Many people groan when they hear or see that question. They think that every parent thinks their kid is gifted. Forget that every parent thinks no such thing, and consider instead that parents can have valid reasons for wanting to know if their child is gifted. What are those reasons and how can you tell if your child is gifted?

Knowing that your child is gifted is important because it can help you understand your child’s behaviors and needs. And that understanding helps you become a better parent and a good advocate for your child in school. In some ways, it can also save your sanity. You won’t think you’re crazy any more and you’ll have a better idea of where to get help for your child – and for yourself.

So how do you know if your child is gifted? It’s not easy to figure out because gifted children are individuals.  Gifted child are no more like one another than non-gifted kids are like one another. As we say, if you’ve met one gifted kid, you’ve met one gifted kid.  Nevertheless, gifted children have enough in common to make it possible to determine if a child is gifted or not. If you are wondering if your child is gifted, consider these five factors to help you figure it out.

1. Traits and Characteristics

Gifted children have advanced abilities. They are able to do many things that their age mates are unable to do or may have difficulty with. Evidence of these advanced abilities include early walking, early talking, early reading, excellent memories, and relating well to adults. The absence of that evidence, however, does not mean that a child is not gifted. Although you might not see all of these traits, you will see many of them in a gifted child.

Cognitive Traits

    • Very Observant
    • Extremely Curious
    • Intense interests
    • Excellent memory
    • Long attention span
    • Excellent reasoning skills
    • Well-developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization, and synthesis
    • Quickly and easily sees relationships in ideas, objects, or facts
    • Fluent and flexible thinking
    • Elaborate and original thinking
    • Excellent problem solving skills
    • Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
    • Unusual and/or vivid imagination

Language Traits (See Language Development in Gifted Children)

    • Extensive Vocabulary
    • May Read Early
    • Reads Rapidly and Widely
    • Asks “what if” questions

2. Developmental Milestones:

Another reason parents of gifted children have a hard time knowing if their child is gifted is that giftedness tends to run in families. That means that parents can see what should be obvious signs of giftedness, but dismiss them because others in the family have the same traits and behaviors. For those parents, then, these behaviors are simply normal behaviors.

It can help, then, for parents to look at developmental milestones. Gifted kids tend to reach developmental milestones early, not necessarily all of them, but some of them. In order to know if your child has reached any milestones early, you need to be familiar with the typical ages children reach those milestones. If your child has reached milestones early, then you have more evidence of giftedness.

3. Super Sensitivities or Overexcitabilities:

A very common trait among gifted children is supersensitivity. Kazmierz Dabrowski, a Polish psychologist, developed the idea of these overexcitabilities: Psychomotor, Sensual, Imaginational, Intellectual, and Emotional.  Gifted children don’t necessarily have all of these sensitivities. The most common one is the emotional supersensitivity.

These sensitivities can cause a child to get his feelings hurt easily or be sensitive to loud noises or be bothered by tags on a shirt. A child may also appear to be hyperactive because of his excess energy and need to be moving constantly.

4. Differing Views of the Term “Gifted”:

It would be much easier to recognize giftedness in our children if we had one single definition of giftedness. Unfortunately, we have many different definitions and many of them are conflicting. On definition may say that motivation is a defining characteristic while another definition says it potential, which may or may not be accompanied by motivation.  That means that everyone who talks about giftedness is not talking about the same traits others are talking about.

5. Intelligence Testing:

While testing is often the first thing that comes to mind when parents start wondering if their child is gifted, it’s not the first thing that parents should go for. It’s usually not necessary unless parents need test scores to help them advocate for a more appropriate education than their child is getting. Sometimes, though, parents need some peace of mind when they are in constant confusion about their child’s abilities. If you are going to have testing done, wait until your child is at least 5 years old. Until then, tests scores tend to be unstable. On the other hand, you should try to get thte testing done before your child is 9 years old since after that, test results could be inaccurate due to your child hitting the test ceiling.

Carol BainbridgeAbout GiftednessFor ParentsGifted Traits,Identification
Many people groan when they hear or see that question. They think that every parent thinks their kid is gifted. Forget that every parent thinks no such thing, and consider instead that parents can have valid reasons for wanting to know if their child is gifted. What are those...