If you’ve worked with a gifted child, or maybe even are parenting one yourself… you might have noticed that their brain is a little bit ahead of their emotional development.
This is called “asynchronous development” and it means that a child is developing different parts of themselves at different rates.
Usually, for gifted kiddos, this can mean that they are developing cognitive and intelligence skills far ahead of where their more typical peers might be. But, their social or emotional skills are right on track.
Why Is Learning About Asynchronous Development Important?
While asynchronous development might not sound like a huge deal, it can lead to tricky challenges for parents, teachers, and kids experiencing it.
Asynchronous development can be intimidating, and downright mystifying, but the key is understanding that their brain is like a supercomputer on overdrive.
They know a LOT. They often comprehend quickly. They move on to higher and higher academic skills… but still function at the level of their biological age.
They still need snack breaks, bedtime stories, and most importantly, your reassurance that it’s okay to think differently.
So, let’s dive in and learn more about how to support kiddos who think a little uniquely!
Emotional Development in Gifted Children
Gifted kids are often extremely academically advanced. They often breeze through various subjects and may even be a grade (or MORE) ahead of their peers.
However, just because they are gifted academically does not mean they are gifted EMOTIONALLY. Often, their emotional growth is behind where they are intellectually.
Emotional maturity and intellectual maturity often do not go hand in hand. It’s not unusual to find a gifted child calculating a mathematics question complicated enough to give Albert Einstein a tough time, but also crying a river over not having their favorite flavor of ice-cream.
That’s because while their little brains are able to quickly comprehend complex ideas or theories, they are not moving ahead quickly in every area of brain development.
Learning to plan ahead, control impulses, and regulate emotions are SKILLS that take time, modeling, and effort to develop. Learning these skills comes more naturally to some kids than others.
Even if a child is incredibly bright or can solve problems quickly, asynchronous development in this area might mean that they need a bit more time to mature emotionally or socially.
Social Development in Gifted Children
One of the trickiest aspects for gifted children to navigate are social relationships!
Because they often understand topics much more advanced than their peers, they might struggle to truly connect in an age-appropriate way.
This type of asynchronous development can be particularly painful since it clearly impacts peer relationships.
Sometimes they tell jokes that peers don’t understand. Or, they feel left out when. no one around them understands the books they are currently reading.
Their advanced cognitive capacities and intricate thought processes can make regular conversations feel slow and boring to them.
These feelings of different-ness can (and often do) breed isolation or a feeling that they just don’t quite fit.
Being gifted doesn’t automatically mean these kiddos are socially inept! However, they do often need help navigating friendships, working on developing good social skills, and ensuring that they have a broad range of topics to discuss that people across a broad age and ability range can relate to.
The Importance of Support in Their Development
Children who are gifted often cruise through various parts of school and life with relative ease. Work is performed quickly. They easily understand concepts… and that seems really great!
However, when they do eventually hit a roadblock or a tough concept, they often struggle to work through tasks when they get hard.
This is a really crucial skill for ALL children to develop. And, it’s one that many gifted students actually lack. They don’t always need to stick with a tough concept, so they often give up really easily when something gets too rough.
This is one of many reasons that providing deep, rich, and complex enrichment opportunities for them is absolutely essential.
Enrichment Options for Gifted Students
If you’re working with gifted students and want a free resource to help you, sign up below to get a copy of a FREE project-based learning activity!
This fun budgeting scenario helps kids think outside the box to plan a trip that fits into a given budget. They must choose from a variety of choices to include in their trip!
This activity helps with problem-solving, decision-making, and tons of different math skills!
Grab your free copy below!