- Asks many questions
- Learns rapidly
- Reasons well (good thinker)
- Extensive vocabulary
- Excellent memory
- Long attention span (if interested)
- Morally sensitive
- Strong curiosity
- High degree of energy
- Wide range of interests
- Great sense of humor
- Concerned with justice and fairness
- Keen observer
- Vivid imagination
- Highly creative
- Questions authority
- Good a jigsaw puzzles
- Shows ability with numbers
- Unusual capacity for planning and organizing
- Makes collections of things advanced for his/her age
- Shows high degree of originality
- Independent and self-sufficient
- Appreciates beauty
- Need to understand
I can list characteristics common to gifted children and use these characteristics as criteria to identify students. The drawback to this method is that many older children learn to hide their giftedness so as not to call attention to themselves, or to appear different from their classmates. Therefore, it is a mistaken assumption that it is easy to spot a gifted student when looking for common characteristics.
There are globally gifted children and unevenly gifted children. Globally gifted children are exceptional across the board in all academic areas. They score high on IQ tests and have an extremely high scholastic ability. These children usually learn to read before kindergarten. Learning is initiated and pursued by the child not by the teacher or parents. These children are always curious and ask a ton of questions. They are persistent and desire an environment that is stimulating.
Unevenly gifted children look a bit more lopsided. Many children that are gifted have more ability in mathematics than literary skills or vice versa. Unevenness seems to be the norm among academically gifted students.
Students can be gifted in other areas other than in academics. Below is the list of the five areas of giftedness.
Intellectually Gifted: These children have a large vocabulary. They have an exceptional grasp of reasoning, analysis, critical thinking and problem solving skills. These children are good at almost everything. At will, they can do exceptionally well, but they don’t always choose to. These children seem to be wired differently and march to the beat of their own drummer, which tends to lead to social issues. They tend not to have patience with the pace of the instruction in the classroom. Some children might show up as underachievers.
Academically Gifted: These children excel in some areas but, maybe not all areas. They have high energy on school tasks, excellent memory and recall. Tend to do well in school and are well liked by teachers.
Artistically Gifted: These children show high potential for the performing arts including: acting, writing, painting, sculpting, singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, and composing. They are compelled to express themselves.
Creatively Gifted: These children have many original ideas that are different from the norm. They resist conformity and possess strong visualization and imagination abilities. These children might show impulsive tendencies.
Leadership: These children assume leadership roles and are accepted by others as leaders. Other children are drawn to them. They are compelled to lead. (This should not be confused with being “pushy” or aggressive. To be gifted in leadership skills a child needs to lead by diplomacy not force.)
First of all, parents know their child better than anyone else. However, it is hard for parents to be objective when assessing their own child’s progress. There are 3 categories of parents. The first group of parents don’t realize that their child is exceptional: “Don’t all kids do that?” Another group of parents think their child is exceptional, when what they are doing is in the normal range for child development. Lastly, some parents are blinded by their own hopes and dreams and get “hooked” by the “gifted” label, which results in an unrealistic representation of their child’s abilities.
With this in mind, it is my goal to try and help parents be as subjective as possible in assessing their child’s potential.
To begin with, one measurable way to evaluate giftedness is to look at a child’s progression through the developmental milestones. A rapid movement through these milestones could be an indicator of giftedness.
(Check out this website of sensory, cognitive, language, social and behavioral developmental milestones: http://understanding.infantilism.org/chart.php )
I want to note that milestones in general should not be used as a sole indicator of normal or abnormal development.