Research has shown that gifted students experience heightened sensitivities and advanced emotional processing. These abilities are often put within the framework of Dabrowski's concept of overexcitabilities, which describes the heightened sensitivity and intensity for gifted children in 5 key areas.
Social development and skills: gifted and talented children
Gifted children can think faster and/or more deeply than other children their age. So they're often good at imagining what it's like to be in somebody else's situation. Sometimes these qualities mean your gifted and talented child gets along well with others.
nobody else seems to feel like this.” Emotionally intense gifted people often experience intense inner conflict, self-criticism, anxiety and feelings of inferiority. The medical community tends to see these conflicts as symptoms and labels gifted people neurotic.
Without understanding and support, gifted kids face an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, along with social and academic problems. Currently, experts estimate that up to 1 in 50 gifted kids drop out of school, while many more fail to live up to their full academic potential.
Gifted persons are more likely to make sense out of their intellectual experiences than the average person. Another important difference is in the desire to know complex ideas. Average persons have less desire to know ideas for their own sake.
Even though the gifted are no more susceptible to mental illness than anyone else, some gifted children and teens struggle with overthinking, worry, or cautious alertness. Their nervous system seems wired for heightened reactivity. For some, obsessive thinking transitions into anxiety.
The problems gifted children sometimes face with socializing often stem from their asynchrony and educational setting. Asynchronous development, or uneven development, is often considered a core trait of giftedness. These students may be college age intellectually but still 12 in terms of their social skills.
Gifted trauma stems from childhood issues with feeling like you don't belong anywhere because of your gift. Bullying, starving for mental stimulation, school mismatch, and other issues specific to the life experience of the gifted child may also contribute both to the main mental health issue and gift-specific trauma.
While gifted children may not be any more susceptible to mental health issues as other adolescents, there are certain aspects of giftedness that may influence or amplify a gifted child's experience of mental health issues.
Signs of giftedness can appear as early as infancy and continue during the toddler and preschool years. Testing for giftedness and high IQ, however, usually takes place around age 5.
Those who are considered “gifted” are especially likely to experience depression, particularly existential depression, a type of depression that centers around thoughts about life, death, and meaninglessness as the name might suggest.
Giftedness can create problems and conflicts; being a gifted child can also mean difficulty socializing with age peers, thinking styles that don't always mesh well with the demands from the environment, even children who see themselves as little adults, challenging teachers and parents.
Gifted children may be more likely to experience existential depression, as their minds tend to be more attuned to contemplating the big life and death issues facing the world.
Common Characteristics of Gifted Children:
Strong sense of curiosity. Enthusiastic about unique interests and topics. Quirky or mature sense of humor. Creative problem solving and imaginative expression.
Genetics do play a large part in being gifted, definitely. It has been thought that the brain of a gifted person can actually process information faster. However, one's surroundings are equally important. Nature and nurture are at work as some traits are genetic and others are learned.
One of the most common characteristics of gifted students is their ability to learn things early and rapidly. Many gifted students have excellent memorization skills, which aids in their ability to connect previous knowledge with new information, thus accelerating their acquisition of new concepts.
While other forms of burnout might be tied to the workplace, or the emotional labor involved in care-taker roles, gifted child burnout is often tied to an educational system that the child finds repetitive, unrewarding, without autonomy, unfair, or not aligned with their values.
Gifted, talented and creative adults face unique challenges, problems and difficulties while living their lives because of their high intelligence, overexcitabilities and multiple abilities. Gifted, Talented & Creative Adults need: multiple sources of stimulation for their curiosity, talents and abilities.
Intellectual giftedness doesn't go away. Instead, it influences development from infancy to old age.
Gifted children are more prone to depression, self-harm, overexcitability, and learning deficits. A gifted student might be so paralyzed by her own perfectionism, say, that she refuses to hand in any assignments.
Gifted students may be at a higher risk for anxiety than their non-gifted peers in general (7). It is reported that they are among the risk group and likely to be vulnerable to anxiety (8). Their cognitive maturity and increased awareness were said to promote existential questions and associated anticipatory anxiety.
Gifted kids often have advanced intellectual skills that allow them to perform at high levels and solve complex problems. But this intelligence is not always accompanied by high social and emotional skills. Socially and emotionally, gifted kids often develop at the same rate or even slower than their peers.
Gifted individuals tend to be emotionally sensitive and empathic, making the normal rough and tumble of the playground stressful for them. Because they often feel they are held to higher standards than their peers, they can find it difficult to accept criticism (anything short of perfection is felt as failure).
Gifted children can often lack age appropriate social skills; sometimes their interests are different from those of their peers; they may either feel themselves to be different or be made to feel different.