Particular talents and social
environments will affect how a childs personality and achievement
patterns form. Like everyone else, each gifted child is unique; each
has their own strengths and weaknesses. The gifted mathematician may be
an average reader, and the early reader may lack the ability to
organise her time or class materials. In general, the gifted
student can be identified by professional evaluations, academic
performance or by certain observed behaviours.
Parents can pay to have their child assessed by an
educational psychologist. Look in your phone book or ask your school
for the nearest professional in your region.
Modern norms for IQ tests
are biased against gifted children. Because of their low
ceilings, none of the current tests provides valid IQ scores for highly
Gifted children's IQ scores
become depressed at approximately 9 years of age due to ceiling effects
of the test. The ideal age for testing is between 4 and 8. There
has been a trend away from defining the gifted and talented in terms of
a single category (for example, high IQ) towards a multicategory
approach, which acknowledges a diverse range of special abilities.
Some schools consider the top 15%,
10% or 5% of their students to be gifted or talented.
BUT this definition does not
pick up those under-achieving students who are bored by a
subject or do not see it as important and can pass with very little
As a parent you will know there is
something different about this child. He can speak as an adult one
minute, discussing how the brain works using electrical impulses and in
the next minute throw a tantrum because he can't find the crayon he
needs right now. She can have you in awe of her theories on Black Holes
and the fate of the Universe, or completely frustrated because she
can't seem to remember that her "lost" school bag is always kept by the
As a teacher there are many forms of
giftedness and they will show for some children in science, for some in
art, while for others in leadership or social sensitivity. Some
children are terrible introverts, misunderstood by peers and teachers,
at risk of their undiscovered exceptionality leading to a dead end.
There are qualities and characteristics
that are frequently found among gifted children, although no child will
possess them all. By themselves, they are not proof of giftedness but
may bring the student to your attention for further investigation.
- Responds well to the company of older
people. May require emotionally stable and secure adults around
- Is very compassionate and has many fears such
as death and loss of loved ones.
- Has an unusual sensitivity to the feelings and
expectations of others.
- Has a realistic idea of their own
abilities and a feeling of being “different”
- Is a perfectionist and has high
- May become easily frustrated because of his/her
big ideas and not being able to carry out these tasks to fruition.
- If he/she experiences failure early, may give
up and develop permanent learning blocks.
- Has a highly developed moral and ethical sense.
- Will resist authority if it not democratically
- Displays persistent goal-directed behaviour.
- Can spot inconsistencies.
- Has a highly developed sense of humour.
- Likes routines and rules, can be upset by
changes to routines.
- Has a high level of verbal ability.
- Has a variety of interests and high level of
- Learns to read earlier than average.
- Reads widely, quickly and intensely.
- Often remembers large volumes of information.
- Has a longer attention and concentration span.
- Bores easily and may appear to have a short
- Exhibits day-dreaming behaviour.
- learns basic skills faster, better and with
- A good guesser and asks ‘what if’
- Asks interesting/difficult/ unexpected
- Has the ability to see unusual and diverse
- Has keen powers of observation with an eye for
- Has the ability to generate original ideas and
- Handles complex problems well.
- Enjoys intellectual activity.
Preschool children may
Reach physical milestones
Talk a great deal and very
Like books and being read to.
Become quickly bored with easy
Become easily frustrated.
Prefer company of older
Show early evidence of
Have advanced thinking
Have a sophisticated
From the Ministry:
According to one New Zealand publication*,
behavioural characteristics such as advanced reading and language
skills, early abstract thinking, and exceptional levels of knowledge,
curiosity, and motivation are helpful in identifying gifted and
* Ministry of Education. (2000). Gifted and
Talented Students: Meeting Their Needs in New Zealand Schools.
Wellington: Learning Media Ltd. Printed copies of this publication can
be purchased from the publisher, Learning Media Limited, Box 3293,