Understanding Nonverbally Gifted Learners -- The first of many blogs . . .
Surgeons, architects, choreographers, quarterbacks, electricians and mechanics, fashion designers, aerospace engineers, software and computer systems analysts . . . What do talented people in these occupations have in common? They are exceptionally talented in nonverbal ability.
A few years ago, a colleague came to me with her sixth grade son’s test scores from another school district. His scores were high average in language and quantitative ability. His score for nonverbal ability, however, was in the 99th percentile.
“What does this mean?” she asked me.
I told her it meant that if you gathered together any 100 people, none of them would score higher than her son for nonverbal ability. I told her it meant that her son is a gifted learner.
She looked at me a few moments, down at the report she held, and then back at me before she spoke. “Really?”
“Absolutely,” I said, and then she began to cry.
Her son had not been identified gifted and talented by his school district. His school district only identified giftedness in language and quantitative areas. He had never been a part of any gifted and talented programs, and he looked pretty much like the average kid to all his teachers over the years, yet she always felt “there was something about him.”
Her next question was one I’ve heard many times over the years: “What does nonverbal mean anyway?”
“Well,” I said, looking around my classroom for some sort of help from the shelves and cabinets and counter-tops lined with the projects, inventions, and the quirky three-dimensional creations of my students, “that’s not very easy to explain.”
Have you experienced any thing like this at your school, with your kids? I have made it my mission to understand this "brand" of giftedness better. I love these kids!