Does Your Child Have a Gift?

Identifying and Recognizing Gifted and Talented Children

How can you tell if you have a gifted and talented child? Through daily observation many parents will come to have awareness that their child possesses special skills or superb academic ability.

However, most gifted children are first officially recognized in the classroom, and while what constitutes a gifted child may vary depending on the criteria of the gifted programs created by each individual school district, there are a few universal traits that most gifted youths share.

Learning to recognize these signs can expedite the process of successfully identifying and then adequately stimulating a gifted student based on their unique intellectual talents and needs so that they can receive the most beneficial education possible. Most gifted students need a different educational experience and a more focused instructional climate in order to properly foster their special intelligence and skills. Early detection can be crucial to their development, as well as their ultimate success in a scholastic environment, and in everyday life.

A broad definition of a gifted or talented student is one with the ability to perform academically at unusually high levels, especially in comparison to other children of their age. In addition, there are many areas and testing procedures in the school system that enables faculty, teachers, and parents to help ascertain whether or not a particular child has superior abilities. These may include, but are not limited to: grade point average, standardized test scores, IQ measurement, critical thinking skills displayed in the classroom and at home, and creative ability.

In addition to academic performance, there are also many personality traits and characteristics that can help determine if a child is indeed gifted. Some of the most common defining features of a gifted youth include: heightened idealism, perfectionist tendencies, sequential learning behavior, complex or abstract thought processes, and advanced problem-solving skills. A child who displays several of these defining characteristics may indeed fit the criteria of a gifted student in his or her school district.

Gifted students also almost always have exceptional aptitude in one of several academic areas. These areas include general intellectual ability, creative thinking, visual arts, leadership, and psychomotor (advanced academic abilities). The gifted child may perform well in more than one of these areas, but their truly superior talents usually lie in only one of these areas.

If you, as a parent or teacher, suspect a child possesses any of these special gifts and talents, be sure to promptly initiate any testing that may be required by your specific school system to determine if he or she is deemed “gifted” according to the standards set down by the board. As adults, we have the duty to shape and encourage the abilities and intelligence of these talented young people. As a parent, you need to actively communicate with your child’s teacher, and vice versa.

Many highly intelligent students have slipped by the wayside in the public school system because of unrecognized gifts; often these children do not perform well in a traditional classroom setting simply because they are easily bored and academically unfulfilled. Special minds need to be challenged and stimulated in order to reach their full potential. As their guardians, both parents and teachers must take this responsibility very seriously.

For more detailed information on recognizing, testing, and fostering a gifted and talented child, please explore the links below:

  • Characteristics and Behaviors of the Gifted: This page offers many lesser-known behaviors and personality traits of a potentially gifted child, as well as many interesting factoids about the childhood years of some of the most famous minds of our time.
  • Gifted Children and Learning Disabilities: The sad facts about how learning disabilities can stifle a truly gifted child.
  • Parenting Gifted Preschoolers: This article offers early signs to help parents recognize special gifts in their very young children.
  • Gifted and Talented Support from MENSA: This infamous organization of higher intelligence offers sound advice on identifying and encouraging the gifted.
  • IQ Tests and Gifted Children: Duke University offers a compelling article on the history, nature and true significance of the IQ test as it pertains to gifted youngsters.

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