You asked

How do I tell if my school child is gifted, or above average?

Most parents believe that their child is special or above average, and while every child is certainly special, there are a few that are exceptionally gifted.

Children who are gifted are usually identified when they start school and there are certain signs you can look out for:
  • Excellent reasoning ability
  • Fast learner and can recall information easily
  • Begins reading at an early age
  • Has a vast vocabulary
  • Can develop a deep interest in a certain topic over a long period of time
  • Demonstrates curiosity, imagination and originality in thinking
  • Consistently follows through a task until satisfied with the outcome, despite obstacles
  • Has an unusual or enthusiastic sense of humour
  • Questions everything
  • Can get bored easily, may disturb others or spend their time daydreaming
  • Lacks respect for adult arguments and can impolitely correct others
  • Has very few friends and can be impatient with others
  • Doesn’t like to work in groups and can take over discussions
  • May look inattentive but copes easily with learning
  • May be hypersensitive to criticism
  • Demonstrates perfection at all times

Usually, gifted children will show a particular talent for a specific thing – like being able to work with numbers, or being particularly good at drawing.

Gifted children also usually have advanced language abilities, and may be able to speak in sentences well before their peers. In fact, many gifted children reach all or most of their developmental milestones before their peers do.

They’re usually very active, and very interested in the world around them, although they’re not hyperactive. They also tend to ask questions almost relentlessly.

Gifted children often have good memories, and can remember facts and information well, and they will probably also display a vivid imagination.

Being gifted is not always a blessing. Sometimes, gifted children realise that they are different, and that can lead to isolation. They may also become frustrated, or lack stimulation at home or at school.

One of the best ways to check whether your child is gifted is to have him or her tested by a psychologist who specialises in children. You can do this even if your child has a disability, like dyslexia, as it can happen that learning disabilities and giftedness can occur at the same time. Whatever happens, however, remember that all you need to do is make sure that your child has enough stimulation to develop, and to work with teachers and other professionals involved in your child’s life.

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