There is no single profile of boys or girls with high intellectual abilities. Various studies have indicated at least seven different profiles: children with good academic performance, unsatisfactory academic performance, with associated deficits, with cultural diversity (boys or girls from other countries who do not know the language or customs), those who camouflage themselves in the classroom (primarily girls, who prefer to enhance relationships rather than highlight their capabilities), challenging or creative (distorting class dynamics) and self-employed (born leaders who take advantage of the educational system to their advantage).
Above all, they are extremely curious about many subjects: dinosaurs, animals, astronomy, distant countries, mechanisms of objects, etc. The most creative tend to play with words, inventing their own languages and imagining original solutions to the world's problems, being very sensitive to them. They like to work alone and get frustrated if it doesn't turn out the way they would like because they are perfectionists.
They are also very motivated when they sense that they are going to learn something new, they are not motivated by repetitive exercises. They ask incessantly when the topic is of interest to them. They have tremendous energy that they need to convey by investigating new things at the same time. They usually have a wide and rich vocabulary if they do not have deficits that prevent them from feeling comfortable learning words and meanings. They are not satisfied with a first answer, especially if it does not fully convince them, that is why they sometimes face the authority of parents and teachers, which causes them some problems in those contexts.
Parents should be concerned, above all, that the child is happy. Provide a warm and supportive environment (but not for that reason excessively permissive) that facilitates the natural expression of its potential. They should also collaborate to the maximum with the educational center because they spend most of their time there. It is important that this is reciprocal. Otherwise, parents should demand the responsibilities that correspond to the center.
As for the teachers, if they do not have the adequate preparation to attend them, train or ask the guidance team for help. What you should avoid at all costs is giving him more of the same. For example, if the others make two tiles, give this child six. If he gets bored with routines, the more you give him of the same, the more he will get bored. This mistake should be avoided. Another point to keep in mind is that you should not force him to finish all the tasks of the ordinary curriculum and then, if there is time, attend him in what he really needs.
If a child likes to dance, he will feel bad if he is forbidden or not allowed to dance. Your self-esteem will go down, you won't feel valuable or useful. If you are reproached for dancing saying that "nobody does that", you may feel excluded, weird, different. If you are forced to take martial steps instead of more flexible and free steps, you will feel helpless and will stop paying attention to what you are trying to instill.
Similarly, if a child likes to investigate, they will feel bad if they are forbidden or not allowed in class. Your self esteem will drop, you will not feel valuable. If you are reproached for investigating on your own (even imagining solutions while the teacher explains something else) warning you to keep up with your peers instead of being 'on the moon', you may feel left out, weird, different. If you are forced to mechanically memorize some concepts without being allowed to understand them instead of letting you investigate these topics freely, you will feel powerless and will stop paying attention to what you are trying to convey.
In collaboration with:
José Luis Sánchez Piñero
President of the Andalusian Gifted Association (ASA- Málaga)
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