Characteristics of Gifted Children

There are three characteristics of gifted children that can help you tell if your child has exceptional intelligence. Keep in mind that these characteristics aren't the final word on whether or not you have a gifted child. Bright children will show some similar traits; gifted children may not exhibit all of them. If you want to know how to tell if your child is gifted, start by looking for these characteristics. If you see them, it's worth having your child evaluated by a professional to find out if she is truly gifted.


  • Gifted children tend to learn to read early, some before entering school. They also have better language comprehension. Gifted children also read quickly and intensely. They tend to have large vocabularies.
  • Gifted children learn basic skills quicker than the average child. It takes them less practice to master basic skills. They can also handle abstract concepts with ease.
  • A gifted child seeks the hows and whys and does not take anything for granted. He can concentrate for longer periods of time than a non-gifted child.
  • Gifted children interpret nonverbal cues, while non-gifted children need to have certain things spelled out for them. They can also work independently at an earlier age.
  • A gifted child has eclectic interests and is intensely focused on those interests.
  • Gifted children have endless energy, which may lead to a misdiagnosis of hyperactivity. They respond well to adults, including parents and teachers. The gifted child prefers adult company, rather than the company of peers her own age.
  • A gifted child is very inquisitive and likes to learn new things. He is willing to look at unusual things and ask questions.
  • Tasks and problems are attacked in an organized, goal-directed and efficient manner. The gifted child has extreme motivation to learn and can be quite persistent. She may have an "I'll do it myself" attitude.


  • Gifted children may be extremely observant, and have a sense for what is or is not significant. They tend to pick out important details.
  • A gifted child reads on his own and prefers books written for older children. Gifted children prefer intellectual activity and can see cause-and-effect relationships easily.
  • A gifted child's attitude is always questioning; she often seeks information just for the sake of learning something new, whether that information is useful or not.
  • Gifted children may be skeptical, evaluative and critical. They spot inconsistencies quickly. A gifted child is often a perfectionist when it comes to his school work.
  • Gifted children often make valid generalizations about any subject, whether it is an event, an object or a person. Complicated material is attacked by separating it into components, then analyzing the components.


  • Gifted children are often creative, so much so that it sets them apart from other children in their age group. If you watch a gifted child, you will see that she is a fluent thinker and is able to see possibilities, related ideas and consequences. They use different alternatives when problem solving.
  • These children seek anything new and unusual. They will make unconventional associations and combine items of information. They come up with new ideas, responses or other embellishments to basic ideas, problems or other situations.
  • The gifted child loves problem-solving activities. He is a good guesser and can easily construct a hypothesis about a situation.
  • Gifted children are overly curious and like to imagine things.
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