Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities need Focused Tutoring Subcortical nuclei including the basal ganglia. A. Side view of the brain. B. A rotated view to show the structures more towards the front and midline of the brain. Image source: Blumenfeld (2002). huffingtonpost.com

Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities need Focused Tutoring

What comes to mind when you think of the brain? You probably imagine a crinkly, walnut-like structure, with a multitude of hills and valleys (gyri and sulci, respectively).

We've all heard the terms "gifted" and "learning disabled" before, but most of us have little idea what these labels truly mean.

While it is often believed that children with learning disabilities are always mentally "slow," many such children are both intellectually gifted and have a learning disability, which presents an unique set of problems to the educator.

While understanding and efficiently processing information is more difficult for persons with learning disabilities, the greater problem in such a case is reconciling within oneself the experience of possessing both high intelligence and a learning disability. These children may need a specialized tutor so they can have one-on-one teaching that attempts to identify methods of teaching tailored specifically to their unique style of learning.

Intellectual giftedness is exceptional in its own right - this is what many experts fail to realize. Social deprivation and poor classroom performance are just a couple of the problems that are experienced by both gifted children and those with mental retardation. Also, similar problems can be caused by a learning disability. There are particularly tricky challenges if a child is learning disabled but otherwise gifted.

Children who are both gifted and learning disabled often suffer in the classroom. Their high intelligence may go unrecognized for years as their learning disability leads to difficulty in completing classroom tasks and a lack of motivation. They may demonstrate creative intelligence in non-classroom areas, however, such as art or music. Alternatively, a student may be recognized as gifted, but suffer due to an undiagnosed learning disability.

Parents must become knowledgeable about the signs of various learning disabilities and of being gifted. There may be a huge gap between test results (measuring academic potential) and actual academic performance for a gifted child with a learning disability. It's also possible for such children to display impressive creative intelligence, that manifests itself only at home and not in the grades they receive at school. Behavior problems, or "acting out," is not uncommon among children with learning disabilities, especially when frustration builds. If your child is displaying these characteristic features, you may wish to have your child evaluated for the presence of a learning disability......

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