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Educational Program for Gifted Children

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son is now nearly 3 years old, and at around 1.5 years, he only took about 1 week to recognize the 26 alphabet and reads out loud everywhere when he sees the letters. At around 2 years old, he is very fond of all kinds of automobiles, and he can recognize over 20 model types of the car. He regularly reads the CAR magazines. Again he always reads the car brands out whenever he sees them. At around 2.5 years old, he can calculate simple addition or subtraction maths. He seems to have photographic memories and he is excellent at memorizing all the things he hears, such as relatives' telephone numbers, spells names .... Is he gifted?

I wonder which directions we should follow to raise this boy? We are living in Hong Kong, and are there any "bright kids" special education program that is suitable for him? He will attend an ordinary kindergarten this September. But I am a bit worried that he would feel boring because he already knows that kind of knowledge. Thank you very much for your kind advice.

A: Yes, your son is certainly gifted! And there is a lot of effort for you here if you want to develop his potential to the maximum. It would have been good if you had placed him in a play school, just to help him develop socially as well.

For now, if you can admit him in a good pre-school, it would be advantageous for him. I am afraid an ordinary kindergarten may not benefit him much as from what you had written, I believe that he is very advanced for his age. If there are no special schools around, e.g., Montessori or other specialized pre-school centers that cater for individual development of a child, an ordinary kindergarten is fine. Having said that, you have to put in a lot more effort to help him at home.

There is a high chance that he may be bored with the lessons at pre-school. You may also want to speak to the school principal to promote him to a higher level based on his proven abilities. Explain your worries. Teachers are usually dedicated and would work at the best interest of the child. If this is a private school, they may request for a higher fee which is alright is their efforts are justified. Once he has started school, find out what he feels about school. It is important for him to learn interpersonal skills to help his emotional and social development and a school does just that among other learning. Make sure you keep in good contact with his teachers on his progress, but at the same time try not to push the teachers too much as they have to tend to other kids as well and may be put-off. If you feel that school is not doing him justice in terms of his cognitive development, make sure you are able to provide him with that extra learning which is appropriate for his mental rather than chronological age.

Good luck!


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