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Is My Child a Prodigy or "Gifted" - How to Know
We all want our children to stand out in a crowd and to be special. If we realize what gifts our children are it is likely that we will realize that they are special in their own way, no matter how they compare to other children. But many parents want their child to be a prodigy or at least "gifted". So, how does one know if their child is a prodigy or if they are gifted?
The Child Prodigy
We hear a lot of awesome stories about child prodigies. Of course, many of us know without a doubt that we don't have a child prodigy, even if our children are special. A child prodigy is defined as one who is under 10 and performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding field of endeavor. Some of these follow their parents into specific endeavors (Mozart's father was a musician, Picasso's father was a painter) or they may teach themselves a new skill. Many are smart and learn to read young, graduate high school at an early age, and take college classes or even finish college before we knew what college was.
Prodigies are usually easily recognized because of their early accomplishments. They may learn to read very early, start painting or playing the piano early, or show amazing achievements. Many prodigies are skilled in a specific field of study and some fields attract prodigies more then others. This is believed to be because of a quantitative measurement of success rather then a qualitative one. This means that music, art, science, math, and chess are fields that are easier to measure success in. Whereas dance, theater, writing, and many of the humanities are harder fields to measure success. None the less there are prodigies that have touched all of these areas.
Traits of the Gifted
Gifted children often display a number of traits of being gifted. These can be used to begin determining whether or not your child is gifted. Remember that few gifted children will show all traits.
- May get fussy if facing the same direction too long
- Often appear alert
- Needs less sleep then others his or her age
- Reaches milestones earlier
- Intense need to explore, investigate, and master their environment.
- Enjoys going and doing new things
- Very active, but with a purpose
- May show an unusual interest in numbers and letters
- May read or begin math early
- Very observant and curious
- Intense interests
- Long attention span
- Excellent reasoning skills
- Fluent and Flexible thinking
- Unusual and vivid imagination
- Enjoys learning new things
If your young child shows a lot of the signs then you may want to look into getting him or her tested for giftedness. This should usually be done after age five and it is often better to wait till after age nine. However, these tests can help you get help for your gifted child.
The "Gifted" Child
All children are gifted and unique. As parents we need to realize that our children are special, need lots of attention, and should be encouraged in the areas that they are talented in and the areas that they struggle in. None the less there are a group of children out there who fall into the "gifted" category. Often times it is hard to figure out what is just pride in our child's accomplishments and what is truly a "gifted" child.
In order to identify your child as gifted you have to have some definition of the term. Most use a standard of gifted meaning that they give signs that they can preform at higher then normal levels for their age in one or more areas (intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific field of study). Most of the time identifying a gifted child is done because they need additional oppertunities in a learning environment so that they can proceed with more advanced studies.
What If My Child Is Gifted
Gifted children often experience boredom when they aren't being stimulated or challenged. Because of this they often have a hard time in the normal classroom experience. It is important that you work to get your gifted child a better education. This can be a different style of teaching, learning from home or adding home studies to their normal day, or even just additional learning opportunities in the normal classroom.
It is imporant that you work on challenging, encouraging, and inspiring your children, whether they are prodigies, gifted, or just your average child. This can help your child go to their full potential and can make for a great experience in your life and theirs. Learn new things, try new things, and go new places, it will do the whole family good.