Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tips for helping your high potential child

One of my boys is considered "high potential." What is high potential? High potential is defined as a person (or child) with a high functioning aptitude or high intelligence quotient. This is something we've suspected for quite some time and it was only recently confirmed. I can distinctly remember his first Christmas when he was 8 months old, he got this really neat wooden shape-sorter. That kid opened the box and put those shapes into the correct places in a matter of a minute (and I'm not talking about circles and squares; like octagons and pentagons.) His thought processes have always been really literal and he is quite the perfectionist too. These are all signs of something "bigger" going on.

While registering him for Kindergarten the discussion of what the appropriate placement would be for him came up and we decided it would be in his best interest for us to dig a little deeper. Our school district has a wonderful program for high potential children and they offered some amazing suggestions that I wanted to share with you. I am taking this directly from their recommendations so please note that these are not my own personal thoughts, they are of a professional.

School recommendations:

1. Grouping your child in the classroom with other gifted students will enhance social interactions and stimulate creative and investigative skills of these intellectually bright students. Research indicates that grouping with children of like abilities leads to enhance self-esteem, cooperation skills and intellectual development.

2. Utilization of differentiated curriculum for the gifted child teaches the higher level concepts at a greater depth of understanding is recommended. In other words, challenge the child in higher levels of reading, math and learning topics at an accelerated pace.

3. Chess- yes, chess! This will encourage the child to tap into an interest but also continue to stretch their spatial relationship skills.

4. Encourage independent investigations in areas of interest or passions. It encourages them to share their knowledge with classmates and teachers and be encouraged to continue this exploratory nature within the school environment.

Parental recommendations:

1. Utilize Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding the Gifted Reader by Judith Halstead. This book provides a great resource for reading level and books that will spark imagination.

2. Understand and learn about overexcitabilities that accompany giftedness. There are five areas of over excitabilities (sensory, psychomotor, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional) that frequently accompany giftedness. The book Living with Intensity is a great resource.

3. Encourage work with mathematics and visual spatial skills. Map reading, manipulative math work and other possibilities will work on their math skills.

4. The book The Parents Guide to the Gifted Child by James Webb is a must have for parents of gifted children.

5. Watch for perfectionism. The book What to do When Good Enough Isn't Good Enough by Thomas Greenspon is a great resource to help deal with the intensity of perfectionism.


  1. Glad your school district seems to know what to do with your gifted son. Too often in education the trend is to put all the kids in one class no matter what the skill level. The thought is the high achievers can help the low achievers but I'm not sending my kid to school to be a teacher. I'm all for mixing in certain classes like art and PE but in the academics I think they should all be challenged.

  2. What district are you in, Lindsi? I'm with Melanie. I posted a comment last night, but it doesn't look like it went through... we're in Lakeville & our school doesn't have any gifted options until 3rd grade. We have reading groups (Junior Great Books for the highest level readers) 30 min a day, 4 days a wk & an advanced math group (Logic leapers) that is only 30 minutes a week. I wish we had more options... our average class size is 20+kids per class - some even have 30 (1 teacher)! Ugh!!

    1. Lindsi is in the Minnetonka school district.

  3. Ahhh... thanks! I've heard they have great schools. I do like Lakeville so far, but very impressed that at a Kindergarten assessment, they were able to give her this much advice. Carly was reading chapter books & writing full sentences at age 4, yet I got no advice from Lakeville... we're hitting a point now that she's not feeling challenged & not really enjoying school. I'm so afraid that she will lose her love for learning & not sure where to go from here. I give her projects & learning activities daily, but I want her to also feel challenged at school.


We LOVE your comments! We read every single one! Thanks for taking the time to connect with us. XOXO- Jamie and Lindsi

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