Dr. Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, who holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Gifted Education) from the University of Cambridge and has been working with gifted individuals or those with high abilities since 1996, shares her insights on how to identify early giftedness. If you’re a mom who thinks her child may be gifted, read this article.
What can you read in this article?
- Signs of a gifted child
- Characteristics of a gifted child
- Gifted Child Test
Every child is unique and no two children are alike, even gifted ones. Most of all, it is you, the parent, who knows your child more. Let this be your guide in knowing and understanding your child better.
Why do we need to identify a gifted child?
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It is important to identify a gifted child as soon as possible because he/she is at risk in the early years of school, through misidentification, inappropriate grade placement, inadequate curriculum, an early awareness of being different, and consequent attempts to conceal their ability for peer acceptance.
More often than not, intellectually gifted children are held back in their learning to conform to the pace of other children in their class.
The biggest benefit in identifying if your child is a gifted child is being able to help and provide his or her specific needs. This can be very significant in his or her growth and development. For example, knowing the right school and learning opportunities for your child.
Signs of a gifted child
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Research findings indicate that even in infancy, potentially gifted children often proceed through developmental milestones up to 30% faster than other infants.
Advanced development in the areas of gross motor, fine motor, and language skills have also been observed in potentially gifted infants.
Profoundly gifted infants and toddlers (IQs of 167 to 230+) were reported to have higher energy levels, longer attention spans, and higher sensitivity to tactile sensations than their age mates.
For preschoolers, characteristic traits of giftedness fall under 3 categories:
1. Language and learning
A gifted preschooler will exhibit his/her unique learning styles and have long attention spans. They will learn easily and are able to retain what they have learned.
They will have accelerated language development: large vocabularies, enjoyment of self-expression through discussion, and the use of advanced grammar or sentence structure.
Gifted preschoolers are curious and are able to sustain interest in a subject of their own choosing for extended periods of time.
They have a more mature sense of humor than their age mates. They have the ability to comprehend sophisticated jokes and word puns, long before their age mates are developmentally ready to think at these abstract levels.
These kids have an interest in factual information books over fantasy and make-believe and also seek out information related to the abstract concepts of time and space and they are usually proficient in the fine and creative arts such as drawing and music.
2. Psychomotor development and motivation
For psychomotor development and motivation, the kids will have high energy/activity levels. They will have a wide range of consuming or passionate interests on which to expend those energies.
They may sleep less than other children and can be extremely independent — wanting to master their own environments and driven to explore the curiosities of the world around them.
3. Personal and social characteristics of a gifted child
Gifted children exhibit early empathy development and a deep caring for the pain of others. They may feel different than other children and display one or more of several characteristics termed “overexcitabilities” or emotional intensities.
These include psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual, and emotional overexcitability. Emotional intensities include shyness and difficulty adjusting to new situations.
It is important to remember that while all young children may display these types of behaviors, the young potentially gifted child appears to exhibit these traits to a much greater degree.
4-year old gifted child already knows the periodic table of elements
8 Traits of a gifted child
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Gifted child test
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To evaluate if a child is intellectually talented, gifted testing is commonly used. Most parents seek gifted identification for their children in order to gain access to special programs or services for gifted children. Some gifted curriculum schools will employ testing as a criterion for qualifying pupils who score over a specific level.
However, the most important reason for testing is to determine your child’s giftedness so you can properly address concerns, and help nurture an encouraging and fit learning environment for him or for her.
Students’ achievement assessments determine what they have already learned and whether or not they are ahead of their grade-level peers.
This type of test can be used to assess students for specific areas of academic strength using achievement exams. They could be standardized assessments or academic tests.
Gifted and talented students are also identified using intelligence quotient (IQ) or cognitive abilities test scores. While these tests are useful in recognizing someone with academic ability, they are less so in identifying someone with creative, leadership, or other abilities.
Abilities tests can be used to provide a more detailed learning profile. The following are examples of commonly used ability tests:
- Stanford Binet (L-M)
- Wescher Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th Edition. Read NAGC’s position papesr Use of the WISC-V in Gifted Education and the WISC-IV.
- Woodcock Johnson
- Ravens Progressive Matrices
- Matrix Analogies Test
Tests are frequent identifying methods, but they should not be used as the main source of identification. The best way to assure that no gifted learner is overlooked is to use an identification strategy that includes numerous tests, both objective and subjective.
Gifted assessment is far more in-depth — and, as a result, can be a lot more expensive. During an assessment, you will work with a trained professional who will use their expertise to determine what information needs to be gathered and the most appropriate tools for gathering that information, observe the child while collecting this information, and then interpret their findings to determine the child’s complete learning profile.
Assessment is different from testing in that it relies heavily on the tester’s expertise, experience, and knowledge to interpret the child’s replies and choose the best course of action.
This specialist will most likely provide extensive information about the child’s strengths, challenges, learning style, educational needs, and personal qualities, as well as recommendations for meeting the child’s needs.
How gifted is gifted? IQ of gifted child
Based on how far a Filipino gifted child is from the norm of 100:
- Mildly Gifted: 115 to 129
- Moderately Gifted: 130 to 144
- Highly Gifted: 145 to 159
- Exceptionally Gifted: 160 to 179
- Profoundly Gifted: 180
How do I support my gifted child?
After learning that your child is gifted, everything could be overwhelming, especially when you have no background in creating the right environment for their learning and development.
So, what should you do after identifying that your child is gifted? How can you assist them in developing their talents?
Find creative ways for them to learn
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Expose your child to activities that spark their passion and interests, so they can develop their talents. For example, if your child is into music, enroll him or her in a special class, or take him to environment-safe concerts.
If your child is into arts, you can let her join a painting or art class, and provide her with various art materials. You can even do art activities together.
Have them in an environment with people that they can relate to
According to studies, a child’s skill development accelerates when they interact with, learn from, or are inspired by people who have similar talents.
Furthermore, when children watch their peers excel in an activity, they are inspired to lift the bar and achieve even greater success.
Find the right mentor
Accept the truth, you can’t give everything your gifted child needs. You need help from a mentor who knows what a child like yours needs.
Encourage values that respect your gifted child
It is important that your child feels respected – his or her uniqueness, traits, opinions, ideas, and interests. Furthermore, be a good example they can look up to in terms of positive behaviors such as patience, determination, and honesty.
Lastly, teach your child social values that will help them better interact with communities. When they are respectful and pleasant in their relationships, participate in collaboration, and volunteer their abilities, praise and encourage them.
Another important thing though is to remember not to put too much pressure on their learning and development. Let them grow at their own pace and support them at all times. Aside from this, provide them also with opportunities and education systems that are fit for their needs as gifted child.
You got this, momma! If you have any questions and hesitations, the best thing is to contact your doctor or mentor so they can properly assist and help you.