GIFTED CHILDREN AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT
Ellen Winner, writer of ‘Gifted children – myths and realities” was interviewed on the subject of gifted children. She is a professor of psychology at Boston College and a Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, with a PHD from Harvard University in 1978. Her work focuses on child metaphor and child prodigy.
The difference between gifted children and truly talented children can be summed up to three major characteristics. Firstly, gifted children can easily learn in the area of their talent. Secondly, the gifted child is totally absorbed in their interested area and thirdly, once dedicated to their gifted area, the prodigy will learn in their own special way.
Coping with social acceptance is a challenge, but, Ellen Winner remarks that the best thing parents can do is to find other families with similar children so they can socialize, share opinions, in special camps or after- school programs or simply sit in classes with children that are of the same mental age.
The correlation between a gifted child and his success is influenced from outside factors like: education and parental support.
Many parents encourage their gifted children to learn how to play an instrument rather than paint, because it is more related to school-like ability then other arts.
Parents know if their child is gifted by observing their striking abilities, like: reading, calculating, drawing or playing an instrument at a very young age.
If these gifted children do not receive proper training and encouragement, they will soon be bored in schools and stop learning.
The idea of creating special schools for these children seems unrealistic for Ellen Winner, because it is too expensive. The only solution provided in the USA is that the gifted child, after passing an academic test, is placed in a special group with same mental age abilities.
As a parent you do not have to be rich to be able to encourage your gifted child, but mostly being able to recognize the gift and provide him materials and professional support.
Schools could encourage gifted children by creating special classes for them and group the students according to their ability and not their age.
Gifted children are everywhere, no matter the race, but only within families that recognize their gift, are educated to support them and can provide stimulating materials, they can develop. Children are born gifted but it is a matter of culture to challenge and support them.
Parents should show their love and appreciation and not for the sake of fame for their children’s sake creating a peaceful and stimulating environment.
( Summary of the article Gifted children, ParentEdge)