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Nurturing Gifted Children

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: Hi my name is Audrey I have a little girl she just tuned 3 in 1/24. She can read at a grade k level and loves math or numbers. she started talking at age 1. Aly that is her name. she talks to you with such pashion and logic some times me and my husbend forget she is three how could I tell if she is gifted. Or should I just wate untill she is in school to test her. People always say send her to pr school but she already knows all of that kind of stuff. Sorry for my horable riting I am blind. I am so proud of her.

A: There are many ways to check if your child has distinct characteristics associated to giftedness (apart from testing) and for someone so young a checklist would be a good indicator. Having said that, for young children, parents may be the best bet to determine giftedness in their children.

Your little girl does sound quite bright for her age based on your description. For now, she may be a little young to be tested but you may want to observe her distinct traits and nurture them further. I am sure you are doing a great job keep on with the good work. At her age, she needs a lot of free play activities that involves exploration to stimulate her curious mind. Some guidance may be needed from adults and here you can help, especially in selecting appropriate materials (especially books) for her educational needs. She would also need some bit of outing to explore things around her in a different way. This is because children with gifted tendencies may get bored doing similar activities in the same environment. Encourage her interests; since she reads well, allow her to choose books that she may want to read from the library or book store and get her a lot of mathematically-based activities to further stimulate her interest in numbers. If possible, try to get on a parents' network that deals with issues on giftedness in your area (support group or associations). This can indeed be a very helpful source for you to understand and cater to her needs.

Pre schools (nursery or play schools) are not only for educational needs, but also to help children learn to socialize, especially when this opportunity is not an option at home. You may want to consider sending her to a good play school which may help further develop her potential. Speak to the teachers beforehand about her gifts and have regular meetings with the school to monitor her progress.

Keep up with the good work and I am sure Aly would have a smooth ride on the learning journey. Here's wishing you the very best in nurturing this special child.


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