Not Academically Gifted? Never Mind, Your Child May Still Be Gifted!

Research shows that parents are generally correct when they suspect that their child is gifted. Typically these children are great conversationalists, often using sophisticated language that stops you in your track. They are quick at learning, have amazing memories, and thrive on complexities. But some children I have tested turn out not to be academically gifted, and it is not easy to face the parents and give them the bad news.

Fortunately it does not happen often. It goes without saying that parents will continue to love their child whether gifted or not, but you can’t blame them for being disappointed. The important thing for parents to remember when they receive such unwelcome news is that academic giftedness is not the only way giftedness can occur, and that their gut feeling could yet prove to be well-founded, as their child may well be gifted in another (yet undiscovered) area. This is especially the case if their child did not learn to read before starting school, and if their child was slow to learn to talk (as was Einstein…and no-one now doubts that he was gifted!). Proficiency in language and fluency in reading are essential abilities to high academic achievement, because academic school subjects, including mathematics, involve both language and reading. Interestingly, dyslexia, a reading/writing disorder, is disproportionately high amongst artists, and similar language based reading and writing problems have also been found amongst inventors. It is therefore no wonder that research has found children gifted in the visual arts to be typically unmotivated to achieve in academic subjects. So, if you have recently learnt that your child is not academically gifted (as assessed by an IQ test), and your child’s creativity and love of complexity continues to astonish you, your family and friends, look out for non-academic interests as these may eventually become your child’s area of giftedness.