What does it mean to be a gifted child? A current problem that affects children with high capacities, their identification and hinders the educational attention they receive, are the myths about what it means to be highly capable.
There is a lot of ignorance on the subject and it also generates "fear" to face a child or student with high abilities. We have the feeling that being smarter is going to be a problem for me as a parent or teacher or we may think that having high abilities does not imply special needs in these children. These are the false beliefs and myths associated with gifted children.
Many times we have heard that "it will not be very smart because it fails math", or "being too smart is a problem, better to be normal" ... These and other negative beliefs about what high ability is are those that affect development and specific care of these children, and they are the ones that really give rise to problems.
That is, if I consider that high ability is a problem and, therefore, I avoid it and do not give it the necessary attention, if a child with these characteristics shows and develops behavioral, frustration, emotional problems, etc. ..; If the child feels different and also that being different has negative overtones ... is it not normal for him to manifest school problems, fail, or behave in an inappropriate way?
Some myths of gifted children that we must abandon are:
- They learn very quickly, they understand everything the first time. Nothing is further from reality. Children with high abilities may have trouble learning subtraction with carry like any other child, for example. Being highly capable does not imply that the child comes as standard with the things learned, and when faced with new situations or learning, he can present the same problems as any other child. Being a child with a high IQ and high capacities has nothing to do with being dyslexic or having ADHD. One condition is independent of the other, so it is perfectly possible to have an IQ of 130 and dyslexia.
- They get good grades in everything. High-ability students do not necessarily have to obtain exceptional grades (in fact it is not the most frequent), nor exactly the same performance in all subjects, since they may be more motivated towards a specific field. In addition, in the case of talents, it is common for them to perform very unevenly in the areas they dominate compared to other areas, in which they may have a medium or even low performance. We should not fall into the error of thinking that a child who is brilliant in one of the academic areas will also be brilliant in the rest.
- They do not need any help at school. Due to their extraordinary potential capacity, these children need specific help without which they will rarely be able to reach their full personal and intellectual development. In fact, in some countries gifted children are included among students with educational needs.
- They are precocious children in everything. False, not every child with high abilities is precocious in their learning nor is every precocious child highly capable. A child can start talking very early and does not have high capacities for this reason. Precocity is not synonymous with a higher IQ.
- They are children with difficulties when it comes to socializing, with low tolerance for frustration and few friends. That a child has difficulties to socialize and little tolerance for frustration has not so much to do with the condition of high abilities itself, but with the child's adjustment to the environment and vice versa. That is to say, that the child knows and assumes their differences and that parents, teachers and classmates also assume them. The point here is to value the difference as enriching for everyone.
What happens sometimes is that their interests are different from other children their age, so, sometimes, they prefer the company of adults or children older than them since they have more to contribute. Nevertheless, Although intellectually they are capable of understanding many things at the level of an adult, their emotional and social needs, etc ... are still those of a child of their age, (it is what we call evolutionary dyssynchrony, or the lack of synchronization in intellectual, social, affective, physical and motor development)
What we cannot forget is that children with high capacities are children, and have the same needs that other children may have, and also have specific needs due to their high capacity condition. In the same way that a child with ADHD, dyslexia or maturational delay, for example, has certain specific needs, a capable high too, and not responding to them would be a problem for them (self-esteem, school problems, etc. .).
As with any other difficulty that may affect our child, going to professionals to assess, diagnose and guide us on the needs of our children is essential.
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