if the glitch is fixed!

  2. Virginia Doherty says:

    Hello! Great article! We are going through some things with our little guy that have us thinking that he may be gifted. Would you be able to tell me how we go about getting a correct ‘diagnosis’ for this? Thanks for any help you can provide. ~Virginia

    1. Hi Virginia! I would start by checking with your local school board to see what services they can offer you in the way of getting tested or any special needs that they can help meet. You can also search for a Behavorial Therapist in the area who can consult and administer testing!

      1. Thanks!

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