Posted on: 02.09.2015.
Author: Ana G
If your child possesses a vocabulary beyond their age, can learn and retain information quickly, or displays exceptional skill in a particular area, you may have wondered if your child could be gifted. There is no universally-accepted definition of giftedness. The lack of a clear definition of giftedness leaves many parents confused as to exactly what it means to be gifted.
The term “gifted children” was coined by Francis Galton in 1869. Galton considered adults who displayed exceptional talent in a certain area to be gifted. Galton also believed that the children of these gifted adults would inherent the potential to be gifted from the parent and referred to these children as “gifted.”
In the early 1900s, Lewis Terman, the father of gifted education, took Galton’s definition a step further. Terman expanded the definition of gifted to include an IQ of 140 or more; Terman also believed that intelligence tests could be used to predict achievement patterns of an individual over a long period of time.
In 1926, Leta Hollingworth expanded the definition yet again in her book Gifted Children: Their Nature and Nurture. Hollingworth believed that a nurturing home and school environment were instrumental in developing a child’s potential. Hollingworth’s book is considered the first textbook on gifted education.
Kids of above-average intelligence and ability have been described as “gifted” since Hollingworth’s time. Unfortunately, the different ways of defining and characterizing giftedness, even within schools, have muddied the word’s meaning with many nuances.
The idea that gifted kids should be identified as soon as possible is widely accepted. Early intervention allows the child’s unique talents and learning needs to be addressed and nurtured. Determining if a child is gifted requires a collaboration between parents and educators.
Schools typically use traditional methods such as IQ tests, past grades, and achievement test results to evaluate for giftedness. Unfortunately, conventional tests and grades may overlook some gifted students. Some gifted students are even misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other learning disabilities.
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else, and are in a position to spot characteristics that may identify your child as gifted. By becoming familiar with the signs of giftedness, you can collaborate with school officials to ensure your youngster’s potential is not overlooked.
Identifying gifted children can be challenging since no two children are the same or exhibit the same traits at the same time. A gifted child may meet certain developmental milestones earlier than other children. On the other hand, development in other areas, such as physical or emotional development, may lag behind.
There is no standardized set of traits or signs that will definitively tell you if your child is gifted; however, there are some characteristics shared by many gifted children that are easy for parents to identify.
A gifted child will usually display above average learning skills and abilities.
Another characteristic of a gifted child is early language development and advanced communication skills.
Gifted children typically exhibit emotional maturity and behavior characteristics well beyond their age level.
Identifying giftedness in a child can be difficult. There are no clear-cut criteria for defining giftedness and children are diverse, so the process of determining if a child is gifted can be tricky. That is why it is important to rely on your parental instincts. You know your child better than anyone else. You have insight into your child’s behavior and thought processes that teachers and school administrators may miss.
For example, you may see your child solve complex math problems in their head when they are at home; however, they may not score well on standardized tests due to test anxiety. If you believe your child exhibits the characteristics of being gifted, talk to their school right away. Your involvement is an important part of making sure your child’s unique gifts and potential are recognized and developed.