Does Your Child Have These Traits of Giftedness?

Gifted Children Often Share These Ten Traits

Intelligent little bookworm
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You don't know what to make of your child. His behavior is puzzling and frustrating. Sometimes you wonder if he has ADHD, ODD, OCD, sensory integration disorder, or some other disorder or syndrome. You wonder if he has a learning disability. Or maybe, you think, he is lazy and irresponsible. Maybe, however, your child is gifted. How can you tell?

Types of Giftedness

First, it's important to understand that giftedness is not just a matter of academic achievement.

A child (or adult) may be gifted in several different domains:

  • Intellectual
  • Creative
  • Artistic
  • Leadership
  • Academic

Thus, even if your child isn't an academic whiz, he may be gifted in other areas. While schools are most likely to be interested in intellectual and academic giftedness, parents should be supportive of their child's creative, artistic, or other gifts. These may become increasingly important as your child moves into higher grades or starts a career.

Tests for Giftedness

While "quick tests" (like the one below) may provide you with insights into your child's abilities, they aren't true tests for giftedness. Once a child has been identified as possibly gifted, she will go through a variety of carefully developed, benchmarked tests to determine whether and to what degree she is truly above average. Some of these tests may include:

  • Standard IQ tests
  • Non-verbal IQ tests
  • Achievement tests

Results of these tests, administered by trained professionals, provide schools with the information they need to place, educate, and challenge your child.

Checklist of Traits of Gifted Children

Gifted children don't always behave in the ways you'd expect. For example, many gifted children appear to be "daydreaming" in class, while others may have a hard time controlling their tempers. As a result, they may not be classroom stars; in fact, they may be in trouble more often than not!

Some traits of giftedness overlap with traits of developmental disorders. It can thus be tough to determine whether a child is gifted or diagnosable with ADHD, high functioning autism, or another related issue. And, of course, it is quite possible to be gifted and also have a developmental disorder.

You can answer the following questions and see how many of the behaviors apply to your child. Remember, though not all gifted children are alike, so not every gifted child will have all of these behaviors, but if some of these behaviors sound familiar, you might want to learn more about gifted kids!

  1. Talk a blue streak, using an unusually high vocabulary
  2. Ask a lot of questions
  3. Appear unusually sensitive to injustice or unkindness
  4. Wear you out with her endless questions
  5. Exhaust you with his seemingly boundless energy
  6. Get frustrated because her work is less than perfect
  7. Get totally absorbed in activities and thoughts
  8. Prefer to work independently rather than in a group
  9. Find it difficult (or undesirable) to conform to others' expectations
  10. Have an unusual level of interest in classifying and organizing objects or ideas

I Think My Child Is Gifted; Now What?

If the above checklist describes your child, you may want to consider having him screened or tested for giftedness.

Speak to your child's school psychologist or advisor to set up a battery of IQ and ability tests to see if your child's educational program is appropriate for his gifts.

Meanwhile, though, if your child is also having difficulty communicating with peers, limiting impulsive behavior, or completing work on time, you may want to raise questions about those issues as well. Your child may be gifted; at the same time, however, she may have challenges that should be addressed so that her gifts can shine through.

Sources

  • Webb, J., Gore, J., Amend, E., DeVries, A. A parent's guide to gifted children. Tuscon, AZ:  Great Potential Press, 2012.

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