1. ITV Report

How do I know if my child is a genius?

ITV News Central's Bright Sparks series follows the lives of extraordinarily gifted children - and looks at the challenges they and their families face.

Lyn Kendall is Mensa's gifted child consultant. She used to be a teacher working with the most able pupils, and has a highly gifted child of her own.

She has given her insight into how other parents can identify where their children are geniuses.

Lyn says it tends to become clear once they start attending nursery and interacting with their peers.

Gifted children are usually "sitting in the corner reading books when everybody else is splashing about in the paint".

Most parents don't tend to notice until their children go off to nursery and start mixing with others.

If you're a bright spark, then you're born into a bright family and generally the conversation level is going quite normal, so your child is normal for your family.

When you notice it is when they go off to play group for the first time, and yours is the one sitting in the corner reading books when everybody else is splashing about in the paint.

People starting commenting, 'gosh they're clever, aren't they?'

That's when you start to get an inkling that they might not be quite the same as the other children.

– Lyn Kendall, gifted child consultant, Mensa
Lyn Kendall is Mensa's gifted child consultant. Credit: ITV News Central

How can I support my child if they are gifted?

It's not necessarily easy being a child genius, Lyn has warned.

She says they are noticed for their brains and ability from a very early age, so their self-image and identity becomes developed around their cleverness.

They set themselves incredibly high standards, and can struggle to cope to with failure.

She stressed the need to give them give them an "all round personality".

She has shared the following tips for how parents can provide the best environment for their children to succeed:

  • Make them a whole person - Look at all their skills - the softer skills and emotional intelligence. Make sure they're well-rounded.
  • Teach them how to fail - Bright children need to be taught "supportive failure"
  • Teach them how to study - Brighter students who "soak up" information should be something difficult to learn, such as musical instruments or languages, which they can't understand instantly and have to work out.
  • Give them a breadth of experience - A school curriculum is very narrow and there is a wonderful world for them to explore in their own time.
  • Give them the opportunity to mix with other bright children - Make sure they're not feeling isolated and get used to not being the cleverest!

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