Nurturing a gifted child’s abilities

Every child is special. Some kids, however, are smarter than others. Still others are in the leagues of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton—intellectual elites and great thinkers.

On November 15, 2019, Jack Guy wrote a CNN article about a child prodigy from Belgium that is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of nine. The child genius, Laurent Simons, is currently studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), and plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering after graduation in December, while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students. Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, said in a statement: “That is not unusual. Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Parents have a role in nurturing gifted children. In 1761, a four-year old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began composing his first piano concerto. His father, a composer himself, quickly realized the potential in his child. He quit composing and devoted much of his time to schooling the young Mozart in music. At age eight, Mozart wrote his first symphony, then went on to compose several opera pieces by the time he was 16.

Close to home, we have nine-year-old child prodigy Worth Lodriga, our  own “Little Picasso,” who won twice (2016 and 2018) in the 7-Star Artist Award from the Junior Picasso 2018 contest held in India. Worth’s mom, Wendy, noticed his interest in art when he was just two years old. As she was teaching him how to read by writing on a whiteboard, she noticed Worth would love to use the marker to draw a human figure. Mom right away spotted the talent she had to nurture. Apart from the Junior Picasso contest, Worth has won in other international competitions, including the Frogs Are Green International Art Contest 2016 in New Jersey, against 1,441 entries globally; the 2017 Airtime Watertime International Flotation Suit Design Contest in Santa Barbara, California; and the Mars Society in Colorado.

Very few individuals are gifted with an IQ that tips the scale. These are the people being sought by Mensa, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. Mensa Philippines is the local chapter of Mensa International. The first Filipino child genius accepted by Mensa-Philippines was five years old Alrescha Mikaela “Reese” Gabriana, and the youngest member of the local high IQ society is four-year-old Samuel “Sam” Pelingon, who became a member in 2014.

The Washington-based 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.” There’s no current data for exceptional children in the Philippines. So, how do we help Filipino parents determine if they have a gifted child?

Assessing whether a child is a genius 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 in their classroom. For parents, you should recognize the following signs of a future Mensa member: Your child has an unusual memory; passes intellectual milestones early; learns how to read early; has unusual hobbies or interests or an in-depth knowledge of certain subjects; intolerance of other children; awareness of world events; high achiever; prefers to spend time with adults or in solitary pursuits; loves to talk; asks questions all the time; learns easily; has a developed sense of humor; musical; and likes to be in control. It’s important for parents to be aware of the signs of giftedness so they can nurture their child’s abilities.

Image credits: Job Ruzgal


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