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What are Gifted Children?

Updated on July 6, 2011

Many parents wonder if their bright child is actually a gifted child. How to know if your child is gifted? It matters because gifted kids are eligible for special gifted education for gifted and talented students. Gifted children need the right kind of educational experiences at an early age. They are classified the school system as special needs children, which helps them to keep from getting bored in school and helps the gifted and talented reach their full potential. In response, U.S. pubic schools have created Gifted and Talented programs.

But how do you know if your child is gifted? Read on.

Is My Child Gifted?

Here is the short list from the U.S. Office of Gifted and Talented. These are the folks who administer the public school gifted and talented programs. A typical gifted preschooler (age 2-5) will exhibit the following:

  • Uses advanced vocabulary for age.
  • Uses spontaneous verbal elaboration with new experiences.
  • Has the ability to make interesting or unusual shapes or patterns through various media: blocks, playdough, crayons.
  • Ability to assemble puzzles designed for older children.
  • Sense of humor used in general conversation.
  • Understanding of abstract concepts such as death and time.
  • Mastery of new skills with little repetition.
  • Demonstration of advanced physical skills.
  • Demonstration of advanced reasoning skills through explanation of occurrences.

Official Determination

Different schools test for giftedness differently, but a common factor is the IQ test because it results in a number, which can then be compared to the school or classroom norm. Kids who school in the top 2%, or with an IQ of around 125, are generally considered for gifted programs.

Often multiple tests will be used and the numbers evaluated in conjunction with one another. However, schools don't use a number alone to determine giftedness. For the purpose of placing a child in the gifted program, checklists of traits observed by teachers and parents are often used. Various qualitative tests may also be used to capture information not easily tested on standardized objective tests.

Indigo Children: A Different Kind of Gifted?

According to many, there are new souls among us whose job it is to facilitate a transition to the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness. Are these our gifted children? Indigo children are said to have unique talents and abilities that none of us mere mortals seem to understand. Some of the attributes are similar to those of children labeled as gifted.

Indigo Kids are said to be highly sensitive and multidimensional. May people think they have advanced intuitive powers. People who embrace this idea believe that the next generation of children is markedly different from us, as if they are born knowing.

Image Credit: MD | Zaq, Flickr

How to tell if your child is gifted: the Federal Definition

In Title IX, the US government defines gifted and talented students as follows:

GIFTED AND TALENTED- The term gifted and talented', when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.

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