Bright or Gifted?

How to Tell If Your Child is Bright or Gifted

Many parents would like to believe they are raising a budding Einstein but wonder if their child is
bright rather than gifted. Such analysis makes sense as only about 2% of the population is gifted. Identifying the gifted child is important as they will need challenges beyond the regular classroom to develop to their full potential. Gifted children benefit from being with their peers and from participating in a differentiated curriculum.

What you should know:

When you compare traits of a bright child and a gifted child you will see the gifted child is overall a more intense, active and creative individual. For example, a bright child will have good ideas and find classroom work easy to complete. However, the gifted child will actually come up with their own projects, beyond the classroom and will have original and abstract ideas. Gifted children are highly curious. Rather than just knowing the answer, the gifted child will be the one to bombard the teacher and parent with questions. However, the more introverted gifted child will seek their answers in books or the internet.

Often the gifted child is their own worst enemy because they are more self-critical than a bright child. Due to a gifted child’s passions and intensity, they can sometimes be seen as trouble-makers. Because of these traits gifted children are not always the best students in the class and may even develop a dislike of school.

What you can do:

Unless a child is quite brilliant, it can be difficult to identify them as gifted prior to the age of eight or nine. Brain development may occur at different rates and environmental influences may suppress or enhance the child’s expression of gifted qualities. For example, gifted children of parents who expose them to challenging and enriching educational experiences may demonstrate gifted characteristics earlier and more clearly than a child who has not had such exposure.

If your child is younger than eight, you should refrain from requesting an evaluation for a gifted program unless the teacher indicates your child clearly demonstrates qualities that justify such an evaluation. If your child is complaining of boredom you may need to pursue gifted testing, regardless of age.

Find out through your child’s school which qualifiers must be present in order for testing to take place. When a need for testing is indicated, the school counselor or psychologist will evaluate your child in order to determine their intelligence quotient (IQ). Schools may also look at creativity, reasoning, teacher input and other indicators that your child is gifted. Generally, the IQ test will carry the most weight. If your child is identified as gifted, then the school will begin providing extra challenges with a differentiated curriculum plan.

If your child is said to be bright, outside challenges will still be beneficial. You can provide these experiences by visiting your local educational store or using the internet to purchase fun yet challenging workbooks and games.

Bright or gifted, your child will benefit from being challenged in and out of school. Thus, the likelihood of having a more emotionally healthy child, who happily works to potential is more assured.

See Also: Gifted Testing

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