A Guide to Understanding the Signs of Giftedness in Infants

Following an aptitude test at the age of 7, my eldest daughter was classified as a gifted child. Our family had always thought she was bright and she learned new skills and mastered new concepts very easily. Before she started school she could read and had displayed a real hunger for knowledge. Her curiosity was relentless – I just couldn’t keep her busy enough! Other adults would be surprised and amused by her verbal abilities and it was all a bit of a laugh.

Looking back now, with the benefit of all I have learned as a professional and a parent, I can see the signs that I should have acted on earlier. Even as an infant, our daughter was fascinated by books and seemed to have an innate recognition for the patterns of the alphabet and numbers, that they are the foundation of learning and the keys to all the puzzles. Children cannot own enough books! A real defining characteristic of giftedness is a great sense of humour, with a perception of jokes and humour that is well beyond the age aptitude. Along with giftedness often comes extreme sensitivity – it has been said that gifted children see the world with very big eyes. This means they have an increased awareness of their environment, the situations around them and even the “vibe”.

An increased understanding of the needs of the gifted child can help the parents make the best decisions to help that child to be happy and fulfilled, rather than just be labelled an independent learner at school and left alone, while those children who have learning difficulties get the teacher’s attention. Unfortunately this has been our experience. Gifted children ARE special needs children and are the leaders of tomorrow. So many have been allowed to get lazy and disillusioned, and be disappointed with their school experience and peer relationships. Other kids know the gifted child is different and they sadly often become the target of bullying.

As a parent, you need to educate yourself and prepare to be regularly outwitted by someone who only comes up to your waist. Always be supportive and encouraging. Know the system so you can help your child through it and start now! Remember to remind gifted children that they have a social responsibility to help those less fortunate and set a good example. Because they are watching everything you do with very big eyes.