The term “gifted” gets thrown around a lot, especially in mom circles. Many parents believe their child is gifted, but is there actually an objective measurement of “giftedness” versus being intelligent or high performing? While a definitive test to identify a gifted child doesn’t exist, experts agree that gifted children most often display certain traits and characteristics.
But what happens when parents discover that their child is in fact, gifted? While this can be a source of pride for parents, raising a gifted child presents its own challenges and struggles, and finding the right support for meeting the child’s needs is crucial.
The Gifted Child:: Myth vs. Reality
Many people think of a gifted child as one of high intelligence across the board, slaying IQ tests and doing academic work far more advanced than their peers. While some children fit this description, not all are exceptionally intelligent in all areas. Far more gifted children are advanced in one area, while testing average in others. There are children who are brilliant in math and engineering, solving complex STEM problems and writing algorithms, but show no significant giftedness in writing or studying literature. Another child may be a standout artist, with the ability to create masterpieces with paint and canvas, while at the same time struggling with their math homework. It is important for parents and educators alike to recognize that these children need the opportunity to foster their area of exceptional intelligence, but also guidance and encouragement in other academic and creative subjects.
Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children
Gifted children frequently excel and accomplish impressive work in their areas of high intelligence. While giftedness is most often seen as a positive, it can put children at risk for anxiety, difficulty with social interactions, and struggles with identity. Because many of these children think and solve problems differently than kids their own age, they sometimes face problems with acceptance, understanding and fitting in within their peer groups. They also tend to be perfectionists, leading to stress and anxiety when they make mistakes or aren’t able to complete a project “just right”. While their brains process information in unique ways and they produce incredible work, it is crucial for the adults in their lives to remember that they are still children, and their emotional lives are probably not as advanced as their cognitive abilities. They will usually need guidance and empathy in navigating social interactions and friendships.
Why Gifted Education is So Important
While all gifted children are unique and have different areas of high intelligence, most do have certain characteristics in common that greatly affect their attitudes and performances at school. Almost all gifted children are easily bored at school, learn quickly, are self-taught, and are creative problem solvers. If these kids are not in a school environment that accounts for and caters to their specific learning styles and academic needs, they are at risk for behavior problems and academic under-performance. It is absolutely crucial that these children are placed in schools or programs with teachers specifically trained in gifted education who are teaching a curriculum focused on creative problem solving and keeping students engaged. It’s also important that gifted children learn alongside peers who are also gifted, and can offer support, understanding of the unique way they learn, and a sense of belonging.
Rainard School for the Gifted, located in a wooded area of Spring Branch in West Houston, is the city’s only private school for gifted children, serving students from Pre-K through 8th grade. The faculty and staff of the school understand the unique academic and emotional needs of gifted children. They embrace the unique challenge of providing these children with a learning environment designed to challenge them intellectually, while also meeting their emotional needs.
If you believe your child is gifted or they have already been identified as gifted, you should visit Rainard to see if it is a good fit for your family. They are currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. With small class sizes, a true commitment to community, and personalized instruction, chances are your child will thrive at Rainard.