Do you have a child who seems to be ahead of their physical, intellectual, and emotional stages? This kind of development is called “asynchronous development”, commonly called “gifted” or “talented”.
So, what is a gifted child? According to The National Association of Gifted Children: “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”
How can parents support their gifted children?
1. If you suspect that your child may be gifted, there are some tests and assessments that can tell you about their IQ and intelligence. Unfortunately, there are no overall “gifted child” tests. You can ask for any available assessments through your school or go to a private tester. Like children who are developmentally delayed, gifted children fall into the same category of “the earlier you catch it, the earlier you can receive help”. Gifted children are eligible for services like special programming through their schools.
2. Be an advocate for your child. Just like other kids, gifted children go to school to learn and be challenged. If your child’s school is not providing that for them, ask the school or teacher for provisions. Teachers and parents should work together to provide the best learning environment for children. Remember that not all gifted children show signs of high-achievement in school. Some children actually fall farther behind in school due to the environment being inadequate for their needs. If you believe that your child is gifted and not receiving adequate challenge during the school day, talk to your child’s school.
3. Above all, remember that your gifted child is still just a child. Do not overbook their schedules with so many different things that they do not have time to play and be a kid. It can be tempting to work overtime to find what your little one will really excel at, but it is not worth taking away their free time.
As the Child Development Institute says: “The key to raising gifted children is respect: respect for their uniqueness, respect for their opinions and ideas, respect for their dreams”.