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