Concomitant Characteristics of the Gifted

Patrick was consistently the first to raise his hand in class and he always had the correct answer. The problem was, he never gave anyone else a chance to contribute. Can we show Patrick other ways to demonstrate his knowledge? Should he be moved to a class that is more challenging?

Both at home and at school, Joslin had a terrible time moving from one activity to another. She would get so “into” whatever she was doing that she hated it when her parents or teacher would ask her to switch to something else. Would it help to give her advanced notice of when to expect a change, with several reminders?

Seneca was curious about everything, so he had lots of questions. The problem was that he had so many questions that it was annoying and often intimidating to others. Can we give Seneca projects that require a lot of idea generation? Should he be taught skills for finding his own answers rather than asking everyone else?

Every behavioral characteristic has its positive and negative side. This includes characteristics that gifted children tend to have. These two-sided attributes are known as concomitant characteristics.

While we should not excuse bad behavior, we can help direct kids to positive outcomes. We also can learn to be more tolerant ourselves by understanding that the seemingly irritating behavior of someone else may also have a positive side.

Some examples are:

Positive Aspect
Negative Aspect
Verbal proficiency
Good at articulating
Dominates the conversation
Accelerated pace of learning
Can move through material quickly
Gets frustrated with the pace of learning
Ability to concentrate and persist
Is able to focus on a task and learn in depth
Resists interruption
Seeks order
Likes to plan ahead and keep everything neat
Difficulty with spontaneity
Sense of humor
Entertaining and resilient
Uses humor in inappropriate ways that distract or offend
Heightened self-awareness; feels different
Realizes the potential of being unique
Feels isolated and self-consciousness
High expectations
Sets high standards
Critical of self and/or others when high expectations are not met
Self-confident, leader
Able to influence others
Perceived as bossy
Huge store of facts and long memory
Learns quickly
Becomes bored and impatient with others
Innovative thinker
Many interests
Has many possibilities in life
Has difficulty choosing between interests
Goal oriented
Gets tasks done
Viewed as stubborn and inflexible
Deep thinker
Conceptualizes on a greater level
Hates deadlines
Does everything well
Avoids tasks for fear of not doing them perfectly

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