Celebrating Talents and Abilities of Highly Gifted Children and Adults

In The Spotlight - Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Adrian Flores DanDan Tran Dennis Coelho Gary Raffanelli Lexi Lanni Joe Sharino Michael J. Vaughn Stefanie Tolan

Gifted Children With Learning Disabilities

by Linda Silverman, PhD

Signs of Giftedness

excellent long-term memory

extensive vocabulary

excels in reading comprehension

excels in mathematical reasoning

advanced verbal skills in discussions

facile with computers

grasps abstract concepts

performs better with more challenging work

thrives on complexity

highly creative, imaginative

reasons well

is a keen observer

may have acute hearing

has very interesting ideas

extremely curious; asks many questions

has high degree of energy

perceptive and insightful (seems "wise")

excellent sense of humor

may excel at art, science, geometry, mechanics, technology, or music

Signs of Learning Disabilities

poor short-term memory
speaking vocabulary more sophisticated than written vocabulary
struggles with decoding words

does poorly at computation

refuses to do written work

handwriting is illegible

has great difficulty with spelling and phonics

struggles with easy, sequential material

difficulty with rote memorization

often inattentive in class

emotions can overpower reasoning

poor auditory memory

poor listening skills

weak in language mechanics, such as grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc.

may be unable to learn unless interested

performs poorly on timed tests

hopelessly disorganized

finds clever ways to avoid weak areas

may fail at foreign languages and subjects emphasizing audition, sequencing, memory

Finding and Serving
Gifted/Learning Disabled Children


chronic ear infections in first three years, often related to allergies

does not hear name when watching TV

hyperactivity interspersed with periods of intense concentration

occasionally gets "glazed look"

easily distracted in noisy situations

cannot remember three-step directions

has difficulty learning phonics

has difficulty spelling

has difficulty learning math facts

asks to have directions repeated or copies children nearby

cannot perform on timed tests in school

illegible handwriting; letter reversals

does not complete written assignments

has difficulty taking notes in class

has difficulty completing easy work, but does well with harder conceptsdoes poorly at rote memorization and drill

does not respond well to remedial efforts

performs poorly in some classes and well in others (may be poor at arithmetic, biology, foreign language, composition, but good at geometry, physics, creativity math reasoning skills, dictating stories)


immediate medical attention; talk louder; enunciate words; get eye contact before talking
touch shoulder to get attention

relaxation exercises; check diet with allergist; test for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

talk louder and more animated, use gestures

provide quiet work space. earphones

write directions on paper

teach sight words and context cues

visualize word, spell backwards and forwards with eyes closed, write word

have child complete a multiplication chart and look for patterns

write directions on board; get eye contact before giving directions

allow student to take timed tests at home, trying to beat own record

teach student to use a computer or typewriter

allow child to use word processor for assignments

use tape recorder: provide carbon paper to a "buddy" to copy notes

skip easy, sequential material: teach advanced material holistically

let child learn complex, abstract concepts instead

teach compensation techniques instead

concentrate on child's strengths; use visual presentations; allow child to pursue interests; use computer-assisted instruction; emotionally engage child

Seqential And Spatial Learners

Sequential Learner

Step-by-step learner

Learns by trial-and-error

Analytic thinker

Good at computation

Follows oral directions well

Learns phonics easily

Good at spelling

Good at rote memorization

Good at timed tests

Good handwriting; neat

Well organized

Progresses sequentially from easy to difficult material

Learns from models

May need repetition to reinforce learning

Can show work easily

Good at biology and foreign languages

Academically talented

Early bloomer

Spatial Learner

Whole-part learner

Learns concepts all at once

Systems thinker-- sees complex relationships

Good at mathematical reasoning

May be inattentive in class

Poor at phonics

Poor at spelling

Poor at rote memorization; excellent with abstractions

Poor at timed tests

Poor handwriting

May be disorganized

Learns complex systems easily; struggles with easy work

Prefers to develop own methods of problem solving

Learning usually permanent; turned off by repetition

Arrives at correct solutions without taking steps

Good at geometry and physics

Creatively gifted

Technologically gifted or

Emotionally gifted

Late bloomer