By Jen Duncan

Our gifted kids often keep us on our toes with how quickly they absorb and apply information. However, it can also be very difficult for them to pick up on some things, such as understanding how to show compassion to others.

This usually isn’t because they lack these qualities. Rather, it is because like everything else, they simply see them differently.

Gifted kids tend to be incredibly perceptive, so they really do see when others are in need of a compassionate touch or an encouraging word. Honestly, they probably see it before many of the rest of us do.

However, they also tend to be perfectionists and to hold themselves to a very high level.

I have found while working with my son and other gifted children, that this usually skews how they show these traits. We can help them with this difference once we recognize the need.

Compassion in Gifted Kids and Teens

Because gifted kids tend to be intense and straight-forward, they are often seen as lacking compassion. Often, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

However, they will often show this trait in unexpected ways.

For instance, my profoundly gifted son found it difficult to “fit in” at church for several years, simply because he was on a completely different level emotionally and academically than other kids his age.

When they would complain about not getting the newest cell phone or having to finish a hard assignment, his reaction was often along the lines of, “Suck it up. It’s really not that bad.”

At times, they thought that he couldn’t sympathize with them – and at times, they were right.

However, he also volunteered every week for over a year to be a one-on-one aide for a young autistic boy so that his parents could attend church. He made sure to have at least three identical “Lightning McQueen” toy cars with him every week, since this was the boy’s favorite toy.

He patiently allowed the boy to teach him the same level of “Angry Birds” every Sunday morning. Each week, he went through the exact same routine on the playset with his young charge while the rest of the class listened to the Bible story.

When the boy needed to walk up and down the halls, my son was right at his side.

When he hid under a chair during a meltdown, my son talked him down and convinced him to play again.

When paid staff and trained teachers tried to get him to take a break, his answer was “no.” Whenever this boy was at church, he would be available. When they asked him the reason, his answer was simple.

“As long as I’m around, he’ll never have to hear someone say, ‘I don’t have time for you.’”

Needless to say, his answer floored them, and they absorbed an unexpected lesson in compassion.

Compassion Comes in Different Forms
In our society, we are often told that we can show compassion by accepting others just as they are – faults and all. Unfortunately, this has brought us to a place where we are also told that we shouldn’t grow.

Gifted kids and teens can show us a different perspective.

Something that raising and working with gifted kids has taught me is that sometimes, prioritizing feelings above growth isn’t compassionate. Sometimes, it’s simply convenient. But is that what we’re really called to do?

Many gifted kids seem to hate to receive encouragement; this really isn’t the case, though, they just don’t like to receive easy encouragement. There are a lot of things that they can do well with very little effort – and if they haven’t put the effort in, the last thing they want to hear is that they did a ‘great job.’

When gifted children put a lot of effort into something and finally succeed, they will beam through every moment of encouragement they hear. They know they earned it, and they’re proud of what they’ve achieved.

When they work with others, gifted kids and teens tend to show compassion and encouragement with the same expectation.

This can be tricky for them to navigate, and it’s often where we can step in to help. Not by being “helicopter moms” or doing it for them, but by being an honest sounding board.

Gifted people know that they see things differently from the rest of us. That usually doesn’t come as much of a surprise to them. However, they don’t always understand how their behaviors or choices are perceived. Talking openly and honestly with them can help quite a bit.

What is the motivation for their expectations and actions? Do the people they’re working with understand what’s going on and why? What is their end goal for those they’re working with? Are the steps they’ve decided on likely to lead to that goal?

Simply being willing to explain how others may view their actions can help our gifted kids and teens avoid the pitfalls of being seen as lacking compassion. That, in turn, can help them connect with and influence others in amazing ways.

Parenting and teaching kids who think on very different levels is by no means easy, but it is worth it in so many ways. Being there to “translate” how others perceive things is a necessary part of that!

What tips have you learned for helping gifted kids show compassion to others? Comment below – I would love to hear them!



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By Peggy Ployhar

Are you looking for ways to incorporate the 2018 Winter Olympics into your daily homeschool schedule? Look no further. The ideas below can be used with kids of all cognitive levels and physical abilities. Plus, these activities will inspire the athlete in every member of your family, no matter how much of a couch potato they are.

Activities are separated into the following categories:

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
  • Physical Education (Circuits, Brain Breaks, and Stations)
  • Subject Integration (Language Arts, Geography, and Unit Studies)
  • Fun (Games, Crafts, and Food)

This list should keep your family busy with lots of learning and fun every day of the winter games. And while some of these activities are special-needs focused, others are included because they are easy to adapt to the needs of your children.

My hope and prayer is that these ideas will inspire you to make the Winter Olympics more than a spectator sport this go-round, and instead bring the enthusiasm into your home and into your learning environment.


LEGO Olympic Rings Activity – Make the Olympic rings with basic LEGO bricks

The Science and Engineering Behind the Winter Games – 10 videos that cover the science and engineering involved in the some of the most popular winter Olympic sports

Snow Making for the Winter Olympics – Video on how snow is made to make perfect conditions for Olympic competition

The Physics of Ice Skating – Learn about friction, forces and Newton’s laws of motion and how they relate to ice skating

Graphing the Olympics – Teach your student how to use Google Sheets as they graph the Olympic medal counts

Physical Education

Winter Games P.E. Stations – Downloadable cards with instructions for each station

Family Winter Olympics – Create the winter Olympics in your own home, competing against your own family members

5 Olympic Inspired Strengthening Activities – Strengthening activities inspired by the Winter Olympics

Winter Olympics Brain Breaks – 10 winter Olympics inspired-activities to use as brain breaks during your homeschooling day

Winter Olympics Workout Game – Watch the Olympics AND get your exercise by following these simple prompts

Winter Olympics Circuit Training for Kids – 7 activities, plus warm-up and cool-down for a fun indoor Winter Olympics workout you can do as a family

Subject Integration

Olympic Games Language Arts Activities – A variety of different language arts activities for teaching students at a variety of different cognitive levels

Montessori Inspired Math Activities for the Olympics – Great ideas for how to incorporate hands-on math into any Olympic games unit study

Learning Geography with the Olympics – Make geography fun by incorporating the Olympics into your lessons

Olympic Games Unit Study – Lots of great links on how to incorporate every subject into an Olympic Games theme

Montessori-Inspired Winter Sports Activities – Lots of ways to use hands-on learning with a winter sports theme

10 Olympic Learning Activities – Fun learning activities to incorporate the Olympics into your homeschool


Olympic & Craft Activities – 25 Olympic inspired activities, crafts, food and printables

Winter Olympics BINGO – A fun game to teach your children the names of various winter Olympic games

Flag Rock Art Project – Paint rocks to match the various flags of the countries competing in the winter Olympics

Olympic Paper Chain Countdown – Adjust the number of chains to equal the days leading up to the games and learn some fun facts together as you count down to the opening ceremony

Olympic Crafts & Recipes – 20 recipes and crafts that will inspire the Olympic spirit throughout the games

Salt Dough Olympic Medals – A fun craft with some simple learning ideas to integrate into your activity

Olympic-Themed Games with Printables – 13 different printable games, with instructions

Make sure to also check out all the SPED Homeschool Pinterest boards for many more creative and inspiring ways to homeschool your student with special educational needs.

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