- By Mary Caldwell For the AJC
Just about every parent has heard their child say something that seems advanced for his age. Or seen her show off an impressive new skill and wondered, "Is my child is gifted?" Of course, each child has special talents and interests, but giftedness is usually identified in specific ways.
What does it mean to be gifted and what traits could indicate that your child falls into this category?
What does gifted mean?
The National Association for Gifted Children defines being gifted as having abilities that are significantly above the norm for a child's age. A child can be gifted in one or more ways - intellectually, creatively, artistically - or may excel in a specific academic field such as language arts or math. A child who is gifted may stand out in one field, but not necessarily another.
Giftedness is believed to be a byproduct of both genetics and environment. No precise number of gifted children is known, but many experts consider children who are in the top ten percent compared to national or local norms to be gifted.
What are some signs that your child might be gifted?
The most important thing to consider when determining whether your child is gifted at an early age is how he or she compares to other children of the same age, according to Psychology Today. Look for consistent differences and pay attention to whether teachers, relatives and other people mention the same traits that you see, which can help rule out the bias parents naturally feel toward their own kids.
The following are some of the traits you may notice in your child if he or she is gifted:
What should you do if you think your child is gifted?
Giftedness is often identified in school, with a teacher recommending tests combined with written observations, according to BabyCenter. If you think your child may be gifted, you can ask that he or she be evaluated by the school or independently by a professional who specializes in administering tests and measuring performance.
If your child is found to be gifted, you can find out more about the specific area or areas they excel in. Realize, though, that giftedness doesn't necessarily mean academic perfection.
How do you encourage a gifted child?
These tips from Parenting can help stimulate your child's natural abilities: