The 6 Different Types of Giftedness
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Does gifted child follow directions well and be motivated by making A's?
A: Over 20 years of research
has enabled researchers come up with different types of
giftedness. There are many versions of this but the one I
feel fits in rather well in the 6 types of giftedness was
introduced by researchers Betts and Neihart which also
corresponded with my own finding in my doctoral
dissertation. Gifted children share some distinct
characteristics generally but can be quite different in many
others. However, there is no clear cut of the types; and a
combination is always possible. This is an objective guide
should you want to understand the different types of gifted
individuals that exist.
Typically the 6 types of giftedness includes:
The summary of each of the profile is briefly discussed
The Type 1's are the most easily identifiable, and
may account for up to about 90% of the identified gifted
students in schools. They are the students who have learnt
the system and are well adjusted to society with a generally
high self-concept. They are obedient, display appropriate
behavior, and are high achievers, therefore, loved by
parents and teachers. However, they can also get bored at
school and learn the system fast enough so as to use the
minimum effort to get by. They are also dependent on the
system, thus less creative and imaginative, and lack
The Type 2 gifted are the divergently gifted, who
possess high levels of creativity. They do not conform to
the system and often have conflicts with teachers and
parents. They get frustrated, as the school system does not
recognize their abilities. They may be seen as disruptive in
the classroom and often possess negative self-concepts, even
though they are quite creative. This is the group of gifted
students who are at risk of dropping out of schools for
unhealthy activities, like getting involved in drugs or
exhibiting delinquent behavior.
The Type 3's refers to gifted students who deny their
talents or hide their giftedness in order to feel more
included with a non-gifted peer group. They are generally
females, who are frequently insecure and anxious as their
belonging needs rise dramatically at that stage. Their
changing needs often conflicts with the expectations of
parents and teachers. These types appear to benefit from
being accepted as they are at the time.
The Type 4 gifted are the angry and frustrated
students whose needs have not been recognized for many years
and they feel rejected in the system. They express
themselves by being depressed or withdrawn and responding
defensively. They are identified very late; therefore, they
are bitter and resentful due to feelings of neglect and have
very low self-esteem. For these students, counseling is
Students identified as Type 5 are gifted students who
are physically or emotionally handicapped in some way, or
have a learning disability. This group does not show
behaviors of giftedness that can identify them in schools.
They show signs of stress, frustration, rejection,
helplessness, or isolation. They are also often impatient
and critical with a low self-esteem. These students are
easily ignored as they are seen as average. School systems
seem to focus more on their weaknesses, and therefore fail
to nurture their strengths.
Finally, the Type 6 gifted are the autonomous
learners who have learnt to work effectively in the school
system. Unlike Type 1, they do not work for the system, but
rather make the system work for them. They are very
successful, liked by parents, teachers and peers, and have a
high self-concept with some leadership capacity within their
surroundings. They accept themselves and are risk takers,
which goes well with their independent and self-directed
nature. They are also able to express their feelings, goals,
and needs freely and appropriately.
Types 1 & 6 - generally identifiable.
Types 2, 3, 4, 5 - risk of not being identified.
As for your question, a gifted child of Type 1 and 6 would
usually follow directions well and vice-versa for the other
types. Motivation for getting A's would depend on how worthy
the child views an A as. If he gets it very easily, he may
not feel very challenged and thus, motivation and
satisfaction levels drop.
5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options
Deborah Ruf, Ph.D
This book describes differences in developmental stages
within the gifted population. The children are classified
into five levels of giftedness based on behaviors and
developmental milestones, giving parents and educators a
reference guide to compare with their own gifted children or
A child's intellectual level can thus be estimated, after
which the book provides different educational approaches and
practical advice, including how to find the best type of
school for each level.