Monday, May 11, 2009

More on Asynchronous Development

The other day, we talked about how gifted children can be asynchronous in their strength areas. They could be more mathematically adept than they are at reading, or vice versa.

Asynchronous development can also refer to a child's development across the standard spectrum of child development. . . All kids have some variance within normal ranges for their development. This keeps parents sane and helps them from beating themselves up comparing their children to other children!

For some reason, we see an additional component with gifted children. Gifted children are developing in tandem: their intellectual skills and their social skills. They can trick us with their mental age into not seeing them correctly. They are so bright that we often expect to see their emotional and social skills matching their intellectual age. And yet, something strange happens. Their intellectual age and their emotional age DO NOT match. In fact, they are often behind their age mates in their emotional development. They can be just as far behind their age mates in their social skills as they are ahead of them in their intellectual.

Their little brains are working so hard on their intellectual growth that for some reason their social skills are trailing behind. They can be months, or even years, behind their peers and classmates. This serves to separate them even further from their classmates in a regular education class. This is another area that keeps them from being able to have friends and further isolates them.

An aware parent is critical as you develop this awareness. Helping your child to understand their differences, and to continue to grow is the only way they can experience success in peer relationships. Guiding them given their unique set of needs becomes an important part of your parenting. . .

There is hope: Gifted kids catch up. They learn, they become sensitive, and they grow empathetic. With help, caring and guidance they develop into well-rounded and socially-adept adults. It just takes much guidance and even more patience.

Below are two books that have a chapter on the topic:



  1. Thank you for this post. It is reassuring to know this is normal and not just me. I didn't have any intellectual peers in my elementary school until age 10, and until then, I always strongly preferred to spend time with the girls in the grade or two below mine. Although I am still a little socially behind, that has just as much to do with being introverted as it does with being gifted.

  2. Hi Aimee! Thanks for your comment. I see it so often with kids; I wish school were more open to flexible age grouping, particularly with gifted children. I am so glad you have been able to make friends within your intellectual and emotional peers.

  3. My toughest part is that my little guy is so darn bright and a poster child for asynchronous development that sometimes people completely forget that he is only 6 and expect more out of him...intellectually he is several years ahead but emotionally he is a normal 6 year old kid. Makes life very interesting some times to say the least.

  4. Do you know of any books that address this issue in gifted children??

    1. It took a while, but I've updated the post to include two relevant books. Of course, I recommend the Everything Guide.


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