Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Gifted Four-Year-Old?

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: My four-and-a-half-year-old son is reading, adding, subtracting, and memorizing a lot of different things. Is this normal for his age, or may he be gifted? If so, what should my next step be to accelerate on this?

A: A four-year-old who is already reading and doing primary level mathematics is indeed advanced. Though giftedness can certainly be observed, the best way to definitely determine intellectual giftedness is through formal educational assessment testing. If you are in the process of planning for kindergarten, between now and summer would be a good time for testing. The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence would give you an IQ score plus a breakdown of your son's areas of academic skill strengths and weaknesses. It is important that he have a reasonably good attention span (and be in good health the day/days of the testing) for the results to be accurate. Be sure to ask the psychologist in advance if she has experience testing young children. If private testing is too expensive, you can consider contacting a local university with a psychology department for competent but possibly less expensive testing.

I do not necessarily believe you need to accelerate his learning (as you state in your question). Little ones like this tend to do very well acquiring knowledge quickly all on their own! Offer him a variety of toys and books, as well as fun learning experiences -- just like you have been doing. A good book on this topic is Bringing Out the Best by Saunders and Espeland (Free Spirit Publishing). It focuses on gifted children under the age of seven years. Best wishes.

More on: Expert Advice

Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Top 10 Free Homework Help Websites
Is helping your child with homework more frustrating and confusing than ever before, thanks to the new Common Core standards? Check out the best free homework help websites to boost kids' success in math, science, English, and more.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

11 Fantastic Fall Apple Desserts
Nothing says fall like the smell of an apple dessert baking in the oven. Use up your family's surplus of apples with our 11 favorite apple dessert recipes.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!