Gifted and talented children often exhibit clusters of characteristics. Some of these characteristics may be culturally specific, and it is important to acknowledge that both between and within cultures, different characteristics are valued and as such, perspectives on what giftedness and talent means varies within this context. However, many characteristics are common across cultures, such as abilities coming naturally with ease, and a quick pace of learning in any areas of strength and interest.
We soon hope to add a more comprehensive list of some of the more common characteristics of giftedness and talent, as well as information about some general characteristics of Maori giftedness. However in the meantime, you might like to check out this list of general characteristics, and page ten of this article for some general characteristics of Maori giftedness. If you are interested in finding out about other indicators of giftedness from different cultural perspectives please talk with other school SENCO team , as they will see if they are able to source further information around this. Likewise, if you would like to share your own personal and cultural perspective on giftedness the SENCO team are always keen to hear the perspectives and experiences of others to build a better understanding of what giftedness means to others, and continue to work to develop inclusive practices.
Often gifted students abilities develop unevenly. It is more common for gifted students to excel in a few specific areas, while other abilities may be closer the expected level for their age, or even behind. Often this uneven development is more noticeable in younger gifted children, and those with higher levels of giftedness. Acknowledging and working with strengths and interests can help support students to build confidence and develop abilities in areas which prove more challenging.
As well as some students being exceptional in that they show characteristics of giftedness, they may also be exceptional in other ways. Gifted students may also have a learning disability or a physical, neurological or psychological impairment, disability or disorder. These can offer unique and positive experiences for students and their families; however these can also create additional challenges for students in the school learning environment.
Sometimes impairments, disabilities and disorders can result in giftedness being hidden and unrecognised. In some cases it can be challenging, for parents and teachers alike, to distinguish between behaviours related to giftedness and disorders which can have some common and/or similar traits. In instances such as these it may be helpful to talk with other parents with shared experiences (see Further Information and Support) and where necessary, to get professional support.
If the classroom teacher feels that a student's learning and behaviour requires significant additional support in the classroom, the school may request the assistance of a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) for advice and resources. The focus of the RTLB is on working with teachers to support students with learning and behaviour difficulties. The RTLBs prioritise their time according to needs of students in the schools they work across, and thus accessibility to their service is dependent upon this.
If the school feels that specialist intervention may be needed, a recommendation may be made for a referral to external services for specialist assessment, advice and/or support.