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Gifted Children K-6/I'd like to know if my son is "gifted" and what I should do about it


My son is currently 11 years old and I've just recently been doing research about giftedness and was wondering if my child is "gifted" and what I should do.  The reason I come to you is because sometimes it's difficult to use these characteristic lists because they can be so vague and don't offer a good comparison to the average child.  

I'm probably going to jump around a little bit here trying to remember certain events that make me wonder about my son's abilities as I can't remember everything.  When my son was about 2 or 3 he asked how Santa could get in the house if the doors were locked since we had no chimney and I told him it was magic, but he didn't like that explanation very well and thought that I just let him in.  He also placed the shapes in their proper holes when he was 11 months without instruction.  I'm not sure if this is a sign of advanced reasoning ability for that age or not.  He also played monopoly (the regular version not the kiddy version) with his dad when he was 4 and was good at the game.  When he was 4 he (without anyone telling him to) helped this baby out of a ball pit because there were kids jumping around the baby.  He also used words like "actually" correctly and "oscillating" to describe fans when he was 2, but that could just be because I use words like that around him.  One time when we took him on a plane when he was about 3 he was asking non-stop questions about the plane and how it worked and he's always been interested in how things work.    

I also taught him to read when he was about 2 and he did a good job sounding out the words although he struggled at first, but he read/reads with a fluency greater than most kids his age and prefers reading above his grade level, however, he exclusively likes to read books on science, specifically books about astronomy or other sciences and does not like fiction at all.  He seems to enjoy watching documentaries more than reading, but he reads once in a while.  

He really hated daycare and wouldn't get along with the other kids there.  He's really only had a few friends in school too.  He goes to a small private school and has about 3 or 4 friends, but not much of a social life outside of school.  He enjoys talking to adults more than people his age though for some reason.  He does his school work since I make sure he does, but he seems to prefer learning higher level material and gets bored in class, especially with reading, grammar, and spelling.  He enjoys science and math to an extent, but he has shown an interest in skipping a grade or two, however, I don't know if the school will let him and he's unsure about that because he doesn't want to leave his friends.

So, there are quite a few things that make me wonder and I would like to know what you think and what options I have.

Dear Nathan,

Thank you for writing.  The first thing I would suggest is to speak with his teachers and the administration of the school he attends.  If there's a guidance person there, I would also talk to that person.  At 11, he's probably in junior high school, where skipping a grade is usually not an option, except for programs such as the old "special progress" classes where entire classes of children took 2 years to complete 3 years of academic work and they went on to high school a year early.

If you don't get anywhere with the folks at his school, you can always opt to have him privately tested by a psychologist who gives appropriate tests and will discuss the results with you.

Generally, by the time a child is your son's age, teachers along the way would have pointed out to you that he learns more quickly than other children, retains information longer, and shows other signs of giftedness.

I also recommend you get in touch with SENG, Social/Emotional Needs of the Gifted.  They are a non-profit with resources including books, that may help you along the way with identification and then dealing with the situation.

I recommend you try to help him develop interests beyond school, such as music, sports, scouting, or other areas where he can interact with others in a non-school related manner.  These skills will help him as he gets older.  If you are religious, I suggest you get him involved in the youth group of your congregation.  If not, you can try some sort of community organization, neighborhood beautification, or other such activity.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you and your son, and I wish you the best.  

Gifted Children K-6

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Ellen Jaffe


I can answer questions about gifted children in nearly any setting, at home, at school, in social settings. My main expertise is early childhood, and I can also answer questions throughout elementary school.


I teach child development on the university level - undergrad and graduate. I am a parent of four gifted children who have all earned college degrees, although not all being used at this time. My children have all either been in classes for the gifted and/or been in special programs for the gifted, including special high schools.

MS.Ed. City University of NY

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