12/18/2015 04:05 EST | Updated 06/23/2016 02:59 EDT

How To Tell If Your Child Is Gifted

You can be gifted and a school flunky.

Imagine this scenario: your seven year old is obsessed with dinosaurs, knows all their six-syllable names and can wax on about their habitat, diet and more. Could your child be gifted?

Her four-year-old sibling, on the other hand, struggles to sit still and concentrate. He won’t listen to his nursery school teacher and has trouble playing well with the other kids in his class. He shows little interest in reading and you're wondering if he is a slow learner? Or just that your older child is a high base line to compare him to.

How do parents know if their child is indeed gifted?

Parents may have some inkling of an idea when they see obvious signs of “brightness” like encyclopedic knowledge in an area or when their child shares thoughts that are very abstract, existential or beyond their age.

However, less likely to get properly identified are the kids who are gifted and who struggle with their unique brains, especially if there is a concurrent learning disability.

You can be gifted and a school flunky. And to make things even more confusing, they may display the same traits of kids with ADD or ADHD. Both siblings I described above could very well be gifted children.

It is often on the recommendation of a teacher that a child gets tested, but many teachers have little or no training in this area either.

Some school boards even have a screening program for giftedness. So see what is available in your board. What’s of key importance is for you to take matters into your own hands. You know your child best and you need to get informed about giftedness and the signs to look for so you can be prepared should you want to proceed with actual testing.

Testing is often a requirement to program and resources. If you are not going to do anything differently with the information gleaned from testing -- why bother finding out for curiosity reasons?

So what should you look for and have on your radar as a parent? Here is my list (and a great resource).

According to ABC Ontario, many bright children have some of the characteristics listed below:

1. unusual insight and intellectual curiosity

2. superior judgment and reasoning ability

3. ability to see connections between ideas

4. advanced reading ability

5. extensive vocabulary

6. keen powers of observation

7. strong sense of ethics and values

8. a sense of humour

9. a rapid mastery of basic skills

10. special ability in one or more areas, such as music, art, science, language, computers or mathematics

To see the full list, visit ABC Ontario.

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