“They think you are a computer connected to the internet”

Jordi Arce is twelve years old and an enthusiastic conversationalist. The funniest part of the talk we have with him, however, comes at the end, when we ask him about his hobbies and he tells us about the chickens he raises with his grandmother. "They are like dogs with feathers, very affectionate," he says. His thing, he clarifies, has nothing to do with the recent fondness of celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for these animals. Once this point has been clarified, in an instant he enlightens us on the character of the members of his chicken coop, but also on the breed of each one or, even, on the longevity of a rooster that "is not genetically modified".

Jordi's fondness for chickens helps to get an idea of ​​his way of approaching life and knowledge. At a year and a half he was already writing his name and at two his mastery of language left adults amazed. Just when he was six, a specialist psychologist (private) carried out tests that showed that he had high capacitiesdespite the fact that the time when the detection is usually done is from the 3rd year of primary school. His father, Enrique, recalls that "they didn't know whether to congratulate us or offer their condolences."

At the Escola Mas Clariana in Cambrils, where he was very comfortable, the students from two courses go together. Thus, when he started in the first year he did well, but in the second he had a “very bad” time. In third grade they decided to 'accelerate him', that is, instead of fourth grade he went on to fifth grade.

So far everything within the script of what, not without effort, some families of gifted children usually achieve. In Jordi's case, the difference is that they accelerated it again, this time in ESO. From first he went to third, where he is now, after a process with a lot of bureaucracy.

Jordi admits that he is still bored in class. He did not tell his companions about his condition at first, but they discovered it because of a wording in which he had to put his year of birth and his "did not add up." He studies at the Cardenal Vidal i Barraquer College and feels good in class. They voted him as sub-delegate and he has a very nice group of friends who gave him two ducks for his birthday.

We ask him what really interests him and he replies that «geopolitics, geostrategy, economics...». The day we met, his classmates were waiting to see who Luis Enrique would summon to the World Cup in Qatar. The only thing that interested him was the implications of the collapse of the Kherson bridge in the Ukraine and the withdrawal of the Russian army.

When she explains it, her mother acknowledges her great concern: "That your son lives in a world where they don't understand him, where he can't share his jarred meals with others." Not counting his intensity, "because you could be talking about the same thing from here to Portugal without stopping."

A frequent myth is that high abilities guarantee school success.

Jordi says that when it is known that he has high capacities, they ask him to do calculations of large numbers, "the fact that they think you are a calculator is very typical," he says.. Or they ask you to spit out all sorts of data. «They think that I am like a computer connected to the internet, as if I had all the answers. What they do not notice, he says, is that despite his abilities, these knowledge and skills did not get there by osmosis, he had to learn.

meeting comforts

George is a member of Athena, Association for the High Capacity of Tarragona and Terres de l'Ebrean entity that brings together 115 families. In its beginnings in 2016 when they got together to start it up there were only five.

Its president is Mónica Casellas, who is also a doctor in education, associate professor at the URV, pedagogue and speech therapist. She explains that cases like Jordi's, of double acceleration, are unusual. In fact, his is the only one they have in the entity.

Remember, yes, that if there are great nuances in high capacities (there are students whose aptitude is only in one area of ​​knowledge) it must also be taken into account that each student is a world. If, for example, the student is not seen as mature from a social point of view, it is not recommended.

You also have to take into account the interests of the child or adolescent. There are some who decide not to pass class to stay with their group. "They want to have friends, like everyone else, although at times they isolate themselves or isolate them for their interests." In fact, in the entity they organize workshops on topics that motivate them and they meet very comfortably. On Friday, without going any further, they had one on electromagnetism.

These students fall into the group of students with Specific Educational Support Needs (NESE), for which they are entitled to an individualized plan. It is not something simple in a system with so many students. In some cases, if you only choose to give them more work, "we only make the children feel that it is a punishment."

However, there are schools where they give solutions that also benefit the whole class. He gives the example of a school where these students are allowed to do multidisciplinary projects on topics of interest to which other students can join.

Casellas acknowledges that in a short time the sensitivity of teachers and educational centers has changed a lot for the better and they are getting closer to asking for information. In addition, future teachers are very interested in training. The association, in fact, organizes free talks for them. Jordi's family confirms it: "We continually respond to student surveys," they point out.

The processes, however, to evaluate these children are still long. On the one hand, most families end up turning to private psychologists for detection, "families look for answers anywhere." On the other hand, schools often wait to see how things develop and 'fast-tracking' is a measure that usually takes two or three years to work out. The risk is that, paradoxically, "and that is another myth", even if they are students with great ability, they end up in school failure or dropout, he warns.

me What are High Intellectual Capacities? They are people who present quantitatively and qualitatively superior intellectual characteristics in a significant way with respect to the majority of the population in one, several or all areas of aptitude, regardless of their age.

me How does the family usually detect them? Normally the family is the first to identify that their son or daughter may be different and may have advanced or more developed abilities in the first years of life and as they get older. Because he shows a lot of curiosity, he quickly learns to speak, read and even write. He has a very good memory and shows interest in unusual topics and things for his age.

me Is giftedness the same as talent? Giftedness and talents, both typologies are considered AC. High intellectual capacities cover a wide range of categories, including: gifted children, talented children (simple talents and complex talents) and precocious children. Source: Athena Association

Increasingly, future teachers are interested in training in these topics

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