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  • Christy A. George, LMFT, SEP

What Asynchronous Development Means For Your Gifted Child

Updated: May 7, 2023

creatively gifted child taking a picture of mural
child taking a picture of a mural

Asynchronous development is a common trait among gifted children. It refers to the uneven development of various cognitive and emotional abilities, as well as developmental milestones, resulting in a discrepancy between the gifted child's intellectual abilities and their social emotional maturity as well as brain and nervous system development. This can make parenting and teaching a gifted child challenging, as their needs and abilities may not always align. Let's explore asynchronous development in gifted children and I will offer some tips for parents to support their gifted children's growth.

Understand the Characteristics of Asynchronous Development

Asynchronous development can manifest in different ways depending on the child. Some common characteristics include:

  • Advanced intellectual, creative or physical abilities

  • Emotional sensitivity and intensity

  • Impulsivity or immaturity in social or emotional situations

  • Perfectionism or high expectations for oneself

  • Difficulty with transitions or changes

  • Age appropriate behaviors that seem inapparopriate because of child's intellectual abilities

  • High level of ability in one area of learning and low or average ability in another

  • Interests that are unusual for their age

By understanding these characteristics, parents can better understand their child's needs and strengths.

Provide Appropriate Challenges

Gifted children need intellectual challenges to thrive, but they also need emotional and social challenges that match their level of development. Parents can support their child's growth by providing appropriate challenges in all areas of development. For example, parents can encourage their child to explore new interests, but also provide emotional support when their child struggles with the challenges of a new activity.

Encourage and Teach Emotional Regulation

Emotional sensitivity is common among gifted children, and they may struggle with regulating their emotions in various situations. Parents can help their child develop emotional regulation skills by teaching them techniques like deep breathing or mindfulness, and by validating their emotions and helping them identify their feelings. It is important to also be aware of your own emotional reactivity and work to maintain your own calm when connecting with your child,

Foster Social Connections

Socialization can be challenging for gifted children due to their asynchronous development. Parents can support their child's social growth by providing opportunities for them to interact with like-minded peers, such as through gifted or special interest programs or clubs. They can also help their child develop social skills like active listening, empathy, and effective communication. Remember to be patient in teaching skills. Depending on your child's developmental stage, it may take much longer than you think for them to reach social emotional milestones.

Advocate for Your Child

Asynchronous development can make it difficult for gifted children to fit into traditional educational settings. Parents can advocate for their child's needs by communicating with teachers and school administrators about their child's strengths and challenges, and by seeking out educational options that better match their child's needs.

Asynchronous development is a common trait among gifted children that can present unique challenges for parents, teachers and children. By understanding your child's characteristics, providing appropriate challenges, encouraging emotional regulation, fostering social connections, and advocating for their child's needs, you can support your gifted child's growth and development. Remember, parenting a gifted child is a journey, and it's okay to seek out support from other parents, educators, or professionals along the way.About the Author:

Monarch Butterfly, Mindfulness stone
Zen Butterfly

About the Author:

Christy, is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, practicing in San Diego, California. She has nearly 15 years of experrience working with children, teens, parents, families, couples and individual adults with complex psychological and relationship problems. She specializes in the needs of gifted, bright and high achieving people, as well as those who have suffered past trauma. Christy uses an eclectic approach, meeting the needs of whomever she is working with. Her work addresses the needs of the whole person, incorporating mind and body.


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