Characteristics of a Gifted Child

I've had so many emails asking for the characteristics of a gifted child that I posted on the Today show segment last week. Truly gifted kids are different. To date, there is no single agreed-upon definition. What is agreed is that high intelligence exists and it may be expressed in many different ways. Their driving force is their brain, and it is fundamental to everything about them.

Here is a list of characteristics of gifted kids, though it’s important to note that not all characteristics will apply to your child. So look instead for a “pattern.”

Precocious:  Clearly advanced development in a particular area is, abilities are noticeably ahead of peers the same age.

Intense interests:  In reading, people, music, etc. some realm of activity (not forced, it springs from kids naturally).

Extremely curious:  Interest in experimenting and doing thing differently, limitless supply of questions, vivid imagination

Long attention span:  Intense concentration or focused on single task for long duration; high level of energy

Very sensitive:  Intense in feelings, behavior and views

Divergent thinker and excellent reasoning:  Tendency to put ideas of things together in ways that are unusual and not obvious; elaborate and original thinking; excellent problem solving skills.

Learns quickly:  Doesn’t need repetition, practice, pushed or skill and drill

Excellent memory:  Retains a great deal of information

Extensive vocabulary:  Unusually large vocabularies for age; great comprehension and subtleties of language “get it” faster


To be identified “gifted,” the child usually is given a standard individual IQ test by a certified psychologist and be administered face-to-face (not online). That test is given without charge by a school district or a parent may pay to have it administered by any certified psychologist in your community. An IQ score of 132 is usually used as a cut-off score for gifted. In addition to the IQ test, the school may deem a child as gifted through teacher recommendation, achievement scores, or identified talent in a particular area (such as math or music). Since IQ tests are not considered valid for children younger than four or five (and ideally are given by nine years of age) you should at least wait until your child enters school.

Michele answers specific questions about gifted children:

  1. Are we pushing too hard?
  2. Should she go to public or private school?
  3. Should I even bother labeling my child as gifted?
  4. Why are parents embarrassed of having smart kids?
  5. How can I boost my child's academic confidence?


Do you have any questions or tips of your own?  Leave a comment below.

12Secrets_Borba.jpgDr. Michele Borba is the author of over 22 books including 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know .

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