The image of a boy or girl with high capacities is usually distorted, since it is often associated with high school performance and adequate adaptation to the social and educational system. However, according to the latest statistics in this regard for the 2019-2020 academic year from the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, only 0.47% of the total Spanish population of school age have discovered their high abilities, and 50% of them fail in studies. “We are very far from detecting the majority of the most capable children, with the consequent repercussions for a country of wasting that potential. In fact, they are even the target of bullying on a regular basis, like all minors who differ in some way”, explains Rosa María Espada, vice president of the Arroyomolinos Highly Abilities and Talents Association (AACT).
Discovering the reality about minors with high abilities involves leaving myths behind and understanding issues such as, according to this expert, that they are not good at everything and can become demotivated if their specific needs are not met: “As in the case of their interests , which usually differ with the topics covered in the classroom. They’re not always the most popular at school either.” These children require individualized attention and curricular adaptation by teachers: “If the only parameter used to detect these children is school performance, many of them remain unidentified and end up believing that they are worthless or worthless.” they have a place in the educational system,” explains Espada.
Another myth that often accompanies gifted children is that they belong to a high social class. However, as he argues, it is not something that influences, except if the minor has economic limitations that prevent him from accessing activities that motivate him: “For this reason, it is important that they have access to scholarships and activities, regardless of their economic status ”, says the expert.
At first, the parents of a child who is detected to be gifted can feel bewildered and scared. “Our son was not like our friends or schoolmates. When you get to this point, you feel alone. You can’t talk about it with just anyone, because when you discuss it, people have the same idea about the subject as you did when you started and it doesn’t look anything like reality”, describes Lidia Muñoz, mother of Simón, an 11-year-old boy with high capacities. years. She clarifies that it is something for life and that it is convenient to accompany the minor with patience, flexibility and go to an association that works on this issue.
“To be able to listen to someone who has already been through this experience is cathartic. Discovering that your son does not have to be an engineer or speak six languages helps to lower expectations and understand that he is someone who thinks faster, feels the world more intensely and perceives what others do not”, says Muñoz. Parenting is a challenge: “Perhaps he fails, repeats a course, has a hard time finding friends or feels different from his peers. He may be a puppeteer and it will be perfect. The important thing is that he does what he is passionate about and finds his path. This mother also stresses the importance of keeping in mind that they are children, regardless of their abilities: “They may appear to be older than they really are because of how they talk or reason and, the next second, act like they are younger, but They need the same as the rest, parents who love them, listen, support and play with them”.
Psychological profile of high ability
“They are born with great intellectual potential and it varies according to the use to which it is put, depending on the environment, the individual life situation or education. There is also a genetic component and the siblings or parents tend to also have high capacities”, indicates the pedagogue Maite Garnica, an expert in diagnosis and intervention in high capacities and director of CES Superdotados. Garnica recommends that when parents suspect that their child may have this intellectual potential, they should request an assessment through the educational center or a specialized office to establish individualized attention: “In this sense, each autonomous community has its own legislation in this regard. ”. For example, according to the pedagogue, the Community of Madrid has a specific program for this type of student who, to be part of it, requires a homogeneous profile, which includes high creativity and the ability to maintain sustained attention in Classroom.
Once high ability is confirmed, this specialist makes several recommendations for parents, including:
- Promote the child’s curiosity and desire to know through leisure activities that especially motivate him.
- Accompany and understand him in the management of injustices, of the realistic fears that he has and in the low tolerance for the error that he usually presents.
- Accept their hypersensitivity as a way of perceiving and feeling positive, teaching them to develop resources that help them manage it.
- Talk to him about intellectual issues like an older child, but understanding that in terms of emotional issues he feels like another child his age.
- Be aware of their development in each area of life, such as social, in case at any time they require more specific help.
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