Change is in the Air

Do you sometimes just want to do something different. Ever felt like that? Take a different route to school? Cook dinner a different way? Or maybe, expect something to happen in a different way? I thrive on change, but amongst some of our gifted children, I would be the outsider, not the norm.

You don’t have to be gifted to find change difficult, but there is a tendency among some of the gifted to find change increasingly stressful. A change of teacher, timetable changes and transitions, a sudden change in the arrangements for an outing, or even a change to normal routines at home, can bring out a tenacity in some gifted people that will resist change at all costs. Often it could be a resistance to changing their opinion, or a resistance to seeing things from someone else’s viewpoint, or simply a resistance to finishing what they are working on.

When this happens, I find the best thing is to back away, and try to see it from their point of view. What could be so important to them that they are willing to put their relationship with you on the line? Is it simply a reaction to someone or something else trying to control them?

Gifted people do like to feel in control, in a world where they see so many things out of control. This is where an innate empathy with people involved in crises can surface. They can feel for those people in distress and want to get involved to help, or can’t understand why adults are letting these things cause pain in the world.

The gifted are not just a single group you can label with stereotypic behaviours – they are all as different to each other as regular students. We need to accept that, and try to find a way to understand them for who they are. This is just the same as trying to reach a person with a disability, by accepting that disability and working around it. Being inflexible, however, is not an option, even when they appear to be inflexible themselves.

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About Debbie Smith

New Zealand Educator interested in online education, giftedness, and other special needs in education.
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