Parents often wonder if their child is gifted, or at least is an intellectual person.
According to a National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), around 6% of the student population in the US is academically gifted. How can you tell if your child is ahead of the curve – if he/she has any of these traits:
- He/she is a very fast and efficient learner
- Is loquacious (has a large vocabulary for his/her age)
- Strong memory
- Prefers order
- Has a creative flair
- Extremely curious
- Has an avid interest in science or literature
- Open to his environment
- Emotionally secure
- Power of reasoning
- Makes good grades in most subjects
- Highly resourceful
- Tends to dominate peers – signs of a good leader
Even if the term ‘giftedness’ has different meaning across countries and institutions, as per NAGC, “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10 percent or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”
What is important to understand that ‘giftedness’ is often a result of environmental and genetic factors. Both of these affect the way a brain works and develops. While the above symptoms are usually common in gifted children, it’s also common to find children who are gifted in one area (verbal skills, for example). To cite an instance, a baby with excellent verbal skills but average non-verbal reasoning skills may still have excellent memory and be called ‘gifted’.
While some of these talents can be nurtured (such as interest in art, music, nature and sports) it is important as parents to always be supportive of the child. Remember that being labeled as gifted comes with its own burden, often leaving the child uncomfortable and depressed. Besides, however is the child, gifted or non-gifted, it is important to recognize his/her skills and work together as parents to hone that.