Common characteristics of Gifted Children

Gifted children are such diverse group, and therefore, not all of them will show all of these characteristics all of the time, however, many will.

  • Unusual alertness as early as infancy.
  • Rapid learner, able to put thoughts together quickly.
  • Retains much information; very good memory.
  • Unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age.
  • Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors, and abstract ideas.
  • Enjoys solving problems that involve numbers and puzzles.
  • Largely self-taught reading and writing skills as a preschooler.
  • Unusual emotional depth; intense feelings and reactions; highly sensitive
  • Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful.
  • Idealism and sense of justice appear at an early age.
  • Concern with social and political issues and injustices.
  • Longer attention span, persistence, and intense concentration.
  • Preoccupied with own thoughts, daydreaming.
  • Impatient with self or others inabilities or slowness.
  • Ability to learn basic skills more quickly with less practice.
  • Asks probing questions; goes beyond what is being taught.
  • Wide range of interests (or extremely interest in one area)
  • Highly developed curiosity; limitless questions.
  • Interest in experimenting and doing things differently
  • Tendency to put ideas or things together in ways what are unusual or not obvious (divergent thinking)
  • Keen and sometimes unusual sense of humour, particularly with puns
  • Desire to organize things and people through complex games or other schemas.
  • Imaginary playmates; vivid imaginations

Strong verbal abilities Most gifted children start speaking earlier than others, whereas others start much later BUT with unusually large vocabularies, often non-stop, sometimes in complex sentences. Often they understance nuances that distinguish words, and would insist on the absolute precise word to be used. This verbal abilities often lead them to be early readers, and they often read extensively. Most gifted children teach themselves how to read and write by simpy asked questions.

Unusually good memory They learn quickly and easily, and they remember things with less practice than their age mates.

Intense curiosity They are extraordinarily inquistive, continually asking questions, especially, “why?” When deemed impolite; the child doesn’t know he or she is being such. It is merely their sense of curiosity.

Wide range of interest The interests of gifted children are often quite advanced and wide ranging for their age. Some focus on a single interest, with an all-consuming attention, while others hop from 1 to another. This behaviour is often viewed by parents and teachers as disorganized or scattered behaviour.

Interest in experimenting This could be driven by interest and/or curiosity.

Passionate imagination and creativity They often are known having one or more imaginary playmates. These imaginary playmates often have imaginary pets, and live in imaginary places. For these children, their imagination can be very real. While being adults we may view this as an emotional problem, we should rest assured that as long as the child gives and returns affection, this imagination simply reflects the child’s high intelligence, active imagination, and creativity.

Remarkable sense of humour This humour of their is often expressed from ages 5 – 6 as an outcome of a gifted child’s strong imagination and creativity. Gifted children are also known to delight in wordplay and silly one-liners.

Desire for reasons and understanding Gifted children want reasons and are seldom satisfied with superficial answers. They see the world through a lens that is simply different from that of most people. The brighter and more creative they are, the more likely they are to see things differently. (They of course think that we see the world from their perspectives)

Impatience with themselves or others Their wonderfully contagious enthusiasm often prompts them to be impatient. They have difficulties comprehending why other children do not share their interests, don’t seem to grasp solutions to problems, or do not master a task as quickly as they do. It takes additional experience for them to understand that not everyone thinks and works the same way.
Their intense and perfectionist ideals can start at an early age, and cause them to be impatient with themselves.

Longer attention span. This is only applicable for things which they are interested in. Their concentration is intense, focused, and all-consuming.

Complex thinking is often seeked by gifted children. The search for complexity often leads them to be bored, particularly with routine tasks, and they may abandon tasks if they are too mundane.

Concern with social/political problems or injustice Because they are able to see the nuances and complexities of life, they are hugely concerned with issues of fairness.

Sensitivity The brighter the child is, the more sensitive he may be. They notice and react more in their environment. They are often acutely aware of their feelings and may be very emotional and hurt very easily. This sensitivity sometimes extends to physical senses, such as touch or smell.

Intensity Perhaps the most significant aspect, gifted children tend to be more intense than other children in everything, they do. They do things intensely, they believe intensely, they are intensively opinionated. The intensity pervades everything, including temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, and power struggles with adults. Their dreams are also often more vivid.

Daydreaming While this is frustrating and can indicate problems if it impairs functioning, imagination and highly focused concentration are skills that are needed in many careers.

Parts of this book are excerpts from A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children . You may view/purchase it from clicking on the link.

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3 Comments »

  1. […] Comment! The theory of “overexcitabilities” refer to a person’s heightened response to stimuli. This concept has shed some light on the intensity and sensitivity so often displayed by gifted children. (this is further discussed here.) […]

  2. […] the possibility of dyslexic, or gifted. If his behaviour has started recently, has he expereinced a traumatic event? Does he have any […]

  3. […] The theory of “overexcitabilities” refer to a person’s heightened response to stimuli. This concept has shed some light on the intensity and sensitivity so often displayed by gifted children. (this is further discussed here.) […]


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