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Gifted or Average

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have been reading the information on and would like to ask whether my son is brainy or whether its normal for his age. He is 2 years and 4mths old. He can count 1-10 and can identify each number. At the moment he is learning numbers between 10-20 and can nearly identify them all. He has also started to learn letters and spell his name. He knows at least 6 colors and at least six shapes by sight such as rectangle square circle hexagon kite star.

At first I started noticing he would line things up neatly and is very precise. I thought maybe he'll have some form of odc when he is older? he talks very well in sentences sometimes up to 5-6 words. He is also learning car manufactures by being interested in the badges on cars. He can tell me what car is a Ford, Volkswagon or Citron. He picks up on noises such as planes that i cant even hear at first.

Being 2 temper tantrums are very common with him but he is always on the go and wants to touch and investigate everything. He is very active and loves to dance and sing, he picks up the words to songs very quickly. He can name animals and insects. I encourage him to learn as much as possible and interested in finding out whether he is gifted. Many Thanks.

A: As a rule of thumb, gifted children would demonstrate development that is at least 30% more advanced than their peers. At two, it can be hard to determine giftedness, however, parents can tell if their child has a potential for giftedness. Today, it is much harder to determine giftedness since many children are exposed to various activities by parents; these activities actually make them learn faster regardless of ability. All children are like sponges and absorb learning quite rapidly, and enthusiastic parents certainly help in their development. For example, a gifted toddler may learn to read at three, and so will a bright toddler. The earlier one reads the faster learning will take place. However, a gifted child would need much more stimulation and any learning activity needs to match their intellectual capabilities. If it does not, the child would lose interest in learning and may become disillusioned and probably disruptive. On the other hand, a bright child would do well in most learning environment and would usually be toppers. They adapt to learning quite easily and are viewed as "good, obedient children". Naturally, a bright child is easier to nurture compared to a gifted child.

Your son does show above average qualities. At this point, though, I would suggest that instead of labeling your child, give him the best that you can in terms of his learning exposure. The activities suggested for young gifted children are suitable for most children as well. Make sure that there is a variety of activities and enough learning exposure for meaningful learning. I would rule out OCD at this point but if you are concerned about any other disability your son may have, a child specialist would be the best person to see. There are studies on gifted and talented children that indicates that gifted children may have disabilities in language or social skills, which may resemble autism spectrum.

For now, go on doing what you have been doing and keep monitoring his progress and encouraging him to learn positively. Play schools may be a good place for him to develop his initial social skills. You may also want to go through the past responses in this newsletter for suitable activities for above average children. Good luck!


Gifted Children

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