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Gifted Children/Is my 4.8 year old son gifted


QUESTION: Just wondering, as I teach my 7 year old DD math, I find my 4.8 DS shows strong interest in math. He can do three and up to million digits addition with carrying and do three and four digits subtraction with borrowing. He can write on paper time table from 1*4 to 30*4, 1*5 to 30*5, 1*6 to 30*6, up to 1*9 to 20*9 correctly.
He understand the basic concept of fraction. Lots of questions, such as "Why a car will sink into the water and a boat can float?"He is very sensitive and truly a perfectionist. He can sound out some words, but not reading yet. His preschool teacher thinks he is too sensitive for a young boy.
Thank you for your reply.

ANSWER: Can you tell me what your son's teacher means when she said he is too sensitive?

Dr. Coleman

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QUESTION: Thank you, Dr. Coleman.
His teacher thinks he is very loyal to his friend, showing strong emotion when his friends moved away from his class. He could sense his friends and adults 'feeling easily. For example, in his skating class, he is asked to move up next level, but he cried because he didn't want to leave his current instructor.
Also, he can do mental math like 80+81.

Thank you very much for your reply.

ANSWER: Thank you for your patience.

Your son's ability to work with numbers is quite remarkable, and very far ahead of his peers.
The question about the car sinking is an example of "abstract" thinking. He can manipulate and associate ideas that are not connected in a tangible, concrete way, That type of thinking usually starts when a child is several years older than your son.  The way you communicate and make observations tells me that you are above average in intelligence. Giftedness tends to run in families, and that is contributing to your son's intelligence, also. As your son develops, I think that you'll see more and more gifted traits.  Not reading at his age is normal, for gifted kids too. Sometimes with gifted kids, it will look like their reading is delayed. That can cause confusion. What's really happening is that gifted kids like to feel like they're in charge of situations before they demonstrate a behavior. Some gifted kids seem behind in reading, then all of a sudden they start reading fluently; they just didn't want to make mistakes, so they waited to read out-loud until they felt some control over it. Gifted kids can be very critical of themselves, their own worst enemies.

One of the traits common to giftedness is emotional sensitivity - sensing feelings of others, and emotional intensity - when the sensitivity is triggered, their reactions are intense. Gifted kids need their parents to show them consistent, appropriate responses, even more than kids who aren't gifted.

There is a recent answer, 11/12/2013, "7 year old daughter". It applies to your situation, too, except the paragraph about a neuropsychiatric evaluation - I'm not recommending that for you. The concepts of "asynchronous development" and emotional growth, and learning "people skills", are especially important. There is an answer at 11/25/2013 "strange coincidences in my 18 month old daughter" that has good information for you as well.

The resources listed in that answer are excellent, Free Spirit Publishing,, materials will be useful throughout your son's childhood. is good for quick reading.

Thank you again for your patience. Thank you for letting me serve you. Please return anytime.

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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your reply. I have been worrying about him recently, for example, he likes to convert fraction to decimals, (101/1000=0.101 and 40/100=0.40 and such...) So I try to teach him the concept of percentage, he is not good at and when he was upset with himself, he said: "I don't like myself because I am not good at solving percentage problem."
Once, he did not to want share his toy with his sister, and I showed my expression with not approving his behavior, and he said "You don't love me and I want to die!" Shall we go to see psychologist?
Once again, I am very appreciated all your time and effort to helping me and my son.
Best regard,

Your family and son are experiencing the "asynchronous development", the mismatch between emotional age and intellectual age. It's important to remember that your son is a kid before he's a gifted kid. And you are the adult, as is your husband.

Here are two previous answers, to moms with the same concerns, about managing behavior:

11/16/2012 "Gifted Toddler with Behavioral Issues"

4/28/2012  "Behavioral issues in my possibly gifted daughter"

In the above answers there is good practical guidance.

This is important: Your son's behavior, screaming that you don't love him, and over-reacting DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU DID ANYTHING WRONG! Your son needs you to be the parent, to take the lead, even more than a child who isn't gifted. It was appropriate for you to have a disapproving expression. In some families with gifted kids, the household is run by the child and his reactions, and that's a disaster.  Your son needs you to be firm. A loving parent makes the right decisions and requires good behavior, even when the kids don't like it. One of my two favorite quotes, at the bottom of the page, addresses doing the right thing, whether the child likes it or not.

You'll find excellent resources to learn more about giftedness and how to manage a gifted child's behavior, and building character, from Free Spirit Publishing,

The remarks your son made are not uncommon, but of course, its important to ask questions about it, as you did here with your questions. I don't feel strongly that its time to see a psychologist. You may, though, want to discuss your concerns with your child's doctor, and ask for the name of a psychologist in your area, should there come a time when a psychologist is needed.

Will your son be going to public school? I don't know if you live in the US, but most public school districts have some kind of testing, evaluating the presence of learning differences, both disabilities and gifts. You could call the school superintendent's office and see what services are available. Some child psychologists do the kind of testing called a neuropsychiatric evaluation. That may be useful in the future.

Please let me know how things go, and return here any time.  

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Faith A. Coleman MD


No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.


Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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