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Every now and then, we read newspaper articles or hear media reports about children who are gifted. These gifted students show exceptional potential in certain academic fields (such as math, science and the languages or arts) or distinguish themselves through their intellect or abilities. You can see some good examples on  http://blog.ted.com/9-talks-by-impressive-kids/.  

And sometimes, within our own family or friend’s circle, we see children who show enormous potential by displaying traits like talking or reading very early, exceptional math or science skills, or an early interest in arts.

Did you know that these were the qualities of a gifted child?

Yes,  the gifted child is one who is naturally endowed with a high degree of general mental ability or extraordinary ability in a specific sphere of activity or knowledge.

Meaning:  The term GIFTED means having exceptional talent or natural ability.

History: Francis Galton first used the term GIFTED to refer to adults who demonstrated outstanding talent in some areas. Later, Lewis Terman expanded Galton’s term GIFTED to children with high IQ.

Since then, the term GIFTED is used to refer to children with high intellectual abilities.

Is your child GIFTED?

HOW TO IDENTIFY THE GIFTED CHILD?

Here are a few of the indicators that signal that a child is gifted. Children display one or more of these characteristics

  1. Displays high Intellectual ability and enjoys intellectual activities
  2. Exhibits high levels of logical and mathematical skills  
  3. Thinks logically and is able to solve problems.
  4. Thinks out of the box – has “blue-sky” dreams or ambitions.
  5. Thinks creatively and productively.
  6. Displays good language skills – talks at an early age.
  7. Excels in a specific academic field.
  8. Exhibits leadership qualities.
  9. Good organizing ability.
  10. Very curious – always enjoys learning new things and asks lots of questions.
  11. Exhibits good interpersonal abilities –  is able to perceive,  understand other individuals and is empathetic.
  12. Exhibits a good sense of humour.
  13. Consistently sets high goals for oneself.
  14. Exhibits a good memory.

Although some children show these signs at an early age, some others take longer to exhibit their talent. Einstein was one of those late bloomers who did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven. Other examples of late starters were Socrates, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton,  Thomas Edison and others.  In fact, there is a long list of people who showed low mental abilities and were regarded low in their early years of childhood.

So, if your child is not showing any signs of giftedness or is a slow learner, then don’t panic.  Not showing the signs of giftedness early is not an indication that a child is not gifted.

Also, know that,  being labelled as gifted is not an assurance of academic success or success in life.  

If a teacher or parent thinks that a child is gifted, they can confirm this by consulting a Psychologist or a mental health professional who specializes in  administering tests and measuring performance. There are various tests that quantify  a student’s achievement or ability  but,  these tests need to be administered by a skilled professional.

Here is the link to get more information on these tests.

http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/identification/tests-assessments

What NEXT?

Whether or not a child is gifted, their excellence in life depends on the nurturing abilities of parents and upbringing. Nurturing a gifted child is a challenging task as it involves figuring out a way to maximize the potential of the child while creating a secure and positive learning environment.

Here are few tips on the same:

  1. Identify specific domain in which the child shows exceptional talent.
  2. Take a professional’s help to confirm the same.
  3. Provide additional support or coaching in that particular domain.
  4. Give emotional and moral support in developing the overall personality of the child.
  5. Provide a challenging and enriching environment to sharpen these skills.
  6. Always monitor the child’s progress, strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Stress the importance of ethics, discipline, hard work and humanity.

Most importantly, do not to stress the child with too many expectations or push them to exhibit talents that they do not possess. In summary, if there is one thing you should take away from this blog, it is this quote of Einstein:

“Everybody is a genius.  But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

                                                                                                                     Albert Einstein

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