Many people observe their child doing or saying things that make you wonder if your child is gifted. The truth is, every child is naturally curious, intensely interested in certain subjects and unique in their own way. What are the signs of your child bring gifted?
Identifying giftedness is very complex and it is different for each gifted child. Giftedness can comprise of many attributes and no two gifted people have the same attributes. Dr. Palmer in Psychology Today points to three major signs you can look for in your child’s growth and development that can lead you to investigate the possibility of your child being gifted: a child’s language development, your child’s learning abilities and their behavioral and emotional development.
A child’s vocabulary is one area that sets gifted children apart.
- Language development often happens at an earlier age and faster rate for gifted children.
- Gifted children understand and use in conversation complex vocabulary. Words that most adults don’t use frequently or in the proper context, gifted children can easily understand and use in reading, writing and conversation.
- Often, gifted children can read their audience and change their vocabulary according.
- Many gifted children understand puns and sense of humor at a young age and will use it with adults and understand when used.
- Many gifted sites and Dr. Palmer would agree that an early reader can indicate giftedness, but in my professional experience, an early reader usually means just what it is, an early reader. I teach all kinds of gifted students. Some read at age 3 and continue to read way above grade level and some were struggling readers that are doing good to stay on grade level, but all of them have an interesting language development.
Another area that gifted children stand out is in their learning abilities. This is different than being a high achiever. Many parents and teachers confuse a child’s ability to score well in class and on tests, homework or class work as giftedness.
- Doing really well in school and testing for academic based tests, is high achieving, not giftedness.
- A gifted learner usually shows mastery (that’s 90% or better) in academics two entire grade levels above their current grade level.
- Gifted children are less motivated by the actual grade or score and rather intensely interested in gaining the knowledge. They find pure joy in the learning and often reject traditional methods of learning.
- Gifted children often learn at a very quick pace and do not need a practice or re-teach session.
- These children grasp concepts quickly and are ready to dive in to more advanced levels of the concept immediately, where their same age peers will need practice and time to master the concept. This aspect will often lead to frustration and a misunderstanding of why the class is spending time on a concept they mastered the first time.
Gifted children also differ from same age peers on their behavioral and emotional levels.
- Many times it is the emotional level of a gifted child that is far below the emotional level of their peers.
- Gifted children often lack social abilities that most children adapt to easy in the social life of a child. Gifted children often have trouble making and keeping friends. Because of this aspect of their personality, gifted children often prefer to be alone.
- They get very involved in their over-active imagination or thinking.
- Often teachers find gifted children difficult in a traditional classroom because behaviorally, they may seem to be bursting with activity, they blurt out answers and they are easily frustrated.
- Another aspect of the emotional development of a gifted child, is their intense sensitivity. Gifted children are strongly affected by injustice. They tend to worry about global issues like poverty, natural disasters and animals. They will often feel compelled to take action or have empathy in situations that other children their age aren’t even aware is taking place. This appreciation for our world and the people that live in our world is a beautiful part of gifted children.
All children are curious and like to learn new things, but if your child is far beyond high academic achievement, it might be worth looking into their love of learning from the gifted lens. A large vocabulary, a zeal for learning beyond achievement and a sensitive emotional and behavioral state are three signs you might be living with a gifted child.