Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Glaring Asynchronous Development

One of the challenges with gifted children is asynchronous development. This means that physical, emotional and intellectual development are not proceeding at the same pace. Sometimes this can be downright jarring. You can be having a real, fluent conversation with a 5-year-old about something, but she then proceeds to scream or cry because she's tired or hungry. A 3-year-old might be reading words on a box of his own diapers. You get the drift. What are some particularly glaring examples of asynchronous development that you've seen? How has this affected your parenting?


Anonymous said...

My daughter is 9 and it took until she was 7 for us to realize that we had to adjust our expectations. Now we just forget how old she is and work with her to improve those areas that need help. We have stopped worrying about what she SHOULD be able to do or handle. It's just not relevant.

It's okay to be gifted! :) said...

The extremely high IQ child seems to come into the world with their cognitive ability there very early on and noticeable if you are paying attention. The rest of their development is still that of a very young human child going through the stages to become a human adult. My child is pacing in a very similar fashion that I experienced, so I know the stages and it is okay for me. I do have to protect my child, because most people have not even heard of asynchronous development, let alone understand it. I have found that adults are very uncomfortable around brilliant children, if they are not comfortable and secure within themselves. We were introduced to the book, Matilda, recently and are thinking that the author, Roald Dahl, has insights into the experiences of the gifted child. In the book, the gifted child is Matilda.

Anonymous said...

My 8 year old son reads at least two 300+ page books daily and is doing college level math, but he has difficulty tying his shoes and still loves Sesame Street. Asynchronous indeed.

'Nother Barb said...

When my son was 18 months, he made a multi-dimensional bar chart of his Primos (big, fat, rounded Duplos), showing quantities of size and color. He was excited to see an anomoly show up -- there was no 4-stud green one -- but his toddler speech couldn't express it. So he bounced up and down and giggled.

I'm glad to report that, at 12, his verbal skills have caught up to his math skills. And he's moved on to architectural Legos and building Lego representations of his favorite websites.

Anonymous said...

How about a perspective from an ex-gifted child?

I was that child you describe, who could have a fluent conversation with adult members of the family, but then scream with frustration (usually because I was trying to do something that I was physically too small or immature to manage). I am certain that I got unduly punished on many such occasions - other toddlers could have an age-appropriate tantrum and get away with it because they were "average" in every other respect. But because I had been having an "adult" conversation, I was now expected to behave like a young person twice my age.

If there is one frustration I think I carry forward from childhood, it is not that of being pushed academically (which my parents never did, and in many respects I wish they would have). It is the constant expectation to "grow up", i.e. behave more maturely than my years. Just because I had the intellectual capacity, doesn't mean I had the emotional maturity to match. I felt under constant pressure to behave like a much more mature child.

In fact, I have frequently wondered if the constant pressure from my family to press me to behave like someone much older than my chronological years actually stunted my emotional development and confused any natural "emotional intelligence" I might have developed. This latter point is a psychological study I seriously feel needs to be done by some research team.

Anonymous said...

(In response to comment 5.) I want to add that I find the most intelligent adults to be much different than the average adult with regard to innate ethics and morality. Is it possible society conditions average adults to think that a certain amount of deceit, cheating or other bad behavior is mature or acceptable? I prefer the honesty I find in the more intelligent adult. If 'growing up' means comprimising values, then I think society could be better off if humans retained at least some ideals or desire for standards in at least some aspects or areas of human life. For example, different people have a much different definition of what is considered 'excellent.' Our family knows of at least one school where many children are receiving high grades but the work submitted as a final copy is worse than the first draft done by a gifted child. (They share copies of their final work products, so that is how we know.) Now, we are very careful to observe for ourselves before we accept that a school is striving for excellence. Anyone can say that they strive for excellence, but, in my experience, it is the gifted people who actually achieve it on their own volition, self-study and self-motivation. The maturity level of an adult gifted person is different than that of an average adult person and the main difference is in the upholding of principles. The gifted adult refuses to compromise their principles and has a hard time respecting those who, for example, break the law. Honor and high standards are very important to a gifted adult.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 13.5 and in the 7th grade. SHe looks, acts and is emotionally equivalent to a 14-15 year old. Her grades are excellent despite being totally bored. 12 and 13-year girls in her class are act so young she can't believe it. 8th grade will be an incremental challenge for her - same classes, just abit more to do. I would like the opportunity to have her skip 8th grade and enter 9th grade next year. Within 4 weeks she will be 14 and what I feel is on par with her peers. She had to wait an entire year because she did not meet the Aug 31st deadlien for kindergarten, so shortly after Kindergartne started she turned 6. She came home from her first day at public school kindergarten where the teacher wanted to know if she could spell her name. She couldnt believe it! She is 'gifted' by public school standards but she is truly a mature, smart girl. Will she cure cancer someday soon? Probably not, but she is simply above and beyond her grade, so its best and easiest if she just skips one - no?

It's good to share information! Thank you. ;) said...

-cognitive ability better than average adult
-maturity level of chronological age (often)
-teeth come in ahead of schedule
-height seems about two years ahead
-imagination of a younger child
-parent / child conflict sometimes mirrors what's expected during teen years

Evan Adams said...

It is worth noting that often, gifted kids are ahead of age peers in maturity, just not as far ahead as in intellectual development. Having those adult conversations as a toddler requires social and emotional skills that most toddlers don't have. Sensory issues can sometimes get confused for a lack of maturity, because we see it as immature to be bothered to the point of tears by the tag in your shirt or a certain smell.