Educational Needs of High-Ability Children

High-ability children also have educational needs that must be met by their school. Here's how.
Educational Needs of High-Ability Children
Ana Couñago

Written and verified by the psychologist Ana Couñago.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

These days we live in a society where there’s a call for inclusive education that addresses the needs of all students. Among these are students with high abilities. That’s why we’ve prepared this article on the educational needs of high-ability children.

We should bear in mind that, even though these children may have developed certain skills to a greater extent than their peers, they also require help to develop them.

Educational needs of high-ability children

The education system has the responsibility to offer high-ability children alternatives that are appropriate to them regarding knowledge, resources and skills. To meet their educational needs, the school must also take into account:

  • The pace of learning
  • Their interests
  • Motivation
  • The level of skills

If the system doesn’t attend to high-ability children properly, then this can cause serious problems. These problems can occur in the people themselves and in society as a whole.

The lack of support and encouragement for these students will prevent them from developing their qualities and can lead to their failure at school. It’s also a failure for society itself, as it implies the loss of valuable human resources for the good of the country.

Educational Needs of High-Ability Children

Common problems in high-ability children

Children with high abilities may have different problems throughout their development, such as:

  • Problems with socialization and communication
  • A tendency to easily get bored
  • Suffering from an imbalance between their age and their intelligence level
  • Experiencing fear or anxiety about tasks in which they don’t have the required competence
  • Being overly perfectionist and self-demanding

These characteristics aren’t applicable to the entire population of children with high abilities; it depends on each individual child. The fact is that this group of people is very heterogeneous, and, because of this, each student must be treated individually.

What is clear, however, is that this type of student needs to have stimulating environments. The aim here is to not hold back their interests or their desire for knowledge.

Measures to address the educational needs of high-ability children

A school must follow a series of strategies in order to alleviate the problems we’ve mentioned previously. As a result of this, the school can opt for one of three alternatives:

  • Acceleration. Move the student to a higher grade.
  • Grouping. Take the high-ability students out of the ordinary classroom at certain times and provide specific projects or activities tailored to their abilities.
  • Enrichment of the curriculum. This is the best and most inclusive decision. The aim is to offer a wide range of activities that can be carried out in the classroom and integrated into the school’s curriculum and organization. Its purpose is to provide richer and more varied learning methods and tools and to tailor the curriculum of the different subjects.

If the school chooses the third option, then the teacher must consider the methodology used and enrich it in different ways. However, in order to select the most motivating and effective tasks and strategies, the school will need to observe the students and to know their:

  • Capacities
  • Interests
  • Learning styles

Other school measures

In addition, students with high abilities may need more specific support, which can be offered by the Therapeutic Pedagogy teaching staff.

These teachers help to motivate and stimulate students in their learning. They’ll also support the teaching staff in how they teach and interact with these children. Another aspect they can work on, if deemed necessary, is to train children with high abilities in their social skills.

Educational Needs of High-Ability Children

Likewise, the educational center must have a good variety of materials and resources that will allow teachers to plan activities based on active learning and research. We recommend having the following:

  • A library with a wide selection of books that are interesting for the students
  • Laboratory instruments
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Computer resources

In conclusion

In short, children with high abilities must be offered resources to enhance the development of their skills and qualities. This is just as important as providing alternative teaching methods to students with disabilities or learning difficulties. This is what the inclusive school is based on: a fair education for all children, whatever their abilities.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Albes, C., Aretxaga, L., Etxebarria, I., Galende, I., Santamaría, A., Uriarte, B. y  Vigo, P. (2013). Orientaciones educativas. Alumnado con altas capacidades intelectuales. País Vasco: Servicio de Imprenta y Reprografía del Gobierno Vasco.
  • Cobo, C., Eguren, J., Fernández, S., Galende, I., González, M.I.,  Armendáriz, J.M, Pérez, M. M. y  Puertas, M. L. (2014). Enriquecimiento curricular. País Vasco: Servicio de Imprenta y Reprografía del Gobierno Vasco.
  • García, J. M. y Abaurrea, V. (1997). Alumnado con sobredotación intelectual/altas capacidades. Orientaciones para la respuesta educativa. Pamplona: Fondo de publicaciones del Gobierno de Navarra. Departamento de Educación y Cultura.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.