As parents, we all think our children are unique. We may ooh, and awe at the mermaid picture Suzie has drawn or praise Billy repeatedly for his perfect score on his spelling test. Indeed, all children are individuals, and in their own way special, but in reality, only about 10% of the United States children fall under the category of gifted.
Simply put, a gifted child’s ability or abilities measure significantly above the norm. Gifted children make up part of the population in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Challenges faced by the gifted:
One might think that possessing an above average IQ or an extraordinary talent in music or art could only represent an advantage. However, gifted and talented children do face challenges that most of us struggle to understand. It may sound trite, but one of the most apparent difficulties for the child, the parents, and educators deals with the recognition of the gifts and abilities. A bored gifted child may display behavioral problems or even underachieve academically. Other considerations to take into account when understanding the issues of gifted children include the following:
- The stress of social and academic separation from their non-gifted peers. The attention educators need to give gifted children may come across as favoritism to their classmates causing conflict in forming and maintaining friendships.
- Many gifted people suffer from some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD, most notably, perfectionism.
- Gifted students are often overwhelmed by the proclamation; they can achieve anything.
- The conflict between the creative and critical part of their brain represents a challenge for some gifted children.
- Often a disparity of maturing exists with gifted and talented children. An eight-year-old who rattles dates and details of American History may also believe in Santa Claus.
What gifted children need to be successful:
When discussing the needs of the gifted child, we must first recognize that the gifted child falls under the category of the special needs child. A child with an IQ 40 points above the norm, deserves the same attention to reach his potential as the child with an IQ 40 points below average. Some of the points to take into consideration when parenting or educating a gifted child include:
- Encouragement to form friendships and healthy relationships with peers
- Attention and the recognition that they are facing unique demons including, perfectionism, low self-esteem, loneliness, and internal conflict
- Motivation to recognize and build on their abilities
- Help with proper verbal communication to express their thoughts and ideas appropriately
Why Tenney School represents an ideal environment for the gifted and talented student:
The “Power of One” represents the primary tenet of Tenney School’s mission statement. The philosophy of the “power of one” maintains that each child needs and deserves individual attention to help them succeed academically and socially.
Many schools rely on pooling data to determine their curriculum and end up teaching to the middle. This teaching to the middle method harms both the student who needs extra help and the gifted and talented student.
At the Tenney School, the Gifted and Talented program pays special attention to the idea of the “power of one.” By ensuring the gifted and talented student one on one instruction and recognizing their unique needs and challenges, we allow that student to accomplish the following:
- Achieving their academic goals more quickly
- Adding additional interests to their academic life such as music or art
- Advancing grade levels as their abilities allow
- Involving their parents with the decision-making process and their accomplishments
College preparation represents another essential component when dealing with gifted and talented students. The Tenney School, of course, provides readiness testing at all levels and ACT and SAT testing for Juniors and Seniors. Perhaps even more relevant to the gifted and talented student, are the college and financial preparation classes for those at the 12th-grade level.
Many schools both private and public group their gifted students together when deciding on a curriculum. At Tenney, we realize the gifted and talented student also has very individualized needs. For more information regarding our Gifted and Talented program contact us.