How to Recognize a Gifted Child

April 5, 2019
In order to recognize a gifted child or a child with high intellectual capacity, you should see a specialist. However, it's possible for parents to detect some important signs to help recognize them and support the child's full potential.

A gifted child understands and processes reality differently. Unfortunately, their high intellectual capabilities may lead them to be misunderstood by the world around them.

Some may consider that a child with high academic performance or one that is able to acquire multiple and diverse fields of knowledge early in life is a gifted child. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, gifted children’s abilities includes gifts and talents that require proper education so that they can reach their full potential for their own benefit and for that of society.

However, it’s also important for them to be happy children. In this regard, parents play an important role to recognize if they have a gifted child.

What Does it Mean to Be a Gifted Child?

When it comes to high intellectual capacities, it’s becoming more and more common to call children “gifted.” This concept encompasses certain abilities, talents, and intellectual precocity.

However, in order to simplify the concept and make it more understandable, it’s often determined that a gifted child has an IQ equal to or greater than 130.

Being a gifted child means having a superior intelligence. A child with a good academic performance who’s very talented in arts, sports or learns how to speak at an early age isn’t necessarily gifted.

Read this article, too: Science States Intelligence Is Inherited From The Mother

How to Determine if Your Child is Gifted

Gifted child playing piano

Many parents find it difficult to have a child that’s different from the others. No matter how much you may try, it’s challenging to understand that a child doesn’t respond or behave according to the pattern of average children of their age.

In fact, a gifted child can also have a very difficult childhood, because they see too much information and stimuli than they can handle. The world that surrounds them might seem to be incomprehensible and even hostile toward their capabilities.

Parents play a key role in ensuring the development and happiness of a child gifted. To do so, it’s possible to detect some key features of gifted children early in the home.

Intellectual Precocity

A gifted child will acquire early intellectual or psychomotor milestones. As babies, they may be quite demanding because they can get overstimulated easily.

They may raise their head within the first month of life, vocalize two different sounds at the age of 45 days, or may even say their first words before the age of one. Also, they may speak before the age of two or write before the rest of their peers.

These children have a precise vocabulary that’s rich and very broad for their age. They often have a prodigious short and long-term memory. They learn very quickly and they’re curious to learn more.

Emotional and Sensory Hypersensitivity

A gifted child is very emotionally and sensorily sensitive. Thus, their emotional intensity may confuse their parents because they don’t know how to understand their excessive emotions in their reactions.

They may be children who have a low frustration tolerance that often explode with enormous temper tantrums. These children may even overreact when watching a sad or scary movie.

Many gifted children have a high and intense ability to be empathetic with other beings. It’s not uncommon for them to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Unfortunately, there is still very little known about their sensorial hypersensitivity, and it’s not really understood. They may be bothered by the label of their clothing, loud sounds, bright lights, etc.

Highly Creative

A gifted child is often very creative because they perceive reality differently. They’re very imaginative. Due to their sensory perception being greater than everyone else, they can come up with a lot solutions when it comes to dealing with problems.

These type of children may question authority and the rules if they’re not explained well and when they don’t make sense to them. Gifted children are very skillful at coming up with a solution, but even more so at asking questions their parents having troubles answering. At a very early age, they may be concerned about existential matters such as life, death, the existence of God or love.

They usually enjoy cognitive games like puzzles or jigsaw puzzles. Also, they may opt for games that impose increasingly complex challenges.

Psychomotor Hypersensitivity

Gifted children may be constantly on the move. They have a surplus of energy that’s difficult to expend. They’re enthusiastic and need to be physically or cognitively active.

It’s very common to mistakenly give them a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) because their boredom leads them to put their surplus energy in being in constant motion.

However, they’re very far from having attention problems. On the contrary, they have a high capacity of concentration when performing a task of their interest. On the other hand, they can be very distracted if they’re not interested.

Check out this article, too: Signs of Attention Deficit Disorder in Children

Evolutionary Dyssynchrony

Gifted child imagining

This term is used by psychologists to describe an uneven evolution in development. Children with a high capacity may be worried about existential matters, and in turn may react with a huge tantrum over the loss of a toy.

It also happens that gifted children want to do things that involve using their thoughts and imagination. However, they can’t do them because of their age and level of motor skills don’t allow them to. Thus, you may have a child who has an intellectual evolution that doesn’t correspond to their development at other levels, such as their emotional or motor skills. This can cause them great frustration.

How Do You Educate a Gifted Child?

The educational system doesn’t always have the capacity to meet the demands of these children, who may even be seen as a burden or problematic. This can lead to disappointment, both personally and academically.

Raising a gifted child isn’t easy because they may have a complex temperament. They’re easily distracted, self-critical, perfectionists and competitive, with a great sense of independence. Therefore, they need their family and schooling not to be excessively rigid and be open to stimulate their development.

To find out if your child has high capacities, you need a comprehensive assessment done by an expert. This should include intellectual quotient, creativity, life history, and emotional state.

Beyond the outcome of the evaluation, appreciate and educate your child keeping in mind the enormous potential a gifted child has. It’s far from being a problem. It’s a blessing.