As parents of gifted children, our stories are similar to one another, but we each have unique challenges as well. Amy gives us wonderful tips about managing a verbally gifted kiddo…
As soon as our little guy was able to talk, he was able to talk well. He flew through development stages — speaking words, then groups of words, then sentences faster than we could believe. And now at three and a half he tells stories and has the vocabulary of an elementary school kid.
Though our son impressed us with his language at an early age it wasn’t until recently I began to understand what it means to be verbally gifted. He continues to impress us and excels at communicating his needs. But just like with giftedness in other areas of development, verbally gifted kids can show difficult behavior too. So I’m learning how to manage the joys and challenges of raising a verbally gifted child.
Characteristics of Verbal Giftedness
It’s important to understand the characteristics of verbal giftedness when considering what your child might need. So, if any of the following traits sound familiar, it’s possible you have a linguistically advanced poppy in your life.
- Learns to talk and goes through language development stages faster than peers.
- Exhibits above age appropriate ability to understand complexities of language such as double meanings.
- Exceptional ability to learn a second language.
- Proficient at grammar and spelling.
- Learns letter sounds and begins reading earlier than peers.
Most of these attributes I see in our son. And now that I’m learning and reflecting on this topic I realize I have also experienced the joys and challenges of being verbally gifted.
Without thorough understanding, verbally gifted kids are often misunderstood and/or seem unsuccessful in traditional school settings. Challenges arise when verbally gifted kids fall into the twice exceptional category and also demonstrate overexcitability.
My own experience in school is a good example of the challenges faced by verbally gifted kids. I always excelled at spelling, reading comprehension, writing, and grammar. And now as a writer, those skills serve me well. But like many gifted kids I was hypersensitive, easily distracted and had difficulty paying attention. I had a hard time relating to my peers or they had a hard time relating to me and often commented that I “talked really smart” or used really big words. And these kinds of difficulties are still common for gifted, twice-exceptional kids in school today, 25 years later.
Challenges of 2E Verbal Giftedness
Some challenges verbally gifted twice exceptional kiddos face are:
- Difficulty relating to peers
- Challenges with emotional regulation
- Sensory processing disorder or sensitivity
- Difficulty with mathematical thinking and concepts
- Trouble with paying attention and test-taking
When children who are verbally gifted present some of the behavior listed above it’s easy to see how their gifts could be overlooked or misunderstood in a classroom or social setting. But helping kids understand their gifts and challenges will help them manage and ultimately succeed and reach their potential.
Related: Adapting Homeschool for Wiggly Kids
Photo by: Nathan Put-Fernandez
Tools for Supporting a 2E Verbally Gifted Child
Provide sensory input
Be an emotion coach
Talk often about how your child experiences feelings in their body and what they can do to manage feelings.
Prepare your child for social situations that might provoke anxiety or excitability.
Set them up for success
Verbally gifted kids will feel successful given the chance to speak or write. Give them these opportunities often.
Verbally gifted kids can be a challenge with or without twice exceptionalities. But, so can typically developing kids. And challenging doesn’t have to be discouraging.
With a little understanding of the needs of verbally gifted and twice-exceptional kids you can help your child feel empowered. If you can manage to get a word in while spending time together, make sure to give them lots of praise and you might just see them become a best-selling author or speaker.
Do you have a 2E or verbally gifted kiddo in your life? How do you manage all the joys and challenges they bring? We’d love to know!
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