The Columbus Group


In the late 1980’s, the perennial argument over the definition of giftedness itself (whether an inborn trait of the individual, or an ability and willingness to work hard in order to achieve) took a swing in the direction of achievement and accomplishment. A small group of individuals (parents, educators, and psychologists) whose work and experience had been with highly to profoundly gifted children, questioned the prevailing view. They met in Columbus, Ohio, to re-define giftedness in terms of the inner experience of the individual. They knew that extreme giftedness showed itself in very early childhood and involved many unusual traits seemingly unconnected with academic achievement. The result of their gathering was a new definition of giftedness as asynchronous development.


Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.  (The Columbus Group, 1991)


The new definition was introduced to the public in January, 1992. Once published, it was quickly adopted in many countries—particularly among those raising or working with children at the upper end of the curve.  The members of the group remained anonymous for more than two decades, until the publication of the book, Off the Charts, Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (2012).


The Columbus Group is now affiliated with the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development (ISAD). Several gatherings on asynchronous development are being held, including a conference in Auckland, New Zealand, April, 2015, sponsored by Project Reach. Please see “Events” on our Home Page for more information.