Donate Now

How To Identify a Gifted Child and Encourage Its Talents?

by , 2nd Mar 2015

Identifying a child as gifted isn’t about gaining bragging rights; it’s about getting your child the education that best suits its needs, as well as encouraging its talents.

When Thomas Edison was a boy, his teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything. Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school. Albert Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had “no good ideas”. Caruso‘s music teacher told him: “You can’t sing, you have no voice at all.”

However, Thomas Edison was known as the inventor of the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture. Sir Isaac Newton was best known for explaining how gravity works. Albert Einstein was famous for the theory of relativity and is nowadays considered to be the father of modern physics. Walt Disney was the creator of the cartoon character Mickey Mouse and the founder of theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Enrico Caruso was considered to be the greatest tenor who ever lived and the biggest recording artist of the early 20th century.

How did they become so successful?

The answer is simple: they were gifted as children.


How to Identify Gifted Children?

Identifying a child as gifted isn’t about gaining bragging rights; it’s about getting your child the education that best suits its needs.

According to the National Association for Gifted Children:

Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).

In most countries, the prevailing definition of giftedness is IQ of 130 or above.


When compared to their peers, gifted children may demonstrate superior memory, a knack for creating original skits, or the ability to concentrate intensely for long periods of time – just a few characteristics of the children inventoried in the test. Even though teachers and other educational professionals administer the scales, experts say that parents play a crucial role in the initial recognition of giftedness in their own children.

Naturally, parents know if their child is smart, but gifted? Here is a set of behaviors and traits that may indicate that your child possesses special gifts or talents:

  • Extremely curious
  • Excellent memory
  • Long attention span
  • Fluent and flexible thinking
  • Excellent reasoning skills
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Learn quickly and with less practice and repetition
  • Unusual and/or vivid imagination
  • Relate well to parents, teachers and other adults
  • Excellent sense of humor
  • Perfectionist
  • Usually intrinsically motivated
  • Skeptical, critical, and evaluative
  • Enjoy learning new things
  • Enjoy intellectual activity
  • Extensive vocabulary
  • May read early
  • Read rapidly and widely
  • Ask “what if” questions

HERE`S A QUIZZ you can take to learn how to recognize the signs of early giftedness in a child.

How to Encourage Your Gifted Child?


According to Joan Smutney, Director of the Center for Gifted at National-Louis University in Illinois, and author of Stand Up for Your Gifted Child, parents can do a lot. “Sometimes we’re so academically focused; we overlook the role of creativity, imagination, and fun.” Genius can’t be taught, but it can be encouraged.

The key to raising gifted children is to respect their uniqueness, their opinions, ideas and dreams. At home, children need to know that their uniqueness is cherished and that they are appreciated for just being themselves.

Practical Tips to Bring out Your Child’s Gifts

  • Help your child discover personal interests. Stimulation of interests and support are vital for the development of talents. Parents should expose their children to their own interests and encourage them to learn about a wide variety of subjects, such as art, nature, music, and sports, in addition to traditional academic subjects such as math, reading, and science.
  • Take conversations with your child seriously. Gifted children are often highly verbal and inquisitive. They can become easily frustrated if parents dismiss their questions. Taking the time to give your child full and complete answers shows that you respect their intellectual inquiry.
  • Enroll him in programs specially designed for gifted children. Ranko Rajović, PhD, the author of NTC method and founder of Serbia Mensa and NTC Department for Gifted Children says that all children can benefit from NTC program; it is especially effective at detecting gifted children and encouraging development of their talents.
  • Visit children’s and science museums. These offer interesting hands-on educational experiences. Provide materials for creative play; give him egg cartons, cardboard boxes, felt squares, paper towel rolls, and so on. Gifted children are often very inventive.
  • Encourage storytelling. Gifted children can be endlessly imaginative. Wonderful creative outlets for them involve making up stories, staging plays, or directing home videos.
  • Resist the temptation to overschedule your child. Overscheduling isn’t challenging, but rather exhausting. Make sure that your child has time to relax, read for fun, and let his/her imagination wander.

Here is how families of some famous people used to encourage their giftedness and talents:

  • Oprah WinfreyMedia magnate and philanthropist

Her grandma taught her to read at age 3, which started her famous love of books.

  • Mark ZuckerbergFacebook founder

His dad taught him Atari BASIC programming in junior high.

  • Jay-ZRap mogul

Unable to keep him from banging on the kitchen table, his mom got him a boom box.

  • Alexander Graham Bell Inventor of the telephone

After he built a wheat de-husker out of brushes and paddles at age 12, his friend’s father gave him a small workshop.


Is it hard to raise your little Einstein? Share with us your experiences, tips and ideas.


Leave a Reply
  •' Kathy says:

    I have a child with williams syndrome,he’s gifted with basketball skills ,wants to do something special with his life. What do I. Do to get him started.He has graduated and wants to do bigger and better things can someone help him

  •' Susan Heini Wilkinson says:

    My grandson is multi talented in maths, sports, reading, making things, music. I have noted that his parents allow him to spend a lot of time on computer games. Would this be more damaging.

  •' Fridah says:

    I have a talented young girl 4yrs old. Since she was 6 months old she started making unusual milestones. At 11 months she could count one to five. She quickly learned more numbers to ten. At at 18 months she could identify all colours and name them correctly. She could read at 3yrs before she entered school and right now she is extremely interested in learning about space and planets.knows all planets and can describe them correctly… just stunned!

  •' WARIS says:

    My children have a special ability to hear very minor or low voices, sounds. He is 10 yr old. He Love music.

  •' Enock says:

    My little son 19months age is able to use smartphone, he can pick a 4ne and decide what app to open, I always wonder when I give him my Infinix Smart5 and quickly open gallary to enjoy my electrical tutorial videos with amazing concentration, he picks a calling phone receive it and start listening then he laughs.

  •' Ndinaye says:

    Hello. My 6 year old daughter is extremely good at memorizing people’s age and birthdates. She knows when everyone in the family, friends, cousins are turning and knows what ages they are turning that year and can calculate the age gap between family members too.

    She has a highly inquisitive mind. How do I nature this type of talent.

  • NDFAdmin says:

    Dear @Susan and @Enock,

    Read below how our Psychologist and Heart of Programs Smiljana Grujic replies to your questions: Children take to using electronic devices quite easily since they are born with them. That being said, they can get addicted to using them even more easily. Like ourselves, adults, children find it hard not to be on their devices. We might think that we haven’t been using them much but, once we look at our watches, we realize it’s been an hour already!
    Nowadays, we are becoming more dependent on our devices and are spending more time looking at our screens. Children older than two can certainly learn some useful things by using these gadgets. That being said, time spent in front of an electronic device is a time without communication, physical activity, compassion, thinking, or creativity.
    This in turn means that the more time children spend using electronic devices during early development, the more problems they will have to develop their linguistic skills, memorizing, communication and relationships with others, sleeping, and might even become anxious and overweight.
    Children best learn through play and interaction with others, both adults and their fellow peers.
    While contemplating, touching, moving, exploring, especially when supported by a grownup, they remember and replicate what they do more easily. While, on the other hand, being passively seated in front of a screen, they quickly forget the things that they see and hear. This is why it is very important to reduce children’s screen time.
    Even though this was not a part of your question, here are some strategies for reducing their screen time:
    Set up some rules regarding it and make children follow them. Talk with your children about the threats of cybersecurity. Screen time spent together is much better than the time your child spends there alone. The screen can never substitute actual words and the dynamic interaction that takes place while the actual communication is taking place. Be a role model – try to reduce your own screen time. If you are ignoring your child while you are looking at the screen yourself, you are teaching the child to do the exact same thing. Try to volume down the TV, it will improve your child’s focus. When you are not watching the TV – turn it off!
    This, of course, does not mean that the child should not use electronic devices for learning, socializing, and enjoyment. A complete ban is also counterproductive because they are everywhere around us.

  •' Jimin says:

    My four and five year old started speaking around one and started reading early when they were three as well. They are fluent in four languages, English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean and the older was diagnosed as a gifted child and attend a special school for gifted children, while my four year old was not tested yet, but I am pretty sure he is gifted as well. My question is what types of activities do I need to expose them to so that I can really hone in a specific area of their talents. I am trying to expose them to music, art, sports, on top of the academics and some creative activities like making legos and things. I don’t want to over schedule them, but at the same time I want to expose to various things so that I can identify their strengths and talents in a specific area to start nurturing it at a young age.
    Also my five year old attends public school now and he is bored so I try to teach him extra things in ELA and Math at home since he is not learning anything new at school. This also takes up a lot of time but I’m afraid that if I stop, he will love his love of learning from being bored at school. I can’t afford private schools. Any ideas or tips? Thank you very much!

    • NDFAdmin says:

      Dear Jimin, here is how our psychologist and psychotherapist Smiljana Grujic replies to your question:

      Good afternoon,
      It’s wonderful that you can expose your children to various contents & that you are eager to enhance their development, and I also really like the idea of children having a broad scope of interests.
      Intrinsic motivation is very important and it’s one of the crucial things when it comes to raising children. It is moved by a desire to do something and the feeling it evokes once the activity is accomplished. For instance, we go to school in order to learn, discover, meet new people, etc. In this case, children do have intrinsic motivation and it is rather important in the long run for the development of their potentials.
      When it comes to the way of galvanizing their development, I think you are on a good path. I’d stress out that it is good for everything to be organized through play, without any pressure or limitations. Watch your children and their interests closely, do not prioritize the wishes and expectations you have for them. It is imperative that you know how to listen to your child and encourage the development of their emotional and social competencies, not just the cognitive ones – because all of them are equally important for the child’s development as a whole.
      What matters here is finding the right MEASURE.
      Through different games of experimenting, children acquire different skills and knowledge. Knowledge is precisely the final product of spontaneous learning that has its own specific significance. The way a child plays is the most obvious indication of his or her intellectual development. Adults should take this into consideration and cherish it because it is the most important factor in a child’s psychophysical development.
      Parents should develop a sense of their child’s signals in order to build a “next-level development zone” – to anticipate what a child wants or does not want. For example, the child is trying to get hold of a toy & the “zone” would mean that the parent just pushes it closer to him or her instead of giving it to them.
      You should also pay attention to making requests and setting goals for your child while recognizing his/her capabilities – the request should be objective because, if it’s too ambitious, the child will think badly of himself and lose all the confidence—but—do recognize your child’s talents as it will lead to the creation of the aforementioned zone, i.e., the challenging requests and tasks that will lead to the acquisition of new skills and knowledge.
      Sometimes it is not easy to create this zone because it requires a constant estimation of your child’s talents. It’s certainly challenging, for you and the child alike.
      It is important that you laud them and their effort, not their intelligence because, in the long run, it will damage their intrinsic motivation because, once again, as time passes, they will not want to try new things as they will ruin this self-image of being talented and intelligent, should they fail to get the better of those new things. With time, that “puts them to sleep”. Research shows that children become arrogant if they are constantly being told that they are unique and better than others. I just want you to contemplate this, I’m not saying that you are actually doing it.
      I hope this helps.
      Best wishes,

Leave a Reply

Cookie Policy

Our website uses cookies to improve your experience.

AcceptRead More