You are amongst a group of aliens who don’t seem to understand you and you often find it a challenge to express yourself sufficiently in order to communicate with them. Your mind twirls with vivid images of gigantic numbers playfully morphing into even more gigantic sums and it puzzles you when another being is puzzled because you’ve simply voiced, “I am superbly elated by the exuberance of the harmonious coalition of birds.” instead of, “I like to hear birds sing.”
In terms of mental stealth, they chase the wind but the wind chases you. It’s no wonder then that these aliens think that the real alien…is you.
Gifted children have the ability or potential to perform exceptionally well and significantly above that of their peers. Their ability lies in one or more academic subjects such as numeracy or literacy whereas ‘talented’ is usually the term used for those with more practical skills for example in areas of sport or music.
What can we do with the children who are deemed to be too fast paced for the pre-prepared syllabus we targeted at their particular age?
How can we best respond when they so interestingly explain concepts in ways that we’ve never even thought of?
Does it really help when we give them a week to learn how to spell ‘cat’ and ‘mat’ despite the fact that they’ve proven they can already spell and explain ‘catastrophe’ or ‘onomatopoeia’?
How can we now support a young mind, knowing that it has the ability to calculate at super speed rate, when we ourselves carefully punch figures into a mechanical calculator?
Gifted children are gifted with abilities but nonetheless they are children in need of love, nurturing and support like any other.
If you are a parent/carer of a gifted child you will have noticed certain traits which can have both negative and positive effects. Using a few of the tips that I am about to share with you, the negatives can be steered onto a more positive path.
1. **Know your child
Assess their values with them and set goals. What’s important to them in life? For what purpose do they place such importance? Are their goals realistic and are there accessible tools to help them achieve these? If an action is bordering on a compulsive nature such as the need to be perfect at all costs, what other things might be neglected due to this need for perfectionism?
Help them to understand
- that it’s okay to not know all the answers all the time
- a mistake doesn’t mean ultimate disaster and
- it’s sometimes okay to ‘let go’.
2. *** Never overload or underestimate – Don’t take evident maturity for granted
A gifted child can appear to be mature and still experience periods of extreme upset relating to trivial matters. It is important to support them in knowing how to handle their emotions.
The anchoring technique enables young children to immediately switch from a negative state such as frustration or anxiety to a more positive state of confidence and calm.
During the process of the technique, they are trained to create a unique sign which they are then taught to link or ‘anchor’ to the positive emotion they wish to experience. Later on the chosen sign acts as a trigger/switch to immediately transport them to this new emotional state. For instance if the unique sign is a thumb and ring finger squeezed together then after anchoring, whenever these particular fingers are squeezed the anchored emotion will come flooding back.
Sometimes a child, who is quite emotional, might also be able to handle particular information better if they are adequately prepared for a known event/outcome. Explain the situation beforehand and talk through the things which will occur but also remember to reassure them!
3. Realise that birds of a feather usually do tend to stick together!
Gifted children may tend to be more comfortable with adults or older children than their own aged peers. By all means encourage them to build good rapport with friends of a similar age but also consider that the gifted will undoubtedly thrive better in an environment with like-minded peers.
4. ****Provide opportunities, challenge and exposure to feed the inquisitive mind
Developing memory skills (mind mapping, mind games, mental arithmetic, research or even learning to play an instrument) can encourage active engagement from a learner. Gifted minds crave knowledge and it is therefore vital to provide the right opportunities for exposure and growth. ‘A mind without exercise is like a house without walls’.
5. ***Nurture independence –guide NOT force!
Problem solving skills enable children to use their initiative, exercise responsibility and get satisfaction from being recognised as an independent learner. Good questioning techniques, eg. Chunking, provide guidance to make decisions or to achieve an outcome.
What would happen if… How can we find…For what purpose would…How many other ways…?
Gifted children love to investigate and it’s helpful to make room for them to do so!
Above all…… ENJOY YOUR CHILD!
Pheonia Bailey -NLP4Kids Practitioner