ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

All children are unique and special. But are they gifted?

Updated on August 2, 2016
goodhabits4kids profile image

Melis is a leadership coach and is fascinated by human potential. She writes about what it takes to unlock true greatness in children.

Copyright: Yuganov Konstantin Standard License
Copyright: Yuganov Konstantin Standard License | Source

When I was a little girl, I was crazy about reading comic books. I remember spending all my weekly allowance buying them and then rushing back home. There were always piles of my favorite comics, Superman, Spiderman, and Phantom, on the bench by our kitchen table. My brother and I fought over who would read the newest book during lunch.

It was so cool to have superpowers! Superheroes had these unique powers possessed either by birth or acquired later on via an unfortunate accident. Although they made using their powers seem so easy, they were not born as superheroes but just as beings with higher potential. What unlocked their potential was the situations they got themselves in, the challenges they faced, and the choices they made. Once they transformed their potential, they then became superheroes and served for greater good. How rewarding!

I no longer read comic books; however, two questions have remained with me since my childhood:

  • Does every child have a superior potential they may or may not be aware of?
  • Is there a way to identify that superior potential?

While I was trying to come up with answers to my questions, I had a chance to review many theories, different studies, and various approaches. Since the beginning of the 20th century, many researchers, academics, authors, and educators have been trying to understand human potential and its development. Today, it still remains as an emerging field and this is where we are:

Is every child gifted or talented?

All children are special. There is no doubt about that. They have unique strengths, gifts, and talents to be discovered and nourished so they will do well in school and in their lives later on. However, being identified as gifted seems to be on another level.

In our daily life, we use the terms ability, intelligence, talent, or gift interchangeably and we mean different things depending on the context and the environment. While there is still need for universal definitions, today the children have to be in the top percentile of what they have or what they do to be identified as gifted.

National Association for Gifted Children offers the following framework based on exceptional ability and high performance:

Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports)

Creativity researcher Scott Barry Kaufman argues:

Every parent of course wants to think his or her child is special. And rest assured, parents, your child is special. At least, there is no other child on earth with the same precise mix of genes, experience, and pattern of strengths and weaknesses. So parents–take a deep breath–your child is indeed very special. That is not at issue.

The critical question is, “Is your child gifted?” To answer this question, two additional questions have to be considered. Firstly, does the child exhibit an extraordinary ability relative to peers of the same age? Secondly, is that ability something that the school system values? If the child ticks both boxes, then they just might qualify for gifted education.

Copyright: Yuganov Konstantin Standard License
Copyright: Yuganov Konstantin Standard License | Source

How do I know whether my child is gifted or talented?

Current research shows that there is no one criteria to identify giftedness and talents. Being “labeled as gifted” depends on the criteria one selects.

“There is no such thing as a perfect identification system!” claims Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut.

There is no perfect way to identify who is or is not gifted, just as there is no single best way to develop giftedness and/or talent potentials. Every identification system is a “trade off” between the instruments and criteria selected, the ways we make decisions about any and all types of information we collect, and how much weight we give each type of information in the decision making process.

In schools, IQ and standard achievement tests are still widely used to identify giftedness, followed by nominations, creativity tests, teacher rating scales, and in-class performance.

Here is a great video from the renowned gift researcher on what is giftedness and how it relates to IQ:

What does it take to be gifted?

However, it is possible that high achievement can easily be misinterpreted as giftedness. In 1989, Janice Szabos published a comparison of the bright child and the gifted learner to depict that giftedness is beyond high achievement.

How to differentiate the bright and the gifted?

Bright child
Gifted Child
Knows the answers
Asks the questions
Is interested
Is extremely curious
Pays attention
Gets involved physically mentally
Has good ideas
Has unusual “silly” ideas
Works hard
Plays around, yet tests well
Answers the question
Questions the answers
In the "top" group
Beyond any group
Listens with interest
Shows strong feelings and opinions
Learns with ease
Already knows
Enjoys peer group
Prefers the company of adults or older children
Completes assignments
Initiates projects
Is receptive
Is intense
Copies accurately
Creates a new design
Enjoys school
Enjoys learning
Good at memorizing
Good at guessing
Enjoys straight forward sequential presentation
Thrives on complexity

Which is more important? Having gifts? Or being gifted?

At the end of the day, giftedness is about potential that needs to be nurtured. It is mostly just a label to point out that different children have different needs and parents, schools, coaches, and mentors must be aware of that.

As I was reading on the subject, I came across a wonderful post at old.post-gazette.com by Mackenzie Carpenter. He wrote about a story Renzulli told at the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education, and I repeat here:

In his speech before a packed audience at the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education, Renzulli told the story of a Maryland girl who had begun a project researching how to build a playground for disabled children, which eventually became a reality after she persuaded the local government to construct it.

It was a remarkable example of one of Renzulli’s favorite concepts, the ‘enrichment cluster,’ in which highly motivated children are pulled out of the regular class so they can produce something of concrete benefit to the community.

Her IQ was beside the point.

“Was she ‘gifted?’ Who gives a damn?” he said.”


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)