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Nurturing Gifted Twins

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have identical twin boys that are 2 years 9 months. Does it follow that if one is gifted, the other will also be? I do spend time with them on learning (seems to be when they are best behaved), but my observations include:

  • They were extreme sensitivity to sound when they were babies. Someone sneezing, coughing or a phone ringing would upset them.

  • Counting to 20 by age 2, and reciting the alphabet. They can now count to 100.

  • If I write down words randomly they have seen before in a book or on a video, they recognize them.

  • Can spell their names, also other words.

  • Can recite many books. In general an extraordinary memory.

  • Knew colors just after their second birthday, and shapes, including semicircle, diamond, pentagon, hexagon.

  • Generally demanding and intense.

  • Perfectionists. If constructing a toy and it is not perfect, they have a tantrum.

  • Very good vocabulary. Easily pronounce multi syllable word, for months have been able say words like excellent, exercise, mystery, xylophone, saxophone, and long people names.

  • Can construct 5 word sentences with ease, sometimes even 10 word sentences.

  • Know the days of the week, seasons, and solar system.

  • Recently have become very imaginative. Have conversations with their toys I am not sure how best to nurture them.

A: It is highly likely that if one of the identical twins is gifted, they would be as well since they share a 100% of their genetic material. Basically, the description shows that they have most of the traits of gifted children, so you have lots to do!

You are on the right track just by observing and being aware of their gifts. Go on spending learning with them but also always allow them to have their space to explore. It is indeed great that they have each other and are probably very motivated. It is also easier to teach the same things to twins, as one may need to work harder to cater for different age groups. Having said that, you need to be quite careful in observing their likes and dislikes. It can be surprising to find that they may actually enjoy different things. Expose a variety of materials to them and allow them to explore what they enjoy best. For now, work on what interests them. They appear to be in books, so provide them with many different books of a level that is challenging to stimulate their interests further.

Have a variety of outdoor activities to stimulate their senses. If they enjoy science, see if you could take them to a science or discovery museum. Talk to them a lot. Gifted children are like sponges, they absorb very quickly and need to be stimulated all the time, which can be quite tiring for their care givers. At any given opportunity, try to get other significant family members involved in caring for them. Being rather highly sensitive, they are quick to sense frustrations of adults.

It would appear as if they may not need friends since they can be quite occupied with one another but this needs to be carefully observed. At times, they may need be exposed to other children and encourage them to include others in their play. There are many websites on activities for gifted children; you may want to do some reading to help you with ideas on how to nurture them in order to develop their potential to the maximum. Best of luck!


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