- About 3 million U.S. kids in grades K-12 are considered gifted.
- Advocacy organizations for gifted children have checklists that describe the common traits of gifted kids.
- Signs of early giftedness include intellectual curiosity, unusual memories, and early speaking and reading development.
- Gifted kids sometimes feel disconnected to other children; social and emotional growth is just as important to a child’s development.
Did your daughter skip her ABCs and go straight to reading full sentences? Does your son play Chopin on the piano instead of “chopsticks?” Must be time to call Mensa.
According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), about 6 percent of the student population in the United States is academically gifted. That’s approximately 3 million US kids in grades K-12.
How can you tell if your child is really ahead of the curve? Organizations like NAGC and the American Association of Gifted Children at Duke University say there are common traits to look for in areas like language, emotional/social skills, and intelligence. Here are some signs of early giftedness:
- Your child speaks at a very early age and has a large vocabulary. Speaking not only in advanced phrases but also in complete sentences early on is typical.
- Your child is an early reader with a preference for advanced topics. Forget Harold and the Purple Crayon. Your child is reading at several levels above the typical age group and would prefer a book on art history.
- Unique hobbies and interests fascinate very bright children. Gifted kids usually have a very detailed knowledge of certain subjects. They’d rather discuss bird watching than Big Bird. And they’d rather discuss it with adults, not kids.
- A quick capacity for learning and retention combined with an intellectual curiosity make your baby Einstein an original thinker with strong reasoning skills.
- Extremely bright children have long attention spans with a high energy level. They have unusual memories and enjoy numbers, puzzles, and mazes. They also tend to be perfectionists.
If you notice more than one or two of these characteristics in your child, consider having an assessment performed by an educational psychologist or child development expert. The testing can assess problem-solving skills, language, math, and non-verbal and spatial capabilities.
Remember that being labeled as “gifted,” which is typically determined by IQ scores and the label may change from state to state, can sometimes make a child feel different and uncomfortable interacting with kid peers. Social and emotional growth is just as important as a child’s intellectual development. By introducing them to other interests like sports, art, or music, you help to balance their overall well-being.