Determining Giftedness in Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
I'm writing from Athens Greece. I would be very thankful to
you if you could help me identify whether my son could
eventually be gifted or not. You know in Greece there are
few possibilities to get a good expert evaluation or a
special program in case a child is gifted.
Here are some facts about him:
He was born end of January 2005. Now he is 4 years and 3
He is bilingual but mostly uses Greek.
He is a happy and communicative child that likes very much
to speak with people. Nevertheless sometimes he looses
impulsivity and looks timid in front of children or
situations that are too "loud" (noisy places, children
screaming and running too fast, etc.).
He learns easy (2-3 times of repletion are enough for him).
He has good memory and retains details that even I don’t.
(ex. a chair changed in the pharmacy)
He is very curious and always seems to look for something.
He asks many questions. In new places he looks all around,
tries to see what is behind doors, upstairs, etc.
I think he has a sense of humor and enjoys making his own
funny words in order to make us laugh.
A sad music or story could influence him more than expected.
For example there was a trailer (with an evocative music) on
TV, showing poor and ill children in the third world. He got
really very upset and wanted to discuss this matter again
and again. The second time he even came to tears so from now
on we avoid letting him see it again.
I think his vocabulary is richer than other children of his
age but I cant really be sure. He absorbs easily new words
and enjoys using them (ex. the bowels of the earth)
He always had little interest to simple sweet picture books
for kids. He prefers more stimulating thinks like human
body, trains, our planet, some ancient Greek stories etc.
He deals easily with educative DVDs for ages 3-5 especially
the math’s topics.
He likes computers, automatic mechanisms, calendars (he
knows months and days) and he knows the time in hours
(o’clock only). On the other hand he shows no real interest
in puzzles (he simply decomposes them but he doesn’t really
try to put them together).
He counts easily up to 100 and if you tell him what comes
next (101, 102) he can continue with the rest as far as he
is interested. He can also count the opposite way from 20
back to 0.
He recognizes some 3digit numbers and some 4 digits (simple
ones, especially 2000-2009, etc.). o He writes 3digit and
some 4digit numbers to his calculator.
He seems to understand the negative numbers (that they are
numbers below zero) o He does simple additions and
abstractions (up to 10 things). He also knows mechanically
some bigger additions (ex. 9 9=18, 10 10=20) and knows that
x number-x number=0. o He does a lot of sight-reading (TV
channels, brand names, car symbols, etc.) and he knows all
letters (big and small) in Greek but he cannot yet read.
Finally let me give you now some other clues from the time
he was smaller:
As a baby, he was very vivid and active and it was really
difficult to put him to sleep. Every little sound could wake
him up or attract his attention. During the daylight he was
taking some quick naps of less than an hour and then he was
up again crying and asking to be taken in arms in order to
move around the rooms, catch things and open drawers. He
couldn’t stay quiet at all. At night he was waking up 3-4
times. Other moms where describing their children as easier.
He started walking at 11 months
At 20 months he started recognizing colors (5-7 basic
colors) and at around two he new basic shapes.
At his 1st birthday he was saying only some 10 words in each
language. Until his 2nd birthday he was communicating with
only 1-word sentences, but just after turning 2, he started
to make phrases of even 5 words (ex: Tram comes, doors open
passengers get in). At 2 and a half, he was recognizing
numbers up to 20 and counting items up to 5. He also knew
most of Greek letters and was sight-reading (TV channels,
brand names, car symbols, etc.).
A: The best people to determine
giftedness in a young child are the parents. And I believe
that you have observed your son to have reached
developmental milestone ahead of his age mates. What you
need is confirmation which in terms of a score can only be
derived from a standardized IQ test, preferably when he is
in formal school. But for now, it does appear that he is
developmentally ahead of his peers, and the best that you
can do now is to nurture his abilities as best as you can.
Gifted children need constant challenges; otherwise
activities that they have always enjoyed as a child may be
viewed as boring when repeated over and over again. Is he
attending nursery/preschool? This may be important to help
him develop his social skills. He appears to be doing fine
so far but you need to provide him educational materials and
experiences that are challenging and mind-boggling. He also
appears to be very curious from very young and this need, if
not fulfilled, may lead to burn-out when he is a little
Expose him to different environments to feed his need to
explore. Exposure can be very helpful and beneficial. Keep
challenging him with questions and try to help him look for
answers rather than giving him the answers right away. This
will maintain his interest level. He also needs to be
introduced to the beautiful world of book. Never mind if he
is not reading yet – different children read at different
stages. If he is not able to read yet, read to him and
slowly get him to be interested in reading on his own. Very
curious children usually feed their curiosity by reading a
variety of materials. It is also important to see what his
interests are and provide him more exposure in his interest
areas. If you find that he enjoys numbers, apart from
getting him educational books and toys on numbers, introduce
him to measurement. E.g., take him to the beach and make a
sand castle while introducing him to fractions – half a pail
of sand, a quarter, a handful, a pinch, etc. What is
important is variety. Gifted children need a variety of
exposure to be challenged.
Whether scores indicates above average intelligence, as
parents it is best to believe in the abilities of the child
and provide him as much guidance as possible to help him
develop to his maximum potential. There is a lot of
information on the internet on how gifted children can be
helped, so you may want to do a search on what is best
suited for your child. Good luck!