It is estimated that between five and ten percent of children in the UK could be classed as ‘gifted’, with abilities that are noticeably advanced compared to children of a similar age. While it may appear easy to identify a child who is exceptionally intelligent or talented, gifted children are often misdiagnosed and can become disruptive as boredom sets in. If you feel that your child is unusually advanced in one or more areas of their development, read on to discover the signs that your child is gifted.
What makes a child gifted?
Experts generally agree that both genetics and environment play a role in a child developing giftedness. However, while it is unclear which aspect is more important, any child who does not receive appropriate levels of intellectual stimulation and nourishment is unlikely to reach their full potential.
Is my child gifted?
Although there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ gifted child, there are some characteristics which many gifted and talented children have in common. According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) a gifted child is likely to:
- Read early with great comprehension
- Learn faster with less repetition and practice
- Have a long attention span; may be resistant to interruption
- Understand and makes abstractions earlier; may ignore details
- Be curious and tend to ask complex questions/Like to know why and how things happen
- Be quick to recognise relationships, including cause-effect; may have difficulty accepting the illogical
- Become bored with routine tasks
- Have large vocabulary and expresses himself well
- Be emotionally sensitive/may overreact
- Be a keen and alert observer
- Evaluate facts, arguments, and persons critically/May be self-critical, impatient or critical of others
- Have high energy
- Learn by experimenting and manipulating objects; try to find answers to questions in unusual ways
- Be creative, inventive and original
- Display a highly developed sense of humour; understand jokes that their peers wouldn’t
Are gifted children good at everything?
Although it is not uncommon for gifted children to appear talented in almost everything they do, it is possible for gifted children to only excel in certain subjects. Occasionally a child may be gifted in one area and have a learning difficulty in another. This is known a twice exceptionality.
It is also important to remember that despite their intellectual maturity, gifted children have the same emotional and social needs as any other child of the same age, or even younger, so it is important not to become too focused on their gift at the expense of their emotional development.
When will I know if my child is gifted?
Although most children aren’t officially ‘diagnosed’ until they enter school, many parents will notice that their child has advanced abilities long before they reach school age. For most it comes as little surprise when they discover that their child is indeed gifted.