Entertaining and stimulating children at home is a challenge for mothers and fathers. It requires attention, creativity and flexibility not only to propose activities, but also to let the little ones make their proposals according to what interests them the most. When we have to spend long periods at home, this becomes more demanding, but it may require even more attention if our children have high abilities .
In that case, we must take into account the way they learn and relate to the world so as not to put barriers to their personality and their desire for knowledge, preventing them from falling into frustration and boredom.
Although we usually equate gifted children with gifted children , there is a difference between the two terms that will also help us respond to their needs at home. While gifted refers to intellectual capacity , which is expressed in a figure (the intelligence quotient), high capacities are interpreted as the execution of abilities of various kinds above the average .
Both terms are closely related and identify a very small percentage of the population with exceptional characteristics that require, for this reason, care and support different from that of the majority of the population.
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An undiscovered segment of the population
It is estimated that only 2% of the population corresponds to this profile , which the World Health Organization identifies as having an IQ above 130. In Spain, according to the report for the 2017-2018 academic year, only 0.42% of the more than eight million students in school fit the characteristics of high ability . The figure is very low because calculations indicate that there are almost 130,000 children who have not yet been identified and, therefore, are not being able to receive an education adapted to their characteristics.
High capacity test
It is not easy to identify gifted children . It is something that has been trying to be solved for many decades. Intelligence tests date back to the early 20th century , when the French government commissioned an expert to develop a technique that would identify those students who might need different training by demonstrating higher intellectual levels. Thus, in 1905, the Binet-Simon scale emerged , which estimates the performance measure of two types of activities: arithmetic calculation and language management . That first step would take time later to the specification of the intellectual quotient, which relates the chronological age with the intellectual age(It will be higher the higher the intellectual age with respect to the chronological age). Finally, the definition of high capacities would arrive, which are concentrated in three areas:
High Capacity Types
- Academic abilities (cognitive, learning).
- Social skills (relational, creative).
- Emotional capacities (awareness, identification and management of moods).
Children with high abilities do not have to excel in all areas or do it in the same way. This is important to correctly identify their traits and give an adequate response to their needs.
Characteristics of gifted children
Figures and vocabulary; mathematics and symbology; the rational and the abstract. The way we have to understand these issues and incorporate them into our daily activities make the difference between gifted children. Likewise, the degree of evolution that they show in different aspects will also determine what activities we can propose and encourage them to do at home .
“The degree of evolution in different aspects of gifted children will determine what activities we can offer them”
Choosing the right tasks also requires being clear about the characteristics of gifted children and how they influence a home environment. Before putting them, for example, to experiment with the world of programming or robotics , we must be clear about how they relate to their environment and how they learn:
- They are observant and very curious . They don’t need us to challenge them. They are already interested in knowing what, why, how, when and why.
- They manage abstract thought very well . This is key in the development of symbolic language and in the capacity for expression . They tend to develop very quickly mathematical skills, writing and, above all, verbal language.
- This translates to a heightened interest in correctness in everything they do, but also to a heightened sense of justice , which is associated with orderly reasoning capable of establishing causes and effects, facts and consequences.
- They are creative and strategic . The first arises from their ability to observe and allows them to combine objects and ideas to give rise to imaginative solutions . The second comes from your anticipation . Being good at abstract thinking, they can guess the consequences of a chain of actions and use this ability to plan and achieve goals.
- They practice lateral and divergent thinking . This helps them combine the knowledge of different disciplines to unite them in search of specific objectives.
- They have great retention and learn quickly . Exercising memory may be easier for them, but it must also be encouraged. It helps them quench their sometimes obsessive interest in the topics they love the most.
Manage dyssynchrony in learning
The main problem that we can find with these children is in the so-called dyssynchrony . This term, developed by Charles Terrassier in 1994, alludes to the uneven way in which children with high capacities evolve on different levels. Dyssynchronies are of two types:
- The social ones, which refer to the imbalances of the child with his environment . For example, at school, where progressing much faster than their peers, can lead to boredom and disinterest in classes . This is negative because it prevents the gifted from learning to organize and have strategic thinking because he believes that he does not need it. Similarly, he may pose an emotional problem in relation to his family if he lacks answers and chooses not to ask questions.
- The internal ones, which are the ones the child experiences with himself . A very common one is the intellectual-psychomotor . People with high abilities develop expressive skills such as language earlier, but due to physical limitations they take longer to be skillful with their hands, so it can happen that they speak very well and find it difficult to write or draw for the level they have.
Activities to develop at home for high capacities
Given this perspective, what activities are the most recommended to develop at home for children with high capacities ? We must focus on those that allow us to make the most of their characteristics and that, in addition, can be carried out safely at home and with the resources available to parents.
- Plastic activities, such as painting or sculpture through the modeling of figures, allow them to develop their expressive capacity and their manual skills . Play with construction figures will also allow them to exercise their creativity by designing objects that respond to their imagination, as well as improve their motor skills .
- Literary composition . Writing stories, doing essays and even composing poems or songs can be a fun task for them, which stimulates their imagination and allows them to go further in expressing the ideas that occur to them.
- Develop your own projects . We can give them the ability to create objects with a purpose, by controlling the instruments and tools they can use to do so. They will feel that they can take the initiative and will test their lateral thinking, which allows them to combine different knowledge.
- Give them leadership of housework . Sharing with them some of the work that adults take on at home and letting them organize and carry it out will reinforce their feeling of responsibility , but it will also allow them to feel useful helping the elderly.
- It is important, especially in periods of rest such as vacations, to promote what there is no time to do during the school period. Making a list of hobbies and putting at their disposal the means to learn more about what they are passionate about, for example, through applications or resources on the Internet , without the pressure to do it to pass evaluation tests, will make it easier for them to expand their desire to know more.
- Try logic games . Riddles, riddles and even more advanced board games that require the use of abstract reasoning will be fun practice for children.
New technologies in activities for high capacities
Within these activities, computer programming and robotics are two proposals that make it possible to combine many of the elements of cognitive and sensory stimulation that benefit gifted children.
«Computer programming and robotics allow many elements to be combined for the cognitive and sensory stimulation of gifted children»
By facilitating the implementation of logical and mathematical concepts, as well as visual representation through programming blocks, they can combine different skills in the same task. In the case of robotics, they also promote psychomotricity that requires the combination and assembly of parts, cables and other elements typical of this type of device.
Lastly, through programming they will be able to structure thought to generate chains of commands with which to execute simple tasks at first and much more complex as they evolve. For more advanced projects, the leadership and independence that they often demand will come in handy. Thus, the use of online tutorials will allow them not to depend on their parents to solve the obstacles they may encounter.
It is up to adults, yes, to adapt to a demanding but very satisfying scenario. At Spacetechies we know how to promote this area of development and maximize the intellectual abilities of gifted children through new technologies, allowing them to advance at the pace they demand and taking into account their interests and talents.