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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Asynchronous Development It is important to understand that just because a child is advanced in one area, such as mathematical thinking, it doesn’t mean the child will be advanced in other areas of development, such as verbal ability. Often children who have a special ability in one domain of development are developing normally in all other areas. An advanced ability in one area may indicate that this is an area of strength for this child in the future, a talent to be developed over time. Some- times children with advanced development in one area are measurably delayed in another area. This unevenness may be seen in broad areas of development, such as in the child with advanced cognitive functioning who falls behind in fine-motor development or social skills. This may also be true within the domain of cognitive development; for example, a child with advanced verbal language skills may struggle to learn to recognize the letters in her name. Such uneven development is called “asynchronous development,” and it is one of the reasons it is important to continually assess the progress of young chil- dren in our early childhood classrooms. We can’t assume that if a child is growing in one area of development, the other areas are progressing at the same pace. This variation in a child’s rate of progress across developmental domains is another reason we need to be prepared to differentiate, a topic that is discussed at length in chapter 3. Square Peg in a Round Hole As previously mentioned, though many are easy to spot, some exceptionally bright children may be difficult to identify, either because they have already learned to hide the ways they are different from other children or because their exceptional cognitive abilities cause them to think or behave in unusual ways. These children may frustrate us with their challenging behaviors, such as the defiant and aggressive child who takes all the puzzles apart and never helps put them back together again, or the passive and withdrawn child who sits at the window, intensely watching the construction workers digging a ditch instead of eating his snack. Bright children who are bored and lack cognitive chal- lenges may simply refuse to participate in the tried-and-true, all-time favorite preschool activities teachers love to lead. They don’t want to make applesauce out of apples in the fall. They don’t want to make snowmen out of cotton balls in the winter. They may agree to plant flower seeds in the spring, but they’ll insist on digging up the seeds every few days because they need to see exactly how the seeds are growing and changing. Characteristics of Exceptionally Bright Children COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL | 11