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Determine if Your Young Child is Gifted?

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How to Determine if Your Young Child is Gifted

As early as infancy, is apparent that some children develop more quickly than others the same age. The awareness of having a young child who is ahead makes many parents wonder if their child is gifted. This is an exciting time as parents ponder the possibilities for their child. It is also a time for concern as parents wonder how to help their child develop to his or her full potential and think about what will happen when their child enters school.

Deciding to Test Your Child
I.Q. testing for a very young child is a controversial topic, even among professionals. Parents should ask themselves why they want to quantify their child's abilities, and be clear on what they believe they will do differently when they receive the score. Testing merely to validate or vindicate a parent's belief that a child is gifted is costly and may put unnecessary pressure on the child. Preschoolers run the risk of receiving lower than expected scores for many reasons-feeling hungry, under the weather, or even just plain "cranky". Interestingly, parent observations tend to provide a fairly accurate indication of early giftedness.
Encouraging Your child's development
When a child is so obviously bright that others notice and comment, a big challenge for parents is to keep the focus on the love and excitement for learning, rather than the child's exceptional accomplishments. It is important to carefully guard the feeling that learning is fun.

Preschoolers have a "supercharged" brain that actually burns twice the glucose of an adult brain. This is a perfect time to use enrichment to establish a permanent foundation for successful learning. Incorporate music activities into your child's day. Learn a second language with your child. Explore the world around you - starting in your own backyard - and talk about what you find. Use the world as your learning center!

Determine if Preschool is Appropriate
With such eager learners it can be tempting to add academic drill to the day. However, such seemingly simple things as consistently reading to and playing with your child do wonders for their development. A bright child, who finds preschool to be unpleasant, repetitive, and too structured, can quickly become disillusioned with classroom learning. That's why the selection of an appropriate preschool, as well as the development of good attitudes toward school and learning in the early years, is so important.

Next Steps
For the young child who has already mastered skills taught in preschool, it is essential for parents to find out what other options are available in their community. State gifted associations and local parent groups can be an excellent place to meet and talk with others who have similar questions or who have had experience with area programs.

More Information

Read NAGC's Parenting for High Potential articles, "The Importance of Being Early: A Case for Preschool Enrichment" and "Parenting Young Gifted Children".

ERIC Digect article "Nurturing Giftedness in Young Children".

Read the article, "Is your child gifted?".

Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture Your Child's Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy Emotions from Birth through Adolescence by Marian Diamond Plume Books (1999)

Raising Musical Kids: A Guide for Parents by Robert Cutietta

"The Art of Music".

Booklets from the National Research Center on Gifted and Talented: "Parents Nurturing Math-Talented Young Children" and "Reading with Young Children".

© Copyright 2005 National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). All rights reserved. This page may be reproduced and distributed without prior written consent. For more information on gifted education and high potential youth, please visit Revised 5/05

NAGC is a nonprofit organization of parents, teachers, educators, community leaders who united to address the unique needs of all children and youth with demonstrated gifts and talents as well as those who may be able to develop their talent potential with appropriate educational experiences.