Do a Google search on the question “Is my child gifted” and you’ll get over 9 million hits. The number of hits isn’t that high because the writers hope that parents will search for an answer to the question. It’s that high because parents ARE searching for the answer. “Is my child gifted?” is probably the number one parents ask when they begin to see their child is more advanced than other kids the same age. But is that the right question to ask?
Some people are suggesting that the right question to ask is “What does my child need?” I rather like that question. It allows us to look at our children as individuals and assess their needs as individuals. Ideally, then, we can provide for those needs. If our child needs to learn at a faster pace, then we can allow him to do so. We can provide more and more complex material as he masters concepts. If our child needs to learn about subjects in more depth, we can allow her to do so. We can provide more material on the subjects she is interested in so that she can learn more about those subjects.
We can even consider the individual social and emotional needs of our children. If our child is highly sensitive, we can make sure we help him cope with that sensitivity. If our child has trouble socializing with other kids, we can help him find ways to make and keep friends. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But there is a problem.
A child can have trouble socializing for several reasons. He could be shy. He could have ADHD. He could have Social Communication Disorder. Or he could have Non-Verbal Learning Disability. The reason for the socialization problem matters because the treatment will be different. The reason a gifted child might have a hard time socializing is quite different and therefore requires a very different “treatment.”
That’s just one problem with looking at needs alone. It makes perfect sense when we consider academic needs, but when we add the social and emotional dimensions of giftedness to the mix, it starts to make less sense. As I said before about why we need the gifted label, when we know a child is gifted, we can look at the whole child – as a gifted child. We can better understand the reasons for those seemingly immature emotional outbursts or the reasons for our child feeling alone and left out. When we understand the reasons, we are better able to help.
The question “What does my child need?” is a great question, but it is better asked after we ask and get the answer to the question “Is my child gifted?”http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/are-parents-asking-the-wrong-question/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/girl-emc.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/girl-emc-150x150.jpgAbout GiftednessFor ParentsAdvice for Parents,Definitions