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Parenting Asynchronous Gifted Children

The original application of the term ‘asynchronous’ to gifted children was by the Columbus Group – Stephanie Tolan, Dr. Christine Neville, Martha Morelock, Dr. Linda Silverman, Kathi Kearney – in 1991. The Columbus Group focused its definition around highly and profoundly gifted children. Our chat today regards gifted children in general who experience life out-of-sync from their age peers. Thus, asynchronous development of gifted children refers to those whose life experiences are qualitatively different from the norm requiring modification in parenting, teaching, and counseling (Tolan, 2013 in Off the Charts).

Asynchronous development can manifest in many different ways for gifted kids. Differences occur when there is a disconnect between cognitive abilities and social-emotional development (Johnson, Mun in PHP, March 2021). A recent study found gifted children had statistically meaningful social skill differences with non-gifted peers, but not significant problem behaviors (Citil, Ozkubat 2020). Examples of asynchronous behavior may include advanced art or music interests, but lack of motor coordination; deep understanding of social justice, but lack of life experience to handle the concept (Guilbault, Kane NAGC TIP Sheet, 2016).

Parenting an asynchronous gifted child can be a lonely and often confusing time for parents. First time parents may not be aware of how different their child’s development is from age-peers and for parents of #2ekids, the differences may be even greater. Parents of gifted children must deal with the seemingly never-ending intensities, excessive need for attention, and emotional overreactions leading them to question their parenting abilities. Parenting asynchronous gifted children can result in constant worry about their child’s ability to find friends, school performance, and how teachers perceive their child. They may feel misunderstood and alone (Guthrie, 2019).

There are strategies available for parents of asynchronous gifted children including taking time to get to know your child emotionally and psychologically to better understand their social-emotional needs (Li, 2022). Parents should focus on their child’s strengths; set realistic expectations; teach coping strategies such as mindfulness, self-care, and how to self-advocate; help find age-peers and mental-age peers. (Guilbault, Kane NAGC TIP Sheet, 2016). They need to be willing to reach out for support from other parents, professionals experienced in gifted issues, and gifted organizations. They should strive to remain positive and patient (Johnson, Mun in PHP, March 2021).

Academically, GT students need to be provided opportunities and resources to explore and experience interests and passions from the earliest ages. This may be as simple as frequent trips to the library or nearby museums. When financially feasible, some parents have found success in homeschooling when local schools are unable or unwilling to provide appropriate educational resources. This may be the best option for twice-exceptional students. Parents may also look for mentors for their asynchronous gifted child to help guide their academic aspirations. They may find support from organizations such as Davidson Young Scholars Program.

Both state and national gifted organizations provide extensive online resources for parents of asynchronous gifted children. SENG and GHF Learners have social-emotional resources for parents. An important resource can be local parent support and advocacy groups. State organizations usually link to such groups. If one doesn’t exist, consideration should be given to starting one.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

TIP Sheet: Asynchronous Development (pdf) | NAGC

Life in the Asynchronous Family (Kearney)

The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children What Do We Know? 2nd Edition (book)

The Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children: What do we know? (pdf Neihart) | NAGC

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (book)

Parenting Gifted Children 101 An Introduction to Gifted Kids and Their Needs (book) |

Handbook for Counselors Serving Students With Gifts and Talents: Development, Relationships, School Issues, and Counseling Needs/Interventions (book)

Highly Capable Program Handbook (pdf) | Robinson Center for Young Scholars

The Comparison of the Social Skills, Problem Behaviours and Academic Competence of Gifted Students and Their Non-gifted Peers (download) | International Journal of Process Education (2020)

Identifying Stressors and Reactions to Stressors in Gifted and Non-gifted Students (pdf) | International Education Journal

The Relationship between Placement and Social Skills in Gifted Students (download) | Arizona State University

Socioemotional Competencies, Cognitive Ability, and Achievement in Gifted Students (pdf) | Arizona State University

Effects of Social Support on the Social Self Concepts of Gifted Adolescents (pdf) | Western Kentucky University

“Nothing is ever easy”: Parent Perceptions of Intensity in Their Gifted Adolescent Children (pdf) | The Qualitative Report       

Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (book)

The Construct of Asynchronous Development (pdf Silverman, 1997) | Peabody Journal of Education

“Developing Capabilities”. Inclusive Extracurricular Enrichment Programs to Improve the Well-Being of Gifted Adolescents | Frontiers in Psychology

Asynchronous Development Of A Gifted Child And Their Unique Needs | Parenting for Brain

A Parent’s Perspective: Asynchronous Parenting | Davidson Gifted

Mrs. Riley’s Class

When Your Child Learns Differently: A Family Approach for Navigating Special Education Services With Love and High Expectations (book)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Asynchronous Development in GT Kids

Asynchronous development is when a person’s brain development is out of sync with their age-peers; the greater the growth, the greater the disparity. Current measures of intelligence simply do not account for these differences. Recent developments in neuroscience are helping professionals to gain a better understanding of how intelligence affects individuals. Asynchronous development in our twice-exceptional population can be an even greater issue. When weaknesses interfere with being able to demonstrate intellectual abilities, frustration can be overwhelming.

Asynchronous development is very noticeable in younger children. They may have a profound understanding of outcomes and consequences to actions without the ability to act on that understanding. Changes brought by the outbreak of coronavirus have highlighted the stark differences in how asynchronous development affects children’s outlook about its effects both personally and globally. Asynchronous development can present as a child achieving at levels far beyond what’s expected for their age while exhibiting a maturity level closer to their chronological age.

Why is it important to understand asynchronous development in gifted students? It can manifest in many different ways in which others may misinterpret. This can lead adults to view a gifted child’s behavior as inappropriate and to assign negative terms such as ‘little lawyer’ or ‘absent minded professor’. When asynchronous development leads to misidentification or a lack of understanding about a gifted child’s development, it results in ensuing issues not be correctly addressed. This can lead to increased stress for the student. As brain development continues into a person’s 30’s, gifted individuals can find it a challenge to be productive and successful when there is a disconnect between ability, functioning and talents. (Tetreault 2019)

What strategies can teachers use to assist students who display asynchronous development? Any strategy should begin with acknowledgment of asynchronous development followed by professional development to learn about characteristics and identification. Initially, strategies should identify strengths and differences, accommodations, and provide opportunities that appropriately challenge the student. One of the best strategies is the use of various forms of acceleration which allows the student to engage with academic peers.

Parents should have an honest discussion about asynchronous development with their child taking into consideration their level of maturity. Together, they can explore strategies to the challenges such as mindfulness and self-advocacy. It’s important that parents seek out peer groups who share their child’s interests and abilities. Also, make an effort to connect with other parents who are in a similar position for support. Parents can also provide information to schools and teachers about asynchronous development and advocate for appropriate educational opportunities.

Many organizations provide online information including NAGC (US), PPUK (UK), NZ Centre for Gifted Education (NZ), SENG, and IEA Gifted (US). Books such as Off the Charts (Tolan et al) and the upcoming Insight Into a Bright Mind: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Stories of Unique Thinking (Tetreault) provide valuable information for both parents and teachers. Be sure to check out the resources below.

A transcript of this page can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Asynchronous Development | NAGC

Asynchronous Development TIP Sheet | NAGC

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (book) | Tolan

Asynchronous Development in Children

Asynchronous Development | SENG

Asynchronous or Uneven Development | The Amend Group

Leaving Behind Normalcy: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child | IEA

Guiding the Gifted Advanced Academics (pdf) | Austin ISD

Seeing the Whole Gifted Child

Asynchronous Development | Potential Plus UK

How Can We Better Understand, Identify, and Support Highly Gifted and Profoundly Gifted Students? | Annals of Cognitive Science

School Counsellors’ Perceptions of Working with Gifted Students (pdf) | South African Journal of Education

Advanced Developmental Milestones of Gifted Students across Domains (Preview)

How to Support a Gifted Child | International School Parent

How to Help Gifted Children Who Need Foundational Skills

Gifted isn’t Better; It’s Different | Maine School Administrative District #6

Meeting Gifted Learners’ Needs

Consequences of Risk Factors in the Development of Gifted Children | Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences

Balancing Academic Success with Social Challenges

Taxonomy of Affective Curriculum for Gifted Learners: A Framework for Providing Social–Emotional Learning to Gifted Children | Research Outreach

3 Keys to Educating Gifted Students | Chicago Parent

It’s Time to Get Real about Gifted Kids (Medium) | Dr. Gail Post

Giftedness – Asynchronous Development and Existential Questions (Podcast 34:59) | The International Gifted Consortium (IGC) Research Center for the Highly-Profoundly Gifted  

Giftedness in Young Children: What Do Parents and Teachers Know? (pdf) | University of Mary Washington Eagle Scholar

Optimizing Asynchronous Development

Neuroscience of Asynchronous Development in Bright Minds (Tetreault)

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Optimizing Asynchronous Development

gtchat 05102018 Asynchronous

The term asynchronous development was originally conceptualized by a group known as the Columbus Group. It is widely accepted today relating to gifted children. The Columbus Group defined asynchronous development as children whose inner experiences and awareness due to intellect and intensities were qualitatively different from the norm. They believed parenting, teaching and counseling required modifications in order for gifted children to develop optimally.

It is important to understand giftedness through the lens of asynchronous development. Initially, gifted children may not comprehend the role of asynchronous development in their lives on a very personal level. They need guidance. Society’s expectations of how a child should act and how a smart child should act put undue pressure on these kids that can have severe consequences for them and society.

There are paradoxes presented by asynchronous development. It can, but not in all cases, mean a child can achieve at levels well beyond what is expected for their chronological age. Asynchronous development may result in a child being placed in an academically appropriate place that fails to accommodate their social-emotional needs.

How does asynchronous development affect the behavioral and emotional aspects of giftedness? Once a child is identified as gifted, society tends to judge them solely on their achievements and how they perform without regard to social-emotional aspects. It can create a wildly different life experience for the gifted child; one that lacks the understanding and empathy of adults.

Adults can support a gifted child’s asynchronous development so that they aren’t overwhelmed by their ability to perceive the complexity of the world around them. Ideally, a gifted child’s social-emotional needs will be respected in conjunction with their gifts and talents. Recognizing the need is a good first step. Adults need to be hyper-aware of each gifted child’s unique challenges and develop individualized education plans that address the whole child.

Where can parents seek information about asynchronous development? One of the best books for parents is “Off the Charts.” It’s a compilation of works; many by members of the Columbus Group. The NAGC, SENG and IEA Gifted have extensive resources for parents seeking information on asynchronous development. State organizations may have additional local info as well. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (Amazon)

Definition of Asynchronous Development in Children

Asynchronous Development: An Alternate View of Giftedness

Asynchronous Development in Gifted Kids

Many Ages at Once

The Neural Plasticity of Giftedness

Giftedness: The View from Within

Asynchronous Development

Asynchronous Development (NAGC)

UK: The Misidentification & Misdiagnosis of Gifted Children

Gifted Children Do Exist Here’s What Happen when We Deny It 

What I Want You to Know about My Gifted Son

Supporting Gifted Children

Parent Hot Sheet: Asynchronous Development (pdf) (NAGC)

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Asynchronous Development

The Columbus Group

Sprite’s Site: Beginning the Journey – Gifted 101

Giftedness As Asynchronous Development

4 Fabulous Ways for Kids to Pamper Mom on Mother’s Day

Image courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Sibling Rivalry in Gifted Families

gtchat 05032018 Siblings

 

ALL children need to feel valued regardless of ability. It is a delicate balancing act. Parents must often be there for siblings when one is identified for a particular gifted program and another one is not. Gifted rivalry is not accidental. It’s important to realize intentions and counseling siblings is an important parental responsibility. It can extend to the selection of colleges, participation in academic competitions and affect acceleration decisions.

What role does ‘asynchronous development’ play in gifted sibling rivalry? It can dramatically change a child’s place in the family; such as when a younger child surpasses an older sibling academically (think Young Sheldon). This can affect decisions about acceleration. Asynchronous development can ultimately cause excessive stress on parents who themselves may not be able to ‘keep up’ with their child’s intellectual progress. Younger children who are profoundly gifted may be confused or feel constrained by what they can do socially because of their chronological age.

To minimize sibling rivalries, parents can avoid comparisons, emphasize strengths, reminding child of their uniqueness, and not give more privileges to one child over the other. Furthermore, they can be minimized by not assuming that problems will arise, teaching ‘fair’ doesn’t mean equal, and remembering that not all strengths and talents are either academics or sports. Parents can try their best to spend quality time with each child; providing companionship and time alone with each one.

What can parents do to build positive and cooperative relationships in the gifted family? They can value their child’s point of view as a way to encourage cooperation and value the strengths and weaknesses of each child while acknowledging their differences.

Schools can offer resources to parents of gifted children with mixed abilities. They can suggest parents utilize school guidance counselors and enlist a favorite teacher when necessary to encourage a student to model good behavior at home. Finally, schools should maintain a positive parent-school relationship by offering resources to parents such as providing opportunities for gifted children to explore interests and passions. A transcript may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

When One Child Is Gifted: Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

How Gifted Children Impact the Family

A Gifted Child Increases Sibling Rivalry, Study Finds

The Effects of Sibling Competition

Comparing Gifted and Non-Gifted Sibling Perceptions of Family Relations (pdf 1982)

Gifted and Non-Gifted Siblings: How Conventional Wisdom is Wrong

The Social World of Gifted Children and Youth (pdf)

When One Sibling is More “Gifted” Than the Other

Tempo: Guidance & Counseling of Gifted Students

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Siblings of Twice-Exceptional Children

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Congrats, Your Kid is Gifted…But What About Her Sibling?

Keeping the Family Balance

Setting Boundaries for Gifted Siblings

Sibling Relationships in Families with Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay    CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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