The Special Needs of the Gifted Child
We are very pleased to introduce a new guest writer for our newsletter. Parent and Psychologist Dr. Audrey Kteily shares her personal experience and professional views on parenting a gifted child.
When we think of special needs children we tend to think of children dealing with ADHD, Dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Rarely do we consider our gifted children as having special needs. Yet, gifted children do have needs beyond that of a child that learns at a regular pace. Just because a child acquires knowledge faster than his peers does not necessarily mean he is ready for that acquisition or knows how to handle it. This can bring with it multiple challenges that need addressing. Some such challenges are:
- Being labeled “the smart one” by family or friends thus creating the expectation that they know and understand all beyond their age.
- Being teased or bullied by peers at school for being smart.
- Feeling left out of activities with regular kids.
- Experiencing confusing emotional turbulence that is hard to manage.
- Feeling misunderstood by teachers and parents.
When our gifted children experience these issues, they may act in ways that are confusing to themselves as well as the adults around them. They may have anger outbursts, or become argumentative. They may experience trouble sleeping and eating as well as panic and anxiety. On the surface these issues are not what one would expect from a gifted person that is wise beyond their years. Yet, we forget that these are indeed children and need our guidance.
If you are experiencing any of these issues with your gifted child, please talk to them. Let them express what they are going through without judging them. Release whatever expectations you have of them and simply listen to your child’s needs. This is the first step towards a deeper understanding of your gifted child.
Dr. Audrey Kteily PhD LPC-S
Dr. Kteily has over 18 years experience in her field. She holds a PhD from Texas Womans University specializing in Family Studies; a MA in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University, and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Texas Women’s University. Most recently, Dr. Kteily has become a passionate parenting authority. She excels in helping parents see the world through their child’s eyes while shaping their responses to be the most effective, firm, and loving possible. Dr. Kteily believes in the strength of the family unit, in all forms.