Do You Have an Intellectually Gifted Child?

All children excel in certain areas. For the child who is gifted academically, their intellectual abilities can pose unique challenges for both parents and schools.

What makes a child intellectually gifted? Certainly genetics play a role, but experts agree that whiz kids are also motivated by their environment, their parents and teachers, and their personality types. One thing is certain, gifted kids often share particular traits. Psychiatrist, Dr. Bonni Robson explains that “often gifted kids will seek a kind of perfection. As an example they want to read perfectly, to spell perfectly. So parents of gifted kids will often say that when their child did a particular skill, they learned it perfectly the first time. However there is another small group of gifted children who look like they aren’t learning at all. As an example Albert Einstein didn’t read until he was well into grade school. Likewise some of the very superior intellectually gifted children do not fit well into the regular educational mold.”

Educational psychologist, Dr. Pat Mirenda agrees that some gifted children find school to be boring and frustrating, leading to average marks and even disruptive behavior. “Gifted children in schools continue to be very challenging for school systems because it’s very easy for gifted children in classrooms to be bored. It’s easy for them to have things paced way too slowly. And when you’re bored and not challenged, behavior problems often will occur.”

Usually it’s discovered that a child is gifted once he or she is in school, and it’s there that the teachers will suggest an enriched program. But no matter how gifted the child may be, Robson reminds parents that their gifted child is still just a kid. “One the important things is that although these children are intellectually superior, they are normal children both physically and emotionally. So while they might be able to handle square roots they may not be able to understand why they aren’t allowed to have a cookie before supper. They may even cry and carry on, but parents should realize that this is perfectly normal and gifted kids, like all kids, need emotional outlets.”

Finally if your child is intellectually gifted it’s wise to enroll your him or her in special activities and clubs. Museums, art galleries, science centers and even universities can offer great programs or camps for these curious kids.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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