Infant development and gifted children

If you think that your baby may be gifted, there are several traits that you can look for.

Gifted infants are still somewhat of a mystery to doctors and researchers. There are not many definitive studies that have been done on the relationship between the development of infants and the creation of gifted children. Often, parents are caught completely by surprise once they find out their baby or toddler may be considered gifted, and many times, they feel unequipped to handle this revelation.

Because parents are with their children on a daily basis, they may realize that their baby seems more advanced than other babies, but they may not recognize that the infant is actually gifted. Many times it is a pediatrician, day care provider, pre-school teacher, or other professional who notices that the child may have gifted traits.

Once a parent becomes aware of her child's potential, she may want to start keeping a diary that documents behavior. If a family already has other children that have been classified as gifted, then there is a possibility that the newborn could be gifted as well. Parents can watch for indications that this baby may share her brother's and/or sister's traits. Psychological testing can be done on children as young as three years old. One of the most common tests given is the Stanford Binet, and it should be administered by a psychologist. Even if your child doesn't test high enough to be classified as gifted, though, doesn't actually mean that she is not advanced for her age.

If you think that your baby may be gifted, there are several traits that you can look for. Keep in mind, however, that your child will probably not exhibit all of these traits, and she may not conform to a specific gifted definition. If your baby is just a newborn, but you are already the parent of another gifted child, or if you simply think that your child might possibly be advanced for her age, you may want to pay attention to some of the following characteristics.

Gifted infants typically appear extremely alert, even as newborns. They also may have much longer attention spans. As your baby grows, you may notice that he is overly fascinated with books, smiles early, and seems to show real recognition at a very young age. Your baby may also show evidence that he has an extremely good memory.

Babies and children with advanced intelligence often learn to talk at an early age. Many of them utter their first words at nine months or so. While your child may show signs of early language development, she may also begin developing her motor skills at an early age. She may crawl and walk earlier than the average baby.

Gifted children often show advanced cognitive and critical thinking skills. Many of them can read by the age of four, and their reasoning ability can be quite extraordinary. They may also have a very active imagination and enjoy secret relationships with imaginary companions.

While gifted children can make their parents swell with pride, there are some difficulties that go along with extraordinary intelligence. Studies have shown that infants who are intellectually advanced sleep less and need much more stimulation. As the child continues to grow, he will need to continuously be challenged. On the other hand, just because a child is much more advanced academically and intellectually than his peers doesn't mean that he is more mature emotionally.

Often, gifted children are overcome with the pressure to succeed when they are not emotionally mature enough to handle the added attention and the talent that makes them appear different from their friends. Parents and teachers should not have unrealistic expectations. A child is still a child no matter how advanced she might seem. She should be allowed to remain a child in as many areas of her life as possible.

It is the parents' responsibility to not only see that their children are challenged intellectually but to also act as advocates for their children in all areas of their lives, academically, emotionally, and socially.

© High Speed Ventures 2011