Gifted and Disorganized
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I am a parent of a gifted child. Every
test that my son (Tyrone Ferguson) has every taken he has exceeded the
standards, Scoring highest in math and science. He has been in
accelerated classes since the 4th grade.
He has always been very unorganized and it is a growing concern of mine
because it continues to hinder him, it causes him to be very forgetful.
Yes, it is a fact that gifted children can be quite disorganized. This
is due to the quick paced minds of these children cognitively, making
them busy thinking over thousands of things at one time. This reflects
in their actions and behavior and you may even find that their rooms can
be very disorganized. They often find school work rather easy and this
causes them to do their school tasks quickly without much thought and
this causes them to lack skills in time management, organization,
studying and sometimes prioritizing.
Your son has been accelerated and is going through advanced programs;
hence, he may be having difficulty completing school tasks that makes
him appear very disorganized. You have not mentioned in detail the areas
he is disorganized, so I am just assuming it is a general area. There is
no indication of age as well.
He may be able to benefit from some specific training in time
management, study skills, and goal setting - skills that need to be
learnt and exercised. You may want to see his counselor at school to
help him with some of the skills mentioned. If his teacher is aware of
the problem, it would be a good idea to get the teacher to suggest way
to help him cope. Depending on his age, he may be rewarded for
completing his tasks on time and being more organized. However, schools
usually do not teach such skills, therefore, it is up to the parents to
help gifted children to be more organized. Organizational skills of
gifted children are often their weak point which is why parents should
devote time and effort to their development.
This can be the case of the absent minded professor - disorganized and
forgetful. You may need to seek professional help for time management;
at the same time, perhaps you can devise a system to help him maintain
some control to help him be more organized and less forgetful. Please do
not expect miracles. He has been like this for some time and it may take
a while to improve. Losing your patience on him would only make matters
Has he been tested for ADHD? It is common for gifted children with ADHD
to have more pronounced problems in this area. They need extra help
learning organizational skills and strategies to help them remember
things. Do seek professional help if the problem is getting worse as
without help, it may not get better.
The following articles may be helpful:
http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Help-Your-Disorganized-Child---Seven-Tips-For-Better-Organization&id=2175149 (For any child, gifted or not)
http://giftedkids.about.com/od/schoolissues/a/homework.htm (Specifically for homework)
Hope that helps. All the best!