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Signs of Giftedness

20 Signs Your Child May Be Gifted

"Is my child gifted?" Parents often wonder at one point or another whether their child is gifted. Here we've rounded up some basics to help you identify signs of giftedness in your child.

What Does "Gifted" Mean?

The term "giftedness" is used by different schools, organizations, and cultures in different ways, with some using the term strictly to indicate people with well-above average intelligence as measured by IQ scores, and others embracing a broader range of criteria. The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) offers the following definition:

"Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10 percent or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports)."

20 Signs of Giftedness

While IQ tests and other assessments can help identify giftedness in school-age children, kids are also commonly identified as gifted by the observations of families, teachers, and friends. Below are some of the characteristic traits of children gifted in terms of general intellectual ability, adapted from a detailed checklist from Austega. Note: no one gifted child exhibits all the traits.

  1. Learns rapidly, easily, and efficiently
  2. Has exceptionally large vocabulary for their age
  3. Demonstrates unusual reasoning power
  4. Has an unusually strong memory, but is bored with memorization and recitation
  5. Needs little outside control — applies self discipline
  6. Has a liking for structure, order, and consistency
  7. Is flexible in thinking patterns; makes unusual associations between remote ideas
  8. Displays a great curiosity about objects, situations, or events; asks provocative questions
  9. Makes good grades in most subjects
  10. Has a power of concentration, an intense attention that excludes all else
  11. Provides very alert, rapid answers to questions
  12. Is resourceful, solving problems by ingenious methods
  13. Has avid interest in science or literature
  14. Reveals originality in oral and written expression
  15. Has a power of abstraction, conceptualization and synthesis
  16. Is secure emotionally
  17. Tends to dominate peers or situations
  18. Uses a lot of commonsense
  19. Displays a willingness to accept complexity
  20. Is perceptually open to his or her environment



Austega also provides lists of giftedness characteristics in other categories such as specific academic aptitude, creative thinking and production, leadership, psychomotor ability, and visual and performing arts.

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Join The Conversation
TerriMicillo1371178609 TerriMicillo1371178609 1 year

Having an MAEd. in Gifted Education, I would disagree with a lot of the examples above. Children who get high grades in most areas are smart, or high achievers, but not necessarily gifted. A child can be exceptionally gifted in one area, yet have a learning disability in another area. Some gifted children are emotionally secure, others are WAY out there with emotional control. Organized? Maybe if they're mathematically gifted. If they're Linguistically gifted or Artistically gifted, organization goes out the window. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Kathryn1396689311 Kathryn1396689311 1 year

I feel that many of
these (ie good grades, secure emotionally, etc) only apply to children who have been well
supported both emotionally and academically.
The focus on accomplishments and the real child is at the root of many harmful
myths and stereotypes that are at the root of bullying (by children, adults and
even educators) and may actually impede the gifted child from being identified,
understood and getting the support they need as the vulnerable and brilliant
person they are.

RossKardon RossKardon 1 year

Because I grew up as a special needs, learning disabled child, I rage with envy for gifted people. I dearly wish I could have grown up as a gifted child, instead of growing up as a learning disabled child. This is because gifted people are the diametric opposite of learning disabled people.

Also, because I am enduring a life long struggle with the genetic disease of obesity, because I inherited the thrifty gene. I furiously rage with envy for the lucky people, who because they inherited the right thinness gene, eat the equivalent of a chocolate-covered elephant everyday and never gain a single pound!

DonnaMcGill1396589755 DonnaMcGill1396589755 1 year

Meh...everyone thinks their kids are geniuses ...(but mine really are...LOL) No all kidding aside we put to much pressure on kids. In one form or another.
Just let them be kids for as long as you can....help them in school...let them have a childhood!

SarahHampton1398985653 SarahHampton1398985653 1 year

My daughter is in a "gifted" program at school. She despises the class and me for putting her in it this year. The last two years she was fine but this year she's actually being a little challenged. Because she's so used to everything coming incredibly easy to her challenge is not something she handles well. Any ideas or recommendations on how to help her through it? I don't want to switch her out of the advanced class and into regular 4th grade because she will be so bored and it will do more harm than good.

SarahHampton1398985653 SarahHampton1398985653 1 year

My daughter is 9 and feels exactly the same way as you. Please try to embrace who you are because it's an incredible thing.

April14377653 April14377653 1 year

Cyber hugs to you, lovey! (I know this is an old post, so disregard it, if it doesn't apply anymore :) ).. Never EVER regret who you are or how you are. In time, you will see how absolutely lucky you are (and hey, there will always be days when it feels like a curse, you just gotta ride it out, as awful as it seems. That's when you ask mum/ someone you love for a hug and dark chocolate. Keeps your morale up, :) ). Like with every good thing, there is always a counterweight to balance it out. (Good thing is your IQ, bad thing is it makes you different in your own eyes).. Other children might bae on ya, but that's because they sub consciously know you're better than them, academically or in whatever way. They fear that; sub consciously they feel threatened. How to make yourself 'unthreatening' towards them?? Hmm. I don't know, tbh.. What I do know, is that being different isn't always easy and although you may feel alone, know that there are other people out there who have 'been there, done that' and if they knew you personally, they'd be empathetic towards you like I am.. Also, if you are unaware, there are many kids at school like you. Maybe not in your GT programme, but feel alone or different. Some are surrounded by friends (that are more like Mean Girls), some aren't. Find them. Friend them if you gel with each other. Start with some home cooked treats. Works at breaking the ice. Well, it did for me, lol. Good Luck, Ane.

HollyGriffith HollyGriffith 1 year

Many of these don't apply to children who are ADHD and gifted as well.

LaustCawz LaustCawz 1 year

Many of these signs are reasonable, but, as other posters have stated, there are a few that are questionable at best. Structure, order & consistency are just as often (if not more) embraced by mediocre minds. School grades are rarely a true test of a student's intellect (especially with an insecure teacher). Rapid, alert answers to questions might just as easily be expected from someone who's being interrogated at gunpoint. #13 (interest in science or literature) should also include the arts (music, acting, visual art & so on). I also agree that many "gifted" individuals aren't so secure or dominant (at least not early on). Some will also not only "accept" complexity, but will demand it. "Being "open" to his or her "environment" is pretty vague, too. What does that mean? Finally, there is no distinction made here (as there should be) between boys & girls, who may show different signs, which can also be heavily influenced by circumstances.

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