Saturday, May 9, 2009

Asynchronous Development in Learning

I wanted to spend just a little time addressing the topic of asynchronous development. This has two popular meanings in the field of gifted development. Today we will address how this term is applied to one aspect of an individual.

First, it can refer to a child's higher degree of giftedness in one area. Typically, we refer to a child as being verbally gifted or quantitatively gifted. To a lesser degree, you hear of a child's spatial giftedness. Often, you see a child with particular acuity at math or language. You then see the child having a weakness in the reflexive area. We also see evidence of gifted children having learning disabilities in their weaker area. This is usually referred to as a child being "twice-exceptional". Many scholars and researchers believe that the greater the skill in one area, the greater the deficit will be in the other area. It is almost as though the scales are trying to balance themselves.

This could happen for a variety of reasons. Gifted children tend to shy away from their weaknesses. We like and are successful at that which comes easiest to us. We tend not to like the tasks which are most difficult for us. In my current self-contained program, you only need to be in the 97th percentile in one area to qualify, because we feel that you can learn to be stronger in your weaker area. You have the potential to be successful in many areas if taught the right coping skills and learning strategies. We have seen tremendous growth in students with this ideology.

There is also research which indicates that the brain actually demonstrates more activity in the strength regions and less in the weaker regions. It could be that some people are just better at certain tasks. Our brains may just be wired for specialization.

This is just one description of asynchronous development. This term gets bandied about in gifted education so much. We will look at the other way that it is commonly used next, and you can find more information in this book.


  1. My name is Rachel Day

    My daughter is currently 3 years old and was diagnosed at 2 as gifted with an IQ of 140+

    I have been struggling a lot lately with her behaviour and development. Reading this site has really helped me understand asynchronous development much more. Thank you!

    Rachel Day

  2. Hello,

    I believe my child is gifted. Although I suspected that she might have Asperger's, she does not seem to fit all criteria. I did not have her IQ tested, as I'm not sure of all the consequences of knowing her IQ, for example.
    -She feels she is different (freak, in her words), will she feel more so?
    -She has very high expectation in all she does, how will her IQ, high, average, or low, affect this?
    -State of NY has no provision for gifted children, will knowing her IQ help us modify/set her school instructional program?

    So far, I'm not sure of positive outcome from knowing her IQ, high or not.


I love to hear your feedback! This website is intended to be a welcoming and safe space for parents and advocates of the gifted. All wholesome and encouraging questions are invited, as well as questions or concerns relating to gifted topics.