Is my child Gifted, or just Smart?

Parents are often the first to recognize a child’s ability, though they ay not identify it as giftedness. They usually have some idea quite early in the child’s life that the child is advanced when compared with others of the same age. This becomes particularly clear during interactions with other children or adults.

Although it is difficult to say for such, gifted children are generally 30% more advanced in most areas, except in motor skills. While parents may be concerned that they might over-estimate their child’s abilities because of natural pride but they should also trust their own observations and judgments.

Here are some excerpts from the book Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers which provides examples:

Questioning style

Smart children ask questions that have answers. Gifted children ask questions about abstract ideas, concepts, and theories that may not have easy answers. They may ask, for example, why light travels faster than sound, and whether this is true even in outer space.

Learning speed and application of concepts

Smart children learn in a step by step fashion until they grasp a concept. Gifted children may jump directly from Step 2 to Step 10, because by the time they’ve completed Step 2, they’ve already figured out the answer. Gifted children may not want to list all of the steps they used in solving a math problem, because they figured it out mentally and not on paper. This can frustrate teachers and can create problems when the gifted child is asked to tutor other children who need to use all of the steps to understand the problem.

Emotional outlook.

Smart children show emotion but are generally able to get past an upsetting incident fairly easily. Gifted children experience heightened, sometimes all-consuming emotions that may hamper other areas of thought or work. Their intense concerns may intrude into their thoughts for days or weeks following an event.

Level of interest.

Smart children ask questions nd are curious about a number of things. Gifted children show intense curiosity about nearly everything or immerse themselves in an area that interests them.

Language ability.

Smart children learn new vocabulary easily but choose words that are typical for their age. Gifted children often use extensive and advanced vocabularies, understand verbal nuances that escape others, enjoy wordplays and puns, and often talk over the heads of their playmates (and sometimes over adults too). When adults try to talk in code by spelling words, gifted children quickly break the code.

Concern with fairness.

Smart children state firm opinions about what is fair, but those opinions usually relate to personal situations such as, “He has more cake than I do.” Gifted children will show concern about fairness and equity far more intensely andon a more global scale.

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