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Is My Child a Prodigy or "Gifted" - How to Know

Updated on June 15, 2013

We all want our children to stand out in a crowd and to be special. If we realize what gifts our children are it is likely that we will realize that they are special in their own way, no matter how they compare to other children. But many parents want their child to be a prodigy or at least "gifted". So, how does one know if their child is a prodigy or if they are gifted?

The Child Prodigy

We hear a lot of awesome stories about child prodigies. Of course, many of us know without a doubt that we don't have a child prodigy, even if our children are special. A child prodigy is defined as one who is under 10 and performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding field of endeavor. Some of these follow their parents into specific endeavors (Mozart's father was a musician, Picasso's father was a painter) or they may teach themselves a new skill. Many are smart and learn to read young, graduate high school at an early age, and take college classes or even finish college before we knew what college was.

Prodigies are usually easily recognized because of their early accomplishments. They may learn to read very early, start painting or playing the piano early, or show amazing achievements. Many prodigies are skilled in a specific field of study and some fields attract prodigies more then others. This is believed to be because of a quantitative measurement of success rather then a qualitative one. This means that music, art, science, math, and chess are fields that are easier to measure success in. Whereas dance, theater, writing, and many of the humanities are harder fields to measure success. None the less there are prodigies that have touched all of these areas.

Traits of the Gifted

Gifted children often display a number of traits of being gifted. These can be used to begin determining whether or not your child is gifted. Remember that few gifted children will show all traits.


  • May get fussy if facing the same direction too long
  • Often appear alert
  • Needs less sleep then others his or her age
  • Reaches milestones earlier


  • Intense need to explore, investigate, and master their environment.
  • Enjoys going and doing new things
  • Very active, but with a purpose
  • May show an unusual interest in numbers and letters
  • May read or begin math early


  • Very observant and curious
  • Intense interests
  • Long attention span
  • Excellent reasoning skills
  • Fluent and Flexible thinking
  • Unusual and vivid imagination
  • Perfectionist
  • Enjoys learning new things

If your young child shows a lot of the signs then you may want to look into getting him or her tested for giftedness. This should usually be done after age five and it is often better to wait till after age nine. However, these tests can help you get help for your gifted child.

The "Gifted" Child

All children are gifted and unique. As parents we need to realize that our children are special, need lots of attention, and should be encouraged in the areas that they are talented in and the areas that they struggle in. None the less there are a group of children out there who fall into the "gifted" category. Often times it is hard to figure out what is just pride in our child's accomplishments and what is truly a "gifted" child.

In order to identify your child as gifted you have to have some definition of the term. Most use a standard of gifted meaning that they give signs that they can preform at higher then normal levels for their age in one or more areas (intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific field of study). Most of the time identifying a gifted child is done because they need additional oppertunities in a learning environment so that they can proceed with more advanced studies.

What If My Child Is Gifted

Gifted children often experience boredom when they aren't being stimulated or challenged. Because of this they often have a hard time in the normal classroom experience. It is important that you work to get your gifted child a better education. This can be a different style of teaching, learning from home or adding home studies to their normal day, or even just additional learning opportunities in the normal classroom.

It is imporant that you work on challenging, encouraging, and inspiring your children, whether they are prodigies, gifted, or just your average child. This can help your child go to their full potential and can make for a great experience in your life and theirs. Learn new things, try new things, and go new places, it will do the whole family good.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    hello my daughter has learned English all by herself in only one year, whenever i ask her how did she did it she says i don't know, and that she watches a lot of american TV shows and listens to music , neither does she can speak the language verbally very very good , but also she can write it and spell it correctly and that happened when she was ten years old.

    PS: we're from a third world country that it's people cannot speak the language very well , and she's also very good at french more than her classmates which makes her uncomfortable , and she has a good memory , she remembers a family dinner that occurred when she was only one and half years old

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago

    Amy and Clair...It sounds like your children may very well be a prodigy. This can be a wonderful and scary thing. It is good to get help so that you know what you should be doing to encourage and challenge them while still allowing them to make decisions and have the joy of a childhood. Many prodigies spend way too much time growing up super fast and they don't have the chance to be children. Many of us adults love the idea of all the accomplishments, but if we really think about it we wouldn't want to trade our childhoods for them.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    At only 18 months, Caleb is able to communicate with sign language, read first grade texts, use phonics, has a good grasp of geography and can add.

    I hope to continue to feed Caleb’s insatiable hunger to learn new things. I'm looking for additional resources to assist in this effort.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    My daughter has been very observent since i can remember walking out of the hospital. Also, she has been showing some amazing piano, turmpet, clarinet and flute skills starting around two and 11 months. She has done almost everything on the list above. Does this mean she is a prodigy?

  • profile image

    Jiri Marek 

    8 years ago

    Sometimes it's not the best idea to remind the kids that they're special (even though they are). They might end up going through far more stress in their childhood racing against their own excellence, developing an enormous fear of losing. And once they lose (everybody does), the whole world crumbles down for them. Placing kids to piano lessons at early age is great, if they show interest in music. Forcing them to play piano & expecting good results in competitions just so you can brag in front of your friends/neighbours, now that's another story. In the end the kid should have the choice of development of their gift. It's important for the kids to acknowledge these talents as something they like to do rather than something they're expected to do better than others. After all it's not about being the best...

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    "Gifted" is also a label assigned by school districts according to the recommendations of their educators and school boards. If a child is determined to be gifted by the set standards for that district, then the child enjoys opportunities another won't.

    One aspect of a child's development that used to be (I don't know if it still is) included in assessing giftedness is socialization skills.

    Often, the gifted child acts out in a negative way or retreats into himself.

    This bypassing of polite social protocol should not be a part of measuring giftedness.

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago


    Each community is different in what it offers and how it views gifted children. Because your daughter is getting older you may want to start by contacting the pre-school or young fives program in the area. They may not look into anything, but they are likely to give you suggestions.

    The other option is to check out this website. They have a lot of good resources that can help you figure out where to go from here.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Were would I go to have my daughter checked. These are some of the things she has done. At 5 months she was doing sign lang., at 7 months she was walking, 12 months potty trained, knew all her shapes, colors, animals, and all her letter and there sounds at a year an a half. Now she is 3 and can read about 25 words, 300 signs, can count to 30 and if she hears something once she remembers it forever. For example; she knows that killer whales eat hunchback whales babies and they travel in packs, or the sun is a star and they come in pair. That and she like OCD we call her the monk. Everything has to be in pairs and have to match. If anyone can tell me anything please let me know.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Hi Nice article

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 

    9 years ago from East Coast, United States

    yeah, we had one of them and the gifted baby, while entertaining as hell can be a bit of a challenge, fascinating little people and wonderfu to watch grow up

  • packerpack profile image

    Om Prakash Singh 

    9 years ago from India, Calcutta

    Good Hub listing the traits of a gifted child. Often parents don't understand that their child is gifted, this hub will help them. However there are at times when parents taken the normal behavior as a sign of gifted child and start expecting a lot from their kids which in turn harm their children. One must be careful before coming to any conclusion about their kids as pointed out in this Hub. Very good work. Thanks


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