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Posts Tagged ‘Gifted’


Do you know or suspect that your child is highly talented in some area but in someone’s opinion (hopefully not yours) is  “not performing up to his potential” and therefore must not be gifted? There is a great article that has apparently been around for a while about the danger of  identifying a gifted child only by his achievements, and what schools should do with and for gifted students. Since the author encourages wide dissemination of it, I am including it here. Is It a Cheetah ? I am also reminded of the old story about THE ANIMAL SCHOOL by George Reavis.

Those of us who homeschool often face this dilemma, also. We need to “learn the attributes of unusual intelligence and observe closely enough to see those attributes in individual children,” and ” recognize not only that highly gifted children can do many things other children cannot, but that there are tasks other children can do that the highly gifted cannot…a child’s greatest gifts could be outside the academic world’s definition of achievement and so go unrecognized altogether.”

As some of us deal with “twice-exceptional” kids we need to remember that it is important to emphasize the strengths and feed the passions. It is not OK to focus on the “weaknesses” to the neglect of the child’s special gifts. Even more, perhaps, than “once exceptional” gifted children, ours need down time and self-directed activity (or apparent non-activity). I have learned that my boy needs “digestion time” for things he has learned. Then one day he will come out with some new related idea or application. He can only handle traditional learning for so long. Then he rebels. No matter how hard I try to make it fun or hands-on, he eventually says, “No more! I want to do some other things.”

Fortunately, he does not require lots of repetition to learn something. He is often like a sponge, getting it the first time through. So we often take a day or two off from studies. Today was one of those days. In the first place, I needed to go someplace without him. Rather than give him assignments to complete in my absence, I told him to sleep late and relax and we might or might not do some studying when I got home.

Like any 9-year-old boy, he chose to stay in (my) bed and watch TV. But once he got up, he built an AirBlox “den” in his room and brought in a portable DVD player. In order to make room for his new setup, he had to clean his room and find a new storage spot for some things. The movies he then chose to watch were “Magic Schoolbus” science ones. I would say that was a day well spent, and he never would have done any of it if I had “assigned” it.

Recently we finished our Biology text (Real Science 4 Kids: Biology I) and I started him on human biology. One day about two chapters in, he announced that he was bored with biology and wanted to study electronics. After a discussion, I convinced him to start with some (more) basic physics to get ready for the concentrated study of electronics. We are now well into “Real Science 4 Kids: Physics I” and moving right along with experiments. His Christmas gifts will include some books and kits to enhance his electronics study later on and he is happy as a clam. These just happen to be the areas he is passionate about.

I do  believe he is gifted in the areas of reading and science. His abilities in these subjects are a natural part of him. These motivate him to learn other things that, by his nature, he has trouble learning. He just this evening announced to me that he had to learn how to spell better if he wanted to type or write big words for science. Just telling me that he wanted to type or write any words was thrilling. Saying he wants to improve his spelling made it more thrilling! By my encouraging his passions and building on his gifts, which are normal for him, his need for learning in his weaker academic areas becomes apparent to him.

However, twice-exceptional children, with or without a diagnosis, often have non-academic areas that need emphasis. For Aspies and others those areas often include behaviors and emotions that must be dealt with. We spend some time on anger management and self-control, as well as providing appropriate sensory stimulation and reassuring his anxieties. This kind of asynchronous development is often pronounced in children like him.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, I find that he has less difficulty with emotions and behavior when he is allowed and encouraged to spend plenty of time pursuing  his areas of greatest interest. Perhaps much of his frustration comes from not being allowed to single-mindedly pursue his strengths.

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