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Signs of Giftedness

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: We had our daughter checked by a developmental pediatrician at age 3 because she doesn't turn her head when we call her and she doesn't like company of other people. She was suspected to have Asperger's Syndrome. We put her on an early intervention class. After 6 months she was re-evaluated and the 1st diagnosis was lifted. She's normal. Now after her 3rd assessment, biological age is 4, her cognitive age is 6y.o, vocabulary 5.5y.o. She learned to read before age 4. Math skills like addition, subtraction, fraction at age 4, can memorize a song in one passing, learn a tune in one passing. We don't know if she can be classified as gifted. All we know is she's different from other children. We try to challenge her every now and then so that she will not get bored.

A: It is not uncommon for professionals to quickly make diagnoses based on a few symptoms of young children. However, we need to be very cautious with labeling as it may exert undue pressure to both child and parents. Having said that, it is good to check if a child is not developing normally as a professional would be able to give an indication of a possible concern, and more importantly, intervention can be started as early as possible.

It does appear that your daughter is developing at an advanced rate based on the developmental milestones for a 4 year old. As to whether she may be gifted or not is hard to tell with the limited description given and especially at such a young age. She is definitely intellectually advanced - in fact only based on her cognitive age, she may be placed in the gifted category. However, I would leave it to a professional to observe, interview parents and perhaps look for more signs.

There are in fact no universally accepted traits that you can look for and no definitive signs that will tell you for sure whether your child is gifted. However, many gifted children share some distinct and common characteristics. Do an internet search to find these common characteristics as a good place to start.

Furthermore, as parents are the best judges of high ability in their child, you are doing the right thing by being aware that she is different and challenging her to maximize her potential. This is surely give good results and help her further cognitively. Your insight and instincts as parents, along with those of your daughter's teachers (if in school), can often be most valuable to truly understand her unique gifts and potential. For activities to nurture her gifts further please go through the recommendations given in earlier newsletters. All the best in your journey!


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