What are the early signs of giftedness? Every parent believes that their children are smart but how can you tell if your child is just above average or truly gifted. Deciding the meaning of the term, “gifted” has always been controversial. Most parents and teachers have their own definition of gifted which can lead to problems when gifted children reach school age. That is why it is important for parents to understand how to recognize the early signs of giftedness in their children.
Early Signs of Giftedness
Parents are the first educators in a young child’s life. If you are aware that your child is exceptional then you can encourage and nurture his abilities. Below are some early signs of giftedness put together by Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D, from Brainy-Child.com.
Birth – 2 years
The following checklist is a rough indication of what you may want to look out for after your child is born up to 2 years of age.
* Ability of recognize carers early (within a few months after birth)
* Early expressions (e.g. smiling)
* Unusual alertness
* Interest in books (turning pages of books before 1 year of age and paying attention when read to within 6 months)
* Interest in computers
* Unusually active and high levels of energy (but not hyperactive)
* Playing with shape sorters by about 11 months.
* Ability to form two word phrases by 14 months
* Ability to understand instructions by 18 months
* Ability to say and understand many words before 18 months
* Could stay still and enjoy a TV programs (e.g., Sesame Street) by the age of 1
* Has favorite TV shows/VCD/DVDs by age 1
* Appears to require less sleep (yet not sleepy or irritable due to lack of sleep)
* Recognition of letters/alphabets by age 2
* Recognition and rote counting of numbers 1 – 10 or higher by age 2
* Recognition of colors by age 2
* Recognition of first word by age 2
* Interest in puzzles by age 2
* Has long attention span in interest areas by age 2
* Ability to form at least 3 word sentence by age 2
* Interest in time by age 2
2 – 4 years
The following includes all/most skills in the checklist above.
* Early and extensive language development and vocabulary, forms grammatically correct sentences as compared to peers
* Interest in computers (not video games)
* Ability to solve a 20-piece puzzle by age 3
* Has a vivid imagination (includes having imaginary friends)
* Extraordinary feats of memory
* Extreme curiosity and asks many questions
* Specific talent (if any), such as artistic ability or an unusual facility for numbers – becomes more apparent by age 4
* Ability to memorize and recall facts easily
* Early development of a sense of humor
* Ability to do one-to-one counting for small quantities by age 3
* Recognition of simple signs and own written name by age 3
* Ability to write letters, numbers, words, and their names between 3 and 4 years
* Ability to read easy readers by age 4
* Rather independent on the computer by age 4
* Demonstration of musical aptitude just after 2
* Ability to do simple addition and subtraction by age 4
* High degrees of mathematical understanding by age 4
If the above sounds a lot like your child you can help him succeed in school by exposing him to educational activities at home. When your child shows an interest in something you can turn that interest into a fun and rewarding experience that encourages learning. For example, if your son likes dinosaurs take him to a dinosaur museum, check out books on dinosaurs at your local library or play with dinosaur toys with your child.
Reading with your gifted child is also very important. Make sure you read to her every single day. Your home library should cover a variety of different topics to encourage learning. Expose your child to as much as you can to broaden his interest.
If your child is not in school yet you may be concerned about what might happen to her when she reaches kindergarten and beyond. Your local school district may not have a program designed for gifted children. Your three year old may already be reading books and doing first grade mathematics, however keeping him with his peers will be highly beneficial socially when he reaches age five. Getting involved with an advocacy group such as The National Association for Gifted Children
will help you encourage gifted education programs in your school district.
Below are some other resources you may find helpful if you have a gifted child.
Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, Edward R. Amend, Janet L. Gore
This is the first book that parents of gifted children should read. Raising a gifted child is both a joy and a challenge, yet parents of gifted children have few resources for reliable parenting information. The four authors of this award-winning book, who have decades of professional experience with gifted children and their families, provide practical guidance in areas such as: characteristics of gifted children; peer relations; sibling issues; motivation & underachievement; discipline issues; intensity & stress; depression & unhappiness; educational planning; parenting concerns; finding professional help; and much, much more.
Do you believe your child is gifted? What have you done to encourage his abilities and giftedness? Does your school district have a program for advanced learners? Giftedness should be encouraged and embraced. Children shouldn’t have to be stuck at a level below their abilities just because the teacher wants her students to “catch up” before moving on to another topic. Encourage your child’s unique abilities through educational activities in your home. After all, you are his first teacher.