(Unit 8) Topic 5: The Gifted Child
2 Clock Hours of Early Childhood Education
Barriers to Identifying Giftedness
Topic 5 Page 10
Believe it or not, many people have unknown biases based on another person’s culture or ethnicity. This can cause us to doubt a person’s ability especially when the notion of giftedness is in question. Likewise, we may assume that a person from a certain culture is gifted based purely on their culture or ethnicity. This comes from unknown or implicit biases.
Sometimes there can be language or communication barriers in place between educators and children causing information to be missed or miscommunicated. Children who are non-native English speakers usually are less likely to be identified as gifted because of communication challenges. Children with speech delays or hearing challenges may also be less likely to be identified as gifted.
Statistically speaking more boys than girls are identified as being gifted or talented. Some experts attribute this to self-confidence, while others attribute this to those implicit gender biases that some educators and parents may have. It is important to see past gender and see the child and their individual capabilities.
Gifted children do not always present as high achievers with stellar grades. Instead, they sometimes have very low or failing grades in some or even all areas. This can usually be attributed to the type of learning environment or learning experiences. Perhaps the gifted child becomes bored with the art project or is under stimulated by the literacy and math centers. They may disconnect or lose motivation altogether.
Some children who present as gifted may also have sensory challenges that make learning and some activities very difficult. Sensory challenges can include all 5 senses and usually more than one sense is involved. This can cause behavior challenges, serious aversions to spaces or situations, and often make any learning experience next to impossible. Educators may find that these children do not fit the usual mold of the gifted child but should avoid this assumption altogether.
Personality or Behavior
Children with behavioral or personality differences or challenges are often overlooked for giftedness. Again, this is usually due to an implicit bias or a level of under achievement if the child is unable or unwilling to complete tasks at school.
A learning or physical disability will often make a gifted child go unnoticed due to accommodations that are necessary. Educators may perceive that a child with a disability is unable to be gifted, but this is absolutely untrue. Any child can be gifted!
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