Challenges of Gifted Kids
Anytime one deviates far from the norm challenges are presented. If a child deviates low, they will have challenges. Likewise, gifted children deviate high and have challenges specific to their own unique experiences. Some of those challenges are due to misconceptions from others. Moreover, lack of social skills or social awkwardness creates a whole new dimension of problems.
As children grow they will grow to become teenagers and eventually young men and women, having passed through the physical and cognitive developmental stages necessary to arrive at each of life's stages. When keen observation skills coupled with a mind that analyzes, reanalyzes, and then re-reanalyzes can lead many intelligent kids to believe they are not smart at all. In fact, they may feel ostracized, rejected, ignored, or even depressed.
It has been said that genius is touched with madness. To a certain degree this can be true. There is a prevalent rate of Asperger's Syndrome (SD) among gifted children and adults. Many of these cases are light, which would classify as high-functioning AS. Children and adults with AS tend to be highly intellectual, have excellent memories, and also have difficulty understanding social queues and interactions. For example, some people with AS have a hard time understanding sarcasm or inside jokes. Others will not understand when they have said something offensive in a certain context. If a woman asks a man if she looks fat in a particular dress, a man with a moderate case of AS could possibly answer yes, if indeed the woman does look fat in that dress.
Some school districts cater to students who are both gifted and learning disabled. Such a student might be very bright, yet struggle with dyslexia or dysgraphia. Other students might perform well in Math and Science while falling behind in Language Arts or Literature courses. Every child, whether gifted or not, has their own unique personality and physiology. Instead of lumping all exceptionally bright students into one generalized group, parents and teachers should pay close attention to each individual child's strengths and weaknesses in order to provide specific educational opportunities for their benefit.
Gifted children's curiosity runs wild while learning about a subject of interest. They may even become walking encyclopedias on certain topics. They might be less interested in activities typical for their age level. This can cause them not to develop the necessary social skills they need for later in life. While it is not necessary for them to fit in and act like everyone else, it is important that they are able to related to likeminded peers who share the same interests they do. Instead of an after school sport, your child might enjoy a book club or the chess club.
Many middle schools and high schools have a Quiz Bowl team, also known as the Academic Team or the High-Q Club. Quiz Bowl competitions are an excellent way for intellectual students to flex their heads, using their knowledge of literate, math, science, history, and even popular culture in hopes of taking home a trophy.
If a child is ever the victim of teasing or bullying, the classroom teacher should be notified immediately. The school counselor is another valuable resource for ending conflicts and building character education skills. In severe cases or cases that persist after the teacher and school counselor have been notified, parents will often contact an assistant principal or the head principal. The important thing is to teach children to speak up for themselves and not shy away from conflict.