Diagnosis: Gifted?

I wrote in my main blog recently about how a friend brought to my attention the fact that DD might be Gifted. I confess I’ve been hesitant to persue this with much vigor, and I think it’s because I worry that my kid might not be so, and I’ll somehow end up disappointed. The best way to describe it is if you never knew a Whatchamacallit existed then you wouldn’t feel bad about not having one, but if someone pointed it out to you and you start to read about it you may decide you do want one but then find out you don’t qualify to own one…I have never thought of DD as being Gifted, though I certainly know she is advanced in certain areas, but just chalked it up to those being her areas of interest.

Anyways, now that I’ve read about some signs of being Gifted I’m starting to see more and more of them in her. Perhaps this is a case of “when you have a Hammer, everything looks like a Nail”. But still, I find it interesting. For example, it said that “smart” children ask questions, but “gifted” children “just know”. I noticed in our Ecology Centre class Monday that DD didn’t ask any questions: she never does. Yet a few days later she said something that we had learned in class, so she’s obviously paying attention.

Another quality of Gifted children is their phenomenal memories. I know DD can memorize well, but yesterday she announced out-of-the-blue that she wished she still had her “sheep shirt”. This is a T-shirt she had almost 2 years ago from New Zealand with one black sheep among a flock of white sheep, a description she accurately recalled to me when I asked her what it had looked like.

Another quality was that Gifted kids are often perfectionists with high standards for themselves and can be very self-critical. DD often says things like “well, I can’t do that”. The other day I asked her if she could read a very simple book to DS (3 word sentence-type book) and she said “no, I can’t read” in a very self-depracating tone. And yet the next day we were at the playground and there was a diagram of the solar system on one of the play structures. The planets were not “in order” and they were not too distinctive looking, yet she named every one. The only conclusion I can make is that she can read their names (or enough to guess). She also told me the name of her favorite story on a story DVD we got from the library – there are no words in this short film, and the only way she could know what it was called is by reading the title. I *think*…and it’s really a theory at this point, that she can read fairly well but for some reason feels she isn’t “good enough” at it and so won’t read out loud from books. Either that, or she has just memorized dozens of words and can tell them by sight.

As I noted in the other post, the fact that we are homeschooling means most of the issues faced by parents of gifted children don’t apply to us. But it could be interesting in terms of getting to understand DD. My worry is that I will start to pigeonhole her, see behaviours I want to see, or make what I’m seeing “fit” the description. DH is totally opposed to the very idea of labelling her. While some of her social issues are challenging, I sometimes wonder how much I’m projecting onto her: feeling bad that she isn’t playing with the children of my friends, when she isn’t feeling bad about it. So I’m a bit leery of all this. But if it can help me figure out different approaches it would be good. And maybe introduce me to some activities that are right up her alley.

We have a playdate next week with the friend who introduced this idea to me. It will be interesting to see how her very gifted DD interacts with my DD, as they seem to have a lot in common. It would be neat to see DD get excited about someone sharing her interests.

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