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Giftedness and Social Development

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
DS is in PreK at a private Reggio preschool. He does great there and loves the "project work" that is part of Reggio education. Yesterday, I met with his teacher and she said that in all her years of teaching, she's never worked with a 5 year old with a mind quite like DSs. BUT, socially he behaves more like a 2-3 year old. He still plays in parallel play, not engaging other children although allowing them to join him if they ask. He's not aggressive at all, and appears to enjoy playing alone in the classroom. So, I'm wondering if slow social development is common among gifted children. Is there anything I can do to help him along socially? He just doesn't seem to understand the finer points of social interaction.
post #2 of 4
yes for many

the number one thing about giftedness is an asynchronisity in development - meaning as one thing is WAY above age level, some things are at age level and a few might be just below. This most often is either physical or gross motor or fine motor skills, or is social but doesn't have to be.

You might have to role play how to join a group and make friends - how to let others play his games, etc. He may just be more introverted and not even know anyone is even trying to play with him. (or maybe he doesn't have anyone he can really relate to so avoids them altogether).

Hang in there - he will grow out of it as new skills form, and with help you can smooth things a bit for him in the meantime.
post #3 of 4
My DS was a lot like this in kindergarten. The other boys liked to play superheroes and other imaginary, aggressive play, and DS liked to think his thoughts. In first grade they kind of met each other in the middle. Don't worry about it, your boy will be fine.
post #4 of 4
One thing I think you should keep in mind is that people tend to label ANY child who enjoys his own company as "socially behind." From what you've said, he doesn't totally shut others out when they want to join him -- he just enjoys what he's doing enough to do it alone if no one joins him.

I was a lot like this: I loved imaginary play and it was great if others joined me, but I'd do it on my own if no one else was interested. The problem was, my teachers (by second grade) saw this as a problem at recess, and insisted I had to do "playground" stuff. My oldest is a lot like me. She enjoys other kids, but will do her own thing if others aren't playing something she'd like to play.

I commented to a friend that dd seems to enjoy playing with other kids once or twice a week, but gets grouchy if we have friends over too much 'cause she's used to having her own space a lot of the time. My friend said, "GROWING hurts and can make kids grouchy." She seemed to feel, like many others, that I should just make her get used to more frequent social contact rather than honouring her unique personality and preferences.

I think the best help we can give our kids is to affirm their uniqueness and recognize the ability to enjoy solitude is a GOOD thing. If your child's actually unhappy playing alone you can certainly encourage him to reach out to others, but from what you're saying it sounds more like he's quite happy and simply feels no need for others to join him -- it's okay if they do, okay if they don't. I wouldn't mess with a good thing.
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