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At only three years old, she knew the alphabet, wrote the first words and loved numbers: According to experts, the brain of little Ophelia Morgan-Dew has the capacity of a child twice as old.
In 2017, the girl from Great Britain made international headlines when she was accepted as the youngest member of the renowned IQ Club Mensa. She had an intelligence quotient of 171 – these are 11 points more than Albert Einstein scored. This makes Ophelia the most intelligent child in England.
Her mother told the reporting journalists that Ophelia already did Speak early and recognize colors could, one very strong will owns and meanwhile Tasks for five year olds solves. She was way ahead of the other children in her preschool.
Ophelia’s giftedness is special
The three-year-old has some of the typical characteristics that can indicate a gift for children.
However, it is not enough to simply use a checklist to check whether the characteristics of the child could indicate a talent. In most cases, an exact diagnosis is more complicated.
It also doesn’t make sense to do an IQ test at the age of three. Too many parameters could change in the children to get a really reliable result, explains psychologist Christine Koop from the Karg Foundation .
Giftedness or a head start in development?
"If you define high talent through a high level of intelligence, testing only really makes sense in primary school," said Koop.
The case of little Ophelia is certainly a special one, explains the psychologist. "Even for highly gifted children, it is not necessarily typical that they start reading or maybe even writing at this very young age," said Koop.
“At this age, we like to speak of a development advantage. These children take development steps earlier than children normally do at that age. The more pronounced that is, the more extreme the talent will be. ”
Characteristics that indicate talent
There are a number of characteristics that parents can use to orient themselves. The psychologist explains: "If children deal very deeply with individual areas of interest beyond the age-typical level and also grasp what it is about beyond the age-typical level, then this is a characteristic that can indicate a gifted talent."
Koop mentions other characteristics for a high level of talent that parents of preschoolers can use as a guide:
- An exceptionally good memory, quick comprehension and strong skills in reasoning
- The ability to solve complex problems quickly and well, as well as create structures and organize things
- A great urge to know
- An extraordinary language development in the form of a very good understanding of language and expressiveness as well as an unusual vocabulary for the age of the child
- Particularly interested in “adult issues” such as religion, philosophy, environment
- A preference for older play partners: gifted children look for appropriate cognitive stimuli according to their level of development
- Special expressions of drawing skills that indicate a differentiated visual perception
- A high level of creativity, which is shown, for example, by unusual problem-solving suggestions, but which make sense and are not just fantastic
- Strong urge to become self-employed: gifted children often insist on doing things themselves, since they already have a clear idea of how something should be
This list can serve as a guide. However, it is important to be aware of one thing: “A single characteristic is not a sure indicator of a talented person. But if they appear in the bundle and can be observed over a longer period of time, that could be a safer indication of this, ”explains Koop.
What to do if the child shows multiple characteristics for giftedness?
But even if a child has several of these characteristics, it does not mean that the parents must take an IQ test. As long as the child has no difficulties, in the daycare or kindergarten is well integrated, finds enough suggestions in the parents’ house and does not appear bored, parents can also accompany their possibly gifted child lovingly and attentively in its development.
Because once it is officially determined that the child is gifted, high expectations often follow. The child is given the “gifted” label and may not be able to develop as freely as he would like.
Koop explains: “It is always a tightrope walk for parents. You also have to be careful not to overwhelm your child or that a lot of things are projected onto the child with the label ‘giftedness’. Sometimes the children no longer have the opportunity to deal with their own interests and personalities to find out what they would like to do themselves. ”
Too many commitments hinder self-development
Another danger, from the psychologist’s point of view, is to offer the potentially highly gifted child too many learning opportunities. It is good to always offer the child challenges, enrich his learning environment and give him the chance to try it out. But the right measure is crucial here:
“The danger is that parents quickly get the feeling that they have to offer their child as many learning opportunities as possible. Then are all Afternoons are full of classes or other commitments and the child has no time for leisure or self-expression, ”says Koop.
But children should have the experience allowed to, to feel what drives them – not only should they be driven by courses – nor by their parents.
"Parents shouldn’t expect their gifted children to perform well or differentiate themselves," said Koop. “High talent is not an obligation. It just shows a potential that is there. ”
According to the motto: "Because you are highly gifted, you also have to achieve a lot in your life", are anything but helpful for the children, adds the psychologist.
When an IQ test makes sense
However, there are also situations in which an IQ test makes sense. For example, when concrete decisions have to be made for the child.
Sometimes parents have to decide whether or not to start school early. Sometimes it is also a question of whether a child should skip a class and is really able to do so intellectually. In these cases, it may make sense to have the child tested.
A person is said to be highly gifted if he has an IQ of 130 or more. Around 95 percent of the global population have an IQ between 70 and 130. About two thirds of the population achieve between 85 and 115 points. Extremely low or high IQ values are equally rare: only about two percent of the population have an IQ below 70 or above 130.
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