Signs of Intellectual Giftedness in a Young Child
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Identifying a gifted child at the earliest possible age is key in providing the optimal stimulation the toddler needs to realize his or her potential.
There are certain key characteristics typical of the gifted toddler, who can be challenging from a behavioral sense. These children tend to be more demanding of the watchful parent. Parents will find the need to guide a precocious child who, much like the “energizer bunny,” keeps going and going. Here are some of the clues that the toddler is in the top quadrant of intellectual ability.
More than just random hyperactive movement, the gifted child has a purpose to his energies and tends to be very tenacious in opening containers and figuring out rudimentary puzzles. He will not give up on trying different techniques and will be very upset if you interrupt his activities in this regard.
Interaction with the world around her and testing behavior is a typical action for the gifted child. Whether she is dismantling a tower of building blocks or dissecting the inside of a daisy, she is meticulously learning about her environment in a tireless way.
Saying no to a gifted toddler often results in testing behavior parameters. Telling the child not to pull your hair will often result in the opposite effect, sometimes including a humor response. The child sees your reaction to negative behavior and may be amused by the increased attention, raised voice, or emotional response.
He may be very sensitive to emotional reactions from others and will tend to develop a compassionate response much earlier than his peers. He will understand the concept of pain early and will learn pain avoidance very easily. This child is likely to develop a compassionate way of interacting with others as well as pets and animals.
Early and Superior Language Skills
Very often, this child will learn to read at a very young age, sometimes before twelve or eighteen months. They often love books and will use vivid imagination cues to fill in the blanks where they are unable to read more complex words and phrases.
Journalist Mary Amoroso of the Bergen County Record refers, in her article “Finding and Nurturing a Gifted Child”, to the child who does things better, faster, earlier, and differently as an accepted formula for identifying the child in this category.
Not every sign must be evident in order for the child to be gifted. In a very young child, the giftedness commonalities may become evident at different times and phases in the child’s development. Enriching the child’s environment with more complex stimulation will be advantageous, whether or not the child is ultimately deemed to be gifted by commonly established criteria or not.
Once a child has been labeled with the gifted tag, the parents take on the important responsibility of ensuring that this child receives proper nurturing and stimulation to develop his potential. Visit your local library for a wealth of information from the educational experts on this topic. Enrichment and varied stimuli including educational toys and books are readily available.
Mary Amoroso, “Finding and Nurturing a Gifted Child: The Pressured Parent”, The Bergen County Record (New Jersey), October 27, 1996.