How to tell if your child is gifted?

Giftedness is not just a matter concerning career or academic achievement. There can be different domains, intellectual, leadership, artistic, creative and emotional, wherein the child can be gifted. Gifted children can be extremely sensitive. They may get their feelings hurt quite easily. In some instances, they may get bothered by loud noises or they may be in constant motion due to excess of energy.

All children are special but some are more. Their abilities don’t lessen; they only need more special care for their development. Behaviour, if observed the right way, tells us a lot about the children. When a parent suspects that a child may be special, they should observe whether or not they have problems with vision, hearing, thinking and communication. They may rub their eyes frequently. They may have red eyes and difficulty in following people or objects. They may keep their head tilted backward, forward or at one side. At times, they may even close one eye while looking at distant objects.

Special children, by 4 months of age, may also have trouble in hearing. They may often report earaches, ear allergies and throat infections. Or they may not react to voices or loud noises at all. They may choose to breathe through their mouth. They may have difficulty in understanding what is being said to them. In fact, some special children, by the age of 1 year, may not even recognize or remember the person who is speaking to them. That is why they may not respond to faces or even familiar people.

By the age of 2, gifted children may have trouble in identifying simple body parts or recognizing themselves in the mirror. When they turn three-years-old, they may not be interested in drawing or playing with toys. They may be unable to complete simple puzzles. Special children may not have an active thinking or imagination process. Narrating stories to them may make them feel tired and restless. It may be difficult for them to answer simple questions, if they are hungry, sleepy or if they need anything.

Their inability in expressing clearly what they need or want may be due to problems with communication. That is why special children may choose to be quiet or speak less. Even when they speak they may use a language that adults and parents may not understand. Likewise, they may not even move when they have the ability to do so. With stiff arms and legs, they may sit in an unlikely body posture. By the age of 5, they may stumble while standing on one foot or they may be disinterested in playing on swings.

With age, these strange elements can become a part of the general behaviour of gifted children. When the care they need is not given to them, their minds absorb these elements as general. In social atmospheres, they may fail to do simple tasks which other children of their age may do quite easily. This will only frustrate them more. In severe cases, they may become aggressive or destructive. Breaking things, displaying tantrums, hitting and fighting to communicate their anger will make their behaviour violent.

In certain families, a tradition of giftedness has been observed. These traits often get extended to the family members. This fact may seem absurd. However, in these families these attributes may be considered absolutely normal, since several family members may already be having these. The parents, from such backgrounds, should be more careful for their children. Professional help will be able to assist them for identifying whether or not their children have special needs.

Behavioural problems, along with social differences cause special children to be distanced into their own cocoons. Parents may want to perceive the cause when their children don’t seem to fit in along with other children of the same age, when they get highly focussed on strange subjects or appear more inattentive than they should be. In most of the cases, the cause can largely be an emotional problem.

Knowing the IQ of the child will help in understanding whether the condition is due to disorders like Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Testing can calm parents when they may be bothered with doubts hovering over our child’s abilities. However, testing them before the age of 5 or 9 may not give the accurate results. Whichever be the case, these children may not be great school achievers. Yet they are the most creative. Sometimes, a misdiagnosis can worsen their condition and mental well-being.

Gifted children may seem a mystery, initially. But their creativity and abilities, as opposed to the other, may amaze observers. Their abilities cannot be considered as less. When one endeavours to unravel the mystery, one can understand that the children are blessed with more advanced abilities. These advanced abilities will become more visible, once they are valued.

Special children need to feel that they are in a safe environment. Giving them a task, be it simple or not, can impair their confidence when they are unable to do it. Caregivers should give them the special kind of aid and care they need and deserve. It should also be kept in mind that it is only with observation, and not diagnosis, that one can understand special children and connect better with them.