Gifted, zebras, philo-cognitive or even children with high potential… Many adjectives designate HPI children. If these young people have an IQ above 130, they are above all teenagers like any other with needs and interests that may vary. Gabrielle Sebire and Cécile Stanilewicz, authors of the book “50 keys to helping a high-potential teenager” enlighten us on how to guide these teenagers in their extracurricular activities.
In France, the presence of high intellectual potential (HPI) is determined using the Wechsler scale. This tool allows you to calculate the Intelligence Quotient or IQ. Within the population, most people have an IQ between 85 and 115. HPIs have an IQ above 130. This concerns approximately 2% of the population. Thus, the brain of an HPI teenager functions more quickly and efficiently than the rest of the population. If these specificities make these teenagers people with sometimes specific needs, they nonetheless remain teenagers with diverse tastes and interests. Find out how to guide them in their choice of extracurricular activities with the help of Gabrielle Sebire and Cécile Stanilewicz, authors of the book “50 keys to helping a teenager with high potential” (Éditions Eyrolles).
Focus on activities different from school learning
The goal of an extracurricular activity is to explore things different from learning in class. “We can focus on what resources our teenager has and/or identify skills that can be developed through extracurricular activities.” enlighten the authors of the book “50 keys to helping a teenager with high potential”. The field of possibilities is enormous and one should not necessarily limit oneself to the activities offered in the associations in one’s city. If the HPI teenager is little to comfortable in society, the suggested activity could be to visit the old lady down the street to chat with her.”Sometimes some HPI have difficulty communicating with children their age because they feel out of step and sometimes find them boring. Intergenerational activities can then be a good idea such as a choir, an orchestra, chess or creative hobbies that bring together a large audience” specify our experts.
Beware of the multiplication of activities
“The temptation is great for parents of children with HPI to combine numerous activities to nourish their child intellectually. This is not always a good idea because it is important to have quiet moments to settle down and give them the opportunity to reconnect with themselves.“explains the authors.”It is essential to know how to balance the balance between challenge and rest; between challenge and relaxation. Some HPI children need to add challenges while others must, on the contrary, find moments of calm to feel good in their sneakers” they add.
Get out of your comfort zone
“What you need to know is that the HPI child will probably not reveal his high potential in all areas and that is normal. Pleasure must be the primary driver of extracurricular activity. Let’s trust them to identify what they need and what they want. It can also be interesting to take them out of their comfort zone because the role of parents is to prepare them for their future adult life. However, in life, they will not always have to deal with HPI… We often think of sport, but extracurricular activities can allow them to meet other people, particularly through twinning in certain cities. Thus, the child practices a new language or deepens one already known. This can also involve solidarity collections, civil protection actions or even young firefighters. Activities that allow you to improve your skills and become aware of the reality of the world” our experts explore further.
Consistency, a leitmotif for HPIs
The majority of HPI children/teenagers are eager for consistency. Sometimes, if the activity itself suits the child, it is the way in which it is implemented by the facilitator which could be a factor in failure. You can also focus on activities that offer a certain complexity or unlimited creativity such as sailing, manual activities such as sewing, cabinetmaking, or even bird watching, coding… Another solution to satisfy the thirst for HPI children’s learning, the library. As a bonus, this activity allows you to go out with family or friends. “The idea is to not forbid yourself anything and above all to explain to your child that he or she has the right not to excel in all areas.” conclude the authors of the book “50 keys to helping a high-potential teenager” (Éditions Eyrolles).