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IDENTIFYING THE GIFTED CHILD

To identify whether your child is gifted in a particular area or has strengths in a particular area cannot solely depend upon the results on an IQ test / intelligence test conducted by a professional. It takes a little more effort on part of the parents and teachers to help identify the gifts in each and every child. Our schools and most of all teachers play a very significant role in the identification process of gifted children. Every child tells us something about his or her ability through the way they behave in any learning situation mainly considering a school set-up, due to the number of hours they spend everyday.

There are a few ways of identifying the special abilities or hidden strengths in a child. The teacher and parent could use the few ways listed below :

1.   

Have a list of interests, which the child is given and has to tick or circle. The list can have statements like, e.g. circle the things you like to do : playing games, reading, working with others, school, thinking, working alone, learning new things, making friends, obeying rules, enjoy eating different foods, being a leader, collecting things, helping others etc.

2.   

These can give us an idea about what the child likes or indirectly his strength.

3.   

Students Work samples : Their scrapbooks, journals, assignments, projects, reports, etc. can be very useful in understanding what the child likes and is good at.

4.   

Teacher's comments on a child's strengths and weakness say what she may have observed over a period of time.

5.   

Parent's comments Views on their child's abilities and weaknesses that they have observed over a period of time.

6.

Standardized tests for creativity and achievement can also help in identifying specific strengths in gifted children.


Role of Parents in Enhancing and Helping the Gifted Children

Parents play a significant role in not only identifying the special strengths in their child, but also in providing opportunities to groom them. Parents are essential resources for the child to be able to prove his strengths.

It is therefore important to create a level of awareness among parents about how to stimulate their child's mind from the very beginning. The ages 3 - 6 years have been found to be very important when providing experiences for an overall development of young children. Parents should be informed through workshops and seminars or programmes to become aware of the needs of their young child. Young children nowadays are extremely active and so handling them cannot be done in the same way, as we were by our parents.

With changing times, our methods and ways must also change towards our children. It is therefore important for those at home to understand the needs of gifted students as it is for teachers in schools.

How can parents help

Here are a few guidelines, which parents could consider when dealing with their children.

1.

Don't assume that your child will learn everything well, just because he can. He may be weak in some areas and may need your help in those areas. Don't expect him to achieve beyond a limit all the time.

2.

Sometimes, a gifted child may attempt to do more than he can physically take. If your youngster is doing too many things, cut down some of his activities.

3.

You can help your child by setting the stage for achievements. Care for him, provide him with a rich background and expect him to do well. Let him know you are interested in him and care about what he does.

4.

Plan times when you are listening and talking with your child.

5.

Be observant, alert, as well as participate with your child as much as possible.

6.

Share experiences with one another e.g. Talk to your child about your schooldays, which teacher you liked, your friends, something special that you shared with your parents as a child and ask your child about anything that he would like to share with you, without any compulsion. Talking of experiences will help you build a stronger relationship with your child.

7.

Give opportunities for your child to be expressive e.g. Where he can ask you endless questions. Where he can share a few lines written by him.

8.

Give opportunities for your child to be independent e.g. Let the child do the day to day routine activities of having breakfast, washing his dish or folding his clothes, choosing his clothes etc. This will help him in decision making as well as build his confidence and self-concept.

9.

Also encourage task-planning i.e. what to do next after one task is done e.g. Ask your child if he, would like to read a book after dinner.

10.

Be patient, show tolerance towards your child. If you are in a hurry, don't hurry up your child all the time, give him some time and leisure to do a given activity. Let your child learn to manage time for the different activities throughout the day.

11.

Always encourage and appreciate the child, for whatever little that he does or achieves on his own.

12.

Be flexible when maintaining discipline with your child. Don't be very strict or very lenient, try to maintain a balance.

13.

Show respect towards your child, if you want respect in your relationship to last and make the relationship more meaningful.

14

Make learning a fun filled experience for your child, be it Math homework or reading a book together. You could even sit and paint a card together.

15.

Accept your child as he is, don't keep expecting more than what your child can fulfill.