A child may be termed as gifted if he or she demonstrates, or has the potential for, unusually high talent in academic subjects, leadership, or creative pursuits. Most often, these gifted kids develop at a greater speed than their peers. However, this does not mean that gifted children always do well in school. The environment plays a crucial role in nurturing giftedness in children, just as it does in developing the abilities of children with lower abilities. A child could be born with the potential for great ability – but if unrecognised, that talent simply remains untapped.

How do you know if your child is gifted?

Children start exhibiting a variety of behaviours from a young age. It is also during this period of time that they require the most attention from parents, so that their potential can be discovered and further developed into real skill sets – which will benefit them later in life.

In fact, a research brief titled “The importance of communication skills in young children” by the University of Kentucky, stated that appropriate stimulation helps all areas of children’s development, while limited stimulation can significantly hinder a child’s development. So, whether your child grows up to be “gifted” may also be partially determined by your interactions with them during their early years.

Here are some tell-tale signs that your child is gifted:

Learning abilities:
Although all children have an innate desire to learn about the world around them, gifted children are able to do this with exceptional ease. Gifted kids have brains like mental sponges, and are able to understand concepts very quickly without much explanation. He or she is able to memorise new information very quickly and accurately.

Academic ability:
Gifted children demonstrate consistently good grades across different subjects and are able to understand all lessons learnt in school and complete assignments without much guidance. They usually have a clear understanding of their own learning processes and may resist methods introduced by their teachers or parents, preferring their own ways of learning. Gifted kids usually are able to tell just how much, and what kind of, studying they need to do to master a topic.

Most children are able to form sentences and understand complex language by about the age of two. Gifted kids often reach these milestones earlier and compared to other children, possess an exceptionally large vocabulary. Words that gifted children use are more sophisticated than those of other children their age, and they are able to express themselves clearly and argue their points eloquently using longer and more complex sentences. Many gifted children will have already acquired reading skills before entering school.

Gifted children display a great curiosity about objects, situations, and events, and ask provocative questions. Gifted kids also tend to become highly focused on specific areas of interest and are avid self-learners. When asked questions, they often provide very alert and rapid answers. In fact, gifted children have a deep well of knowledge and seem to know more about the world around them than expected.

Other characteristics
Gifted children also demonstrate a high ability in divergent thinking, and are independent and anti-authoritarian. They tend to need time to think, are highly sensitive, and thrive in a supportive environment.

Challenges faced by gifted kids:
Gifted children have relatively low tolerance for boredom, and may struggle in school if not mentally stimulated. Restlessness often leads to behavioural problems, and these children are often labelled as underachievers, or incorrectly diagnosed as “hyperactive”.

Another problem faced by gifted children is that because they often have different interests from their peers, they may often feel alienated in school. Gifted children may also face emotional stress and anxiety as they may have higher expectations from themselves, and may push themselves to attain unrealistic goals.

How do I really know?
It may be confusing at times to know if a certain exhibited behaviour is a genuine trait of a gifted child. In addition, it is vital that problems your child might be facing in his or her learning process are identified and recognised by parents early, so that the problems can be resolved with early interventions, before they become irreversible.

Given that every child is unique and special in their own way, it is not an easy task to distinguish a real talent trait and potential learning problem of a child, by simply observing and guessing. Guessing is gambling. We can’t afford to gamble away our child’s future.

A practical way would be to go for the Inborn Talent Genetic Test. These tests can (rather accurately) help parents to identify their children’s hidden talents – talents that may not be obvious at a young age. It also reveals some personality traits that the child may possess, judging from his or her genetic make-up, and help parents adopt the right and effective child discipline accordingly.

Although it may seem a shame to let your child’s natural talents go to waste, care needs to be taken to develop your child as a whole person, with consideration for his or her wellbeing. Nurturing right means ensuring your little ones develops into outstanding and successful individuals, in all areas of their lives.