Specialist Occupational Therapist Cahit Burak Çebi from NPİSTANBUL Hospital’s Feneryolu Medical Center at Üsküdar University provided insights into the characteristics of gifted children, highlighting that excelling in one area of talent does not necessarily mean excelling in all areas. He also stressed the importance of giving gifted children a voice and allowing them to make their own decisions.
Cahit Burak Çebi, Specialist Occupational Therapist, shared the following about gifted children:
“Gifted children perform at a higher level than their peers in at least one area of talent. However, excelling in one area does not imply excellence in all areas. It is crucial to support gifted children in the areas where they excel and have an interest. Additionally, gifted children may exhibit other characteristics such as being highly sensitive, having unique expression styles, having high expectations and perfectionism, quick learning abilities, effective language use, emotional depth, and high awareness.”
How do the educational needs of gifted children differ?
Çebi explained that the educational process for gifted children differs from that of typically developing individuals:
- The process begins by considering the individual’s personal differences, as there are variations in learning styles and time frames among individuals. The process should start by addressing personal differences, focusing on both visual and auditory learning, and taking into account attention span.
- For gifted individuals, education should go beyond the traditional curriculum and focus on activities such as reading books, critical thinking, blending technology with subjects, and most importantly, developing empathy skills.
- Gifted individuals tend to have a cause-and-effect-based approach and a strong sense of justice. Therefore, they may need guidance in social relationships and education based on interpretation.
- Education should not solely aim for desk-based learning but also involve activities that satisfy their sense of exploration, support creativity, and promote sensory development.
Gifted children should be allowed to make their own decisions.
Cahit Burak Çebi highlighted the importance of giving gifted children a say in their decisions and explained:
“Gifted children should be given a voice, and efforts should be made to enable them to make their own decisions. Instead of assigning monotonous tasks, they should be given multiple tasks and expected to complete them. Parents who have gifted children should create an appropriate educational environment, plan an educational process with experts before preschool, and seek experts’ guidance. During this process, it is also crucial for parents to discuss their child’s interests with experts and encourage them to pursue those interests. Children should be made aware of their talents and supported accordingly, along with engaging in activities like sports, drama, museum visits, exhibitions, and arts that enhance both motor skills and critical thinking. Furthermore, social interactions should be encouraged, and they should have the opportunity to interact with their peers in various environments. Above all, seeking guidance from a specialist is essential in managing these processes.”
Educators must possess knowledge and skills.
Çebi pointed out that gifted children have opportunities in the field of education but also face challenges, especially when educators and those in their immediate surroundings lack the necessary knowledge and skills:
“The opportunities for gifted children in the field of education involve the ability to focus on multiple subjects and gain knowledge in various areas compared to typical individuals. However, one of the challenges is that educators or individuals in their immediate environment may not possess the required knowledge and skills to address these children’s learning needs. In such cases, individuals, along with experts, should support these children and work collaboratively to manage the process. To promote social development, physical and experimental group activities can be used to guide individuals towards communication and empathy. It is important to observe gifted children in terms of cognitive and social characteristics and provide them with specialized support. Identifying the areas in which the child excels at an early age will be advantageous throughout the educational process and social life.”