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A gifted child’s acute perception, heightened sensitivity and imaginative, abstract interpretation of events and interactions elicit intense emotional responses. Whether real or imagined, gifted children’s perceptions are their reality.

Juratowitch, M. 2013

Social and emotional needs

Gifted young children may appear as hyperactive, disruptive, noisy, dramatic, hugely excited but also quiet, shy, extremely tearful, deeply saddened at times, depending on their temperament, their environment and the emotional state they are in(Probst & Piechowski, 2011)

While studies show that most gifted children are at least as emotionally stable and socially competent as other children their age, giftedness can have significant social and emotional effects for young children. 

Gifted children may experience heightened sensitivity and awareness from an early age, which can be perceived as an ‘over-response’ to a given situation. They may be perfectionists, unhappy with any work that does not meet their own, high standards and frustrated with the restraints of what their young body can physically manage compared with what their mind can envision.

The mature interests and vocabulary of young, gifted children may make it difficult for them to develop friendships with their same age peers, which is why many gifted children are more comfortable interacting with older children or adults.  

Understanding and empathy is needed to support young, gifted students. They will also benefit from regular opportunities to play, work and converse with others of like ability, who will better understand their interests and appreciate their sense of humour.