Gifted Children – Do They Have Sensory Sensitivities?


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

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.

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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 for spiritual book reviews and information on meditation and spirituality.


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Ideas to Make Learning Much More Fun

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


In a world where our younger generations seem most excited about the newest and coolest computer games and electronic toys they could get their hands on, it’s become increasingly hard to get children to focus on and develop an interest in learning. Innovation has never had a more important place in the classroom.

For teachers this means having to spend more time on activity preparation, and having to force themselves to be much more creative than in the past.

But how do you go about applying changes to your traditional teaching methods, and how do you even come up with new ideas?

Idea Exchanges

Constantly coming up with new ideas for the classroom can be exhausting. With time it’s completely normal to stall and be unable to produce anything worthwhile. So an easy way of getting around this is to schedule an idea exchange.

This could take place both at a school level or regional level, and involve as many teachers as you wish from as many departments as you wish. Essentially, the more the better as you can not only pool together existing ideas, but also generate new ones together.

It could take the form of a one-day conference or seminar, in which teachers share their experiences, and explain how they implemented new methods in their teaching, as well as how the children responded.
Alternatively, it could just be an informal gathering at a cafe or pub after classes have finished for the day. A relaxed and jovial atmosphere is quite likely to be the best for a spot of creative brainstorming and idea sharing.

Educational School Trips

While the idea of learning outside the classroom through educational school trips has been around for a while, there are additional elements you can incorporate in the visit to make it more effective.

First of all, there is now a much vaster pool of opportunities to choose from when it comes to school trips. Museums are a classic example, but nowadays many enterprises will be more than willing to welcome a class and show them around to see how things are made. At your next parent teacher evening, ask the parents if their workplace might be willing to schedule a visit.

This gives kids an insight into how things work, and how companies are run. You could even enquire whether some employees might be willing to give a talk at some point during the day.

Instead of just going on the visit without doing anything other than listening to what the guide is saying, give the children additional assignments. Though it will involve lengthy preparations, a quiz or a Q&A-type challenge for the day will keep the kids occupied and, hopefully, focused. If this can be graded, this will add motivation.

Science Experiments

Science experiments are an age-old way of adding a touch of fun to learning. Not all of these have to involve traditional lab equipment, however. They can be made even more fun by using household objects that you can ask the kids to bring along to class.

For example, did you know you can make a battery out of fruit? You will need a few of the more “hi tech” devices found in a school science lab, but the main “ingredients” are lemons, coins or nails, screws, wires and a small knife.

Other experiments could focus on producing power from running or cycling.

Kids will be so happy to take part in creating something with their bare hands.

The only limits are your creativity, and the ever present health and safety regulations.

Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from science experiments to technology to holiday destinations. View Harvey’s other articles to find out more.

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Three Accelerated Learning Techniques That Work for Anyone


If you’re trying to look for the best and easiest fast learning techniques, well then, I have got you covered. There are many quick learning articles and courses out there but it is hard to find something that is applicable and effective to anyone- no matter where you are, what your background is and even how old you are.

In this article, we will talk about three fast learning techniques: using music, incorporating visuals and finding a mentor. By the end of this article, I’m sure that you would be able to look at quick learning in a whole new light.

Accelerated Learning Music

This learning technique is very effective and the great thing about it is that you can use it anywhere. Just download some baroque or rococo music into your music player and you can start learning new things faster. The way music works is that it helps a person relax and focus better on the task or lesson at hand. But since these types of music are kind of upbeat too, you would be relaxed in just the right amount.

Accelerated Learning Visuals

There are a lot of people who are visual learners. But as fast learning technique, you can be an auditory, spatial or intrapersonal learner and it would still work! When you use photos, flowcharts and other types of visual aids, your brain will be more interested in it and it will help retain that new information longer and faster in your memory bank.

Accelerated Learning Mentor

Of course, there’s no denying that one of the best ways to learn quick learning is through learning from someone who is a guaranteed master in it. The truth is, there are a lot of accelerated learning courses out there today and you could easily take your pick. If you do decide to go with an speed learning mentor, be very cautious with your research and try to know as much as you can about that person. Just remember to be really careful with who you pick and make sure that you will get the best experience and fast learning techniques from your chosen mentor.

Now that we have these very simple and effective quick learning techniques out in the open, go out there and try them yourself. Remember, the best way to see and experience real results from these accelerated learning techniques is through practice. The moment that you know how to perfectly and effectively use music, visuals and mentorship programs to use, you can go out there again and find other accelerated learning techniques that can make your life so much better.

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How Edutainment Could Be The New Way Of Learning For Kids With Variety Thrown In

teaching-your-kids-the-art-of-reading-2011-9-10-3-31-2Providing kids at home with the right directions in terms of behaviour and learning is a concern for parents. It is at this tender age that they can be moulded with ideas and which leave deep imprints in their mind. Variety of activities are carried out and indulged in by the kids, who are in the play schools or just entering their full-term at schools. Even for the pre-teen kids, activities are a way to learn new things, especially such things, which can make a mark on their behavioural pattern in their grown up stages.

But, simply put, the work of training kids in the right direction is easier said than done. Children’s education and learning is always being innovated. Play schools are coming up in large numbers, where small kids below the age of 4 – 5 years are acclimatised with the school going conditions and made to learn the basics by means of pictorial and graphical representations. Beyond the play schools, when the kids are into their pre teen stage, there is still need to learn. This learning will no more be about the alphabets and rhymes.

Edutainment as the new way of learning

At the post play school years, children are required to be taught the importance of healthy communication and etiquette skills. It is at this stage that their interests and hobbies can be identified. Since every kid has a different mindset, taking personal care and giving space to grow is the key. Edutainment is the new way of learning in the 21st century, where learning is provided through entertainment. Making funkey monkeys out of the kids is not only charming but also gives them a space where their mind is more receptive.

Bringing kids under a common cause

In an environment, where kids come in contact with others of their age group, and work together towards common goal, is the essence of edutainment. By creating an environment of such kind, children can be made to learn a lot of things, although these might not be necessarily related with studies. In a way, it is about polishing the extracurricular activities and making them learn various things from a young age. As a result of such endeavour, cooking classes for kids are being started in various institutions, where edutainment is stressed upon. People want their kids to learn the basics of cooking and interested children can enrol for the cooking classes for kids, where they get together to prepare a dish, as simple as a cake, under the guidance of an expert. Even modern dance classes are found to be organised in such sessions.

Bringing together a number of kids under the same roof or in a particular occasion can be a sportive affair. By being in contact with other, etiquette skills can be brushed and this is being done by organizing indoor or outdoor birthday parties. Sometimes, children are encouraged to covert the area into balloons party place by blowing balloons and putting them in different arrangements.

There are various ways in which edutainment can be done. It is about striking a few cords of creativity and ideas to help children run will have a free flow. People are nowadays organizing such events in their communities by opening up kids’ centres or also calling for outdoor birthday parties, where a number of children come together to do something creative. In such occasions also, classes on dances and other subjects can be organised, giving a fresh look into the learning process.

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Beatles Guitar Chords – A Great Way to Teach Yourself Guitar


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.


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Seven Key Strategies for Parental Involvement in a Child’s Musical Education


Parental involvement in a child’s musical education is more important than before.

Usually, the age when children normally begin learning musical instruments is the age when they need lots of encouragement and approval. Parental involvement can help foster their children’s growth and at the same time see rapid results.

Read further for the seven key ways you can be involved in your child’s progress:

1. Be supportive of their choice of musical instrument.

OK, you’ve never been very fond of loud noise, so it might be a little uncomfortable when your child tells you he wants to play the trumpet. However, realize that your child’s choice of musical instrument reflects his interests. Whether he chooses a loud or soft instrument, your child is still showing a desire to express himself through music. If he decides he wants to sound really good on, say, drums, this goal will motivate him to spend significant amounts of time practicing, rather than being bored or restless.

2. Help them set a consistent daily practice time.

Consistency is key. For beginners, I recommend practicing 30 minutes a day. But 30 minutes all at once may seem like forever! So, work with your child to incorporate practice time into their schedule. And remember, it doesn’t need to be 30 minutes consecutively. Does your child have 10 free minutes between breakfast and having to catch the school bus? Set aside those 10 minutes for practice time. What about 10 more minutes as soon as she gets home? The last 10 minutes can in the evening, either before or after homework. Make sure that you are aware of the practice schedule, and gently remind your child when it is time to practice.

3. Encourage them to perform for you several times a week.

During elementary and middle school, children are still at an age where they seek your approval and want to make you happy. So, let them do that! How about asking them to hold a concert for you once or twice a week? Tell them they can decide what songs they want to play, and then set up an area in your family room where they can give the concert. If there are older siblings, ask them to be present as well. After the concert, make sure to tell your child specific things you enjoyed about their performance.

4. Take them to different types of concerts and musical theater events.

Ever since I can remember, my mom has played recordings of traditional Chinese music in the house. This constant exposure to music at an early age helped me to gain an awareness and appreciation for quality music. If music is a constant in your home environment, then your child will sub-consciously absorb its positive influence. By exposing your child to recordings and performances, your child will begin to develop a natural ear for what good music can sound like. Many schools and local theaters have performances throughout the year. Great opportunities abound, so make sure to take advantage of them.

5. Praise them for every accomplishment.

Praise must be genuine. If it is false or is merely masking criticism, your child will pick up on it. No matter what level your child is at, there will be something positive to praise. Whether it is learning a new note or a new song, be proud of your child for that. Praise them in front of their siblings or friends. They will remember your positive words, and it will serve to motivate them in an invaluable way.

6. Select a teacher who is compatible with your child’s personality

Since band directors have on average thirty to forty students to instruct during any given class, it’s very hard to address each child’s individual needs. If you decide to seek outside help by inviting a private teacher to work with your child, keep in mind that the teacher’s personality is as equally important as his/her background and accomplishments. If your child feels like he can trust his teacher, he will be more inspired to practice outside of lessons, and you will notice much quicker progress.

7. Reward your child.

In addition to verbal praise, give your child tangible rewards. For example, when she has achieved a personal goal, take her out for ice cream, her favorite movie, or a day at the zoo. Or perhaps reward her with a CD from her favorite flutist.

If you follow these seven key strategies for involvement in your child’s musical education, you will notice significant improvement in your child’s progress.

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Just Like Mommy: Role Modeling Through Early Childhood Music Programs

welcome mom and baby

Role modeling is one of the most important roles you will ever take on in your life. From the day your baby is born, they are watching you for cues. They want to know how to handle different situations in life, when to do what, and what is appropriate. They base their sense of normalcy on what they see and hear you do. It does not matter whether you set a good example or bad, they know no different. They learn through you becomes their sense of normal.

Now, how do early childhood music programs fit into this picture? They fit in perfectly, because they give you the opportunity to role model positive behaviors to your child. Following is a brief explanation of some positive behaviors and thought patterns that you can instill in your child just by taking them to early childhood music programs.


There has been a lot of controversy in recent years over how babies are taught to go to sleep, calm down from a temper tantrum, and handle minor disappointments that are a natural part of life. Some parents believe in the “let them cry” method, where babies simply allowed to cry until they end up going to sleep, calming down, or getting over their disappointment on their own. Other parents believe that letting them cry is a form of abuse, and think that it is the parent’s job to soothe the baby back to sleep, help them calm down, or talk with them through the frustration of disappointment.

There is a third alternative here: teach children how to soothe themselves in an appropriate manner. This requires some hands-on attention from parents, but eventually leads to the child being able to control their sleep patterns and emotions independently. You can start modeling this through early childhood music programs, if you teach your child to use music as a form of soothing.

Learn through the lessons at your music class, and then start soothing your child through music. Hum to them or sing them a very soft lullaby. Rock side to side with them. Sit next to them and pat them, so their body’s bounce to a slow beat. This starts to teach them how to soothe and calm through music. They may later hum or sing to themselves, listen to music, or rock and bounce when they are upset or want to sleep.

Freedom of Movement

So many people feel self-conscious when it comes to dancing and other forms of free movement. We were all given these bodies for the purpose of moving, and that is what they should be doing every single day! If you want to teach your children that it is perfectly fine to be happy, to dance, and to move around freely, then you have to do so yourself. You have to show them through music class that this type of free movement is fun and exciting. This makes it feel normal to them.

There are so many other things that you can model for your child during a music class. From sharing the instruments to soothing another child when they cry, look for the lessons in life and they will present themselves. As you respond to those opportunities, remember who is watching.


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