Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why can't they just slow down?

Today's post will have absolutely nothing to do with music (I'm apologizing in advance), but I wanted to continue with my series on giftedness in young children. As a teacher, one of the things that amazes me is the fact that there seems to be so many gifted children these days. I am, by no means, an expert, but it seems like there are more children being given this label than ever before. Perhaps it is because there is more research available, which enhances awareness and earlier identification of these children. Perhaps it is that we have better health and medical care during pregnancy than before, which leads to stronger brain development in the womb. Maybe it is because we offer a greater array of experiences to our children than our parents did, or it could be a combination of all of these items. I would love to read a study about it, but I'm not sure that the subject of giftedness has been studied long enough to adequately answer this question yet.

However, it is widely agreed that giftedness comes from a combination of good genes and the experiences offered to the child. In other words, a biologically gifted child increases their IQ or abilities by drawing on life experiences. You will typically see this child asking lots of "how" and "why" questions as well as actively exploring everything around them. They are keen observers and are often able to understand things well beyond their years. Unfortunately, all of this sensory input comes with a price- emotional sensitivity and over-excitability.

It was once explained to me like this. We all have an "inner cup" that receives the sensory input we observe. Once this cup is full, we feel overwhelmed and will react in order to relieve that stress. Every one's cup is the same size, but the fact that a gifted child has a heightened sense of awareness allows them to fill their "cup" much faster than the average person. This can result in a variety of behavioral issues, and I plan to talk more about this in my next post.

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