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Confirmation on Giftedness

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter displays many of the characteristics of being gifted, but I have no idea how to gain confirmation of this. Who would I need to contact?

I have spoken to my daughters Head Teacher about her behaviour at home which is getting worse, but she is fine at school. I have also been in touch with the School Nurse who has suggested parenting courses and one to ones at school.

Please help! I'm at my wits end with her! She is only 8.

A: The single best predictor for giftedness for a child would be an intelligence test. A standardised intelligence test would be able to help you gauge her cognitive abilities. Obviously the more comprehensive the test, the more detail the description. It is best to seek help from a gifted education specialist but there are many educational psychologists who are able to administer a test. Ask the school to refer you to a recommended one.

As you have not indicated her behavioural issues, it is hard to advise here. Gifted children come with specific issues and mainly behavioural issues are due to some of the distinct characteristics they have. For instance, gifted children who are perfectionists find it hard to tolerate imperfection is everything they do or others do. They also easily bored with routine work and rote learning. Some are cognitively very advanced but emotionally age appropriate but adults expect similar development; causing disagreement between adults and child. All these would be manifested in their behaviour. As for your daughter, she is very young and probably not capable of handling her emotions. She may not be challenged, or may be unhappy with something, or starting to feel differently or even being bullied at school. As she is comfortable at home, she only manifests such behaviours at home.

If you feel that you are not able to understand her behaviour or handle her, do seek professional help before it gets worse. Read up about parenting gifted children - there are many helpful sites that offer tips. More importantly, if she is gifted, she may have heightened sensitivity and yelling or punishing her may not be of much help. Talk to her when she is calm and show her that you are trying to understand her. Explain your feelings as well. A good number of gifted child do hurt easily due to heightened sensitivity, so more than anything else, they may need your love, time, attention and understanding. Being involved in what she enjoys and spending time together helps a lot. Wishing you success in your journey!


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