Is My Child Gifted?
As parents, we know better than anyone what makes our children special. I would even say that it’s the job of a good parent to see the best in our tamariki (even when they’re at their worst). So if anyone would know if your child is gifted, chances are it would be you.
What does gifted mean?
Being gifted isn’t black and white. A person can be gifted in one or several of many different areas. Some of these are well measured and understood, such as maths and literacy, and some of these are less so, such as creativity and leadership. Gifted essentially refers to advanced or above average ability in one or more of these areas.
How do I tell if my child is gifted?
According to the NZAGC, parents are the best judge of giftedness in their own children. This claim is backed by research in the US which found that 86% of children brought in by parents to be assessed for giftedness were genuinely gifted. Unsurprisingly, the research also indicated that parents are much better at identifying giftedness than teachers.
There are several ways of identifying giftedness. For a reliable and defensible diagnosis, an assessment can be done with a registered psychologist or other development specialist. Visit the NZAGC website for a list of qualified assessors by region. This can be time consuming and expensive, but is great for developing an in depth understanding of your child’s gifts. Plus it sends a clear message to teachers and other professionals.
As a first step, however, the NZAGC provide a set of questions for identifying giftedness. These questions outline behavioural factors in young children that are commonly associated with being gifted.
What kind of supports are there for me and my gifted child?
The Ministry of Education do provide some limited support to children identified as gifted, but this will vary greatly across schools. They also recommend that parents enrol their children in extra curricular learning to facilitate their learning potential.
For the most part, the responsibility of managing and developing giftedness in children falls on the parents. This can be overwhelming, seeing as gifted children are often more intense, emotionally reactive, perceptive, and challenging of authority than other children of their age.
The NZAGC support parents of gifted children to connect with each other through their peer support programme. Visit their website to find a branch near you, or create your own branch.
The challenges of raising gifted children
Parents of gifted children are far more likely to be gifted themselves. That means that you are more likely to identify the kinds of emotional and behavioural challenges gifted children can face at home and at school. As you are probably aware, gifted children can run rings around teachers and parents, and this can be particularly challenging at times.
Remember, children thrive in emotionally secure environments, whatever their potential. If you are the kind of parent who is reading this and wondering how to best support their gifted child, then chances are that child is getting a good start in life. Kia kaha.
About the Author: Parent Village are committed to providing useful and research based information to parents in Aotearoa New Zealand.