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It Doesn’t Take a Genius to Interfere in the U.S. Presidential Election
Create a commenting name to join the debate Submit. Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted. Secondly, this mastery is achieved largely on their own, rather than as a result of parental prodding. Studies suggest that children born into professional families may have heard some 4m more words by then than the offspring of parents with lower educational backgrounds. Such families often have higher incomes to provide more educational opportunities too. Many children who have extremely high IQ s show signs of extraordinary ability even as tiny babies, before pushy parenting is able to have much impact.
Most toddlers appear to explore the world as they encounter it, distracted by passing cars or the arrival of a new toy. A third characteristic of gifted children is that their interests often seem near-obsessive. Jesse is five. When he was one and crawling, his father Richard tells me, he would do anything to avoid having his nappy changed.
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We had a yellow torch with a built-in bulb, and he would take the battery out, put it back in, and test whether it worked. The first IQ tests to measure intelligence were developed by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon in the early 20th century. They evaluated short-term memory, analytical thinking and mathematical ability.
Though the tests have changed since then, the basic skills they attempt to measure have remained the same. Many children take aptitude tests at school. Most of these can be gamed or, at least, children can be trained to excel at them. No assessment is completely objective. Most tests look only at particular types of intelligence, such as mathematical and verbal reasoning.
Many other types of skill and characteristics are missed, such as voracious curiosity or the ability to make intellectual connections. The tests are unlikely to identify future novelists or poets, or children who may be exceptionally good at sports or music.
The Good Fight
Some people question the very notion of giftedness. She does not see aptitude as innate. Eyre says that no matter where you look in the world, the children of wealthy parents are over-represented in cohorts of gifted children. She also says that what marks out brilliant and high-achieving children — and adults — is often determination. The difference between two equally talented physicists, one who goes on to win a Nobel prize and one who does not, is their will to succeed.
Apparent genius, she argues, is a combination of some kind of potential, along with the right support and personal drive. Many of these parents face two main difficulties. One is how to cater to the advanced intellectual development of their child. The second dimension is more rarely voiced but may cause just as many problems: exceptionally intelligent children are often socially isolated, even disruptive.
Gifts that are admired in the abstract often seem less welcome in person. Now 17, she is willowy and beautiful, with deep-green eyes. Her family — mother Kerry, father Tom and three younger brothers — is close and loving. It is the highest possible score for someone under 18, and on a level with Stephen Hawking, the ground-breaking cosmologist who died last year. Yet so far, extraordinary intelligence has brought Ophelia little happiness.
She has been bullied and changed schools several times. I wonder what Kerry would say to a parent longing for a gifted child? It never will be.
We have long known that some individuals have extraordinarily high intelligence. A gifted child may have an advanced ability to master something like maths, but more limited capacity to deal with their social environment which is another important part of growing up and fitting in over the course of their lives. One study shows that among members of Mensa in America, the rate of ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is almost twice that diagnosed in the general population. Others argue that because some gifted children are so different from their peers at school, and may interact little with them in the classroom, they may do so less in the playground too.
Yet once a child is left out of some social situations, her opportunity to catch up or learn these skills diminishes. Kendall identifies several characteristics common among gifted children who have no identified behavioural disorders. One trait is that many of them are deeply anxious, usually as a result of over-thinking everything. The sleeping pattern of such children often differs from the norm: switching off their brains can be very difficult. Among these individuals, the incidence of depression, anxiety and ADHD is higher than in the average population.
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For many exceptionally intelligent individuals, everyday stimuli such as a radio playing in the background, the colour or texture of food, a vibrant display on a classroom wall or a scratchy label in a piece of clothing can become almost unbearable. He can find it impossible to do his homework in a room that would seem to most people completely silent.
Many gifted children struggle with failure. At workshops she runs for gifted children, the kids sometimes play Twister, a game where players contort themselves over a mat covered with coloured dots. She was conceived with donor sperm and her biological father had three degrees. Ahead of her first birthday she was using whole sentences. She completed a puzzle with 48 pieces in which she had to match pictures to the corresponding words at 16 months. That is difficult. This suffering is hugely under-acknowledged. Physically fragile and a loner, he has ended up in hospital three times after being beaten up at school.
Instead, express regret that the person is expressing emotions. A little mind roundabout: "I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated," or "too bad about your soda-spill accident," the book suggests. This is, of course, the equivalent of telling your girlfriend "I'm sorry you feel that way" during a fight instead of just apologizing for what you did. This works especially well when the customer is mistaken or has bad information. Customer: This Mac is just too expensive. Genius: I can see how you'd feel this way.
I felt the price was a little high, but I found it's a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities. The maneuver is brilliant.
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