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- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Children - Part 1

By Andrew Loh

"Giftedness is an intellectual ability significantly higher than average. It is different from a skill, because someone acquires skills either by learning or by acquiring." - Wikipedia

Some children are born gifted and talented. Giftedness comes naturally to them. Just watch those child prodigies and their stupendous talent! Some of them are extremely versatile in music and arts while others are extraordinarily gifted in studying. Most of them are very young and within the age bracket of 15 years. This display of extreme intelligence, resourcefulness and skillfulness has intrigued everyone including researchers, academicians and scientists apart from those parents who are as puzzled as anyone else is in the world. The facts that words “gifted children”, “giftedness” and “brilliance” are used in the lexicon of child development makes parents interested in learning more about it.

Smart parents need smart answers! They need to know more about child giftedness and its importance. They may also need to learn and understand why gifted children are so special and what makes them so special. Here are some intricate details about child giftedness and gifted children:

Who are gifted and what makes them called “gifted”

Highly gifted children are the special ones may include the following:

  • Some children score very high marks in individual IQ tests – 148+ in Stanford-Binet L-M scores or 140+ in Stanford-Binet Fourth Edition. If your children score such marks, then you can call them extremely gifted.

  • Some children are extremely talented and skillful in music, math and chess right in their childhood.

  • General IQ tests give results of 170 and gifted children often cross a score of 130

Could you please tell me the total numbers of gifted children in the world?

It is very difficult to give an authentic figure. However, according to researchers like Webb, Meckstroth and Tolan, one child in about 2000 children are more likely to be gifted and they may have an IQ value of more than 150. However, children who cross an IQ value of more than 170 are extremely rare and you can expect one child in a million with such a score.

Is my child gifted?

Honestly, you will never know unless he or she is subjected to some IQ tests. However, there are some telltale signs that you can use as a guideline to decide whether your child is gifted or not. Most gifted children exhibit one or many talent and skills in a number of areas. However, these perceived abilities may be hidden and invisible to you especially when a child is studying in a school where the method of teaching is always traditional; such methods depend on conventional rote learning or typical blackboard type of teaching.

Note: If possible, subject your children to IQ testing and make sure that you observe them for some hidden skills and talents.

Tell me the tests used to find out giftedness in my child

The most commonly used test is the Stanford-Binet Form L-M and this test is used to find out giftedness in children who are under the age of thirteen years. Other forms of tests are The Stanford-Binet Form L-M, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-R) or the 1986 Stanford-Binet Fourth Edition (SB: FE). To find out math and mental aptitude abilities, you can use the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Children who are extremely good in match, reasoning and mental aptitude skills usually score higher than 400 in the scholastic tests. Try to find out your children’s score after consulting your physician. In many cases, a gifted child may score very poorly in such tests and such children are usually very good in non-scholastic areas like painting, arts, sculpture, games, sports, field athletics and music. In other words, giftedness means both conventional and unconventional abilities.

Why educating a gifted child is often very difficult

As mentioned before traditional classes are not enough for a gifted child because of the slow pace of learning. Gifted children learn at quicker pace and they face some learning problems in such classes. Gifted children are special in the following issues:

  • Process available learning materials at a faster pace.

  • Learn at increased sensitivity levels.

  • Enhanced awareness about the world around them.

  • Learn at their own pace and impatient at time while learning.

  • Extremely fickle minded and greater emotional sensitivity.

  • Impatient and display of eccentricity at times.

Why gifted children often do very badly in classroom

Most classrooms simply fail to recognize the presence of gifted children in their classes because of the absence of skills and knowledge to identify such students. Gifted children usually face lots of problem while learning and teachers who handle them often miss this for dullness and start neglecting them in the process.

Note: If you feel that your children are gifted, then you will need to work in close cooperation with school authorities and class teachers to let them about problems they are most likely to face in the school.

Will my gifted child have any effect on other children?

Most gifted children are sensitive, intense, passionate and demanding. They may find going very difficult with other children. They also need constant attention and nurturing too. Sometime in the future, they may suddenly display a particular interest in a specific area of study and start pursuing their interest. In many cases, it is possible that there are more than two gifted children within a family especially when patents themselves are gifted and skilled. Giftedness usually does not go away. Giftedness is always hidden and invisible and most gifted children are very bad achievers in a conventional classroom. Unfortunately, most of them are even recognized as gifted and talented.

Note: Never neglect your other children in the event there is a gifted child in your family. Treat all of them equally and find out solutions to find solutions for a troubled gifted child.

The next article Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Children - Part 2 will explain more about giftedness in children and highlight how they display their talent and skills if given a good opportunity.


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