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Finding Gifted/Talented Traits in Your Child

by Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed.

Most children are gifted and talented in one way or another. What does being gifted and/or talented mean? It simply means that a child has greater knowledge, skills or potential than what is considered "usual" at a particular age. It can refer to physical as well as mental traits. "Gifted" usually refers to high intellectual skills and/or academic performance. "Talented" refers to abilities in such areas as art, music, drama, sports, leadership or interpersonal relations. These gifts and talents may be identified through tests as well as through observing children's behaviors and special interests.

Common Characteristics of Gifted/Talented Children

Gifted and talented children may exhibit one or more of the following common characteristics. These children may be:
  • Intelligent:
    They analyze, compare, and evaluate information rather than just memorizing the facts.

  • Inquisitive:
    They're always asking questions, experimenting, and trying to understand the world around them.

  • Intense:
    They may be concerned about life or how things work. They may be bothered by injustice and social inequality among people.

  • Creative:
    They show imagination and intuition. They think independently and enjoy solving problems.

  • Committed:They set goals and work toward accomplishing them.

Helping the Gifted/Talented Child Grow and Develop

Although gifted and talented children seem to be grown up in many ways, they are neither psychologically nor socially mature. Here are a few suggestions for helping your child grow and develop:

  1. Listen to your child's concerns and take the time to answer questions.

  2. Provide guidance and support by establishing reasonable, consistent expectations.

  3. Help your child develop creativity and express thoughts and ideas by providing time for unstructured, independent play.

  4. Encourage independent thought by supporting your child's desire to be original.

  5. Help your child find new interests by spending time together, talking and most importanly having fun.

Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed. is an educational consultant specializing in early childhood and elementary education.(Preschool to sixth grade) Over the past 15 years, Elizabeth has provided information and advice to parents about early childhood and elementary level curriculum and instructional practices through her workshops, presentations, and curriculum development services.

Copyright 2001 Elizabeth Hamilton e-mail: hamilton@ite.net
All rights reserved in all countries. Reproduction of this material is prohibited in any form without prior permission.

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