Gifted Children

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There is evidence based research that supports certain characteristics of gifted children. Gifted children display a certain set of characterises at certain ages. Below are some indicators of characterises that may be present in children. However all children may show some of these characterises and not all gifted children will show all of these.

If you suspect you child may be gifted, it is recommended that you take the following steps.

Step 1: Look at a variety of gifted check lists. There are hundreds up online.

Step 2: Obtain an intellectual assessment (IQ Test)  from qualified psychologist. Relevant tests include the WPPSI (under 6 years old) or WISC (for children over 6 years).

Step 3: Ensure the psychologist will offer you a detail report with specific strategies to assist with planning for the educational needs of your child.

School Psychology Services offers assessment services for children.

If your child is within the gifted range (1Q 130 +)

  • Read as much as you can in the area of gifted.
  • Speak with your child’s school about specialist programs that may be offered.
  • Engage your child in specific areas of interest and hobbies.
  • Connect your child with other gifted children.
  • Engage in the help of a qualified psychologist to help you with this process.

Schooling and the Gifted Child

Don’t expect too much from your child’s school. Schools are places of learning, however for bright students they may also be places of frustration!
Teacher’s try their best to accommodate all needs of the academic spectrum, from the students who are struggling to read to those who are extremely bright and everyone in between!
Some general tips for parents in primary school:

  • Inform the school about your child’s academic ability.
  • Meet with the classroom teacher to discuss what can be done within the classroom setting.
  • Teachers should be suggesting more depth of knowledge – rather than busy work for gifted students.
  • Ask how the school can accommodate your child – but don’t have unrealistic expectations.
  • Talk to your child about what they enjoy at school and help the teacher explore this with your child.

Traits in very young children:

Birth – 2 years

The following check list is a rough indication of what you may want to look out for after your child is born up to 2 years of age.

  • Ability of recognise carers early (within a few months after birth)
  • Early expressions (e.g. smiling)
  • Unusual alertness
  • As infants, may get fussy if facing one direction for too long. They like variety!
  • As infants, they appear alert, looking around often.
  • Need less sleep, even as infants. Appears to require less sleep (yet not sleepy or irritable due to lack of sleep)
  • Frequently reach ‘milestones’ such as walking and first speech earlier than average
  • May speak late, but then speak in complete sentences
  • Strong desire to explore, investigate, and master the environment (opens up draws, takes things apart)
  • Toys and games mastered early, then seem disinterested in them
  • Very active, wanting to explore new things (but activity with a purpose, not to be confused with ADHD)
  • High levels of energy (but not hyperactive)
  • Can distinguish between reality and fantasy (questions about Santa or the tooth fairy come very early!)
  • Interest in books (turning pages of books before 1 year of age and paying attention when read to within 6 months)
  • Interest in computers and other gadgets
  • Playing with shape sorters by about 11 months.
  • Ability to form two word phrases by 14 months
  • Ability to understand instructions by 18 months
  • Ability to say and understand many words before 18 months
  • Could stay still and enjoy a TV programs by the age of 1
  • Has favourite TV shows or DVDs by age 1
  • Recognition of letters/alphabets by age 2
  • Recognition and rote counting of numbers 1 – 10 or higher by age 2
  • Recognition of colours by age 2
  • Recognition of first word by age 2
  • Interest in puzzles by age 2
  • Has long attention span in interest areas by age 2
  • Ability to form at least 3 word sentence by age 2
  • Interest in time by age 2

2 – 4 years

The following includes all/most skills in the check list above.

  • Early and extensive language development and vocabulary, forms grammatically correct sentences as compared to peers
  • Interest in computers
  • Ability to solve a 20-piece puzzle by age 3
  • Has a vivid imagination (includes having imaginary friends)
  • Extraordinary feats of memory
  • Extreme curiosity and asks many questions
  • Ability to memorise and recall facts easily
  • Early development of a sense of humour
  • Ability to do one-to-one counting for small quantities by age 3
  • Recognition of simple signs
  • Written name by age 3
  • Ability to write letters, numbers, words, and names between 3 and 4 years
  • Ability to read easy readers by age 4 and has an interest in reading
  • Independent on the computer by age 4
  • Musical aptitude just after 2
  • Can do simple addition and subtraction by age 4
  1. Kim05-05-2011

    I am a School Psychologist in Florida. I have reservations about picking specific IQ tests and calling them “the best.” That is, in fact, an opinion given that all cognitive ability assessments have extensive reliability factors that have been well researched. I would caution you about using such specific language when advising parents or others that may visit your website.

  2. Deborah Jepsen06-20-2011

    Thanks for the feedback. I agree and did not mean to imply these tests were in fact the ‘best’ in an absolute sense; only that they are commonly used and accepted around these parts. Post edited accordingly.


  3. wendy10-08-2011

    How subjective is the test? I have heard that it can be influenced by the tester up or down not only the childs skills?