A Horse Of Many Colors:
Giftedness, a concept that has been defined in many ways by a multitude of sources, can be thought of as asynchronous development that leaves some children with advanced intellect or unique capabilities. Many gifted children are misdiagnosed before their strengths are recognized, as certain emotional and social functions in these individuals may vary from the norm. Mental health professionals are infamously undertrained in recognizing the markers of mentally gifted individuals, with many children slipping through the cracks.
Overlooking the Signs:
While it’s easy for parents to overlook the signs that their child may be gifted, it’s important to understand that these children need a learning environment where their need for stimulus and individuation are met. Due to inequitable access to quality education or other roadblocks, some gifted children don’t become outliers in achievement.
Addressing These Needs:
Some of these children may be put on an accelerated pace or higher difficulty level, while others may need more time to absorb or encouragement towards greater exercise of their capability. Many children with gifted characteristics are often grouped with similarly gifted peers, taking part in many added “enrichment” programs that help to foster and develop their cognitive abilities. Regardless, while these children often do fine in regular classrooms, this gifted mindedness requires unique attention in order to truly bring these brains to their full potential.
For many of those that are gifted, these gifts often come with extreme emotional lives, often concurrent with existential depression or certain interpersonal and psychological difficulties. A frequent finding in gifted individuals is extreme sensitivity to sensory stimulation, manifesting itself in strong reactions to emotions, tactile stimulation, lights, smells, or sounds. These individuals may encounter misdiagnosis or dual-diagnosis, professional’s missteps at cracking their highly complicated inner life and sensitive sensory palate. This sensitivity itself is what brings potential for passionate learners that are driven to understand, question, and connect concepts.
Living to Their Own Tune:
Often recreating the mold when approaching a task or through organizational style, some stumbling blocks for gifted students may be found in strategizing their learning and productivity. For many gifted learners, an accelerated paceis the more comfortable, in the way that walking fast is “easy” for someone with long legs, simply because it is only "fast" for those with shorter legs. Some gifted children may need to be given special time or direction in how to best address this inner turmoil without muffling their strengths. By giving these children the coping tools to figure things out for themselves, educators can best prepare them to succeed and excel going forward.
Importance of Identification:
These people, if able to harness their gifts and emotional life, are those best able to learn to channel their inner sensitivity and capabilities into success and innovation. If you expect that your child may need to be identified as gifted, keep in mind that early identification and attention greatly improves the likelihood that these gifts will be channeled into talents. Many school districts lack the resources or the man power to identify every child’s individual needs. Finding advice and direction from a resource like BetterHelp, an online interface that helps match individuals with the appropriate mental health professional, can be a great way to assuage your concerns and find the best plan of action in fostering your child’s unique capabilities.