Is your child getting bad grades even though you know they are smart as a whip? Gifted children often underachieve because they have academic needs that just aren’t being met by the conventional education system.
While gifted children are a well of untapped potential, they are rarely allowed to grow and blossom. The reasons for that is that the education system just isn’t designed to accommodate the gifted. With big classes and limited resources, teachers don’t have the time, and may not have the tools, to deal with gifted students.
Gifted students come with their own set of challenges both academic and social and they have needs that are rarely met by the classroom environment. What this leads to is boredom on the part of the gifted child who is unchallenged by the pace of the average classroom. Boredom means that they stop paying attention, even when new material is being covered. Boredom also leads to behavioral issues.
Gifted children are perfectionists and may need more time to complete tasks to their high standards.
Ironically, gifted children have some of the highest dropout rates as they just can’t cope in a conventional academic setting. The best solution is to have your child tested to see if they are gifted and then to find a school program that provides gifted children with a chance to excel.
Is your child gifted?
To ascertain whether your child is gifted, you can have them tested in various institutions. In the US, you can contact the National Association for Gifted Children and in Canada, MENSA offers testing.
Mother of a gifted student
Chandra Melsey discusses some of the challenges that face her daughter Nya; “There
are other characteristics of giftedness that for many, including my daughter,
are telltale signs – excessive energy, unending curiosity, emotionally
advanced, early and superior language skills or a need for perfectionism.”
Nya’s teacher, Brenda Natt explains the behavioral difficulties and need for perfection that gifted children have: “While their IQs are high, they have behavioral aspects that need special attention and the right teachers with the right understanding to guide them.”
Unfortunately many gifted children go untested and endure an academic career in an institution which does not serve their needs. Most schools aren’t geared to test or accommodate gifted children and the lack of funding to help them develop means that most of them slip through the cracks. Most educators and funding are geared towards kids who have learning disabilities or special needs and it’s difficult to garner support for the gifted child.
If your child is gifted and there is a school that provides a program near you, then your child has a good chance of success. For students who do not have access to special programs, private in-home tutors with experience can really help. Here the tutor can hone their special skills and keep them interested and engaged. At school, speak with teachers about your child’s special talents and how their skills can be accommodated within the classroom.Pic by Brad Flickinger