— I have a gifted child.
— I have an exceptionally gifted child.
— I have a gifted child, what should I do with this?
— What if all the children are gifted, but mine for some reason is not?
Recently, much has been written about early childhood giftedness and especially much talk: it seems that almost every fifth preschool child shows exceptional abilities. For parents, this is another challenge: how to help such a child, is it worth it to deal with him specifically, how to maintain his talent and at the same time not “squeeze” the load?
Well-known helps us to answer these questions. family psychologist Ekaterina Murashova.
- Ekaterina Vadimovna, let's start with the main thing. How to understand that your child has a special gift? Are there objective criteria, parameters?
- For starters, there are two types of early childhood giftedness - special and common. Parents will not ask anyone about the special - you can’t confuse her with anything. This is the same case when a child, three years old, gets up to the piano at night, or draws 24 hours a day, or moves so quickly and flexibly that you can immediately see: it is a gift. There are few such children; in my lifetime there have been no more than twenty children with giftedness in various fields: mathematics, drawing, sports, music.
What is important here? Special children's giftedness has nothing to do with advancing development. For example, a gifted three-year-old child will draw differently than a schoolchild or teenager would. No, he draws cephalopods, as expected at his three-year-old age, but they are such cephalopods that you just swing! They are especially emotionally charged, unique.
In general, if such a child was born in your family, then you will not have any doubts. Rather, you will not come to a specialist to find out if your child is gifted, but to ask what you should do about it now.
- And what exactly is to be done to help a child with special early giftedness?
- Such children have one serious risk - uneven development. If a child is drawn to drawing, then, as a rule, this is what he does day-and-day. He succeeds very well, he is praised for it, he likes it more and more, but nobody canceled the law of Lomonosov-Lavoisier. The development of his gift is due to the oppression of other activities.
What should parents do? Pay attention not only to the sphere in which the child is gifted, but to everyone else. Keep track of what is happening in a child with a shared outlook, communication competencies, how open he is, whether everything is okay with his health, etc.
- Is special early childhood giftedness a hereditary phenomenon?
- To some extent, yes, because there are dynasties of doctors, dancers, musicians. But this is completely optional.
- Often, in order to develop a child’s gift, parents don’t give it to a comprehensive school — only to specialized school or practice home schooling ...
- In my personal opinion, it is necessary to socialize any child. Absolutely anyone. For example, children with autistic disorders socialize hard, but just being in a team, they observe, analyze and gain the most important experience. Needless to say, the gifted: it is also extremely useful for them to have an idea of what the world is around them, what people are, what else you can get involved in and do, besides their favorite music or football. So, they show the usual adequate school to the same extent as everyone else.
- Do I need to somehow additionally motivate the child with such giftedness that he does not abandon his beloved business?
- As a rule, the child himself is perfectly motivated to constantly do his favorite thing. Here, parents, most likely, will have the task not to motivate, but to think about how to tear the child from the piano, violin or colors. Well, if the fuse has passed, then the question will again arise before the parents, whether they need to return interest and for what purpose.
- So you do not advise her to return?
- I do not advise anything but one: let the actions of the parents be fully conscious, always and everywhere and in any case. If you are going to force the child to persuade, learn, increase or decrease the load, realize why. What is your goal.
- What if a child with special children's talents does not study well? For example, does he have in all subjects except his beloved, two, three?
- If the deuces, then he simply does not pull the program. This happens to children even extremely gifted. And if the triples, then the situation is more interesting. In this case, the parents must make a decision: do they need more even success in other subjects or not? A little later I will give a universal algorithm of actions when you have to make a similar decision.
In any case, you have a choice: either leave the child the right to do only what he loves and, together with him, be responsible for some bias, or make him somehow equalize his progress, pull himself up to a level more acceptable for parents.
Fast pace of development activities.
If you have the makings of something, then you quickly learn it. Faster than their peers. Sometimes they say: "grasps on the fly", "given easier." The almost fast pace is manifested in the fact that children with a capacity for something master a large amount of material in a short period of time.
But the presence of high learning ability cannot be considered the only sign of giftedness.
The breadth of skill transfer.
The breadth of skill transfer means that a person who is prone to some kind of activity can realize his abilities outside the learning situation. He understands where in life knowledge can be applied.
Example. Very often, the child’s abilities are evaluated by the way he learns. Quickly or slowly "grabs."
Suppose there is a baby 3 years old who can read in his three years. Mom is naturally proud of his advancement. The first sign of giftedness is high pace of training - here is presented in full. But let's observe the baby. Almost always we will see: the child can read, but reads only when mother opened the primer and said: read.
The kid is surrounded by a large amount of printed information, for example, signs, inscriptions on boxes. But he does not read them. He shows his reading skills only in a specific educational situation under the command: read.
The child did not transfer the skill outside of school. Then we are not talking about a high level of abilities, but only that a lot of mother's efforts were invested in this baby. He received a training skill, but has not yet transferred it. The kid does not yet know why he needs reading skill.
Another example: trigonometric functions, logarithms. How do most students understand them, even in the math class? At the level of the educational task. But there is a boy of 10 years, who calculated the area of solar panels for flying to Mars, using these same cosines and logarithms. He already in 10 years knows why they are needed in life. So which of the children is gifted?
15 signs of your child’s giftedness
“The right definition, clear explanation and ongoing support will help the gifted child adapt” - Gale Post, Ph.D.
At the beginning of the article, one important thing is worth mentioning: mental abilities, as you know, are quite difficult to measure. As a child, Thomas Edison brought home his mother a note from the teacher, which stated that her son was near. Edison was a lot of people, but he was definitely not stupid. Moreover, he was a truly gifted child.
One of Albert Einstein’s teachers once declared that he was “a closed slow-witted person, constantly immersed in his stupid dreams.” Most likely, Einstein was thinking about physics then. Perhaps then his mental abilities developed, thanks to which he, perhaps, became the greatest physicist in history. You definitely already got the point. (What the hell is wrong with the teachers of the time?)
The National Association of Gifted Children defines giftedness as “abilities significantly exceeding the average norm for a certain age (child)”. A child may be gifted in one or more of the following areas:
- Intelligent (IQ)
- Academic: Languages, Mathematics, or Science
“Gifted children already know about 60% of the kindergarten program on the very first day of classes.” - National Association of Gifted Children.
The difference between “gifted” and “capable”
It must be understood that gifted children are not just smart. This will serve as your first step in understanding what kind of help your child needs to become successful. Christopher Tybby, a specialist in the field of education of gifted children, talks about four fundamental differences between gifted and capable children:
Smart children work hard, but gifted children quickly get bored
Smart children are the dream of any teacher. They are never late, they behave well and work hard. As a result, they get good grades. Moreover, an intelligent, but not gifted child is more likely to succeed in a traditional school setting, as they are mainly motivated by good grades and recognition. This is a big problem for gifted children: neither the assessment nor the recognition of teachers usually motivates them.
Gifted children often already know the correct answers without much effort. In a traditional classroom setting, this can cause problems. Without internal stimuli and external stimulation, gifted children will most often plunge into their rich inner world.
Smart kids know the answers to the questions, and gifted kids ask the questions
Smart children are good at processing and storing information. This ability, combined with hard work, leads to outstanding academic excellence. Gifted children need much less time to remember material. As a result, they become bored of sitting in the classroom, when they can easily “pass the test” and move on.
Since the curiosity of gifted children never fades, they will dig deeper and will want to know absolutely everything that is possible. They will ask themselves questions, and also use Google or books to find answers. They memorize the acquired knowledge without much effort, so at the beginning of the lesson the child will know much more than the teacher can tell him.
Smart children like lessons, but gifted children don't (often)
As stated earlier, the classroom is an ideal environment for a smart child to succeed. With gifted children, everything is different: their incompatibility with the traditional classroom environment leads to a lack of stimulation.
Thanks to two extremes - excessive curiosity and intense boredom - gifted children often become self-taught and take responsibility for their education. Unlike school, self-education can satisfy the child's need for effective learning.
Able children are smart, while gifted children are original
Remember the greatest innovators in history - da Vinci, Tesla, Graham Bell, Edison, Gates, Jobs. These people were (perhaps) the ones we now call “gifted”. It is worth noting that not all of them could boast of good grades at school.
Many gifted children live in order to bring their ideas to life. When something (for example, a school subject) attracts their attention, gifted children want to not only learn, but also put their knowledge into practice. Thinking outside the box and thirst for innovation are the reasons why an alternative educational environment is often optimal for gifted children.
15 signs of a child’s giftedness
Perhaps you are wondering how to identify a gifted child. If so, here are 15 distinguishing features that you should pay attention to:
Gifted children acquire knowledge much faster than average children. Learning language skills is also easier for them. Gifted children have a vast vocabulary, and they can use complex sentences in speech.
The skill of defining patterns (for example, jigsaw puzzles or the time when mom comes home) is rarely developed in young children. Unless, of course, your child is gifted.
As mentioned earlier, gifted children are incredibly curious. To satisfy their curiosity, they need to read every book that falls into their hands. This feature is most pronounced if the child is very interested in something.
Endowment is another word for outstanding talent. Some children are naturally talented in sports, science or the arts. Outstanding talent is a clear sign of a child’s giftedness.
Gifted children, due to their highly developed mental abilities, are not interested in communicating with peers. They do not understand them, or gifted children are just bored with them. Therefore, they will try to communicate with older children, teachers and adults for stimulation.
Here's something to add: most gifted children have an outstanding ability to focus on what interests them. In a boring lesson, a gifted child will lose this ability. Because of this, it can be mistakenly decided that the child does not manage to concentrate well.
A gifted child may also have highly developed emotional intelligence. If your child is gifted, then you may notice that he disapproves of peer pranks. Gifted children are usually not prone to antics and mischief.
Gifted children also have problem solving skills. Such children not only have a different approach to everyday problems, but they can also come up with a way to improve something.
Due to their maturity, as well as the ability to solve problems and think outside the box, gifted children make good leaders. Of course, these leadership qualities will most clearly manifest when the child is in a suitable environment.
While the rest of the children need parents or teachers to tell them how to do things correctly, gifted children immediately get down to business and only then ask questions. Or they don’t ask them at all if they manage to figure out everything themselves.
Gifted children are always in motion, most likely because their brain is constantly working. Please note that smart and gifted children often speak very quickly. This is because they are trying (unsuccessfully!) To make their words keep up with their thoughts.
Like most children, gifted children like to spend time with other people. However, loneliness allows them to remain alone with their thoughts and develop their creativity. Gifted children like to read, write and draw alone.
Some gifted children, especially those with highly developed creative abilities, love beautiful views and sounds of nature. Their curiosity is most manifested in nature.
Yes, you read it right. Smart and gifted children spend almost all of their mental energy on the things that interest them. It often happens that they succeed in one area and fail in another. Gifted children sometimes cannot realize all their abilities due to poor concentration of attention, negligence, frustration and, most often, ordinary boredom.
Gifted children enjoy learning so much that it becomes their hobby. Thanks to his mental abilities and a desire for knowledge, a child can even share several interests with his peers.
Conclusion: why it is important to determine a child’s giftedness
“The right definition, clear explanation and ongoing support will help the gifted child adapt” - Gale Post, Ph.D.
Despite all the difficulties in determining mental abilities, it is still necessary for the development of the child. For example, determining that a mentally retarded child can play a decisive role in whether he succeeds or fails. This also applies to gifted children.
Gifted children, whose abilities could not be revealed, often become the subject of ridicule and bullying. It’s not worth it to allow this to happen. Moreover, a gifted child has the potential to become a leader in this complex global society. First of all, a gifted child must be placed in the right environment and allowed him to succeed, on his terms.
Energy saving performance.
The point is that an activity-capable child is given much easier activity than the rest. It spends less energy.
Domestic psychophysiologist, researcher of abilities Boris Mikhailovich Teplov proposed a formula for the presence of abilities in a person. Based on it, we can judge whether he has data for some activity or not, correlating productivity and energy costs (“price”) for its implementation.
It turns out, contrary to popular belief, we can not judge the makings of a student only by the demonstrated result (academic success). Usually as we judge:
- the student of the three-four has no special inclinations,
- he does not know how to do this - he does not have abilities.
The result - five in the subject - can be objectively the same for different students. But you have to watch how they get it. У одного в знаменателе огромное число, у другого может вообще ничего не быть. Разделите результат на усилия, и получите истинный вариант способностей.
Мотивация – четвёртый признак одарённости.
Часто упускается из внимания. A person with certain inclinations loves the business to which he is capable, and seeks to deal with it anytime, anywhere.
Often at school and from parents you can hear: Vanya is a capable boy, but lazy. If he had made any effort, he would have had a wonderful result. Here we judge the ability to be highly trained, without considering motivation, and put the student in an awkward position. It seems that there are inclinations, it is necessary to justify, give the result, but there is no motivation. And instead of developing skills and increasing productivity, regressive neurotization sets in: they expect me, they say, I can. And I can, and I can, but I do not want. The soul does not lie.
Let me remind you that we started a conversation about abilities to show the place of creativity.
Creativity is a person’s ability to transform.
The fifth sign of giftedness. A person who is capable of performing an activity can be considered gifted, departing from the algorithm that he was taught, introducing an element of independent creative activity. When a person mechanically repeats the algorithm and does not contribute anything, there is no talk of the existence of inclinations.
Creativity in the giftedness structure
Thus, if we are talking about human abilities and giftedness, as a high level of abilities, then creativity is a key attribute.
In psychology, it is customary to divide abilities into general and special. Subject teachers (and these are all teachers, including kindergarten teachers) pay attention to special abilities that directly correspond to the subject: linguistic, mathematical, musical and all sorts of others. This is the ability to perform private, local activities.
Creativity refers to the general abilities necessary to perform absolutely any type of activity. Thus, creativity is included in the structure of abilities or giftedness of absolutely any capable or gifted child.
In life, the words "abilities, giftedness" are used with a plus sign. It's great to be gifted. It’s somehow inconvenient to tell parents: your child is mediocre. This happens because in everyday life the words "abilities, giftedness" are used as an assessment of a person. The rating is positive. But studies show: not everything is so cloudless.
Regarding creativity as a sign of giftedness, there are a number of misconceptions.
1. Creativity manifests itself in a certain product: for example, excellent performance.
A dangerous delusion when the value becomes the five, and not the student. Our student becomes a tool with which we achieve results. I want to be a teacher whose students win at the Olympics. If you are able to provide this, you are capable, you are gifted. If you’re not capable, you are not interested in me as a teacher. Such a one-sided approach does not lead to stimulation, but to a successful decay of creativity, since the student once comes to the subjective conclusion that the school uses it.
2. Creativity must be developed by all means, otherwise it will fade.
There is one big trouble. We are starting to develop some specialized creativity - visual, mathematical, any other. And man is a multilateral being. In addition to the ability to solve mathematical problems, there is much more to it. Developing only a certain creativity, we enclose a large pig to the child, violating the harmonious development.
Show on the image. The most harmonious figure is a circle, a ball. He rolls on any surface, jumping out of the pits, overcoming the slides. So a harmonious personality is something holistic, complete. She will always find an internal resource for an exit from any critical situation.
What happens with one-way development? At the ball horns grow (there are such balls), inhibiting free movement, clinging to everything in the way. Stretching some sides of the child and leaving all the others without development, we form a person that will stumble at every step.
Psychologist A. Miklyaeva gives an example from practice. The lady came to the reception with her son, 8 years old, very gifted mathematically and musically, graduated from a music school (at one time), having crazy knowledge in physics and mathematics. During the conversation of adults, the boy behaved disgustingly: he beat his mother with his foot in the back, turned over flower pots and scattered the earth simply because he was bored.
Mom turned that in spite of her talent, in everything else the boy is zero or even minus in comparison with his peers: he does not know how to make contacts, behave appropriately .... He did not even learn to write, “scratches” in block letters. In the first grade, the boy could not master the program around the world.
This is an extreme case, of course. But how did such a horror story grow? At some stage, the mother noticed the outstanding abilities of her son, began to create conditions and invite teachers to develop only them, completely ignoring all other qualities. The result is an uncontrollable creature that, besides physics, mathematics and violin, wants nothing more.
Gifted children are also, as you see, a risk group. However, special corrective development programs for them do not exist. Their logic should be comprehensive development. It is categorically wrong to develop creativity on the material of only your subject, not seeing anything wider. Perhaps we will achieve high productivity. But we must remember - any giftedness carries the risk of maladaptation.
The development of creativity in a separate type of activity is not an end in itself. The development of creativity in childhood and adolescence is the work of presenting the child with the opportunity to be different in everything, and not only in where, as it seems to us, he has abilities.