Characteristic of Gifted Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: How do I identify a gifted child?
To recognize if a child is gifted, there are numerous characteristics that are distinct to
gifted individuals and quite easily observable, especially for parents. The following description
would give a rough indication of these characteristics.
By the broad category of giftedness, characteristic traits are listed as general intellectual
ability, specific academic aptitude, creative thinking and production, leadership, psychomotor
ability, visual and performing arts. More specifically, if your child demonstrate about three
quarter of the following characteristic traits, it is likely that s/he is gifted.
- Variety of Interests
- Excellent memory
- Long attention span
- Unusual curiosity
- Persistence in attacking difficult mental tasks
- Creative ability/Divergent thinking skills
- Good problem solving/reasoning abilities
- Rapid learning ability
- Leadership qualities
- High degree of energy
- Above average language development
- Early/avid reader
- Preference for older/matured companions
- Unusual emotional depth and intensity
- Heightened sensitivity
- Non-conformity behavior
- Above average ability with numbers/jigsaw puzzles
- Keen powers of observation
- Vivid imagination
- Good sense of humor
- Sense of justice and moral sensitivity
- Apparent maturity in judgment
Researches on giftedness indicate that the best way to identify giftedness in your child is by
carefully observing his behavior, not by formal testing of IQ especially if the child is very
young. The best age to do an IQ test is still debatable. I suppose, as soon as the child is
able to read/write and understand questions; s/he may be able to do such tests without much bias.
Most of the indicators of giftedness become evident even before a child turns one! So perhaps
that's when you may be able to look out for some of the indications listed above. However, do be
aware that your child may not necessary be gifted in all areas.
On intelligence testing, the accuracy of an IQ test is still questionable.
Nevertheless, it is still the single best predictor to test general intelligence.
Intelligence and giftedness are not synonymous - as thought by many. Gifted
individuals have different abilities, talents, and personalities. Even so, a
sizeable proportion of the individuals categorized as gifted are distinguished
from their non-gifted counterparts by virtue of superior general intelligence,
which is measured by intelligence tests. This is how giftedness becomes associated
A note of caution, some parents tend to want to believe that their child is "gifted"
as it may associate one with the pool of elitist, especially so within a competitive
society. This may lead them to "force" giftedness upon their child, forgetting other
aspects of development, especially their affective needs. With proper nurturing and
access to educational materials, children would be seen to perform, but if their
emotional and physical needs were not met, these children would be at risk of
Then, to turn the tables around would be rather difficult and requires
a great deal of effort as the damage is already done during the critical age of growing.
Hence, give your child what you believe would help him/her make the most of his/her
abilities, but at the same time allow your child to enjoy growing. Focus on your
child's strengths, at the same time pay attention to his/her weak areas and get help.
Believe that every child may not meet the
early sign of gifted characteristics that are listed, but
every child is special in his/her own way - focus on that specialty and you would be
nurturing a well-rounded and emotionally stable child.