When we use the label "gifted" we mean people of well above average
intelligence. Just as there are people of well below average intelligence
whose thinking and feeling are very different from that of the general
population, so too there are people of well above average intelligence
whose thinking and feeling are also very different - more complex
and of greater depth.
Advanced mental reasoning ability results in asynchrony where the
gifted child's mental, physical and emotional development are "out
of step". So we get a child who sits cuddling their teddy bear and
asking what happens when people die or where do stars come from
or why is the earth round? This asynchrony and developmental difference
between mental and chronological age peers increases with higher
are some of the indicators of giftedness in early childhood. However,
it is important to remember that how these characteristics combine
and are expressed is different in each gifted child.
Giftedness is a different way of being and this difference affects
a gifted person throughout their whole life. Children who are different
from the norm and who therefore experience many things in life differently,
need help in understanding why. Therefore, it is important to discuss
intellectual and emotional difference wth the gifted child.
Helping a gifted child to understand their giftedness focuses less
on the label and more on the accompanying behaviours eg quick learning
ability; sensitivity to others' problems. This will not make the
child "big headed". On the contrary, it will prevent the child from
equating better learner with better person.