Gifted Children – Do They Have Sensory Sensitivities?

 

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Photo by David Morand.

Gifted children are a joy and wonder to watch as they effortlessly progress through many different facets of growth and development. Their intellectual capabilities are far beyond those of their peer age group. They possess outstanding abilities and are capable of performing at astonishingly higher levels of performance when compared to other children. Although there are many standardized tests of intelligence that help educators and professionals accurately identify gifted students, parents usually recognize their advanced development first.

It is very likely that most parents recognize that there is something unique and special about their gifted child during the first three years of life. Gifted children demonstrate extraordinary growth and development skills during this time. They accomplish and surpass expected milestones months or even years before other children their same age. Parents observe their children rapidly progressing through various stages of development and they are often described as “ahead of their age”. Some of the signs of a gifted child include:

  • Many gifted children learn to read earlier than expected and can more easily understand what they read.
  • They learn basic skills more quickly and apply reasoning at an early age.
  • They are curious and ask more questions about “how” and “why”.
  • Gifted children usually communicate well verbally with their parents, siblings, peers, and even strangers — and they usually have an expanded vocabulary.
  • They appear to be very organized and efficient.
  • Gifted children enjoy a challenge and seek opportunities to grow developmentally and solve new problems.
  • They are able to understand abstract ideas, non-verbal communication, and other types of communication.
  • These are just some of the potential characteristics of gifted children. There are many more signs that indicate a child has a special talent and ability to learn, communicate, grow, and develop. Parents and teachers who recognize these signs will often give gifted children many more opportunities to learn and excel.

But recent studies also indicate that gifted children may suffer from sensory sensitivities more often than their non-gifted peers. Based on his research, W. Roedell, in his article published in Roeper Review, theorizes that the gifted child often has intense sensitivity. This means that gifted children may undergo more stress due to their inability to effectively process some of the sensory signals travelling through their bodies and to their brains.

To understand what this means, it is important to understand how sensory integration works. Sensory integration is the ability for people to process sensory data and information collected from the five senses and from the environment surrounding them. It is a neurological process that carries the stimuli to the brain where it is processed, organized, and evaluated for usable information or actions. When sensory integration is interrupted or does not function properly, it is like a mis-fire or mis-cue to the brain. Pieces or parts of information are missing and it is difficult for the brain to process the data. This can result in problems with daily living skills, academic progress, or social interactions.

While parents may be swelled with pride and adoration as they watch their young gifted child grow and develop – and justifiably so – they may overlook this important aspect of their child’s development and behaviour. They may believe that their child has difficulty socializing with peers because “he is just smarter than they are” or “he needs more mature interactions”. Unfortunately, the real problem may be that he may be experiencing sensory integration dysfunction and it is too difficult for the child to engage in social interactions, develop friendships, or enjoy activities with other children.

If a gifted child is affected by sensory integration challenges, it is possible that he or she may have more functional problems than other children. They could become more aggressive, impulsive, withdrawn, and introverted than other children. They do not experience the gratification and developmental processes associated with healthy social interactions because they do not participate in social activities as often.

So where does all of this information and data lead us when it comes to helping gifted children overcome sensory integration dysfunction, or teaching them to manage through some of the challenges associated with this issue?

Educators, therapists, and counselors must be keenly aware of this issue and must evaluate gifted children carefully to assess whether or not it is a problem. Utilizing this information when developing and observing children in classroom settings, activities, and social activities becomes vital to understanding any special needs of gifted children.

For example, although gifted children may be well above their peers in intellectual capacity and application, they may experience more sensitivity and have difficulty processing certain noises, sights, or sounds. They may find that bright fluorescent lighting creates a feeling of confusion or anxiety for the gifted child. Turning down the lights to accommodate the child may help. If the child is more sensitive to loud noises, then playing music at a lower volume or speaking in a softer tone may be beneficial. Parents and teachers both need to understand the sensory stimulus that affects a child and help the child learn to deal with the challenge. But they must also teach the child how to cope with the sensory sensitivities in various ways.

In “Sensory Sensitivities of Gifted Children”, there is an indepth view and analysis into this topic. The theories and hypotheses that are addressed through various researchers indicates that gifted children may have different sensory modulations (or different ways of processing sensory stimuli) than those who are not gifted. W. Roedell theorizes that “gifted children’s unique challenges and skills are likely embedded in a neurological system that perceives and responds to the environment differently from children of typical intelligence.”

As parents, teachers, and professionals, we must learn to understand the gifted child better and evaluate whether or not sensory integration challenges are present. This also means that we must find tools and resources to help gifted children manage their sensory challenges so they can focus, concentrate, and become more socially engaged. Until now, many educators and professionals believed that sensory integration dysfunction was a problem associated with children who had ADHD, hyperactivity, or other disorders. This new research opens up a whole new world of possibilities to provide the gifted child with better guidance and resources related to the sensory processing.

Rather than assume a gifted child is just acting inappropriately in a social environment, or that the child has behavior problems, or even that the child just doesn’t want to play with children his own age due to his higher intelligence level, parents and professionals should explore the tools, resources, and information that can better assess and uncover the real problem. A higher intellectual capacity is just one aspect of a gifted child’s life and world. They excel above their peers in this area, but they may also experience psychosocial issues that deter them from engaging in vital and rewarding developmental social interactions with others.

Accessing information and tools to support the growth and development in all aspects of the gifted child’s life is an important part of the educational and nurturing process. For further information on research or resources related to gifted children and sensory sensitivities, or sensory processing difficulties, refer to the full studies noted in this article.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3198277

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Indigo Children – Emerging Trend Or New Age Myth?

 

Dear Bloggers & Face Book users: please help us grow our little music school by sharing and reblogging this post – thank you – S

Teacher helping children in class

The term, ‘Indigo children’ refers to a popular belief within the New Age community that most of the children being born today are part of a new stage in human evolution, and that they posses certain specific traits designed to help them deal with the challenges humanity will face in coming generations. Proponents of this theory believe that many of the children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are actually part of this new generation, and that their education and care needs to be handled in a certain way so that they can manifest their gifts to their highest potential.

According to Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, editors of the first major book on the subject, the following is a list of common traits of Indigo children:

– They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)

– They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.

– Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents “who they are.”

– They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

– They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

– They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.

– They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).

– They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

– They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).

– They are not shy in letting you know what they need.

First the skeptical view. As many have noted, this list is general enough to apply to almost any child, at least some of the time, so doesn’t really seem to indicate a new stage in evolution. And additional questions arise from the fact that many proponents of the theory think at least 90% of children born in recent years are Indigo children. If that is the case, what are they being compared to? When are they not around their ‘own kind’? And, even allowing that this generation exhibits some specific traits, where is the proof that this is part of a new incarnational cycle? Who says it is not the result of sociological shifts in the ways kids are raised, or television, or the foods they are eating (or not eating), or any number of other factors that are different from when their parents (like me) were born?

On the supporter side, the Indigo Children theory is primarily put forth by intuitives, astrologers, and others working in the area of consciousness and energy healing. However, many experienced childcare workers, social workers, and teachers say they also recognize these trends, and have come to believe in the Indigo Child theory to some extent, even those that do not subscribe to other New Age beliefs. Part of the complication of sorting through this subject is that so many people have latched on to it to support there own individual agendas. Problems arise from the fact that lists like the one above are ‘scrubbed’ of any reference to the children’s energies and intuitive abilities, because the authors are trying to reach a broader audience outside the New Age community, particularly the parents of ADD and ADHD children, in order to offer them alternative options (besides Ritalin, that is.) That is a worthy goal, but without some of the psycho-spiritual descriptions of what defines an Indigo child, there often doesn’t seem to be enough details to assess the trends claimed.

These details do emerge in the more energy-oriented descriptions of Indigo children. The term ‘Indigo’ came from an intuitive who attempted to classify human energy systems according to the colors of their auras in the 1980s. She observed that many of the children being born at that time had a kind of energy pattern that she had not seen before. Over time, she (and other intuitives) saw more and more of these children being born, until it hit the current levels, where most children born are believed to be Indigos. Many claim this generation has a warrior-like spirit that is unique. As intuitive Doreen Virtue puts it in her book The Care and Feeding of Indigo Children, “It’s almost like they are in boot camp being prepared for combat.”

While many people are uncomfortable with certain aspects of this theory, and especially with the expectations being placed on these children, it is gaining greater credence in the mainstream because of the solutions put forth by its proponents – that our schools need to be overhauled to deal with today’s children, that drugging our kids is NOT an answer, and that today’s children need to be properly prepared for the world, and problems, they are going to inherit.

 

Lisa Erickson is a mom, meditation teacher, and writer. Visit her blog http://www.MommyMystic.wordpress.com for spiritual book reviews and information on meditation and spirituality.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Erickson

Beatles Guitar Chords – A Great Way to Teach Yourself Guitar

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Learning The Beatles guitar chords is an excellent way to teach yourself guitar. Love them or hate them, the music of the The Beatles has endured and stayed relevant for more than 40 years for a very good reason. Their early sound tipped conventional music of the time on its head and the The Beatles’ style continued to evolve throughout their careers. While known for their faultless vocal harmonies, the musical ideas and techniques that the The Beatles used were filled with color and were the envy of many a rival. This is the reason that their music remains relevant today.

When learning any instrument it can be difficult to stay motivated long enough to improve beyond beginner level. I taught myself guitar as a teenager by listening and playing along with the music I enjoyed. For me, the music of the The Beatles opened up a whole new world of ideas and techniques, and of course The Beatles guitar chords have been reused by musicians ever since. Playing along with The Beatles songs absolutely took my guitar playing ability to a new level and years later I can still discover something new as I play along with some of my favourite albums.

Another great thing about learning The Beatles songs is that there is something for every guitarist, from the absolute beginner to the advanced expert. As a beginner, you can focus on simple recordings such as “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” or “Yellow Submarine” which use simple The Beatles guitar chords and progressions. More advanced players can explore complex recordings such as “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “I Am The Walrus” which feature interesting chord shapes and unexpected progressions. It is worth mentioning that although those last two songs featured rich complex arrangements on the final recordings, they are both based on very simple musical ideas, which translate very well to a basic acoustic guitar. That is the beauty of the The Beatles music, even when you strip away the color and decoration of orchestras and layers of interesting instruments, the songs are still truly great at their core.

So if you are new to the guitar or have been playing for some time and you are looking for a way to challenge yourself and improve, then I highly recommend picking up a copy of any The Beatles album, perhaps a greatest hits album, and picking up your guitar.

 

Adam Fry is a Beatles fan and Internet Marketer with a passion for the guitar.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Adam_Fry