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Is Your Child Gifted?

It’s estimated that there are about 20,000 gifted children in Ireland, according to the Irish Association for Gifted Children, but is your angel one of them?

Gifted can mean many things, most commonly someone with a high IQ, however, in the main it is having talents developed beyond the range found in their peers. No one knows why certain children display gifts. The likely explanation is that it’s partly genetic and partly to do with upbringing.

But defining your child from a very young age can be tricky – especially if you aren’t sure what to do with the results.

What indicates a gifted child?

If you suspect your toddler may be a budding genius, watch for the following:

  • Walks/talks early/shows an early interest in the alphabet
  • Has a long attention span when reading a book
  • Expresses an advanced sense of humour
  • Expresses impatience with his body, as it can’t keep up with his mind
  • Responds to directions and multi-tasks
  • Is able to complete puzzles meant for older children
  • Shows an interest in numbers/learns songs and poems quickly

If you’ve spotted some of the above in your own child, it’s common to worry that your little one’s needs won’t be met and that they will become bored if they’re not given the right stimulation. But the advice is not to panic into having your child professionally assessed – just enjoy and encourage them as best you can and make the most of their appetite for learning.

Don’t rush to label your child

Unless you’re concerned that your child may have learning difficulties and want to get him checked out, trying to label a child as gifted at a very young age may not be the best way forward. Don’t rush to request a formal assessment. Instead, speak to the nursery staff so that they can encourage your child in the areas that he seems to excel in, and work from there.

Good goals

Gifted children tend to acquire skills in the same sequence as others – just faster. But keeping your child entertained and interested doesn’t have to be hard work. Ensuring they grow intellectually, socially and emotionally are the most important factors.

The basic rules for nurturing a gifted child apply to all children. Listen carefully to questions and discuss things together – even if his language skills aren’t keeping up, he will start to understand what you’re saying. Concentrate on building social skills. Your child may understand things intellectually, however, he may have to fine-tune his emotional relationships with others, which may be frustrating. Keep the creative juices flowing by including music, painting and building blocks in your day-to-day playtime. Read to your child every day – and not necessarily from a book. Making up stories develops your child’s imagination, so encourage your child to get involved in the invention of characters.

Who do I call?

If you would like more information about gifted children and how to nurture their talents over time, contact:

  • Irish Association for Gifted Children (IAGC), Carmichael House, 4 North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7 or phone (01) 873 5702

  • The Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland at www.dcu.ie/ctyi/index.shtml
  • Giftedkids.ie

About the Author

eumom team 

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