Supporting Exceptional Children

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A small group of parents and staff had a wonderful, in-depth "Family Matters" discussion about supporting exceptional children on Wednesday, July 10. All children are exceptional with different gifts, BUT the children we discussed have an over abundance in specific areas. For example, children who excel in one or more specific curriculum areas such as language, reading, math or science, sometimes lack developmental balance. 

In the classroom setting, we might see the following: 

The Big Talker has advanced language skills and interest in many subjects. 

The Early Reader has the ability to decode text independently and read with fluency.

The Little Scientist is curious about the world and how things work, they love to disassemble "things."

The Puzzle Expert loves math and puzzles. They clearly see the lines, shapes, and angles.

Exceptional children with these gifts can become awkward in classrooms settings. They don't always know how to include others in their excitement and exploration. They often have frustration and low tolerance for others who don't understand. 

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Typical cognitive characteristics include:

  • Early language development
  • Advanced vocabulary
  • Interest in symbols and the alphabet
  • Intense curiosity
  • Sustained attentions
  • Generation of original ideas
  • Excellent memory
  • Creative/imaginative capacity

Potential social and emotional characteristics include:

  • Emotional intensity/sensitivity
  • Frustration with own limitations
  • Concern with truth and fair play
  • Mature sense of humor
  • Perfectionism

We need to continually find ways to support exceptional children's development from all perspectives. Social and emotional experiences in classrooms can be challenging for an exceptional child. Our children run the risk of not experiencing their childhood. We must observe and listen to our children, while supporting their childhood. It can be a difficult balance.

Post by Steve Zwolak