What is Giftedness?
Children are gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age. Giftedness may present in one or more areas such as academics (reading, writing, math, science, etc.), creativity, leadership, psychomotor, or the arts (dance, theater, visual, and music). Gifted people make up around the top 5% of a population; the highly gifted make up the top 1-3% of the population.
Not all gifted children look or act alike. Gifted and talented children are present in all student groups, regardless of gender, disability, English language proficiency, economic status, ethnic or cultural background. It is important that adults look hard to discover potential and support gifted children as they reach for their personal best.
Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals
Because gifted children are so diverse, their characteristics may vary. Here are common characteristics that gifted individuals may show:
- Unusual alertness, even in infancy
- Rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly
- Excellent memory
- Large vocabulary and can put together complex sentences
- Can understand metaphors and abstract ideas with words
- Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles
- Often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler
- Deep, intense feelings
- Highly sensitive (can be touch, noise, smell, and emotions)
- Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful
- Idealistic at early age
- Concern with social and political issues and injustices
- Long attention span and intense concentration (around things they are interested in)
- Preoccupied with own thoughts—daydreamer
- Learns basic skills quickly and with little practice
- Asks a lot of questions constantly
- Wide range of interests or extreme focus in one area
- Highly curious
- Interest in experimenting and doing things differently
- Puts idea or things together that are not typical
- Unusual sense of humor
- Desire to organize people/things through games or complex stories
- Vivid imaginations (and may have imaginary playmates)
- Prefers the company of older playmates or adults
Modified with permission from: Webb, J., Gore, J., Amend, E., DeVries, A. (2007). A parent’s guide to gifted children.