Is your child showing signs of being a genius from an early age?
Are they learning things faster than their peers and exceeding expectations at the subjects they study?
Do they outshine every other teammate on their sports team, or can they paint or write music like none of the other children in their class?
If these hypothetical situations sound familiar to you, then your child may well be naturally gifted.
Its each and every parent's dream to have a kid who can be the next Einstein or the next Mozart. But parents (loving and caring creatures that they are) tend to overestimate their children's talents sometimes.
So, how do you know for sure that your child is a wunderkind, and not simply a bright kid (which is still perfectly good, by the way)? And in the event that they are truly gifted, what should the parents do to help their children achieve their full potential?
Today, we will explore the ways you are able to get your child tested (both formally and informally) to see whether they really have an extraordinary talent, and if they do, how can you support them as a parent.
Why is it important to know as early as possible that your child is gifted.
Knowing that your child is exceptionally talented from an early age is important because it will help you create a strategy for your child’s future and help them achieve their full potential. Children who are truly gifted thrive best in situations where they are provided with continuous learning source from an early stage.
Because they are way ahead of their peers, putting them in the same class as other ordinary children can make them feel bored and subsequently become demotivated. If you and the educators at school are aware of the fact that your child is ahead of their classmates, this problem can be avoided. Many schools offer additional challenges to gifted children to maintain their interest and keep their motivation level high.
There are even schools that allow gifted children to skip grades and study at the level which is appropriate for them.
This approach allows your child to save valuable time and achieve more in life by getting an early start.
We should also take into consideration the fact that not all children study in the same manner. This is true of all children, but it is especially true of naturally gifted children. The teaching methodology needs to be adjusted to suit the gifted child as best as possible. For this reason, many parents who have truly talented children homeschool them or seek assistance from a professional home tutor.
Formal methods used for identifying gifted children.
There are two main ways in which you can identify whether you are a parent to a gifted child. You can contact a professional psychologist and ask them to give a special IQ test to your child. The results of the IQ test will be interpreted by a psychologist, and they will tell you whether or not your child is a genius.
Psychologists are really easy to find nowadays due to the development of online technology. Most of them have business profiles online, and you can probably find one near where you live (make sure to hire a reliable one with impressive customer reviews). Alternatively, you can ask your friend to recommend a reliable psychologist.
Educators at school may also have information about where to find one, or they can even arrange the IQ test themselves. One of the most reliable international organizations, which has been providing IQ tests for many decades, is called Mensa. Only crème de la crème of the brainiac community become members of Mensa. So getting that membership comes with some serious bragging rights.
Keep in mind that most reliable IQ tests usually last between 60 and 90 minutes, so if your child is younger than six years old, they are unlikely to sit still for the duration of the test even if they are a genius, so the results may not be that accurate.
Numeracy and literacy tests present another great way to identify gifted children. If your child consistently scores high marks in these types of tests, you should contact their teachers who can advise you on how to proceed from there.
Additional methods for identifying gifted children.
Taking in an IQ test and booking a consultation with a psychologist is connected to financial costs. If you do not have the means to go down that road, it is not that big of a problem since you can still see whether your child is a genius or not with these additional methods.
All you need to do is pay close attention to your child’s behavior and how they are developing over time. You need to compare the observations you have made over time, so make sure that they are accurate (it is preferable to keep written records). These records should include school reports, the child's written works, drawings, and other projects prepared for school.
Also, everyday objects and the topics that have caught your child’s attention, and the questions they asked about these topics and objects. Moreover, any unusual comments from your child’s teachers or doctors which may indicate that your child is extraordinary, and last but not least, any comments from your friends and family members about your child’s development and behavior.
Read also: GEP Identification at MOE's website
Is it better to know the truth, or is ignorance bliss?
Knowing that you are a mother or a father to somebody special may be an exciting thought, but identifying a genius isn’t all pros; it has some cons as well that you should be aware of.
But before we get to those, let’s mention a few advantages. If your child gets a high score in a recognized IQ test, they can get an early pass to school and graduate faster. This record of their academic success will help them get into a prestigious university in the future.
Also, you may be hoping that your child turns out to be a mathematical prodigy, and they will be able to solve complex equations in their dreams, but your child may turn out to be a musical or artistic prodigy instead. So knowing what they are talented at helps you guide them on the right path instead of pushing them in the direction they don’t want to go in. If you have a second Michelangelo on your hands, do not force them to become an accountant.
Now let’s speak about the disadvantages. Many schools are unlikely to take your claims of having a child-genius seriously unless you have a result of the recognized IQ test to show them, and those can be very expensive.
Also, IQ tests are designed to test children’s intellectual abilities; they don’t test creative, social, or physical abilities. And being extremely gifted in sports and arts should not be underestimated. If your child is so gifted in sports that they can outrun Usain Bolt does it really matter what they got on their IQ test?
Another potential con is that if you decide to keep a record of your child’s development and “diagnose” them to be a genius by yourself, your assessment may not be as accurate as you hoped it to be.
Every loving parent wants to believe that their child is special and super talented, and unfortunately, this is the reason why some children end up being placed in and then struggling in the special classes for gifted children.
How to explain to the child what their "gifted" status means.
Each child is an individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to explaining to them the responsibility of being a genius. When you get the children to realize that they are different from everybody else, some of them tend to feel isolated and lonely.
The feeling of isolation is not a good feeling to have at any age, but especially at a young age. A good way to neutralize it is by making them feel accepted and loved in the home environment and surrounding them with likeminded friends who will empower them.
Next thing you should consider: Should you enroll your child in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP)?
If your child asks you how they are different from their peers, try to avoid using overly scientific language and explain it to them in simple terms. They may be gifted, but they are still children for now. Explain to the child that, in fact, every person is different in their own way, and even though they have a special talent that most of their peers don’t have, they are still a member of society at large.
To conclude, if you have a truly gifted child, you are right to feel excited and proud. However, don’t forget that even gifted children are still children. Do not overload your gifted child with too many responsibilities.
The first priority is to make sure that they have a happy childhood.
If your child is asking too many questions or the kind of questions you don’t have the answers to, and you feel overwhelmed, it might be better to hire a professional tutor to handle that highly inquisitive mind of theirs.