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11 Signs Your Child Could Be Gifted

Is your kid just smart or one of the intellectual elite?

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Every child is special

All parents want to believe their children are special and unique, and they are! But some children are destined to be the next great thinkers. How can you tell if your little one is more than just smart and in the leagues of Einstein, Mozart, or Marie Curie? The National Association for Gifted Children estimates that 3 million children in America are gifted. (They define "gifted" as "those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.") Assessing whether a child meets this criterion is far more complicated than simply relying on test scores. In fact, many educators look for other signs of exceptional intelligence that cannot be measured by a test or exam to figure out if they have genius kids on their hands. Be on the lookout for the following signs that you might have a future Mensa member on your hands. Check out these tiny but powerful ways you can encourage your child every day.

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Racing through milestones

One of the first signs that you may be raising a genius appears very early on in a child's life. Achieving developmental milestones way before predicted can be a sign that your child is ready to be challenged. Eboni Hollier, MD, board-certified in developmental and behavioral pediatrics says, "Many parents of gifted children note that they often master developmental milestones at an earlier age than expected. In particular, language skills may be significantly above age level. Many gifted children often develop an extensive vocabulary and speak in complex sentences at an early age," she says. These are some things kids did a decade ago that they don't do anymore. 

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They love to read

Just like author Roald Dahl's famous child-genius heroine, Matilda, child prodigies tend to be voracious readers. Genius kids often learn to read quickly and earlier than other children the same age and enjoy reading for meaning and pleasure. If your child has worked their way through Matilda's reading list, they may well be genius material! These are the 10 simple ways to get your kid to love reading.

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Curiosity about the world

Smart kids are interested in the world around them, but real geniuses have an insatiable curiosity to find out about the very minutia of how things work. From inquiring about every single mammal's individual eating habits to insisting on knowing exactly how the toaster works, gifted children might test their parents' patience with an unending stream of questions.

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Early pattern recognition

Genius kids will begin to recognize repetition at an early age but it's not just simple color or shape patterns that catch their eye. Niranjan Reddy, PhD, from SuperBaby, suggests that gifted children not only notice patterns and shapes in games and activities but can also see repeated behaviors, activities, and actions more easily than their peers. "Gifted children notice everything, from which bus passes the house after breakfast time to how many bricks can fit inside the toy trunk. They are very good at observing and remembering key information," he says. Make sure you avoid these 8 compliments that actually hurt your kid.

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A detailed knowledge or interest in their favorite topic

Genius kids will often have in-depth knowledge in one particular subject specialism or area of interest. This might mean they can tell you the scientific name of every dinosaur or explain the internal workings of a car engine. Whatever the topic a child prodigy's knowledge is usually all-encompassing. As Science Daily explains, "A prodigy is someone who, by the age of roughly 11, displays expert proficiency or a profound grasp of the fundamentals in a field usually only undertaken by adults."

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Preferring the company of adults or older peers

Gifted children may find it difficult to relate to their peers who may have different interests and abilities. Very smart kids can often feel bored in class as the work is too easy for them and will seek out more stimulating conversation with older peers and adults. You can help your child to make friends with people of all ages by teaching them social skills and empathy. These are the 8 signs you're raising an emotionally intelligent child.

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Focus and determination

Gifted children have perseverance for sticking with a task or habit until they have mastered it. Sunny Verma, founder and CEO of Tutorbright says, "Gifted children typically have an amazing sense of focus. When given a task, they tend to work on it without distractions until completion. TV, video games, and social media do not divert their attention, allowing them to finish with efficiency."

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Leadership skills

Because of their maturity and natural organizational abilities many genius kids will become leaders of the industry. Verma says that gifted children "typically can take charge to find the most effective solution. They also self-regulate their performance, making them always look for ways to improve—a desirable trait of leaders regardless of age. Because of this ability, they usually can lead their peers, as they have more confidence in their sense of direction and experience in taking charge." Check out these things your child's teacher wants you to know.

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They are original

A common marker for recognizing a child may be exceptional is that they not only understand advanced work by others but they are also able to offer their own unique and original thoughts and insight into problems and puzzles. An article in Creativity Post finds that geniuses are always looking for new ways to approach problems or to look at the world, "They ask 'How many different ways can I look at it?, 'How can I rethink the way I see it?', and 'How many different ways can I solve it?'"

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