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Signs of Early Creative Giftedness

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a 5 year old little girl that I believe may be gifted. From an early age she has shown signs of being very advanced. When she was 3 she drew a rocket that was three dimensional, she was able to count to 100 and do simple addition at the age of 4. She is now 5 and in kindergarten and her teacher has informed us that she is writing her own sentences and is teaching her classmates how to write sentences. She is extremely creative - for example, she will create her own dot to dot drawings, she writes her own books and plays, and spends most of her spare time drawing or creating something.

She is unbelievable with a pair of scissors and makes the most incredible snowflakes. Her first report card shows that on the following reading scale a b 1 2 3 she is a 4 . In addition she has no needs improvements and in fact has mastered almost every category in the first semester of kindergarten.

She is definitely a leader - and is very quick to point out her peers mistakes. She is extremely sensitive and is a perfectionist. (i.e. she cries if she colors outside of the lines). Because she is an only child - we have never had anything to compare her to. I have not mentioned the word "gifted" to her teacher as I'm afraid that she'll think that I'm one of those typical parents who thinks that their child is brilliant. I'm waiting for her to say the word.

I guess I'm just looking for an expert opinion on some of the things that I've observed so far. These are only a few of the things that we've noticed. Any light you can shed on what I've told you would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

A: From your description, your daughter has definitely demonstrated early signs of above average abilities. It is not common for a 3 year old to make drawing that are three dimensional; this is the ability to make unusual visualization which points out that the individual sees things in new ways. She appears to have a lot of creative talent which should be nurtured at her age so that it does not fade out with time.

If she appears to be very interested in creative arts (as I noticed from your description of her activities), you may want to get her to join any creative arts program if there is one in your area. This will help enhance her skills further with some formal training and a different environment. For her to develop her full potential, she needs to be valued and encouraged both at home and at school. You may need to speak with her teachers about this. If you are concerned about labeling her (which is not surprising as some teachers tend to mark such parents as "over-enthusiastic" or "pushy", etc.), you may address your concerns to the teacher mentioning that you have noticed some above average development. The teachers may be able to describe to you further based on their observations at school.

If your child is indeed gifted, this comes as a "package deal" with other traits that can be annoying to both parents and teachers, for example, bossiness (which can also be viewed as leadership qualities), stubbornness (may be due to frustration as needs are not met; resistance to interruptions), perfectionism (continual worry that things can be done better), excessive questioning (which may annoy a lot of people). Then again, these are the very characteristics which make them successful as adults. Hence, instead of ignoring or punishing them for these traits, it is important to guide them into channeling these abilities into productive behaviors.

As a parent, you may need to create an environment in which it is all right to make mistakes and in which trial and error is recognized as an integral part of learning and creativity. You also must allow your daughter to explore her creative and inquisitive natures by exposing her to the creative arts, at the same time gently guiding her into appropriate educational classes, encouraging her toward challenging and stimulating reading material, helping her find age-mates to share intellectual, emotional, or artistic activities. All in all, providing a nurturing environment in which she can excel is essential. Having said all that, there is a thin line of difference between pushing and encouraging which will determine failure and success. Good luck!


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