Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Intelligence at a price

One child described being gifted as being "vividly alive". Imagine being so keenly aware of everything around you. However, as I mentioned before, that heightened awareness comes with a price, and the higher the IQ, the higher the price tag.

Over excitability and sensitivity were two of the first clues that I was raising two gifted children. I love Webster's definition of excitability- "capable of being activated by and reacting to stimuli; a state of excitement or irritability". It fits perfectly, since there is rarely an in between for gifted children. They are either vividly happy, vividly sad, vividly angry, and the list goes on. Couple this with a deeper sensitivity to stimuli and situations than that seen in most children, and you might find yourself wondering, "What's going on with my child?"

Gifted children may find it difficult at times to find the "even ground" emotionally, especially when they are very young. Things like crowds, loud noises, music, or any kind of environment that is overly stimulating may evoke feelings that your child is unsure how to handle. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few things that have worked for us.
  • Teach your child self-calming skills. This may even involve you physically sitting with your child in a quiet place when you recognize them getting over the edge.
  • Recognize what triggers your child's over-excitability so that you are better prepared.
  • Make sure you are consistent with rules and consequences when your child crosses the line with their behavior.
  • Even if your friends or family don't understand, remember that you are not alone.

I would love to hear from some of you. Have you found any great ways of helping your children work through these issues?


Sally-Ann said...

Have been enjoying your posts on gifted children. With Sam we are dealing with autistic behavior, but it seems that some of the issues are very similar. Social situations can be a mine field,but knowing the 'triggers'for certain behaviors has been key. We work and prepare at home to help Sam learn to cope with the different things that put him into overload. If I could only do better with the things that put me in a spinning frenzy!!

Aimee Carter said...

Thanks Sally! There are a lot of similarities between the two. In fact, gifted children can sometimes be mis-diagnosed as autistic for that reason. However there could also be an accurate diagnosis of gifted as well as autistic in some cases. There is a great book, Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children, that is a great resource for this topic!

Just Margaret said...

Hello! came across your blog in a search on gifted children. My son is a Kindergartner, who is both gifted and highly sensitive to sound. Because of his intellect, he tends to 'overthink' things and 'over-anticipate' what he expects to be loud noises. Especially at the beginning of the year, when "Music Class" was a new thing for him...so finding your blog really made me smile!

At the beginning of the year, he acted out everytime they went to the music room for class. I gave him his own set of earplugs (like they use on construction sites) so that he could still hear, but the sound wasn't quite so intense. It made a huge difference. He doesn't use them anymore, but it seemed having them, and knowing how to put them in when needed, gave him a sense of control over what was happening. Once armed with something he could do about it, he was able to settle down, keep his behavior in check, and now he actually enjoys the music class!

Great post, I've subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading more. Thanks!

Aimee Carter said...

Welcome Margaret! I think your idea about the ear plugs was fabulous! As a parent of a gifted child, you will be called upon constantly to assist your child in better understanding himself as well as advocate for him when others don't understand him. Kudos on doing such a great job!