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Every Child's A Gift, But Is He Gifted?

How do you spot the signs of possible giftedness or how to tell if your child is slightly more advanced than the others? As a parent, you are the best judge of your child's abilities, particularly from infancy to about seven years' old. Jessica, a teacher says, "Of course, there will always be geniuses, but that does not mean that your child is any less gifted than the next. In fact, giftedness is as much a result of nurture as it is nature. All children are naturally inquisitive about the world about them and it is this that we as parents must encourage and actively engage our children in."

What Do You Mean By Gifted?

According to Jessica, "Giftedness is more than getting straight As, it is about how we, as individuals, perceive the world around us, how we tackle obstacles in our way and our desire to discover new and interesting information:" In other words, open minded parents breed open minded children. These profoundly gifted young people can come from any ethnic group, race, economic level and geographic area. So, who knows, your child could be the next Einstein, Bill Gates or Tiger Woods.

Common Characteristics Of Gifted Children

Studied of gifted children over the years show that there are some qualities and characteristics that are common among these children. Since no child will possess them all, one way to spot if a child is gifted is to focus on a range of behaviors that occur in their daily lives through conversation, activity and their response to learning. Following are just some of the more common characteristics found in four, five and six-year-olds.

  • They are curious by nature, constantly observing and taking in their surrounding. They express curiosity about many things and are always asking thoughtful questions.
  • They are eloquent and effective in their expression. They have an extensive vocabulary and are able to express themselves well. It is not uncommon for a gifted child to be able to discuss and elaborate on ideas and use complex sentence structures in their discussions and conversations.
  • They are analytical and systematic when it comes to problem-solving. They are often able to understand how things fit in the big picture and are able to put things in their logical sequence.
  • They are creative and exhibit exceptionally original imaginations in the way they are able to make up stories or create a plausible ending to a story.
  • They are fast learners, able to master a subject with few repetitions, and have good memories, able to relate complex events and describe them vividly long after the fact.
  • They tend to exhibit unusual talent in art, music or creative dramatics and possess an excellent sense of humor.
  • Whatever they do, they do to the extremes. With long attention spans, they are willing to persist on challenging tasks.

So, Do You Think Your Toddler Is Gifted?

Identifying gifted children is slightly different for older school-aged children than it is for children in preschool. Older children can be observed with different methods and are also mature enough for written testing. Identifying giftedness in early childhood requires a focus on developmental milestones instead of academic achievements or advancements.

Young gifted children generally meet most of the developmental milestones much earlier than medical books say they should. From rolling over to walking, from talking to riding a bike, a gifted child often conquers these easily and much faster than the average child. If you feel your preschooler might be gifted, it is important to keep a detailed record of his development. Keep track of his interests and write down your observations of how your child grows and changes.

Testing The Gifted Child

Many parents feel that there is little practical value to have their "potential" gifted child tested. Some, as mentioned earlier, shy away from the subject. But there are potential risks with putting off the testing.

  • First and foremost, knowing a child's cognitive strengths and weaknesses early is always good as it allows parents time to plan the best learning experience for the child.
  • Since Biked children tend to be socially retiring, they are often j picked on at school. The fact that they are superior developmentally and have trouble relating to their peers, preferring instead the company of older children and even adults, makes it worse. Prolonged ~ abuse at school can put a gifted child off school long before his education even starts.
  • Research has shown that children who are gifted are more comfortable with children and in classes that deal with them at their own level. They thrive when placed with students of similar ability. In the wrong learning setting, giftedness can be as paralysing as a learning handicap.
  • Not all teachers can or know how to appreciate a child's giftedness. They may not be able or willing to help such children make use of their gifts. Instead, many gifted students are labelled as procrastinators, lazy, nonperforming and even unintelligent. This can have a negative effect on a child's self-esteem.
  • Gifted children also often challenge authority figures by questioning classroom rules. They may, therefore, be perceived as troublemakers. This behavior can sometimes be confused with attention disorders such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). A test would clarify this. Whether your I child is gifted or suffers from a learning disorder, it is good to find out early.

Is The Gifted Child The Perfect Child?

It is important to recognise that not all gifted children will exhibit all signs of giftedness. Neither does being gifted mean a child will be advanced in all areas of development. Gifted children often develop in an asynchronous manner, meaning that different parts of their selves develop at different rates. It is, therefore, not uncommon to have a child who is chronologically three years' old, yet communicates and reasons like a seven-year-old but throws tantrums like an 18-month-old.

It would also be naive to suppose that giftedness does not bring with it certain attendant difficulties. Just as there are challenges in raising and educating children who are developmentally delayed, there are many special concerns involved with raising and educating children who are advanced in their intelligence and development. After all, they are children first, and gifted second.

As responsible parents, it is our duty to look at our child as a whole and assess his potential gifted "intelligence" within and set him on the right road to fulfilling his highest potential. In essence, whatever the age of you or your child, life is an adventure waiting to be experienced and the best way to develop your child is to both share these experiences with them and encourage them to seek out new ones!


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