Raising a gifted child is a work in progress | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

VIOLINIST, gifted child and former Promil Pre- School Kid, Ira Aclan
VIOLINIST, gifted child and former Promil Pre- School Kid, Ira Aclan
VIOLINIST, gifted child and former Promil Pre- School Kid, Ira Aclan

They could be your son’s or daughter’s best friend. Heck, for all you know, they could even be your own son or daughter.


Yet for all the gifted children in the Philippines (1.27 million, according to data gathered by the Department of Education in 2010), scores of others remain overlooked because adults don’t realize they’re face-to-face with a gifted child.


Worse, the ones who know their child possesses a talent or skill far advanced for his age are often too overwhelmed to do anything about it.




In an article on psychologytoday.com, David Palmer, Ph.D, lists numerous traits of a gifted child: among them are a highly developed vocabulary; the ability to learn quickly and efficiently; strong leadership qualities; and a knack for relating with older kids and grownups.


Françoys Gagné, Ph.D, an expert in the field of gifted education and founder of the Differentiating Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT), defines a “gifted” person as one who possesses a natural aptitude or innate ability that places him among the top 10 percent of his age group.


“Perhaps the most basic indicator of a child who is potentially gifted is being able go through expected developmental milestones at a much earlier age than the peer group,” avers Dr. Letty Ho, president of the nonprofit group Philippine Center for Gifted Education (PCGE).


While heredity is a factor in giftedness, it can only go so far. For both doctors Ho and Gagné, a gifted child needs to be nurtured to thrive. Gagné says nurturing comes in the form of catalysts: these can be intrapersonal (perseverance, general curiosity, intrinsic motivation, ambition) and environmental (family, school, peer group quality).


Crucial role


Chance also plays a crucial role in a gifted child’s development. “Potentially gifted children in disadvantaged conditions benefit much from the chance factors that will provide them the

PROFESSOR Françoys Gagné with gifted child and current Promil Pre- School kid, Sage Araneta
PROFESSOR Françoys Gagné with gifted child and current Promil Pre-School kid, Sage Araneta

proper mediating environmental factors in talent development,” says Dr. Ho. “PCGE believes that private and public agencies should consciously provide for more ‘chances’ for potentially gifted but disadvantaged children. The institutionalization of programs and collaboration among private and public agencies can definitely provide equity in access to enrichment programs to develop their gifts.”


In its tireless efforts to support gifted children, the PCGE recently sponsored an Asean Summit for Giftedness, bringing in notable resource persons like Dr. Gagné to discuss the latest breakthroughs in maximizing a child’s innate giftedness with an audience of educators, guidance counselors, psychologists and other partners who share the advocacy.


Promil Pre-School, a specially formulated powdered drink packed with nutrients that optimize the full potential of kids 4 years old and up, has been at the forefront of supporting giftedness for the past 25 years.


By nurturing talented Filipino children with proper nutrition, well-rounded upbringing by parents, and opportunities to see innate abilities grow, Promil Pre-School has seen the likes of its child ambassadors— professional photographer Shaira Luna, accomplished art director and painter CJ de Silva-Ong, and classical violinist and pianist Ira Aclan—soar in their respective fields of interests.


‘i-Shine Talent Camp’


These days, Promil Pre-School is still giving equally talented kids new avenues to let their giftedness grow. Now on its third year, the ABS-CBN and Wyeth Nutrition show “i-Shine Talent Camp” set out to discover the next generation’s biggest talents in 12 exceptionally talented children between the ages of 4 and 7.


Previous i-Shine grand champs Lukas Enrique Magallano (2012) and Yesha Camille (2013) are already on the road to maximizing their giftedness, with regular appearances in a slew of popular ABS-CBN programs and movies.


“The vital link between the gift of generations of Filipinos and the country’s success is something that we recognize and value,” says Dian Yu, product manager of Promil Pre-School.


Unwittingly, Dr. Ho has seen how parents tend to be overwhelmed, frightened even, by a son’s or daughter’s display of advanced abilities and intelligence. As such, they either slow down the learning process for fear that their child would eventually lose interest in more “important priorities” like school work, or aggressively push the learning process by bombarding a child with all possible activities without regard for his/her personal interest and other needs.


First step


PROFESSOR Françoys Gagné, Ph.D, raising his glass to giftedness during Promil Pre-School’s Tribute to Giftedness event
PROFESSOR Françoys Gagné, Ph.D, raising his glass to giftedness during Promil Pre-School’s Tribute to Giftedness event

Thankfully, the first step to nurturing a son’s or daughter’s giftedness is a surprisingly easy one. “Parents forget that even if the child is precocious and advanced, he/she is still a child with the need to play, explore and have friends,” counsels Dr. Ho. “Allowing free play can be a helpful activity. And instead of being overwhelmed, parents can simply enjoy their child’s potentials, abilities and interests, and provide opportunities for development without pressure.”

Indeed, while it can be frustrating and scary at times, the worst thing you can do to your child is to ignore his/her innate potential for greatness.


“The potential is not lost but can stay dormant, like a chrysalis waiting to metamorphose to a butterfly,” warns Dr. Ho on what could happen if a parent doesn’t give due attention to a child’s natural giftedness. “As advocates for giftedness, let us contribute to their metamorphosis. More particularly, let us provide the appropriate environmental conditions that will develop children to be gifts for other Filipinos.”