The term gifted refers to an individual’s ability to perform a skill at a level not reached until later years. An individual can be gifted artistically, musically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and within one achievement area for example mathematically. Although many people tend to throw this term around to mean “very bright,” true giftedness is considered a special need. While a child may be developmentally advanced in one or many areas, they may not necessarily be advanced in all. This means that a child can be intellectually gifted however, may be lagging behind in other areas. Many struggle socially and/or emotionally and tend to do better with other gifted children to whom they can relate.

Gifted children and adults observe the world differently. They tend to be emotionally intense and have complex thought processes. Gifted individuals tend to be “too” in most everything that they do, for example, too sensitive, too perfectionstic, too moral, too driven, and too serious. Their parents often state that their gifted children ask “too many questions.” The higher one’s IQ, the more difficulty he or she may have in finding a playmate or in conforming to a typical school curriculum. For this reason, it is important to identify children who are truly gifted, as gifted. Left unlabeled, these children may feel misunderstood and that they don’t belong. Additionally, without the proper school placement, these children may in fact underachieve, despite their high IQs.

Signs of giftedness can be observed in early childhood:

  • A good thinker with excellent reasoning skills
  • If interested, has a long attention span
  • Learns rapidly without much repetition
  • Has strong curiosity/ inquisitive
  • Is a keen observer
  • Has extensive vocabulary
  • Has an excellent memory
  • Has a vivid imagination and/or highly creative
  • Has facility with numbers
  • Intense
  • Perfectionist
  • Perseverant in their interests
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Morally sensitive
  • Has a high degree of energy
  • Prefers older companions or adults
  • Has a wide range of interests
  • Early or avid reader (if too young to read, loves being read to)
  • Concerned with justice, fairness
  • Tends to question authority

Unfortunately, many gifted children are mislabeled because of these very signs that contribute to their giftedness. For example, they may have a high amount of energy, and not pay attention unless they are interested. A child such as this may be misdiagnosed as having ADHD. A child who does not interact well with his peers may be seen as having social difficulties. However, when this same child interacts with other children of same intelligence, or with older children and adults, may do great.

To learn more about identifying gifted children, please click on these links:

Gifted Testing

Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Testing

SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted Children)

National Association for Gifted Children