Although we place high hopes for a worthwhile future on the gifted and talented youth of today, we often neglect this group. Many gifted children are left to their own devices in school as well as at home.
Contrary to the popular misconceptions that they will do better without interference and that they will succeed on their own, some gifted children experience academic, social, and personal problems when they do not receive support from society and parents. Gifted children display their abilities in a variety of ways, each unique to the individual child. In general, for most children, giftedness is demonstrated by performance of tasks and understanding of concepts usually associated with much older children. Reading signs, magazines, and books, and performing mathematical computations at ages three to five; speaking complete sentences and using abstract vocabulary at age two and three….all indicate superior intellectual abilities.
Often the gifted child feels isolated from the rest of the world because of the exceptional abilities he or she possesses. Facing these feelings of difference alone can create emotional problems, disruptive behaviors, or withdrawal from the frustrating situation. Parents play an important role in the development of exceptional abilities in children, especially in encouraging a favorable attitude toward these tendencies.
Because of their heightened perceptions and sensitivities, many gifted children need an environment that is secure emotionally and stimulating intellectually to allow their abilities to flourish. Too many adults overlook their needs, however, assuming that these children already have advantages other lack. Consequently, much is left to parents to provide for the gifted. Working with the child and with other parents, they can accomplish this awesome, often frustrating, task.
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