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Testing for Giftedness

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter is 3 years old, she will be 4 in October. I want to know if you think that she is a gifted person and if there is anything that I can do to foster her level of giftedness.

When she was 6 months old, she knew every part of her body: head, hands, feet, nose, eyes, elbow, knees, legs etc. She couldn't say them to you, but she could point them out to you if you asked her where they were. When she was 1 if you asked her to get 1 Kleenex, she would get you one Kleenex etc. Her motor skills were excellent, she was doing puzzles (children's size jigzaw puzzles, she was always very alert and attentive, good attention span, listened very well, extremely curious, and creative.

Now that she is 3 - she is using complete adult sentences, her vocabulary is very good, she annunciates words that are really big and she says them clearly, she is always making up songs, creating stories which are completely believable, and is always pretending to play the piano, guitar etc. She has a strong desire to attend school. Just the other day she said that she was in school and was writing her words - she was scribbling inside the lines of notebook paper as if she was writing sentences. She reads signs for fast food restaurants - like Pizza Hut (there is not a picture of a pizza on their sign so she could not be relating it to pizza.)

Is she a gifted child? Is she too young for an IQ test? Do you have any advice?

A: She can be tested for giftedness at 4 years of age, though I do not usually encourage testing very young children for giftedness unless there is a purpose to it. She does show some above average qualities and I am sure that you are doing a great job to nurture those abilities.

For now, it may not be very important to determine if she is gifted, but what is more important is for you to nurture her strengths and expose her to new experiences. At this age, children absorb a lot especially if they find the learning activity meaningful. It would also be a good idea to send her to a play school, if she is not in one. At her age, she also needs to learn to socialize, so any enrichment activity which involves other children would be a good starting point. This is important as school would require socializing and since she has a strong desire to attend school, her lack of skills in socializing can be quite devastating.

Keep nurturing her as best as you can. Please refer to my advice on enrichment activities for gifted toddler to enhance her learning journey. If you feel that you need to test her abilities to help her with her strengths and weaknesses, you may want to look for a good educational psychologist who will be able to test her and interpret the results to you. Best of luck!


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