What is Gifted?
What is Gifted?
If you’re like most parents pondering this question, you’ve likely noticed a few things about your child that seem to be different from what you had expected. Maybe a teacher mentioned some things to you about your child’s classroom behavior. School may be different for your child from what you remember. It may appear that your child has a different perspective on things from you. The other kids in their age group may have a harder time relating to your child. Do any of these things sound familiar? Maybe they are “gifted.”
There is a misconception that all gifted children are at the top of their class and are the smartest people in the world. The traits of gifted students go well beyond test scores. While that may be true, it’s not the best indicator of whether your child is gifted. There are a few things that may help to identify a gifted child.
They have extreme interests or have an interest in everything.
Lots of kids love to play with their toys or watch Star Wars movies. The piece of the puzzle that is indicative of giftedness is that these kids are often very focused on their interests. We call this hyperfocus. They will learn absolutely anything and everything they can about a topic. Just as it seems that they have learned everything that exists on their focus, it switches.
Some topics that research has found that gifted kids often connect with include: dinosaurs, mythology, space, presidents, or a particular sport.
They have no idea how to keep organized.
The kids with the messiest rooms are often the kids with so much on their minds that cleaning feels like the last thing that they want to do. It can be like pulling teeth. At the same time, their lockers at school, toys on a shelf, or even their dinner plates are completely spotless. Executive functioning skills run low in a lot of these students because of the rate at which their minds move. The creative mind may find solutions to a lot of problems, but this is one of the most frustrating aspects of their (and their parents’) lives.
They have a keen sense of self-awareness.
At some point or another in everyone’s lives, they may feel as if they don’t fit in. That feeling normally sets in during middle school. For the gifted child, that feeling happens much, much earlier. While they may not understand why, they just know that the niche they fit into is not with most of their peers. Some kids take this and run with it: creating an air of self-assurance. They know that they are the smartest kid in the room. Other kids end up feeling withdrawn or quiet themselves around peers.
They have ADHD or another learning ABILITY.
Yes, we call these ABILITIES here at ExploreMore! Gifted. Over half of the students that are considered gifted and talented will also have ADHD, anxiety, nonverbal language disorder (NVLD), a processing issue, etc. This is called twice-exceptionality.
Many times this is because students are able to think so quickly that their emotions or focus cannot catch up. It’s totally normal and nearly expected, that a gifted student would have one of these other disorders or that their behavior mimics other learning disorders. Twice exceptionality brings with it some of its own challenges such as high functioning minds with little ability to perform in school, a restlessness that they cannot explain, disordered thinking and processing skills, extreme hyperfocus, and more.
You feel exhausted.
Parenting is hard enough. Add on top of that your child that doesn’t stop moving, asking questions, and monologuing about what is interesting to them, and you are left with very few moments of peace. You’re exhausted. That’s okay. The thing to remember is that you are doing great things; gifted kids need special parents that are able to adapt, think analytically, and, most of all, support their children. Remember not to be too hard on yourself because these kids are a reflection of you and your willingness to learn and encourage such a special kid.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, if you can identify your child with any of these things, your child could be gifted. Congratulations! While this list is by no means exhaustive, your child may be gifted and needs to be advocated for. Look for programs that will instill a love of learning and that will encourage them to explore. Thank you for all that you do to make their world just a little brighter.