Understanding Vulnerabilities and Fostering Growth
The abilities and experiences of gifted children are different from the typical development of children. They have exceptional ways of experiencing the world, as well as advanced intellectual abilities and special gifts and talents.
According to Barbara Clark in “Growing Up Gifted” the social and emotional growth of our gifted is of utmost importance not only because such growth can sharpen intellect, but more importantly because such growth becomes the basis for the use of that intelligence.
Gifted learners take in information from the world around them and react and respond more rapidly and intensely than other children. They are stimulated by what’s going on around them as well as by what moves from within them. Gifted children are often misunderstood because of their great capacity for stimulation and because they perceive and process things differently. It is often called the “too much” syndrome. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, high energy as hyperactivity, persistence as nagging, strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, passions as disruptive, imagination as not paying attention, questioning as undermining authority, and their creativity at times as oppositional. They stand out from the norm. (Joyce Van Tassel Baska, Ed. D., Tracy Cross, Ph.D., F. Richard Olenchak, Ph.D., 2008)
Gifted children are more likely to experience extremes, to be more intense and sensitive. This capacity for experiencing intensely should be viewed as an asset to be understood and accepted.
There are social and emotional areas of vulnerability to be aware of in gifted children:
MYTH: All children are gifted.
REALITY: All children have strengths and positive attributes, but are not all gifted in the academic sense of the word. Appropriate identification of students as gifted allows them to be evaluated for support and services and that meet their unique learning needs. Source: National Association for Gifted Children
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