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
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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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