“All his teachers say the same thing – he is very bright but extremely distracted. He finishes his sums and then starts disturbing all the other kids that sit around him. What’s more, he doesn’t do all the questions he is given in homework. The ones he does he gets right, the rest he just leaves. I am at my wit’s end. What do I do?” said Preeti, mother to seven-year-old Arpit.
Like most moms, Preeti was worried that Arpit wasn’t exploring his full potential in school. His class teachers complained he was easily distracted and sometimes disobedient. Despite being called bright by all his teachers, Arpit was scoring less than all his classmates and his mom was worried he might have ADHD or a learning disability, so she came to me for counselling. After a few conversations with Arpit and Preeti, and running a few play-based tests I realized quite the opposite was true – Arpit was in fact a gifted child.
Often confused with ‘talented’ or ‘bright,’ the word ‘gifted’ refers to a child who has a high achievement capability in them. While talented children show high aptitude in a particular academic or art domain, ‘gifted’ children show high aptitude across multiple domains of life such as intellect, creativity, art, leadership, and academics. These children not only think faster but also show unusual creativity at an early age. In psychometric testing, gifted children generally have a high IQ of 140 or above.
Many famous historical and contemporary personalities such as the music composer Mozart, the mathematician Ramanujan, the artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci, and entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg were all once ‘gifted’ children.
So as a parent why is important for you to identify if your child is ‘gifted’? Gifted children have different emotional and intellectual needs to reach their full potential than ‘non-gifted’ children that conventional educational institutions can fail to completely provide. For instance, when gifted children are not given challenging problems or work that aligns to their interest areas in the school or at home to solve they tend to lose interest, get distracted, and trouble other students around them.
This can give teachers and parents the impression that the child is undisciplined, lazy, demotivated, has ADHD or an attention problem, or a learning disability. Thus, it’s essential for teachers and parents to identify ‘gifted’ children and create programs and systems for them so that they can reach their full potential and develop holistically.