Asynchronous Development: Understanding an Important Element of Giftedness

Consider the following story as it relates to this topic.

When Aiden was identified as being intellectually gifted, my husband and I thought it would be smooth sailing ahead. Not so fast! He started in his school’s Academically Gifted Program (AGP), and while he did well on the academics, he struggled socially and often seemed less mature than his classmates. The school psychologist explained to us that many gifted kids develop differently and more unevenly than their peers. What am I supposed to do with my child who’s super smart, curious, and reads levels ahead of his grade but can barely get himself dressed and still has temper tantrums?

Parenting a gifted child requires a great deal of patience and understanding, especially when faced with how advanced he/she/they can be in some areas and lag far behind peers in others. While many kids have strengths and weaknesses, it behooves parents to be aware of one crucial element often seen in gifted children: “asynchronous development.” Our licensed therapists and psychologists in Tampa want to shed some light on this term and what it means for your child.

What it Means

According to the National Association for Gifted Children, asynchronous development is the uneven intellectual, physical, and emotional development a gifted child goes through. Average children generally develop these aspects at the same rate, meaning their development is synchronized. In gifted children, however, these three aspects of development can emerge unevenly or out of sync.

For instance, when a child undergoes asynchronous development, his/her intellect may be way more advanced than their physical and emotional development. This means that a 5-year-old who can carry on with mature and intellectual discussions one minute can throw a tantrum over the snacks they’re given the very next.

The Importance of Understanding

Parents and educators should keep in mind that no two children are the same in their development. Even when their IQ scores are similar, there’s a big chance their skills, personalities, developmental progress, and aptitude are dissimilar. It’s also important to understand that a higher gifted child may be more asynchronous than others.

At Rice Psychology Group, we suggest that you:

  • Remind yourself that your child’s outbursts or reactions may in part be due to their slower emotional and social development and is not necessarily something they are doing on purpose to cause problems.
  • Understand that your child’s asynchronous development will require special needs. For example, just because your 10-year-old understands calculus doesn’t mean they won’t require comfort or encouragement with other things like giving a speech in class.
  • Understand that your gifted child may need to interact with others who aren’t their peers to meet their intellectual, emotional, and physical needs.

Our Licensed Therapists and Psychologists Are Ready to Help

At Rice Psychology Group, we understand just how much your child means to you. It’s the reason why we became helping professionals in the first place! We’re here to help you and your family figure things out and move forward. If you think your child may be gifted, we have the tests that school districts and specialized programs require.

We have specialized training in selecting, administering, and interpreting the right test for your child to give you accurate and swift answers. We’ll do whatever we can to create a welcoming and comfortable environment when an assessment is performed. That means taking our time to get to know you and your child, taking breaks as necessary, and having fun along the way. Contact us in Tampa for more information about our services.

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