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Is My Child Gifted?

by Lori Sciame | August 22nd, 2013 | Elementary

girl readingAll parents have high hopes for their children. Some wish for sports stars, and others dream of being the parent of the next Einstein. Yet, the chances that a child will rise to superstardom are low. This does not mean, however, that many children do not fall into the “gifted” category. If you have an elementary aged child, you may wonder if he or she fits the criteria for being gifted. Check out this post to find out more about determining if a child is above average.

The Definition of Gifted

One thing a parent should understand, defining what exactly qualifies a child as gifted remains elusive. Some say that children with high I.Q.’s can be called gifted, but what about children who “merely” have photographic memories? Here is one definition that’s been circulating for over 20 years: “Children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment”
(U.S. Department of Education).

Will He or She Earn Only A’s?

One part of the gifted puzzle, then, is a child being able to outperform his or her classmates. This should translate into getting all A’s, correct? Sometimes, but not all the time. In some cases, a gifted child may be so bored in her classes that she simply gives up. Because the material does not challenge her intellectually, she could end up earning D’s instead of A’s. When questioned, this child may be able to give all the correct answers; however, she sees no need to prove it.

How Will He or She Act?

Another clue a child may be gifted, besides the fact that he acts bored in class, is his intensity. Gifted children often exhibit an extreme focus on a single subject for a long period. For instance, my own son became mesmerized by Japanese culture at an early age after learning to recognize the flags of the world. From that point on, he focused on everything that had to do with Japan, from completing a proper tea ceremony, to mastering the Japanese martial art of Kendo, to learning the language itself. This fascination culminated in two extended trips to Japan while still in school, and after his college graduation, he was hired by the Japanese government. As you can see, a gifted child may exhibit an “eyes on the prize” mentality, whether it be for science, dance, language, or a specific sport.

In addition to being intense, gifted children may also act like mini-adults. They feel empathy for others more deeply, and they can converse with much older people with ease by the time they reach elementary school. This is not to say that they have perfect manners, but they get both sarcasm and nuances of meaning.

Be Your Child’s Advocate

If you suspect your child may be gifted, ask the school district for help with an assessment. There’s nothing sadder than a child with amazing potential who is not being challenged intellectually.

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