Your 7-year-old now
Parents often wonder if a bright child is "gifted." It's a word that's bandied about often and is a source of confusion, largely because there's no single definition of giftedness. When educators talk about "giftedness," they're often referring to advanced abilities in one area, as broadly defined by a landmark U.S. Department of Education report: intellect, academics, creativity, artistry, or leadership. So a child may be musically gifted but slow to learn to read.
Complicating the definition is the fact that schools often rely on a complete assessment (of which an IQ test may only be one small part) to determine whether a child needs extra services to thrive in school. In the lower elementary grades, both academic ability and emotional and social maturity are usually weighed to find the best fit for a child.
Your child may show gifts in one area if several of the following skills and traits describe her:
- thinks abstractly; grasps advanced mathematical and linguistic concepts
- is able to intensely concentrate and focus on one activity for long periods
- has a large vocabulary and understands words not typically used by peers
- is a leader; that is, often organizes group activities, such as initiating games when she's with other children
- is confident in her accomplishments and ideas
- is creative; often tells or writes stories, draws, or composes songs
- understands and uses wit
- prefers to spend time with older children and adults
- performs academic work that is two years ahead of her grade level
- memorizes facts easily and can recall them and relate them at appropriate times
Does this mean she needs special services? Not necessarily. Ask your child's teacher if you have questions about whether her needs are being met in class.
Your life now
A fun way to spend special time with your child — especially when she has siblings — is to observe "Kate Day" (or whatever her name is). It's not a birthday, just a day of extra notice and one-on-one time with each parent. Place a flower next to her plate at breakfast, have lunch together, review her baby book with her at bedtime.
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