Friday, April 2, 2010

Gifted Children and Intellectual Capacity

This is the characteristic area of gifted children most everyone recognizes, but obviously (the point of our most recent blogs) isn’t the only area. There have been many Presidents of the United States obviously gifted in leadership and certain, specific academic areas (our next blog), who haven’t been particularly gifted with the kind of intellectual capacity we’re talking about here. And of course there have been many artists, musicians, and writers/poets who abound with creative gifts and skills in the visual and performing arts (blog after next) who don’t exhibit gifted levels of intellectual capacity.

Children gifted in intellectual capacity are able to process information in complex ways. This information can be almost anything you can imagine: numeric problems, written information, or even their environment. For example, our daughter exhibited some unique capabilities in this area. Even at the age of only 5 or 6 she was keenly aware of everything in her room (and I do mean everything). She would come home and a few seconds after going to her room, would come out and say something like, “who moved my Pound Kitties?” If I switched the positions of 2 (seemingly) insignificant items on her dresser, she could spot the change within seconds of her return (I know, I did this as an experiment on many occasions to see what she would do). She has uncanny skill with Where’s Waldo.

Gifted children with intellectual capacity can easily formulate abstractions and inferences. They are amazingly observant, even of intangible concepts, and are continually inquisitive. They can get visibly excited about new ideas, and they enjoy hypothesizing solutions. They will employ a complex vocabulary that far exceeds their years and they are voracious learners, though not of topics that you or their teachers may want them to learn.

If your child exhibits characteristics of intellectual giftedness, try to identify the topics that interest them and foster their independent learning in those areas. Take them to the library—the university library if necessary—to explore their interests. Let their teachers know of their specific interests, and encourage them to develop projects or experiments so that they can reach their own conclusions and develop their own hypotheses.

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