sábado, 24 de janeiro de 2015


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This advice sheet is aimed at parents who think their child may have high learning potential.

Below is a guide to some characteristics and abilities that are common amongst children with high learning potential aged between 12 months and 4 years. However, not all of them will apply to individual children. Whilst the ages given are a rough guide as each child is unique and progresses in different areas at different rates, they provide a useful list to help you determine whether your young child has high learning potential (HLP).


Many parents begin to suspect that there is something different about their child compared with their peers at a young age. This is a guide for parents to put their child’s abilities in the context of high learning potential.

 Characteristics of Young Children with High Learning Potential

• Unusual alertness as a baby
• Interest in books
• Interest in computers
• Unusually active and high levels of energy (but not hyperactive)
• May require less sleep (yet not sleepy or irritable due to lack of sleep)
• Early and extensive language development and vocabulary, forms grammatically correct
sentences as compared to peers
• Has a vivid imagination (includes having imaginary friends)
• Extraordinary feats of memory
• Extreme curiosity and asks many questions
• Ability to memorise and recall facts easily
• Early development of a sense of humour
• May see solutions that don’t occur to others
• Interest in abstract terms (e.g. time or space)
• Advanced sense of justice and fairness (and may not understand responses of peers)
• Strongly motivated to do things that interest, unwilling to do other activities

Abilities of Young Children with High Learning Potential

• Could stay still and enjoy a TV programme at 12 months
• Has favourite TV shows/VCD/DVDs at 12 months
• Ability to form two-word phrases by 14 months
• Ability to understand instructions by 14 months
• Ability to say and understand many words before 18 months
• Recognition of letters/alphabets by age 2
• Recognition and rote counting of numbers 1-10 or higher by age 2
• Recognition of colours by age 2
• Recognition of first word by age 2
• Interest in puzzles by age 2
• Has long attention span in interest areas by age 2
• Ability to form at least three-word phrase by age 2
• Ability to solve a 20-piece puzzle by age 3
• Recognition of simple signs and own written name by age 3
• Ability to write letters, numbers, words, and their names between 3 and 4 years
• Ability to read easy readers by age 4
• Specific talent (if any), such as artistic ability or an unusual facility for numbers – becomes
more apparent by age 4
• Ability to do simple addition and subtraction by age 3
• High degree of mathematical understanding by age 4

Early Readers, Deep Readers

Many young children with high learning potential teach themselves to read at a very early age. By the time they enter early childhood education they may already be sounding out letters, reading signs, or reading accurately both aloud and silently. Some children are such good readers that their silent reading speeds may cause it to seem as if they are skimming through picture books.
They may also be concentrating so deeply on their reading that they are unaware of people speaking to them, or teachers attempting to engage their attention. As many adults assume children must be taught to read, even parents can be surprised by the reading abilities of their child!


Many children with high learning potential are hypersensitive; emotionally, sensually and / or physically.

• Emotional hypersensitivity (or over excitability) can be demonstrated through extreme emotion, anxiety, concern for others, difficulty adjusting to change and may ask many questions about pain, death, anger, love.
• Sensual hypersensitivity (or over excitability) is a heightened sense of the five senses and can be demonstrated through tactile sensitivity (such as tags in clothes), sensitivity to loud noises, and appreciation of beauty in music or art or attachment to treasured toys.
• Physical (or psychomotor) hypersensitivity (or over excitability) is primarily indicated by a surplus of energy and can also be demonstrated through compulsive talking, nervous habits, physical expression of emotions and sleeplessness.

Dual or Multiple Exceptional

A child can have both high learning potential and special educational needs (when this is the case the child is often called dual exceptional or twice exceptional). Common learning disabilities that are seen alongside high learning potential are:

• dyspraxia,
• high functioning Autism (Asperger syndrome)
• dyslexia

For more information see Potential Plus UK Fact Sheet P01 – Dual and Multiple Exceptionality.

 If you feel your child may have high learning potential, please contact Potential Plus UK for a telephone consultation with an education consultant. We also have an Early Profile of High Learning Potential service available.

Further Information Books and fact sheets can be ordered from our website shop: www.potentialplusuk.org

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