Not all gifted children are alike in their giftedness – that’s one point at the top that bears mentioning. While difficult to generalize, a gifted child is usually recognized as one whose intellectual ability is significantly higher than the average for their age group. But the similarities stop there. One gifted child might be socially awkward and withdrawn, while another might be charismatic and socially fluent. One might excel at sports, while another struggles with basic physical tasks. In short, there are a wide variety of gifted children.
And it’s not always easy being gifted, either. The increased demands for perfectionism can weigh heavily on a child whose only error – they might think – was being more intellectually inclined than others. That’s why if you have been searching for a child psychologist to assess your child for giftedness, it’s good, as well, to talk to them about how to match their curriculum and programming properly to their level of ability. Intellectual curiosity and passion can be a great benefit to a child’s wellbeing, if respected and handled correctly.
Assessment by a psychologist is important when dealing with a gifted child; relying on school evaluation alone can be tricky, as they may under-identify for reasons like lack of attention or organizational skills. With that in mind, here is a list of 5 signs (by no means comprehensive, but a good starting point) for telling if your child might be gifted. If your child meets some or all of these criteria, look into getting a gifted assessment from a psychologist.
Does your child like to participate in adult conversation, perhaps at your dinner parties where subjects like science or politics come up? Their precociousness might seem precious to everyone at the table, but under their actions and vocabulary lay a deep desire to connect with more complex issues. If their vocabulary and reading comprehension are higher than average, and if their sentence structures more complex, pay attention, as they might be asking for a more challenging curriculum.
Following Long Instructions
The ability to internalize and follow long instructions is an indicator of giftedness. For instance, if you were to ask them, “go in that store, ask where the cereal aisle is, pick the cereal with the lowest calorie count per serving, take it to the checkout, pay for it with this bill and ask for the change back in quarters”… that’s a long, multi-step instruction! The ability to follow that shows great memory and comprehension.
If your child can easily recall conversations, or things they saw and learned, they could be gifted. Memory underpins a lot of other intellectual capacities, like scientific knowledge and vocabulary.
A Passion For Learning
Does your child have a long concentration span? Do they take evident delight in learning new things and exploring new topics? An unusually robust intellectual curiosity is certainly an indicator of giftedness, and should be followed up with assessment by a psychologist.
Finally, emotional sensitivity, often coupled with a strong sense of ethics and a great capacity for empathy, could indicate giftedness. An appreciation of natural beauty and art is also something to look out for, and to nurture.
Again, if you think your child might benefit from the gifted identification, or if you just want to ensure that your child’s curriculum and learning are matching their intellectual needs, visit a psychologist for an assessment.