Bright vs Gifted Child
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Hi, I hope this is a type of question you don't mind
answering. Many people tell me that my daughter is gifted. I
know that my daughter is advanced and anyone can see how
intelligent she is. But is she gifted? What would make her
gifted instead of just smart?
Here's a little about her: as a baby she always had to be
doing something, I found she was bored easily. She crawled
and walked at a normal age. Crawling at about 8 months and
waking at 11. She has just seemed to grasp everything for as
long as I can remember. She knew colors, shapes, body parts,
common animals and other things by 18 months. Now at 2 1/2
her encyclopedic knowledge is massive. She knows all letters
(lower and upper case) and their sounds.
She is starting to read whole words and using some phonics
too. She knows a lot of signs. She would know more but I
have been trying to teach myself as well. It's hard to teach
something you don't know. Lol.
She understands the concept of math very well. We were in
Iowes the other day adding and subtracting caution cones. Up
to 6. She can speak very well. Most people have no problem
understanding her. She has a massive vocabulary and she can
hold a conversation with any adult. She has a wonderful
imagination. And was ready for imaginary play toys way
sooner than the other kids her age I know of. She has a
wonderful memory and even talks about when I was pregnant,
my baby is now 6 months. So there is a brief description.
I am just wondering what you think. Hope I wasn't out of
line by contacting you just to see what you think.
A: As parents, you are in the
best position to determine if your child is gifted. I am
sure you have seen the various checklists available and are
aware of what makes giftedness. From your brief description
and her age, I believe that your girl may be gifted. You are
already doing the right thing by being aware of her gifts
and hopefully giving her what she needs to cater for her
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 experiences.
• 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 time.
• Mastery of new skills with little repetition.
• Demonstration of advanced physical skills.
• Demonstration of advanced reasoning skills through
explanation of occurrences.
Keep monitoring her advances in the above to give her the
proper stimulation based on her developmental milestone.
As for being bright vs 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
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
Please read the previous posts for more on how to nurture
your little girl. She needs good guidance to expose her to
learning materials that can help her develop further and
stimulate her. However, make sure you are not pushing her.
Let her develop her gifts with some help from you as
naturally as possible. Expose her to a variety of activities
to challenge her and find her passion area.
Keep monitoring her progress and allow lots of free play
activities since she appears to have a great imagination
which helps in creativity. At the same time, help her
develop her social skills as well. Whatever you do,
regardless of whether she is gifted or bright, all she needs
is a lot of love and some help to develop her potential. The
internet is a great source of information so keep reading to
build awareness and understanding to help your child. Good