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Dialoguing with Your Gifted Child

October 11, 2011

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate to others the things that seem important to oneself – Jung

Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each. – Plato

I recently read a book called Gifted Kids Speak Out by James R. Delisle.  Dr. Delisle has taught gifted children and educators of gifted children.  He is a wonderful author with many books focused on the social and emotional needs of gifted children.

For Gifted Kids Speak Out, Dr. Delisle asked hundreds of kids ages 6-13 questions about school, friends, families, and the future.  I recommend obtaining the book and using the questions as conversation starters with your gifted child.  Here are a few of the questions he asks of children in the book.

  •  What does it mean to be gifted?
  • Are you gifted?
  • How did you find out you were gifted?
  • How are you the same and how are you different from kids your age?
  • Do you think special programs for the gifted are a good idea?
  • Do you ever try to hide the fact that you are gifted?
  • What do you expect from yourself?
  • What do others expect from you?
  • What happens in school that makes learning more difficult or less interesting?
  • Do you ever get bored in school?
  • Describe your idea of a “perfect” school day?
  • What makes learning fun and interesting for you?
  • What could teachers do to make learning more fun and interesting for you?
  • What have your parents said to you about being gifted?
  • What do your parents expect from you because you are gifted?
  • What would you like to learn about someday?
  • What are your plans for the future?

When you read Gifted Kids Speak Out, you can compare your child’s answers to the answers of many other gifted children on the above questions and many more.  Their answers may surprise you and you are sure to learn more about how your child perceives the world.

Teachers can also take the opportunity to ask the high achievers in their classrooms these questions.  My eldest daughter’s teacher believes we are all teachers and we are all learners.  What a great idea!  Take some time with the advanced students to learn what makes them tick, what being gifted means to them, and how you can keep the flame of learning burning brightly within them.

For those of you in the Rochester area, the Rochester Hills Public Library has a copy of Gifted Kids Speak Out in its Youth Non-fiction Collection.

Thank you for reading Rochester SAGE.  Together we can make a difference for gifted children!

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