How to tell if your child is a prodigy
Prodigiousness is a high fantasy for most parents. Given the choice, every parent would like to have a prodigious child, but prodigy children are not easy to identify, and much less to understand. Indeed some often get easily misunderstood by their world they live in.
- They appear to be older than their biological age at all ages. Not so much in physique as in their facial expressions, verbal-response style, choice of facial expressions, the look in their eyes, use of vocabulary and level of understanding things, people, problems or issues.
- They have extremely good Long Time Working Memory which means keeping complex figures, numbers or informations in their head for a long time. Most of them may have extremely good visual and spatial memory as well as mental and visual imagery. They may have additional talent at doing some things particularly well.
- They have quick, synthetic minds, learn quickly, think outside the box, problem solvers, creative thinkers, ask questions and can handle complex problems with smart solutions. They usually like to read and are focussed listeners (that is if they are not in the disruptive category)
- They are usually a lot different than other children of their age, often competing against themselves, having a firey 'rage to master' things that may seem uninteresting, pointless, creepy or weird to other children or even adults. Highly self motivated, they feel spurred by challenges and get a kick by mastering them. It is as if they get reward by learning things. What's the reward? That they have mastered it. They will keep doing a task until they have learnt it, sometimes going really hard on themselves.
- They usually fall in 'quiet' or 'loud' category. When 'quiet', they are thoughtful, calm, observant, perceptive, and keen; they can play alone or stay-put at solving something for extended period of times, sometimes giving the impression as if they are preoccupied with themselves or living 'in their dream-world/ another world'. When 'loud', they are usually found to be highly disruptive, rebellious, flout discipline and may get diagnosed as ADHD or ADD for lack of attention which stems from an extra active and energetic mind that feeds on tackling challenges and mastering skills, and will turn disruptive in absence of challenges for it to do. For this latter reason most intelligent children get labelled as disruptive and their caregivers fail to identify their superior intelligence and their need to satisfy it. (Absence of right mental stimulation and challenges often misguides these children into undesirable behaviour later on in life such as bullying, drugs.)
- In absence of right kind of challenges they quickly become disruptive or disassociate themselves with efforts or trying, thus allowing themselves to languish in ruin or engage in activities that mislead their caregivers into thinking they are violent, aggressive, inattentive, rude, indisciplined, rebellious, bullies, not focussing on studies/ assignments or even having lower than average intelligence.
- They struggle to make others understand their ideas or thoughts as others aren't equipped to understand them and they on the other hand aren't equipped with the right kind of language and vocabulary to make others understand them. So, they understand things but don't know that others don't and have difficulty in explaining it to others. This communication-frustration may well stay with them till late in life.
- They are often perfectionists. They place high value on being perfect which drains them, exhausts them and later on in life even make them conclude that since perfection is impossible, they must give up working altogether.
- They have a somewhat strange choice of words and vocabulary that strikes you as being bigger than they are, or something's going on in their little big heads.
- They gravitate towards bigger older people with whom they have more chances to learn stuffs they would otherwise not have when being with children of their age group of average intelligence. They are like an adult brain frustratingly trapped in a child's body.
- This in turn makes it harder to relate to their peer age-group. Other children may not like a child who doesn't talk and behave the way they do, has weird or extraordinary interests or learns things way quickly displaying mental superiority. This isolates them and makes them somewhat friendless and lonely.
- Having found success at learning at an early age often messes with their minds in a negative way, making them take success either too lightly or not at all, and disillusion them, which may defocus them from higher pursuits, sustained ambition or continued hard efforts in their adult life. Prodigiousness in childhood is therefore not a strong indicator of later success. Many who crumble before their success, often start regarding their amazing mental capacity as a curse.
- Prodigiousness does not always stay continued into adulthood. There may be many reasons responsible for that. Lack of focus due to increasing responsibilities, and challenges of having grown up could be one of them. This, in end effect, renders prodigiousness rather a difficult situation in itself. Not only it's a double challenge for parents, teachers, caregivers, kindergartens and schools, but also for bosses, colleagues, family members and family life later on. The greatest challenge, however is for the child himself that must deal with all this usually alone, un-understood and unaccompanied.