Parents often wonder if their verbally precocious young child is gifted and they are unsure where to turn. When new to the journey of raising gifted kids, parents tend to rely on IQ tests to elicit a number that they hope will provide them with insight into their child. Tests are not the only way to measure intelligence. In fact, they are rarely necessary to determine giftedness when you know what to look for. With many kids, their unique asynchronous attributes punch you in the face letting you know where they fall on the gifted spectrum. Parental observation and experience is often quite spot on when determining a child’s neuroatypical wiring. Advanced cognitive abilities, uneven development and acute sensitivities are the hallmark for giftedness.
If your kid monologues for 20 minutes straight about any topic in great detail, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid knows more than you about most topics and has the research to back it up stored away in his brain, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid has a wild sense of humor and an affinity for the abstract, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid has an imaginary friend or has created a detailed imaginary world with its own language, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid sleeps with dozens of books on his bed, then you may have a gifted kid.
If your kid has the vocabulary of a well-educated adult while still in diapers, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid’s development exceeds most milestones, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid confronts existentialism as a three year old, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid obsesses about his interests with laser focus and all encompassing enthusiasm, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid has a highly developed moral code and a rigid sense of justice, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid is well versed in the plight of all oppressed beings, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your toddler teaches himself to read, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your toddler understands algebra and applies it to every day life, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your toddler can powerfully articulate heartbreak, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your toddler enjoys putting together 200 piece puzzles for hours on end, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your baby has a large vocabulary and starts forming sentences in her first year, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid likes to move his body and talk non-stop in order to release the energy coursing through his veins, then you might have a gifted kid.
- When you take school and a schooling mindset out of the equation then you can observe gifted children expressing themselves authentically. Gifted children are highly curious, deeply inquisitive, incredibly funny and staunchly idiosyncratic. They are asynchronous across most areas of development and are so many ages at once. This one feature of glaring uneven development is the key to determining and understanding giftedness. It can also be incredibly confusing even when you do know its role in the gifted make-up as their intellect screams adult while they are clearly confined to their child like body and emotions. Gifted children are often quite brilliant in some areas and may be completely challenged in others. Many gifted children, boys especially, have a flurry of ideas that easily come out orally but are difficult to produce in the written format. Their hands just cannot keep up with their ideas and it thwarts their written expression. Common sense is often not part of the gifted child’s makeup as their minds tend to focus more deeply on the abstract. While convergent gifted children exist, in theory, I have yet to meet many. Divergent thinking is almost always part of the gifted profile unless the conditioned world has played too much a part in shaping that person’s identity.
Gifted children are often observed doing things that seem just plain odd. My children both tend to squat on tables to read or draw versus sitting in chairs. One child uses almost all objects for other than their intended purpose. They live in a state of going against the grain, effortlessly. Gifted children tend to be non-conformists for a multitude of reasons and this one attribute makes it unhealthy for them to be in situations that don’t honor their authentic zeal.
Gifted children seem to learn through osmosis. They are little innocuous sponges existing in life while absorbing and assimilating relevant information through their pores. They defy the adage that practice makes perfect. For both my children, the mere passage of time improves their knowledge and abilities without having to work at it. While many things come easily to the gifted child, they can be quite disciplined when interested in challenging endeavors. Gifted kids can become so consumed with a passion that their level of knowledge is filled with breadth and depth. The beauty of the unschooled child is that time is not limited so they can pursue their goals and become specialists in their field of study.
Gifted kids tend to have androgynous brains and blur the lines of social convention lending more strength to their idiosyncratic, asynchronous profile. When truly embracing the atypical nature of a gifted child, their uniqueness is allowed to shine freely bringing a sense of joy into the family life. When a gifted child’s nature is stifled to fit into socially acceptable limits, this may thwart optimal development leading to anxiety and depression. Following the child’s lead and supporting his/her true nature is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give. When children feel unconditionally loved, honored and accepted for who they truly are, they are able to develop authentically and with confidence.
If your kid gets so excited to share his wealth of knowledge with you but acts like he is mute in front of others, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid is very sensitive to scratchy clothes, weather, sounds, light, crowds, and scents, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid is intellectually and/or emotionally intense most of the time, you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid enjoys arguing for sport, then you might have a gifted kid.
If your kid’s mind never stops churning and has a hard time winding down for sleep, then you might have a gifted kid.
If some or all of these qualities describe you as well, then you might be a gifted adult.
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