Many parents wonder if their child is gifted. Perhaps your daughter started walking or talking at an early age. Maybe she’s reading well before you expected her to. Because the milestones you thought she would cross at a certain age are being crossed off your list earlier than expected, you naturally feel she is different than other kids her age. And of course she is! Every child is unique and “gifted” in different ways, but how do you know yours has an extraordinary natural ability?
The definition of the word has always created some confusion. Because of this, true measurements have been put in place by psychologists to help narrow down the meaning of gifted.
It’s important to remember that even if your child isn’t considered “gifted”, she is certainly just as special as children who are determined to be. She may not be as advanced in a particular subject, but she may prove to be more advanced in other areas such as social interaction or physical coordination.
To help measure whether your child is gifted, children thought to be of higher intelligence are typically given an IQ test by a professional psychologist. This test helps to narrow down the areas in which they may be gifted. It may be that your child excels at math, but isn’t as strong in language. Or, proves to excel in music, but doesn’t do as well in science.
IQ tests are measured using certain scores. If your child scores 130 or higher in a particular subject, she is considered gifted. IQ tests usually use 130 as the cut off score to measure exceptional ability. The average percentage of children who achieve this score is around three per cent.
There are signs that may indicate that your child has exceptional ability. The following characteristics are common in children who are gifted:
- Early and extensive language development
- Elaborate and vivid imagination
- Enjoys learning new things
- Excellent problem solving skills
- Exceptional reasoning skills
- Learns to read early and can read books meant for older children or adults
- Long attention span
- Original and flexible thinking
- Relates well to adults
- Very curious
Because different types of giftedness tend to run in families, the easiest way to get a sense of where your child’s gifts may lie is by using the developmental milestone measures for the average child rather than those of other family members. What you may perceive as being ‘normal’ could actually be considered exceptional when compared to other kids her age.
If it is determined that your child is gifted, it’s important to allow her to still be a kid. Although gifted children understand that their advanced abilities can make them somewhat different than other kids their age, they aren’t always advanced emotionally. It’s therefore important to nurture a caring and positive sense of self, as well as her mind, to ensure she grows up well-balanced in all areas of life.