Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How Can I Tell If My Child Is Gifted? - Don't Rely on School/District to Tell You: Here is a Checklist

Parents often wonder, sometimes to themselves- sometimes out loud, "is my child gifted and talented?" In order to help, please look over the following list of characteristics of the gifted. If your child seems to have between 50% and 75% of these traits, you should contact your school administration and ask for your child to be observed and (possibly) tested for inclusion into your district's G&T program immediately. The following article by Dr. Sandhu is very informative.  My general advice is do not relay on schools or your district to identify your gifted child. -Dr. Petrosino

Characteristic of Gifted Children 

To recognize if a child is gifted, there are numerous characteristics that are distinct to gifted individuals and quite easily observable, especially for parents. The following description would give a rough indication of these characteristics.

By the broad category of giftedness, characteristic traits are listed as general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, creative thinking and production, leadership, psychomotor ability, visual and performing arts. More specifically, if your child demonstrate about three quarter of the following characteristic traits, it is likely that s/he is gifted.

  • Variety of Interests
  • Excellent memory
  • Long attention span
  • Unusual curiosity 
  • Persistence in attacking difficult mental tasks
  • Creative ability/Divergent thinking skills
  • Good problem solving/reasoning abilities
  • Rapid learning ability
  • Leadership qualities
  • High degree of energy
  • Above average language development
  • Early/avid reader
  • Preference for older/matured companions
  • Unusual emotional depth and intensity 
  • Heightened sensitivity
  • Non-conformity behavior
  • Above average ability with numbers/jigsaw puzzles
  • Keen powers of observation
  • Vivid imagination
  • Good sense of humor
  • Sense of justice and moral sensitivity
  • Perfectionism
  • Apparent maturity in judgment

Researches on giftedness indicate that the best way to identify giftedness in your child is by carefully observing his behavior, not by formal testing of IQ especially if the child is very young. The best age to do an IQ test is still debatable. I suppose, as soon as the child is able to read/write and understand questions; s/he may be able to do such tests without much bias. Most of the indicators of giftedness become evident even before a child turns one! So perhaps that's when you may be able to look out for some of the indications listed above. However, do be aware that your child may not necessary be gifted in all areas.

On intelligence testing, the accuracy of an IQ test is still questionable. Nevertheless, it is still the single best predictor to test general intelligence. Intelligence and giftedness are not synonymous - as thought by many. Gifted individuals have different abilities, talents, and personalities. Even so, a sizeable proportion of the individuals categorized as gifted are distinguished from their non-gifted counterparts by virtue of superior general intelligence, which is measured by intelligence tests. This is how giftedness becomes associated with intelligence.