The National Association of Gifted Children states approximately six per cent of school age children qualify as "gifted." Gifted children are thought to be precocious and intellectually ahead of most peers, especially in math and science areas. Gifted children have a penchant for art and music, as many can utilise the creative side of their brain exceptionally well. Gifted children start exhibiting signs of advanced intelligence long before school begins, and the sooner parents recognise these signs, the better chance for a gifted child to receive the acknowledgement and education she needs.
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Watch your child as she plays with her toys and games. A gifted child tends to play with toys more maturely, such as having her dolls take care of one another instead of just laying in a crib. Gifted children enjoy puzzles, especially puzzles made for older children. They will also take apart and put together a toy to see how it works. Gifted children play with toys intently and with purpose.
Quiz your child's memory on a regular basis. Gifted children have exceptional memories, according to Dr. Sylvia Rimm, and can remember details of events. Gifted children pay close attention to detail and may have a photographic memory or learn music scales after only one try.
Watch your child's language development. A gifted child will begin speaking and using advanced language skills at a very early age. Comprehension of language is just as important as expression of it, and gifted children are generally very adept at both. Your 2-year-old may begin speaking and using "big" words for her age. Using those words in context is another sign of a gifted child.
Talk to your child about how other people feel or react to certain situations. Gifted children often have great capacity for empathy, a skill in which one understands how another person is feeling. Since many 2-year-olds are still egocentric, a child who has the ability to understand how another child feels could be on the gifted track. For example, if your 2-year-old says, "I know Sammy must be sad when he lost his toy because he started crying," this could be an indication she is developing empathy at an early age.
Assess your child's anxiety and worry level on a regular basis. Gifted children, who tend to be more sensitive, worry more frequently than their same-age counterparts. If your 2-year-old seems extremely sensitive or tends to worry a lot, it might be a sign she is advanced in her abilities to understand feelings (relating back to empathy) and is on a gifted track.
Watch for incredible or advanced skills in art, music and dance. Gifted children tend to be drawn to the arts and can be extremely creative and talented. If your 2-year-old loves to draw, play his drums or dances with advanced skill, he may be considered a gifted child.
Tips and warnings
- Enrol your child in classes for gifted children if they are available in your area. These classes will help nurture your child's interests and keep her from becoming bored.
- Focus on your child's interests and try to expand his horizons. For example, if your child enjoys art and drawing, you might want to visit a museum or enrol in a child art class.
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