Providing support for gifted children

By MARIA BEARD/Guest Columnist

Supporting gifted and talented students at home can be both rewarding and challenging.

Gifted children need all the love and support that any child needs. Many gifted children often require help in the following areas: coping with social and emotional issues, determining challenging/creative activities to further their learning on a daily basis, and developing their interests and talents.

When addressing social and emotional needs, the number one suggestion I can provide is to actively listen to your child. Having open communication between a child and parent can help you determine and address issues as they arise.

It is equally important to find a balance each day between providing challenging activities and unstructured downtime. Use discussions during everyday situations as a starting point for expanding your child’s knowledge base. Read to your child, and read with your child daily. Encourage storytelling, humor and creativity by modeling these things for your child.

The interests of gifted and talented students are exceptionally wide and diverse. You can help your child cultivate their interests in a variety of ways. Help your child determine their interests.

Provide a space for hobbies and projects. Allow your child to pursue independent projects related to their interests, and if possible, provide the resources needed to complete these projects. (Keep in mind these resources can be many convenient objects such as an old box or a plastic jug.) Explore museums, libraries, airports, concerts, and educational websites to further their interests.

Lastly, providing your gifted child with a mentor in an area of interest is an incomparable way to provide real world experiences and further prepare them to be successful in the future.

Maria Beard is a gifted education teacher at Inverness Elementary.