"Is my child gifted?" That is a question many parents ask. Finding the answer is not always easy because gifted children are individuals. They are as different from one another as non-gifted children are from other non-gifted children. However, gifted children have enough in common to make it possible to determine if a child is gifted or not. One just has to consider several different factors.
Traits and Characteristics:
Parents often wonder if their child is gifted when they see evidence of advanced abilities, for example, early reading, excellent memories, or relating well to adults. They can begin to get a sense of their child's giftedness by looking at lists of characteristics. However, it is important to remember that a child does not have to have all of the traits to be gifted.
Giftedness tends to run in families, so many of the traits that indicate giftedness are common among extended family members. Parents can look at a sign of giftedness and consider it perfectly normal, average behavior. After all, several family members have the same trait. Parents can also look at a list of traits and just be unsure if their child really fits the descriptions, so it's good to compare a child's development to the average developmental milestones. It's also a good idea to see what is considered advanced development.
Super Sensitivities or Overexcitabilities:
Many gifted children have one or more "Supersensitivities." A child may get his feelings hurt very easily or he may be sensitive to loud noises or be bothered by the seams on socks. A child may also have excess energy and be in constant motion. It is important to realize, though, that not all gifted children have these sensitiities.
Differing Views of the Term "Gifted":
One reason parents, and many others, have trouble understanding whether a child is gifted or not is the conflicting definitions of the term "gifted." Not everyone who uses the terms is necessarily referring to the same set of qualities. Learning about the history of the term and the changes in its meaning will go a long way in helping parents understand just what giftedness is and whether their child is gifted.
IQ testing can help parents determine if their child is gifted, although experts recommend that children not be tested before age five and preferably before age nine since results may not be entirely accurate. It is usually not necessary for parents to have their child tested unless it is necessary to advocate for a more appropriate education than what a child is getting. Testing can provide peace of mind for parents who have constant doubts about their child's abilities.