Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children
This page has been written in case it is helpful to the parents and teachers of children who experienced the earthquakes in Christchurch, but may also be useful to other parents and teachers of gifted children.
Gifted children often sense their emotions more strongly than their age mates, and have an enormous awareness of social justice and the needs of others. They may empathise far more deeply with those affected badly by the quake than another child their age would, even if they have fared relatively well themselves. While caring for these children in similar ways that we would care for other children who are shocked or grieving will often be appropriate, it can also be useful to help gifted children identify ways in which strong emotions are a positive thing in their lives. Strong emotions can be energising, can help us to be caring, can enable us to create and appreciate beauty and humour, and make us interesting to know.
Gifted children may have few or many friends or possessions. Regardless of the number of emotional connections they make, these emotional bonds are often very important to them. Seemingly inconsequential items lost in the earthquake may occasion real grief, and we need to be supportive of children responding to these losses, just as with those who have lost pets or loved ones.
The SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) website is a very useful resource, and some articles on helping gifted children through stressful life events from their website are linked below:
Christine Fonseca has recently published two books on emotional intensity and gifted kids, so various video resources, book previews and similar resources are available for free on the internet at present:
This link is not specific to gifted children, but I feel that some of what it says would be very useful for gifted kids. It speaks of giving children hope: "Hope that the actions of an individual can have a positive impact." We can nurture and personalise this hope in our children by helping them with small acts of service or contribution that will make a difference.
Jo Freitag, of the Gifted Resources Centre in Australia, is a friend of Gifted Online. She has shared the information on this page, and added some more useful links on helping gifted kids at http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/blog/?p=2008. Scroll down her page to the links.
Rose Blackett, president of NZAGC, has written an article for Tall Poppies, which is available at http://www.giftedchildren.org.nz/national/quake.pdf.
GO is a service provided by the Gifted Education Centre.