Common Characteristics of Gifted Children

The last few weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of regular education teachers knowing some basics of Gifted Education. So this post is more for those teachers who need to know a bit more about gifted children. I posted this to our district Gifted Education Page. I thought that this is such an important topic that it needed to be seen by a larger audience.

Let’s start with the definition of what Gifted means. According to the National Association for Gifted Children‘s definition is:

“Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”

According to the State of Ohio giftedness means:

Gifted” means students who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience or environment and who are identified under division (A), (B), (C), or (D) of section 3324.03 of the Revised Code. OH Admin. Code 3301-51-15

To see what other states are defining gifted as click here. 

According to Dr. Jim Delisle and his book When Gifted Kids Don’t have the Answers there are 14 general characteristics of Gifted Children (Pages 6-7).

  1. “Shows superior reasoning powers and marked ability to handle ideas; can generalize readily from specific facts and can see subtle relationships; has outstanding problem-solving ability.
  2. Shows persistent intellectual curiosity; asks searching questions; shows exceptional interest in the nature of mankind and in the universe.
  3. Has a wide range of interests, often of an intellectual kind; develops one or more interests to considerable depth.
  4. Is markedly superior in quality and quantity of written and/or spoken vocabulary; is interested in subtleties of words and their uses.
  5. Reads avidly and absorbs books well beyond his or her years.
  6. Learns quickly and easily and retains what is learned; recalls important details, concepts, and principles; comprehends readily.
  7. Shows insight into arithmetical problems that require careful reasoning and grasps mathematical concepts readily.
  8. Shows creative ability or imaginative expression in such things as music, art, dance, drama, shows sensitivity and finesse in rhythm, movement, and bodily control.
  9. Sustains concentration for lengthy periods and shows outstanding responsibility and independence in classroom work.
  10. Sets realistically high standards for self; is self-critical in evaluating and correcting his or her own efforts.
  11. Shows initiative and originality in intellectual work; shows flexibility in thinking and considers problems from a number of viewpoints.
  12. Observes keenly and is responsive to new ideas.
  13. Shows social poise and an ability to communicate with adults in a mature way.
  14. Gets excitement and pleasure from intellectual challenge; shows an alert and subtle sense of humor.”

To add to this list there are few other points that need to be shared. Gifted children sometimes are more sensitive than most kids. They begin to develop a sense of empathy a lot sooner than average learner children do. They also have a social-conscience-which means that have an intense awareness of the world’s problems. They worry about the world, the environment, wars and conflicts, hunger and homelessness.

As you teach your  gifted children begin to identify some some of these qualities in your students. How do these general characteristics manifest themselves in your classroom?

Some more resources to look at:


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