Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gifted Children

The last week has been very rewarding.. I met 2 children, both 5 years old who had come for an educational assessment with complaints from school and concerns from the parents that the child was bored, unmotivated and lacked social skills, showed signs of hyperactivity and hated to write!

Both of them were so similar yet so different.. As the assessments ( done seperately) progressed I noticed that they had reading and spelling ages of 8/9 years, comprehension and oral language skills of a 10 year old. As I spoke to them more and more I realised that these were 10 year olds trapped in a body of a 5 year old!. Their mind processed information in speeds that their body couldnt catch up with.. it was a frustrating experience that they both related to me.

How can they relate with thier peers who were half their age ?
How can they write a-z repeatedly when their minds were weaving creative thoughts that they could convert into poetry/stories if only someone guided and supported them.
How can they concentrate on a class of phonics when they were itching to read the encyclopaedia that they saw in the book shelf?
How can they believe in stories like "eat fast or the bad man will get you" when they can clearly see thats not true
How can they trust and learn from a teacher who didnt understand their needs? Who didnt give any logical explanations to the mundane tasks they were asked to do.
How can they trust a parentwho felt embarassed about their curiosity to know things beyond their age?
How can they sit in one place when the whole world is inviting them to explore and learn?

I am working on a full immersion program for these children , their parents, teachers and other adults around them to understand, facilitate and celebrate the giftedness they are born with:-)

While I do that I felt te need to put up here some of the signs that you can look out for if you suspect your child is behaving beyond his age!

Characteristics Checklist for Gifted Children
OFTEN THE EARLIEST identification of gifted children takes place by simple observation The following lists were adapted from one compiled from various sources. Note it is not expected that any gifted child will show all the traits listed in any section.
General intellectual ability
is an avid reader
has avid interest in science or literature
provides very alert, rapid answers to questions
has a wide range of interests
is secure emotionally
is venturesome, wanting to do new things
tends to dominate peers or situations
is an entrepreneur - readily makes money on various projects or activities
needs little outside control - applies self discipline
is resourceful - solving problems by ingenious methods
is creative in new ideas, seeing associations, pursuing innovations
displays a great curiosity about objects, situations or events
has the capacity to look into things and be puzzled
is involved with many exploratory type activities
reveals originality in oral and written expression
is perceptually open to his or her environment
displays a willingness to accept complexity
has the capacity to use knowledge and information other than to memorise
shows superior judgement in evaluating things
is a good guesser
makes good grades in most subjects
learns rapidly, easily and efficiently
uses a lot of commonsense
retains and uses information which has been heard or read
uses a large number of words easily and accurately
asks many questions of a provocative nature
has a power of abstraction, conceptualisation and synthesis
has an interest in cause-effect relations
has a liking for structure, order and consistency
has a power of concentration, an intense attention that excludes all else
is persistent
has a high energy level
is independent
is friendly and outgoing
Specific academic aptitude
shows similar characteristics to general intellectual ability but concentrated around one or a few fields
has a long attention span in areas of interest
learns rapidly, easily and with less repetition in one or a few specific areas (probably not all subject areas)
likes or loves one or a few areas of knowledge
likes to study some subjects more than others
spends time voluntarily beyond ordinary assignments on projects of interest to him or her
is able to extend learning from these key areas to various situations somewhat unrelated in orientation
is able to show broad perspective on one or more subject areas
is able to judge own and others' relative abilities in key areas of interest
seeks assistance of others beyond his or age peers in extending knowledge in areas of interest

Creative thinking and production
is fluent in producing and elaborating on ideas
makes unusual associations between remote ideas
is flexible in thinking patterns
senses when problems exist
acts spontaneously, intuitively
tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty
senses inconsistencies and discontinuities
readily guesses and makes hypotheses
juggles or redefines elements of a problem or task
can show intense concentration on a task
retains own ideas in a discussion or collaboration
provides multiple solutions or responses to problems
is uninhibited in expression, sometimes radical
is intellectually playful, interested in fantasy, imagination
always trying to adapt or improve things
has a keen sense of humour, seeing humour in situations others don't
doesn't mind being different
doesn't accept authoritarian pronouncements without own judgement
asks provocative questions, challenges parents, teachers, written and other authorities
is bored with memorisation and recitation
displays energy, sometimes disruptively
produces unexpected, sometimes "silly" responses
is considered, and perhaps resented, by some peers as "crazy"
can show unusual degrees of originality, concentration and persistent hard work on projects that capture their interest and imagination

can stimulate and arouse others
organises others
recognises skills and abilities possessed by others
interacts with others easily showing social skills
recognises and can articulate the goals of a group
can articulate ideas clearly
can listen to others empathetically
understands how people feel and how groups function
can give directions clearly and effectively
exercises authority reliably and responsibly
can adopt non-leadership roles within a group
can establish the mood of a group
supports others in a group when appropriate
can coordinate the work of several individuals
is often asked for ideas and suggestions
is looked to by others when something must be decided

Psychomotor ability
is rhythmic
is athletic
likes to play physically
has a suitable body build
is coordinated, balanced and confident in physical activities
is inventive in constructing or modifying games
is energetic
is able to understand the intellectual aspects of psychomotor activities
demonstrates endurance, stamina and persistence in physical activities
demonstrates prowess in physical activities common amongst age peers

Visual and performing arts
has good sense of rhythm
is well-coordinated
discriminates musical and other sounds well
understands musical relationships
enjoys musical activities and demonstrates musical feeling
shows tonal memory
responds readily to rhythm, melody and harmony
uses music to express feeling or experience
makes up original tunes
enjoys dance and dramatic activities with musical elements
demonstrates interest and enjoyment in dramatic activities
readily shifts into role of another character, animal or object
uses voice to reflect changes in mood
demonstrates understanding of conflict when acting out a dramatic event
communicates feelings by means of facial expressions, gestures and bodily movements
enjoys evoking emotional responses from listeners
demonstrates ability to dramatise feelings and experiences
brings a dramatic situation to a climax with a well-timed ending when telling a story
draws a variety of objects
puts depth into drawing, showing planning and good proportion
treats art seriously and enjoys it
shows originality in modes of undertaking art

is willing to try out new materials and experiences
pursues art in spare time
uses art to express feelings and experiences
is interested in other people's art, both appreciating it and criticising it
likes to model three dimensionally with clay, soap carving, plasticine etc

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chetana,

    I have a 16 yr old cousin who has severe learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia) and behavioral problems. He has been going to special schools and counselors for several years now with very little progress. His parents don't keep very well and are now looking for a residential school which might be able to provide support in terms of special education and couselors. Would you have any suggestions? Please do let me know if you know of any such places.



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