High intellectual potential, gifted, precocious… Chloé Romenguas, author and designer of “Stripes and erasures”, discovered her “high potential” quite late. She tells us what she feels, the gap she experienced as a child and what it represents for her.
What’s it like to be a gifted child?
Chloé : “As a gifted person, we feel a gap all the time and we can’t explain it. It’s also difficult to feel like you’re missing out all the time and not understand why. We tell ourselves that we have a problem because we don’t think and function like others. I was always told that I was too sensitive, too emotional, too intense, a little too much of everything. A gifted person has a lot of stimuli arriving at the same time, the brain has difficulty sorting to select the essential ones. We try to process all the information as quickly as possible, which means that sometimes we go a bit in all directions. At work, when we solve a problem, we often have an intuition, a global vision of the result, yet we cannot necessarily explain how we got there. It’s always more complicated to explain it in real life.
Is this hypersensitivity difficult to live with?
Chloé : People tend not to understand that if a person reacts so intensely it is because they experienced it that way. We tend to say that she exaggerates, that she overdoes it a little when no, she really experienced it that way. There are also positive sides like creativity, the number of ideas you can have and being able to experience things in a very intense way. I used to envy people who felt their emotions less. Today, I couldn’t see myself being less happy, less amazed or even less sad. It’s a chance to be able to feel everything very strongly.
When can we suspect high potential in a child?
Chloé : High potential is often noticed at school with signs such as boredom, disinterest in certain subjects and very strong interest in others. A gifted person will be particularly interested in a subject when they understand what they are learning. For example, some children will have a tendency to absolutely want to read or count because they know that it will be useful to them. So they will get there very easily. Conversely, with a more abstract subject, they do not understand why they are learning it and therefore lose interest completely.
For you, was this diagnosis of a gifted child a surprise?
Chloé : Before I had the impression that a gifted person had exceptional results, that they shined everywhere and were at the top of the class. I also had the image of the gifted person failing at school, completely isolated and without friends. When I took the test and it was explained to me, I understood that it was really just a mixture of characteristics, a way of seeing the world and feeling things. Ultimately, what was so difficult was not knowing why I felt out of step. Understanding allowed me to put things into perspective, to tell myself that I am just like other people who function like me. It’s just a different way of seeing the world and it’s just as cool.
Good in his body, good in his head!
How did those around you react?
Chloé : The first time I spoke about it to those close to me, I mentioned the test I had taken, saying that I better understood my emotions and what I was going through. Unlike me, they told me it wasn’t a surprise to them. After reading my book, they understood even better. My mother even said to me “so that’s what’s going through your head when I tell you to go get a jar of green beans from the cellar”, it was funny.