Intelligence is an intriguing aspect to observe in children. There are many definitions of what constitutes intelligence in people. By dictionary, intelligence is defined as the ‘ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations’, the ‘ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria’, and the ‘act of understanding’.
Intelligence is associated with having extraordinary giftedness. In children, these traits can be recognized early on, but have nothing to do with good grades and social status. As per American politician Chuck Grassley:
‘What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.’
What Constitutes as Giftedness?
Gifted children are not as easy to define, as their talents differ from one another’s. In the words of the National Association for Gifted Children, ‘giftedness may manifest in one or more domains such as; intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific academic field’.
Shortly, giftedness is any ability in children that exceeds the expectations for their age. At the same time, gifted children have more specific personalities and behave in a different manner. According to Dr. Barbara Clark, author of ‘Growing up Gifted,’ the characteristics of a gifted child include:
- Cognitive abilities. Such include reading, writing, critical thinking, vocabulary richness, versatility in interests and more.
- Creative abilities, like enhanced intuition, sense of humor, fantasizing and independence.
- Affective abilities, like empathy, self-awareness, justice-seeking, emotional depth and more.
- Behavioral abilities, such as spontaneity, high energy, emphasized curiosity and chattiness.
Commonly, children will manifest at least two of these abilities in their youth and will continue developing the other traits later on in life.
How Do I Know If My Child is Gifted?
Today, there are so-called gifted programs, which can easily determine the level of extraordinary abilities in kids. If gifted, with this program, your child will learn to develop and make the most of his/her skills.
Dr. David Palmer, a psychologist in the field, notes that ‘gifted’ programs include ‘group IQ tests… achievement test scores and past grades, observation, and getting input from teachers and parents.’
However, although these programs are effective, as a parent, you also have a great role in developing your child’s giftedness.
‘In fact, parents should become familiar with the signs of giftedness even before their child starts school,” Dr. Palmer explains. ‘Most school districts do not even start identifying children for gifted programs until the second or third grade.’
23 Qualities and Characteristics of a Gifted Child
As per the behavioral book ‘A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children’, these are the 23 indications of child giftedness:
- Sudden alertness, even at a young age.
- Learning fast and efficiently.
- Memorizing things with ease.
- Using advanced vocabulary for the child’s age.
- Advanced knowledge of a language, including complex language structures, like idioms and metaphors.
- Ability to solve problems with ease.
- Ability to teach oneself to read and write in preschool.
- In-depth feelings and mature reactions.
- Emphasized sensitivity.
- Thinking in an abstract and unconventional manner.
- Having a sense of justice and searching for it.
- Interest in social and political issues and concerns.
- Developed concentration and hyphened attention-paying skills.
- Living in one’s own thoughts.
- Adopting new skills with ease.
- Showing interest and curiosity (asking ‘Why’ questions)
- Versatility in interests.
- Being curious about everything around.
- Experimenting and doing things their own way, instead of following patterns.
- Coming up with ideas that are out of the ordinary and atypical.
- Having an uncommon and specific sense of humor.
- Ability to organize social events and detailed game nights and scenarios.
- Showing signs of a vivacious imagination.
To determine whether your child is also gifted, it is important you monitor the child’s behavior and development since birth. Many children won’t let their abilities and talents stand out, so it is the parent’s job to encourage the child to do so. Finally, in a world full of repetitive human patterns, having a gifted child is both a rarity and a blessing.