What does it mean to have a gifted child? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-11-2011, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

 

I'm new to the issue of giftedness--I'm a stay-at-home dad with my 1.5 year old son. I wanted some help in wraping my brain around the issue. I'm not sure if giftedness is an inherent genetic trait, where a child is just born that way, or wether a gifted child is someone who practices something more than other children and so is ahead of the standard benchmarks for their age. 

 

My experience says the second, but I really don't have experience with these kinds of children and would like to know what other's have to say, so I can think about the issue better. I hope this isn't controversial, I don't mean to start a debate, just a discussion.

 

Jeremy

 

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#2 of 9 Old 07-11-2011, 07:13 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_giftedness

 

There are genetic (nature) and environmental (nurture) causative factors for giftedness, and some disagreement over the proportion of each.  Gifted children may be quite different in the way they learn and tackle problems and areas of interest; the differences go deeper than just numbers on a test might indicate. 

 

So yes, a gifted child might well show more intensity in learning a particular topic, although not on others of little interest. However, being intellectually gifted is more than just studying hard with a result of academic advancement.  A child may have advanced achievement and actually have a normal intelligence level.  This is one reason that there are different tests for intelligence and achievement.

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#3 of 9 Old 07-11-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I actually see giftedness as more genetic. It runs rampantly in my and DH's families. My parents weren't identified because they lived in a tiny town that didn't have those resources. Both my brother and I were identified. The majority of my 20 some odd cousins were identified. DH's parents were identified. He and 2 of his sisters were identified. His 3rd sister was deamed "high average" but she only got through about half the test due to anxiety issues. Both our kids own the label. Of course, I should say that other things run rampant too.... like anxiety, depression and autism/asperger spectrum. We have some cases of tremendous achievement and some cases of total inability to function independantly... certainly personality, internal drive and a little parenting have it's place. That's not to say giftedness doesn't just pop-up sometimes but I do believe giftedness is in the genes one way or another.

 

I do have a lot of experience with gifted kids of all shapes and sizes. I really just see them all as fast learners. They pick-up new material quickly and with little repetition. Whether they seek depth in any particular subject has more to do with interests than talents. Both my kids are gifted in areas they are passionate about but also in areas they would rather never consider again. For example, my 14-year-old loathes math. She'd never solve a problem again if she had the choice but she is years ahead of where she should be and when tested on material she's never looked at she still kills on it. She is a driven child and a perfectionist which means she's also a global high-achiever. My DS has specific areas of high achievement in areas of interest but largely uses his gifts to do as little work as possible.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that giftedness is just wiring in my book..... raw material. They may need less externally to go far but in the end, kids who push themselves to be exceptional are the ones who win whether they are intellectually gifted or totally average.

 

 


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#4 of 9 Old 07-11-2011, 09:29 AM
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Quote:

Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I really just see them all as fast learners. They pick-up new material quickly and with little repetition.


 

That's not the whole picture.  An exceptionally or even profoundly gifted person may be quite slow to process, may have one or more severe learning disabilities, etc.  It's not all about being speedy; a person may be quite a fast learner but not as gifted as someone much "slower" in their thinking.
 

In fact, there is growing support for the idea of disregarding working memory and processing speed in assessing the IQ of gifted children, for example using the GAI instead of full scale IQ measure on the WISC-IV IQ test.

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#5 of 9 Old 07-11-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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Sigh, I was just giving a nice quick, general answer to a very general question. I should have guessed we'd have to clarify every tiny point. I have a 2E child and he often needs some processing time. However, it doesn't take him MORE time or effort than an average child. He still ends up further than his peers with equal effort and time. Neither of my kids have instant replay. My eldest has terrible rote memory and only barely passed all those speed tests in elementary, however, she still learns more complicated material faster and with less repetition. When she puts in as much time and effort as an average peer, she ends up being further ahead. Being "faster" doesn't mean instant and it shouldn't be assumed that what I was saying.
 

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That's not the whole picture.  An exceptionally or even profoundly gifted person may be quite slow to process, may have one or more severe learning disabilities, etc.  It's not all about being speedy; a person may be quite a fast learner but not as gifted as someone much "slower" in their thinking.
 

In fact, there is growing support for the idea of disregarding working memory and processing speed in assessing the IQ of gifted children, for example using the GAI instead of full scale IQ measure on the WISC-IV IQ test.



 


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#6 of 9 Old 07-11-2011, 10:06 AM
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You wrote that you have experience with all sorts of gifted kids, and that they're all fast learners who learn with little repetition.  I was just clarifying that that is not really true of all gifted children, although it might have been true of all of the ones you've seen.  Nowhere did I use the word "instant", so I don't know to what you're referring.

 

In any event, it's as I stated.  For example, the GAI is used more and more as a measure to give a true picture of a gifted child who may NOT be as quick on the uptake (learn how to solve the problem of doing the test, or even learn how to take the unfamiliar test well quickly) and still be vastly more gifted than a faster-learning child.  Speed of learning is not giftedness, period.

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#7 of 9 Old 07-15-2011, 02:50 AM
 
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Going by the kind of questions they ask when doing private testing, I would say it is innate wiring, a certain way of processing information and an ability to comprehend abstract concepts at a younger age. You can teach many young children to recite the times tables if you drill them often enough, but not many would actually be able to apply the knowledge, or to see the patterns. Or understanding social concepts like governance and justice. Many are not globally gifted.

 

Hmm, mine actually scored a high average for processing speed, but personally I find him very slow! He does have 2e issues, and when I question him on the process he goes through to arrive at his answer, it seems to me that he has to work at very high speed, eliminating a number of possibilities before arriving at his answer. So while his processing speed is significantly lower than his other scores, he is actually going fast but along a very inefficient route.  

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#8 of 9 Old 07-15-2011, 03:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deminc View Post

Going by the kind of questions they ask when doing private testing, I would say it is innate wiring, a certain way of processing information and an ability to comprehend abstract concepts at a younger age.


I like the way you put that.

 

I think there's also an ability to make connections that others don't see

 

Or follow more logical steps and keep them all in one's head (thinking about complex math, chess, rubics cube

 

An ability to create new information or ideas.

 

One of my kids is 2E, and some types of learning are very difficult for her, inspite of having a high IQ. Her whole brain is just wired different different. However, she makes connections others don't see and maintains amazing amounts of information. She's like a computer, but one that can tell you what the data means.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 9 Old 07-15-2011, 06:21 AM
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I totally agree that different types of divergent thinking and other specific thinking skills can underpin great talent.  There's also a concept that giftedness is more than just intellectual ability alone, but encompasses things like the "rage to master" and other facets of drive.  One example is the three ring model of giftedness:

http://www.giftedwiki.org/index.php?title=Three-Ring_Conception_of_Giftedness

 

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