What to Look for and Why You Should Know…
How to tell if your child is gifted? Nowadays, schools have established programs designed to help pick up the tell tale signs of gifted children, using methods such as IQ tests, test and achievement reviews, general student observation and teacher feedback. So if you want to know if your child is gifted, you can see if teachers at school will recommend testing for a gifted education program.
But of course, it wouldn’t be wise to just wait for the schools to pick up on it. Your own personal insights are crucial, and not to be underestimated. Actually, it is advised that parents learn the signs of giftedness before their children even begin school, as most programs for identifying gifted children don’t begin until as late as the third grade.
The whole topic of early testing and identification is a controversial topic, but the advocates for gifted children believe the earlier it is identified, the better, as their special needs can be attended to early on, and their talents nurtured.
“Early identification is also important when a young child is showing behavioral or social differences – not fitting in, being highly focused on unusual interests, appearing more distractible or inattentive than others of the same age – and parents want to understand the cause.” // psychologytoday.com
There will always be some gifted children who are not stand out achievers in the classroom, and who may exhibit attention problems, be unorganized or not really catch on the the teaching style put forth. These kids can be overlooked incorrectly.
Those parents who believe their child is gifted, should collaborate with the schools to make sure their child isn’t overlooked.
How Can You Tell if Your Child is Gifted?
There is nothing that is definitive in telling you for sure that your child is in fact, gifted. However, most gifted children will share similar tendencies, and being aware of these is the best place to start.
“The reason for these common traits may have a lot to do with the physical characteristics of the brain. Giftedness is the result of both environmental and genetic factors, and both of these influences can lead to differences in the way the brain works and develops. Some researchers believe that gifted children’s advanced cognitive skills actually result – at least in part – from the ability of their brains to process information faster and more effectively than others their age.” // psychologytoday.com
Denser and more efficient neural connections that gifted children possess could explain the common characteristics that we’ll outline below. Of course, remember that not every gifted child will share all or even the majority of these. For exapmple, Einstein didn’t learn to speak until a late age, and read until he was seven.
Gifted kids will likely reach the understanding of complex language stage, before the standard age of two.
“Some of the traits of giftedness to look for when considering your child’s language development in relation to others of a similar age include:” // psychologytoday.com
• A highly developed vocabulary and the ability to learn new words easily.
• The tendency to speak quickly.
• The early use of longer, more complex sentences while using appropriate grammar.
• Early reading, if given some instruction and opportunity. Many gifted children have already learned how to read before entering school.
• Continually asking questions about what they see and hear, and wanting to receive thorough responses and explanations.
• The ability to understand and carry out multi-step directions at an early age. (e.g., Go to the dining room, get the blue book on the table and put it back on the shelf in your room, then bring me the clothes on your bed so I can wash them).
• The ability to understand and participate in adult conversations. Gifted children often pick up nuances or double meanings early on – so watch what you say!
• The ability to change the language they use when speaking to different audiences. For example, a four-year-old gifted child might use more advanced words and sentence structure when speaking to adults or older children, and then talk in a simpler, more childlike way when addressing his three-year-old cousin.
What sets gifted children apart from the rest is the ease and pleasure displayed when learning. With little effort they absorb all the new ideas and facts, and have fun doing so. They are commonly natural learners, learning quickly, very focused on one area of interest and seek out more information about that topic on their own. They will ask many questions, have great memory on certain topics, prefer reading to physical activities, require little or no direction for new activities, and take pleasure in discussing the topics that interest them to children and adults alike.
Emotional and Behavioral Traits
Commonly, you’ll find that they are more intense emotionally, than others. This means they can and often are, more sensitive and display great empathy.
You will always find some gifted children not displaying many of these signs and traits, or sometimes display quite the opposite.
“Keep in mind that there are children who show gifted qualities when it comes to language or emotional traits, but who do not appear exceptional when it comes to learning or academics. While some of these kids may have a specific learning disability getting in the way of their performance at school, others may have learned early on to hide their abilities in order to better fit in with others their age, or to avoid the pressures of higher expectations.” // psychologytoday.com
Also, there will be kids who show the signs, but don’t rate once they are tested. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are not gifted. Some kids won’t excel under the pressure of testing due to anxiety. Also, kids can be gifted in only specific areas, whilst being average in others. So it’s a tricky process to identify a gifted child.
“Your insight and instincts, along with those of your child’s teachers, can often be the most important pieces needed to truly understand your child’s unique gifts and potential.” // psychologytoday.com