Bright or Gifted
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son is 5.5 yrs old and we have a strong feeling that he is very much
more talented. Now the school is starting to do assessment for gifted kids.
My son stared talking very early (7 months - clear words), increased
vocabulary then after, amazing memory (some instances really shock us
things happened when he was only 3 and have seen only once for a short
he can recall now - exactly where and when), great interest in
music, very creative ideas
keeps on making something always, always,
loves to play with 'bigger' kids - like he loves buddy program (yr 5
is very sensitive/empathetic to others and very caring to others
and very self aware
he knows his limitations and will try new
things after some observation.
His reading and writing are good, he is
already doing mental Maths - beyond his age.
All his school reports have
been very rewarding.
I would like to know if these are qualities of a 'bright' child or a
Parents are in the best position to determine if their child is gifted.
I am sure you have seen the various checklists available and are aware
of what makes giftedness. From your brief description, I believe that
your son may be gifted. You are already doing the right thing by being
aware of his gifts and hopefully giving her what she needs to cater for
his needs. However, there are no details of his development at the
current age, hence; it may be hard to tell for sure. Having said that,
as parents we do the best we can to cater to our children's needs
regardless of whether they may be gifted or not.
Briefly, some of the characteristics of a gifted 2-5 year old are (from
the U.S. Office of Gifted and Talented)
Uses advanced vocabulary for age.
Uses spontaneous verbal elaboration with new
Has the ability to make interesting or unusual shapes or
patterns through various media: blocks, play dough, crayons.
Ability to assemble puzzles designed for older children.
Sense of humor used in general conversation.
Understanding of abstract concepts such as death and
Mastery of new skills with little repetition.
Demonstration of advanced physical skills.
Demonstration of advanced reasoning skills through
explanation of occurrences.
Keep monitoring his advances in the above to give him the proper
stimulation based on his developmental milestone which by now must be
getting more stable.
As for the differences between bright & gifted, it is a little hard to
determine at this stage, but the fine differences can be seen more
clearly when they are older. See the table below:
Comparison of Bright Vs Gifted:
|Knows the answers
||Asks the questions
||questions the answers
||Gets involved physically and mentally
||Plays around, still gets good scores
|Enjoys same-age children
||Prefers adults or older peers
|Good at memorization
||Good at guessing
||Bored. Already knew the answers
||Shows strong feelings and opinions
||Highly critical of self (perfectionist)
Source: Janice Szabos as quoted in "The Gifted and
Talented Child," Maryland Council for Gifted & Talented Children, Inc.
P.O. Box 12221, Silver Spring, MD 20908
He would require good guidance to expose him to learning materials that
can help further develop and stimulate him. However, make sure you are
not pushing him too much. Let him develop his gifts with some help from
you as naturally as possible. Expose him to a variety of activities to
challenge him and find his passion area. By now, you should have noticed
what he enjoys and what bores him. Since he is creative, include
activities that involved creativity to challenge him. You may also want
to try out various musical instrument to see if he has passion for any
Keep monitoring his progress and allow for some guided free play
activities. At this stage, activities are more structured. This is also
the time to help him develop his social skills especially as he enjoys
the buddy program and is empathetic. Whatever you do, regardless of
whether he is gifted or bright, all he needs is a lot of love and some
guidance to develop his potential. The internet is a great source of
information so keep reading to build awareness and understanding to help
your child. Here's wishing you all the best!