Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about giftedness
What does support actually mean?
Providing support means both challenging and appropriately guiding a child as he or she develops his or her skills and interests. Therefore, providing effective support is always personalized and will look different for different children—the decisive factor is that it fits the individual needs and possibilities of the specific child.
The promotion of giftedness is a long-term process that can extend throughout the child’s development and into adulthood; it must be continually adapted to the stage of development and to new needs, environmental conditions, and evolving abilities. Ideally, this results in a continuous support system of appropriate activities and incentives.
Supporting gifted children should not be limited to specific skills in which they show special talents (e.g., mathematics or music), but rather should focus on the developmental needs of the whole person. What does the child need to effectively develop his or her talents? This may include, for example, the ability to motivate oneself and to persevere during difficult times, the ability to regulate one’s own emotions, and the ability to find like-minded people and make friends. A helpful approach is for teachers and parents to be attentive, challenging conversational partners who show authentic interest in the child, take the child’s perspectives seriously as well as expand them in a sensitive manner to foster the child’s enjoyment of intellectual challenges.
In other words, the best support is that which is tailored to the individual’s talents, abilities, and learning needs, is flexibly adjusted over time, and is designed to be both long-term and comprehensive.