There is always a reason for behavior issues at school, whether it be problems at home, anxiety or poor life examples. Many of these explanations are outside the teacher’s control. However, with gifted child behavior problems, school staff usually have the ability to step in and make a difference.
Superior achievement in one or more subjects often marks gifted students. In this case, it’s easier to recognize a student who may need an extra challenge. However, a gifted student’s academic ability can also become masked by avoidance, refusal or unfocused behavior in the classroom. This is where we have to dive deeper to understand a gifted child’s behavior problems.
Taking a Closer Look at Gifted Child Behavior Problems
For the highly gifted student, boredom may be the cause of their behavior in class. Sometimes they are great at home, giving little-to-no indication that they don’t like school. In other cases, they might complain about school being dumb or unnecessary. They probably feel that the typical grade-level work is too easy and uninteresting. As a result, they decide to check out.
Another reason some gifted kids act out at school is perfectionism. Limits on time or resources may frustrate them. They don’t need more time to understand the material, but they want more time to complete tasks to their liking. Perfectionism can also cause testing anxiety. In this case, the student grasps the material, but stress and panic keep them from finishing tests on time. Anxiety is common in gifted children.
Gifted with a Learning Disability
A student who is acting out in school may also be gifted with a learning disability (GLD). If a GLD student’s giftedness or learning disability has not been realized, they can become frustrated. For example, a GLD student might excel in oral participation but avoid or refuse to do written tests. These students are often misidentified as lazy, unmotivated or disinterested.
How do I figure out if my child is gifted?
Most schools will assess their high-achieving students for the Gifted and Talented Education Program during their mid-elementary school years. You can talk to your child’s teacher to find out more about gifted testing. However, some students with exceptional intelligence are not identified because they are unproductive in the classroom and, therefore, they don’t show what they are capable of. This is usually when gifted child behavior problems get in the way of parents’ and staffs’ ability to recognize their giftedness.
Parents can seek private testing that may include an assessment of both intellectual functioning and academic achievement.
I can’t speak for all private offices, but I can say that I give parents the insight and guidance to get their students on the right track. It’s my intent to provide parents with more than just a range of functioning. I believe it’s important to understand the child’s learning strengths and weaknesses, as well as recommendations to improve functioning in the classroom. If these results also reveal any undiagnosed learning disabilities, I help parents find the assistance the student needs. With private testing, parents also have the option of withholding the results from the school or submitting them so that the child’s teacher can better understand and serve the child.
If you would like to discuss gifted child behavior problems more, please contact me. I am always happy to speak with families and individuals!