What Is Asynchronous Development?

    Asynchronous development is the definition of giftedness according to phenomenological psychologists. In other words, if you have a gifted child she or he will have asynchronous development—high abilities and lower abilities. The discrepancy in their abilities creates confusion about how to learn what does not come immediately. Because quick thinking is the rule for gifted kids, they become self-conscious and unsure about how to proceed when they need to learn something that is harder to learn. Precocious children face some situations at school without having strategies for problem-solving. They give up on a task if they don’t know how to do it immediately. Helping your child deal with non-immediate answer retrieval can be the biggest challenge the parent has. Incidentally, the brighter the child the greater the span of learning abilities, which gets worse as the child becomes older. Eventually avoidant behavior becomes a defense for not completing their work.
    Parents call me with two common questions that reflect asynchronous development. First, these parents ask, “Why does my son have all of the behavioral characteristics of a gifted child and yet he is not able to read?” Another recurring question is, “Why does my daughter, who is a strong reader, have so much difficulty going to school and playing with the other children.”
    My answer to parents’ questions is, “asynchronous development.” Maturity levels between an exceptional talent and social skills overlap at different rates and create learning problems that easily become fixed in place by the tidal wave of perfectionism. Here are some common examples of actual problems.
    Aidan, who is seven, is able to understand the abstract and intellectual issues of a ten-year-old. Emotionally his maturity is that of a five-year-old. The span between ten years and five years creates frustration for parents and teachers. Aidan gets easily discouraged and wants to run away from his classroom. He gets agitated and acts out his anger with other children on the playground. Aidan prefers to stay home. Teachers do not know how to contain Aidan’s anger.
    Marcy is only eight years old but she is able to read at a high school level. Her art projects are detailed and imaginative. She loves math. Marcy has a hard time going to school as she misses her mother and has difficulty making friends. Marcy chooses to stay in the library during recess and lunch.     
    Keep in mind that having highs and lows are both worthy of your attention. Let your child know you can help, no matter what the issue. Be positive about teaching your child to solve his learning challenges as he will give up if you give up.