The brain of gifted or high performance children has its advantages, but also brings some limitations. They process information very quickly, they have a highly developed analytical capacity and a very sophisticated critical sense. Not always, however, do these children achieve their potential, nor do they develop a sufficiently strong mind capable of skillfully managing their abilities, as well as the emotional universe that derives from it.
What at first may seem like only a great blessing, for many people does not work exactly like that. Every gifted or highly skilled child will have the normal difficulties of every child of his age, added, of course, to those derived from his high IQ.
The brains of gifted or highly cognitive children develop differently from children with a medium or normal level of intelligence.
Therefore, and although you often hear about the remarkable advantages of a brain endowed with extraordinary abilities, not always other factors that also characterize this part of the population are taken into account. We are talking about anxiety, low self-esteem, disconnection with an environment just adjusted to their needs, isolation ... All these problems are increasingly evident around 11 years.
State associations or even non-governmental associations that work with these children have clear guidelines. It is not enough to use all possible means to identify the condition at fairly young ages - the ideal is estimated to be between 3 and 5 years of age. We also need to understand what the brains of gifted children are like. It is a priority to understand how it develops, and how we should deal with each framework of neural development, accompanying it with reinforcements and the most appropriate support possible.
The brain of gifted or highly skilled children
Neuroscientists always had a great interest in understanding the brains of gifted children. What makes it different from children with average or normal intelligence? What exceptional neural resources do these children present to have such a developed capacity? Many of these questions have already been answered thanks to new advances in the science of brain study, such as contrast techniques and electromagnetic resonances.
Below we list and explain some of the recent discoveries we have available to the public, and we can consult in specialized areas of scientific journals, such as the British Psychological Society.
Your cerebral cortex develops more slowly
This data is very striking, but it was something that neuroscience already made very clear. It has already been confirmed from studies done with the brain of people with very high IQ, such as Albert Einstein, who do not have a bigger brain. More impressive still, children with high abilities usually have a smaller cerebral cortex. According to age, however, the development of that part of the brain mass is suffering a thickening and thickening slowly, but constantly, until the arrival of adolescence.
In a child with a normal IQ, just the opposite happens. In early childhood, these children have a thicker cerebral cortex. At 12 or 13 years old, the area tends to decrease, reducing its total size. What does that mean? Basically, the brain of a child with high cognitive skills becomes sophisticated and specializes over time. Its moment of greatest potential is adolescence.
Brain regions are more specialized
Gifted children also have a larger volume of gray matter in certain regions of the brain. Recall that gray matter is related to cognition, intelligence and our ability to process information. This basically means that gifted students have more facility and greater ability to manage data, analyze it and draw conclusions.
There are 28 regions of the brain related to our ability to think, act, focus attention and react to external sensory stimuli. Children with high capacity have a greater specialization in each of these brain areas.
There is a greater neuronal connection
While gray matter contains and deals with information, the matter or white substance is what allows the mobility of information, as it guarantees the connection between the neurons. We can already guess that in the brain of gifted children this is, without a doubt, the part with one of the most remarkable characteristics. Your neuronal efficiency is enormous.
The brain has, we can say figuratively, much more roads and neural streets to drive data, information and concepts. In addition, these routes are all interconnected, in a wide network that makes the brain sophisticated and hyperconnected, allowing a very fast operation. Now ... that same feature also brings some disadvantages.
Clogs can arise many times. That is to say, the child with high cognitive capacity can collapse before so much processed information, before so much relationship that the brain creates between one idea and another. That's why sometimes there is a blockage. With so many ideas, hypotheses and inferences, there is a part in the system. There is so much mental and neuronal activity that often these children can take much longer to finish a career, or even answer a question in a very simple aspect.
Brain plasticity is a great advantage
Much of the neuroscientific studies emphasize the great capacity of plasticity that the brain of children has given. As we talked at the beginning of the article, his cerebral cortex grows more slowly, but meanwhile, he specializes and develops steadily. New connections are created, new paths are gradually opened to facilitate learning.
When a child pays attention to a new experience, his brain changes, he specializes, new neural paths are built to create a greater connection between areas, regions and structures. The plasticity of gifted children is so wonderful that many neuroscientists classify them as mind in eternal growth. Hungry minds and eager for interaction, whose expectations are not always met by most of us, mere mortals who are around him.
To conclude, there is something we have to keep in mind about all the information brought. It is the way in which the brain of gifted children develops. The development takes place gradually, but sophisticated and has its peak in adolescence. While children with a normal IQ have their peak brain maturation between 5 and 6 years, are adolescents with high skills that demand greater demand when they reach that phase of life.
They need, above all, a context that favors them and allows them to use the potential of their abilities, promoting their brain plasticity. If the environment that children between 10 and 11 years is poorly structured and poorly adjusted to their abilities, the most common is that it involves ostracism and frustration. Let us then be more sensitive to those minds that are so alert, but also fragile in many ways.