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Gifted Soup Ingredients from A-Z: Asynchrony

“Discover your difference – the asynchrony with which you have been blessed or cursed  and make the most of it.

-Howard E. Gardner

The intellectually gifted 10-year-old who reads at a high school level. Are they driving? Or dating? Or able to run 6 miles for cross country? They may still be a 10-year-old in terms of developmental skills or they might be behind their peers in social, emotional and developmentally skills. The word asynchrony simply means there is a gap between the intellectual abilities of the child and their developmental and/or chronological age. The differences can be marked, apparent and often very confusing. Common misconceptions might be that a 5-year-old reading chapter books should automatically be an expert at tying their shoes and riding a bike. A child’s creativity may be off the charts but they can’t follow simple instructions. Scientific terms come easily but they are easily derailed or distracted to the point of tears.

The saying goes that you can’t be good at everything. An intellectually gifted child can be perceived as instantly being good at all things academic and in conjunction, being developmentally far ahead as well. When in daily life, they may be accelerated in one subject and lagging in social skills. In a classroom setting, asynchrony can become glaringly apparent and cause confusion that can lead to frustration for teacher and child (and parent).

Canned soup is not the same as grandma’s all-day Sunday soup recipe. The intellectually gifted child’s asynchrony may require that teachers and parents take a different approach than just following microwave soup directions.

Does the intellectually gifted child always excel? The simple answer is a big no. Some do. Some present as failing. An intellectually gifted child may have the ability to excel at academic subjects but can present as failing or struggling because an asynchronous skill like holding a pencil correctly holds them back. They may be two to three level grade levels ahead on paper and fail every test presented to them. It may be a simple attention span issue guided by their developmental age, not their academic ability.

Amy Barnes
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