High Capacities Programme
We speak of high intellectual abilities when a person stands out above the average of the population in all areas and aptitudes of intelligence. In addition, this trait is present from an early age, being already children with a marked intellectual precocity.
From an early age, they acquire intellectual or psychomotor milestones before the expected age when compared to other children of the same age, for example, starting to speak before the age of 2 or starting to read and write before the rest of their peers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that gifted children are those who have an intelligence quotient (IQ) or IQ score equal to or greater than 130.
Recent research on intelligence has found that family heredity has a great impact on the later development of high abilities in a child, but equally important is the influence of a rich and stimulating environment.
In most cases of high abilities, parents report how their children were very demanding babies, showed a high level of psychomotor coordination and said their first words or responded to their name before the rest of the children of their age.
A fundamental aspect in children with high abilities is the need to observe and evaluate each case individually, so that a prevention and support program can be established.
Among the most common warning signs of children with high abilities we can observe:
- They tend to show interest in activities in a limited way, being passionate about them for months and spending most of their time on them.
- They show boredom when they learn something and continue to search for new activities and learning.
- They may appear to have attention problems or to be "absent-minded" due to their lack of interest in learned, repetitive or routine activities.
- In the area of personal relationships, it is usually observed that they tend to social isolation, due to the amount of time they dedicate to their interests. Likewise, as these interests are unusual, they often have difficulty interacting with other children who share them.
- As a consequence of social isolation, children with high abilities may become vulnerable to bullying or harassment.
- They tend to be self-sufficient and show a preference for individual rather than group activities.
- They learn new concepts in less time than their peers.
- They have fluid and flexible thinking, as well as a great capacity for abstraction and synthesis.
- In the emotional area they are very sensitive and show their emotions with great intensity. Sometimes these emotions are disproportionate to the situation that provokes them.
- Due to their eagerness for perfectionism and self-demanding, they tend to show difficulties in tolerating frustration.
- High emotional intensity and low frustration tolerance often lead to temper tantrums and disruptive behaviors.
How to evaluate it correctly and establish a good program?
All these warning signs can contribute to the detection and evaluation of a possible case of high abilities. Such evaluation will help in the design of enrichment programs in which children can continue learning, according to their individual characteristics, in order to promote adequate personal, emotional, social and academic development.
A factor to underline in the evaluation is not to confuse the warning signs associated with high abilities with the presence of other disorders due to the similarity of their symptoms (for example, considering social isolation as a symptom of an autism spectrum disorder or overactivity and inattention with ADHD).