The definition of giftedness is elusive at best, but talent and creativity abound in those around us. As mothers and teachers, it is often hard to separate whether the sparks of genius we see are genuine or not. There is no one way to "test" for gifted ability, but there are some traits that are common in gifted individuals. A list of these character traits will help parents to begin to better understand how to identify giftedness in their children.
There is a very readable book called The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Children, by Sally Yahnke Walker Ph.D., which provides and overview of what it means to be gifted, and what parents should know and do to help their children. Click on the link to read parts of this book and to access another checklist of gifted characteristics.
Trust yourself! In the article Twelve Myths of Gifted Education by Louise Porter Ph.D, she cites several studies which show that parents are accurate in identifying giftedness in their young children; much more accurate than teachers!
She says, "Many writers in the field of the education of the gifted report that as parents have detailed knowledge of their child’s milestones, motivation and personalities, and see their children in a range of settings and performing a range of tasks, they are skilled at recounting their children’s abilities (Feldhusen & Baska, 1989; Robinson, 1987; Roedell et al., 1980). Indeed, in two studies (Ciha, 1974; Jacobs,1971), parents correctly judged their child’s giftedness 76% of the time, compared with 22% and 4.3% for early childhood teachers’ ratings in the respective studies. These findings are similar to those of Louis and Lewis (1992) who found that 61% of parents correctly identified their preschool children’s advanced development, with the remaining 39% of the children falling just below the gifted category. Meanwhile, using a cut-off score of an IQ of 130 points, two-thirds of parents in a study by Silverman et al. (1986) correctly recognized their children as gifted, with 100% being correct in their identification if the cut-off score was set at120 IQ points."
In spite of the research, parents are often told, "All parents think that their children are gifted!" Don't be deterred by this attitude--if you feel that your child has gifted tendencies, speak up....you are probably absolutely right!
Another other great books on this topic is: Re-Forming Education by Karen Rogers Ph.D