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The Winner's Edge - Scaling Heights


Observing what a little child is capable of is always exciting. Many of the limits we thought children had do not seem to be as absolute as we once believed. The more we study children, the more we discover that what is limited are our beliefs, Are Children Born Gifted?


The potential for giftedness or a high level of intellectual development begins very early in a child’s life. Studies since the early 1970s consistently show that such development is the result of an interaction between the child’s genetic endowment and a rich and appropriate environment in which the child grows. No child is born gifted—only with the potential for giftedness.


Although all children have amazing potential, only those who are fortunate enough to have opportunities to develop their uniqueness in an environment that responds to their particular patterns and needs will be able to actualize their abilities to high levels. Research in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics and early learning can help parents create responsive environments that allow their children to develop their potential to the fullest—that is, to create giftedness.


Giftedness Is an evolving concept. Giftedness can now be seen as a biologically rooted label for a high level of intelligence, which indicates an advanced and accelerated development of functions within the brain that allow its more efficient and effective use. While old ideas of intelligence and giftedness generally were limited to analytical and rational thinking, giftedness includes an interaction of all of the areas of brain function—physical sensing, emotions, cognition, and intuition.


Broader concepts of intelligence and giftedness may be expressed through problem-solving, creative behavior, academic aptitude, leadership, performance in the visual and performing arts, invention, or a myriad of other human abilities. High intelligence, whether expressed in cognitive abilities such as the capacity to generalize, conceptualize, or reason abstractly, or in specific abilities such as creative behavior, results from the interaction between inherited and acquired characteristics. This interaction encompasses all of the physical, mental, and emotional characteristics of the person and all of the people, events, and objects entering the person’s awareness. Our reality is unique to each of us.


What Is More Important, Nature or Nurture?

An endless interaction between the environment and our genetic framework creates our intelligence, even our perception of reality. This process begins very early, as soon as the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. As the cells divide and the fetus begins to grow, the environment already begins to exert a determining influence. One could not say from this interactive point of view which is more important—the inherited abilities or the environmental opportunities to develop them. Restriction on either nature (genes) or nurture (environment) would inhibit the high levels of actualized intellectual ability we call giftedness.


Our genes are not a limit, but provide a rough outline of the possibilities for our life. While genes provide us with our unique menu, the environment makes the actual selection within that range of choice. Any reference to “high-IQ genes” must be seen as a misnomer because the discernible characteristics of an organism always depend on its particular environmental history. Environmental interaction with the genetic program of the individual occurs whether planned or left to chance. By conservative estimates, this interaction can result in a 20- to 40-point difference in measured intelligence. Teachers and parents must be aware that how we structure the environment for children changes them neurologically and biologically. Without opportunities for appropriate challenges, talent and ability may be lost. From an overwhelming body of research, we must conclude that the development of intelligence includes both nature and nurture.


In this process, we should know the following:

  • Who are Gifted and Talented?

  • Advanced Developmental Milestones of Gifted Students Across Domains

  • Cognitive Characteristics of Gifted Students

  • Understanding Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children

  • Social & Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

  • Gifted Students: Common Traits & Misconceptions

  • Common Stereotypes of Gifted Students

  • Characteristics & Development of Gifted Students

  • Special Issues in Gifted...

  • Assessing & Identifying Gifted...

  • Curriculum Planning for Gifted...

  • Instructional Strategies for Gifted...

  • Student Self-Advocacy & Responsibility...

  • Learning Environments for Gifted...

  • Performance & Assessment

  • Supporting Gifted & Talented

  • Professionalism in Gifted...

  • Praxis Gifted Education...

  • Factors in the Development of Gifted Students

  • Traits of profoundly Gifted Children.

What is Giftedness? - The Definition & Meaning of Being Gifted At its core, giftedness is a brain-based difference that contributes to our vibrant and neurodiversity world. This neurological difference means he Neuroscience of Giftedness,” a series of articles from GRO, the Gifted Research and Outreach organization.


Common Characteristics of Gifted Children Gifted children are defined as those who demonstrate an advanced ability or potential in one or more specific areas when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment. These gifted individuals excel in their ability to think, reason and judge, making it necessary for them to receive special education services and support to be able to fully develop their potential and talents.

Gifted children come from all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as economic statuses.. While no two gifted children are the same, many share common gifted characteristics and traits, such as:

  • Advanced thinking and comprehension above their age peers

  • Emotional intensity at a young age

  • Heightened sense of self-awareness

  • Highly developed curiosity

  • Excellent memory of gifted characteristics and behaviors.

  • Ability to comprehend material several grade levels above their age peers

  • Surprising emotional depth and sensitivity at a young age

  • Strong sense of curiosity

  • Enthusiastic about unique interests and topics

  • Quirky or mature sense of humor

  • Creative problem solving and imaginative expression

  • Absorbs information quickly with few repetitions needed

  • Self-aware, socially aware, and aware of global issues

The National Association for Gifted Children lists additional traits of giftedness that parents may find useful. Of course, each gifted student is unique, and they may present with a mix of these traits or only two very intensely or perhaps you find that none of them at all fit.

Oftentimes profoundly intelligent young people are not properly identified and, thus, do not receive an appropriately challenging education. The Davidson Institute exists to help these young, bright children gain recognition in the national conversation around giftedness and works directly with families

Oftentimes profoundly intelligent young people are not properly identified and, thus, do not receive an appropriately challenging education. The Davidson Institute exists to help these young, bright children gain recognition in the national conversation around giftedness and works directly with families


What are the Traits of Profoundly Gifted Children?

Profoundly gifted individuals score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests and have an exceptionally high level of intellectual prowess.


Characteristics of profoundly gifted individuals may include:

Rapid Comprehension: An advanced ability to learn and process information rapidly, combined with a need for constant mental stimulation; profoundly gifted students often work at a different pace than neurotypical peers–going far ahead or pausing to dive deeply into areas of interest.

Intuitive Understanding of the Basics: Difficulty concentrating on tasks that are not intellectually challenging, including repetitious materials or rote tasks; profoundly gifted children often need less practice to master an idea or concept.

Tendency toward Complexity: A need to understand the “big picture” of what they are learning; they may ask endless “why” questions or prefer to learn whole-to-part rather than part-to-whole.

Need for Precision: An appreciation for nuance and a need for precision in thinking and expression; they may often respond to questions with “that depends…” and they may struggle with multiple choice assessments that ask them to make definitive decisions without an extensive contextual background to questions.

High Expectations: A tendency to hold themselves and others to high standards, which can sometimes present as perfectionism or a very defined sense of justice; this may lead to challenges when understanding rules set by others or interacting with same-age peers who don’t hold the same standards.

Divergent Interests: A vivid imagination and niche interests may make it difficult to connect with same-age peers; profoundly gifted students may seek out older children or adults who share their interests, or they may connect with younger children who are flexible in their thinking and engage in imaginational pursuits.


Definitions of Giftedness

There are many definitions of giftedness, none of which are universally agreed upon. Depending on the context, definitions often guide and influence key decisions in schools such as determining the eligibility and criteria for gifted education programs and services, what areas of giftedness will be addressed (e.g., specific abilities in a subject area such as math), and when the services will be offered. As parents of gifted students or professionals who work with gifted children, it is important to understand the different definitions and what they mean to provide the appropriate guidance and support needed for social-emotional development.

Federal Definition of Giftedness Gifted definitions concerning students in schools vary from state to state. Most states will base their definition of giftedness on a comparison to others of the same age or by needs that are not provided by the regular classroom. Some states have certain criteria for gifted identification. In the case of Illinois, for example, gifted students are considered gifted and talented if they score in the top 5% locally in any area of aptitude, specifically in language arts and mathematics.

According to NAGC’s article on Definitions of Giftedness, “the term gifted and talented means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school to fully develop those capabilities.”

Who are Gifted Learners? At a basic level, children are classified as gifted if they demonstrate a high degree of intellectual ability(ies). Typically, identification can be done through a combination of gifted tests and assessments. Because the federal government does not mandate gifted programs in schools, the criteria for giftedness depends on which state you live in, which school district you are in, etc.

In many cases, tests are used to determine whether a child is gifted or not since performance compared to peers is an important way of gauging a child’s academic abilities. These may include achievement tests such as the ACT or the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement. Assessments by professionals may also be used for gifted identification–they are costlier but much more comprehensive. This method involves determining the child’s strengths, challenges, learning style, and educational needs. They often include intelligence quotients (IQ) tests such as the Stanford-Binet or the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).

The human brain contains some 100 to 200 billion brain cells at birth. Each neural cell is in place and ready to be developed and used for actualizing the highest levels of human potential.

For example, two individuals with approximately the same genetic capacity for developing intelligence could be regarded as potentially gifted or intellectually disabled due to the environment with which they interact. Although we never develop more neural cells, it is estimated that we use less than 5 per cent of our brain capability. How we use this complex system becomes critical to our development of intelligence and personality and to the very quality of life we experience as we grow. Those who work with gifted children must acquire an understanding of the power of the interaction between the organism and its environment.

When the brain becomes more accelerated and advanced in its function through this interaction, the individual shows characteristics that can be identified with high intelligence. Some of those characteristics can be seen as the direct result of changes in brain structures. These changes continue to occur as long as appropriate stimulation is available. Over and over, brain research points to the dynamic nature of the brain’s growth and the need to challenge the individual at that individual’s level of development for growth to continue. Unchallenged, the individual will lose brain power.

Although each child will express giftedness in his or her unique way, behaviors often observed among these children include intense curiosity, frequent and sophisticated questions, an accelerated pace of thought and learning, complex thinking, often connecting seemingly disparate ideas, persistence in pursuing interests, and early development of language and mathematical skills.

Emotionally gifted children may show a heightened awareness of “being different,” unusual sensitivity to the expressed feelings and problems of others, early concern for global and abstract issues, idealism and concern for fairness and justice, and high expectations for self and others. Gifted children often show an unusual asynchrony or gap between physical and intellectual development and a low tolerance for a lag between personal vision and physical abilities. Most interesting is the gifted child’s early awareness and expression of heightened perceptions, preference for creative solutions and actions over predictable ones, and early use of hunches and best guesses.


The Importance of Parenting - Provide for Early Learning The best way to identify high levels of intellectual development, or what we call giftedness, is to observe the child at play in a rich, responsive environment. During the early years, it is important to provide many opportunities for children to interact with interesting, novel, and unusual experiences that allow them to stretch just beyond their current ability level. All children must have experience at their level of development because it is during early childhood that intelligence is nurtured and giftedness is developed. The most important challenge for teachers at home and school is to stay just ahead of the child in presenting materials and experiences—not too far ahead and yet not too much repetition. Creating an environment and experiences that respond to the child with an appropriate balance of the familiar and new is the best way to provide for optimal development.

Parents are their children’s first teachers, and they need to provide a rich, responsive environment and guidance based on the unique needs and interests of their children. You will be most effective when you create the appropriate emotional and social climate and are sensitive to your infant’s unique personality and development. Allow your child to dictate when and how long an activity last. By adding ideas and enthusiasm, parents introduce the world of learning to their children in exciting and pleasurable ways. Love of learning and discovery is a deep motivation for every child; all the parents need to do is encourage and respond.

Activities from Kindergarten to School Life Families have long-term effects on their children in many ways. They create the attitudes and expectations that allow high levels of development. Some of the most important parenting factors are articulating your beliefs about success and failure and your aspirations and expectations for achievement, teaching and modeling strategies for self-control and responsibility, providing a variety of language opportunities, and developing a close family environment. As gifted children grow, they will require more complexity and more opportunities to nurture they’re rapidly expanding and curious minds.


The following are a few activities parents can provide from kindergarten throughout their child’s school life.

Give your child access to new ideas and information by including him or her in dinner and family conversations.

Research ideas together;

Show your child how you gather information for your work and personal interests.

Share your enthusiasm with your child. Provide choices and alternatives as much as possible and include your child in decision-making whenever appropriate.

As soon as children can understand the consequences of an action, they should be part of the decision.

Model clear and open communication principles such as not blaming others, making expectations known, and identifying and speaking from one’s own beliefs while accepting the beliefs of others.

Help your child use these principles in communicating.

See and use problems as opportunities for learning, and help your child do this in his or her life.

Reduce tension for your child, as gifted children are known to put excessive pressure on themselves to achieve or be “perfect” in their attempts.

Share your strategies for accepting less than perfection in yourself.

Also, have flexible rules that change appropriately and with discussion, share the establishment of guidelines and goals, and acknowledge and point out strengths and areas in need.

Acknowledge your child’s accomplishments even though everyone may expect him or her to do well. Help your child understand what giftedness is and the implications of this level of brain growth, including the responsibilities your child has to help nurture this dynamic process.

Provide a safe place for your child to discuss problems. Listen without judgment as your child explores his or her feelings and possible solutions.

Many people will not understand gifted children’s intensity and the needs related to their advanced and accelerated brain processes.

Your home may at times be the only place your child feels protected.

Mostly, enjoy living with your gifted child. Although it is a never-ending challenge, it is an unbelievable joy!

The newborn child is amazingly competent and able to learn.

With love and careful attention, parents and teachers can provide opportunities to optimize every child’s potential and realize each child’s giftedness. Gifted and Talented areas, no child is just born gifted.


Gifts become talents when they’re developed and nurtured.

This means that gifted children become talented when you support and encourage them to use their natural gifts to learn, concentrate and practice.


About Talented Children For example, if your child is gifted musically and you give them opportunities to learn a musical instrument, they might develop a talent for playing. Many things influence whether a gifted child’s natural ability becomes a talent. These things include family values, educational opportunities, personality and motivation, health, and chance opportunities.

Signs that children might be gifted and talented For example, if your child is gifted in the area of business, with your support they might develop this gift into a talent for marketing and selling eggs their chickens have laid. You’ll usually notice talents from about 6 years. But sometimes talents show up only later in older children and teenagers. Generally, by late primary school age or the teenage years, a gifted and talented child will be achieving at a very high level in one or more areas.

These areas include:

  • academic learning

  • leadership

  • social issues

  • technology

  • the arts – for example, music

  • the ability to make friends

  • business physical skills – for example, sports or dance.

Gifted and talented children can have abilities and skills in many areas, and an individual child can be gifted and talented in one or more areas.

Informal Identification of Gifted Children Advanced development is one of the signs that your child might be gifted. You’ll generally know if your child is more advanced than other children the same age. For example, some intellectually gifted children teach themselves to read at a young age, like 3 years old. Some physically advanced children might excel early in junior sports or physical activities. Another sign is that your child might prefer to talk with older children or adults. For example, your 4-year-old might relate better to 6-year-olds than to children their age.

Gifted and talented children also learn differently from other children. For example, if your child is gifted, they might:

· be able to concentrate and focus well on the task

· be intensely curious and ask sharp questions

· learn very quickly

· have an extremely good memory

· be very imaginative and creative

· have advanced speech.

People might comment on your child’s abilities if your child is gifted and talented.

Gifted older children and teenagers might show their natural abilities or talents when they start a new subject. For example, your child might start chemistry at secondary school and learn new ideas much faster than other students. Or you might notice talent when your child wins an award – for example, being selected to swim at the national championships or winning a woodwork prize in a local art show. You know your child best. If you think your child might be gifted or talented or your child has been identified as gifted and talented, you could contact the association for gifted and talented children in your state or territory. These associations are listed in our article on support and programs for gifted and talented children.


Being identified as Gifted is Good When children’s gifts and talents are identified, it helps you support children’s learning and development needs.

For gifted children, learning new things is important to their well-being. So, the biggest benefit of your child being identified as gifted and talented is that it helps you understand what sort of advanced learning might be right for your child. And when you can support your child’s advanced learning, you can support their overall well-being and development.


How do I know, how is my child is gifted? For example:

It makes it easier to work out the right time for your child to start childcare, preschool, or school.

You and your child’s teachers can work together on learning opportunities for your child at childcare, preschool, or school. Pros and Cons of Informal Identification Your child might be able to avoid some of the challenges of being gifted, like boredom at home, preschool, or school.

Pros & Cons of formal Identification You can identify new learning opportunities in your child’s area of advanced interest or skill – for example, junior pathways or special programs for gifted young athletes or artists.


Formal Identification of Gifted Children Informal identification means keeping a record of your child’s behavior with notes about any advanced development and achievements. Informal identification is when you record children’s advanced development. It’s good for identifying creative, social, or physical giftedness.

Gifted and Talented students can have advanced natural abilities in one or more areas. Some gifted children also have disabilities.


This record might include:

  • your child’s drawings, writing, and other work

  • videos of your child’s skill in playing the piano or performing advanced routines at gymnastics

  • advanced or insightful questions that your child has asked

  • details of your child’s passionate personal interests

  • child care, preschool, or school reports

  • comments about your child’s development – for example, from your observations, your GP, child, and family health nurse, or family and friends.

  • Sometimes an informal identification might lead to a formal identification later.

  • Informal identification is good if your child is a baby, toddler, or preschooler.

  • It’s also the best option if you think your child is gifted creatively, socially, or physically, because IQ tests don’t measure these abilities. Some parents like informal identification because it can give a broad picture of their child’s abilities. You can build a picture of your child’s advanced learning with informal identification. This can help when you’re discussing your child’s abilities with early childhood educators, teachers, and other people who can support your child’s learning.

  • Informal identification is low cost because you can record information about your child’s behavior, advanced development, and achievements yourself


Formal identification includes IQ testing. It’s good for identifying academic giftedness in school-age children.

If you think your child might be g gifted, you can see an educational psychologist for an IQ test and a report on your child’s advanced learning. This report is likely to focus mostly on academic learning but often includes notes about social and emotional gifts too. Look for a psychologist with experience in identifying gifted and talented children. You could also check with your child’s school to find out whether the school can arrange an IQ test. Another way to get a formal identification is to look at your child’s school results in standardized literacy or numeracy tests like NAPLAN tests. If your child seems to have very high scores, you can make an appointment with your child’s teacher to talk about these. Or your child’s teacher might even get in touch with you.


What is the IQ of a Gifted and Talented Child? Most of the population will fall within an IQ of 85 – 115. The mean, or average, IQ is 100.

A gifted child’s IQ will fall within these ranges:

· Mildly gifted: 115 to 130

· Moderately gifted: 130 to 145

· Highly gifted: 145 to 160

· Profoundly gifted: 160 or higher

These gifted IQ ranges are based on a standard bell curve. However, different IQ tests may influence this range as some test ceilings cap at 145. Additionally, different gifted professionals have used other terms, such as “exceptionally” gifted. While a universal consensus on these ranges and labels may not be reached, it is understood that students who deviate from the average IQ of 100 require special educational accommodations to meet their needs.

IQ tests measure intellectual abilities. For example, formal identification is good if you need the results of the IQ test to apply for entry to a gifted program or early entry to school in your state or territory. The report from the psychologist can also help when you talk with teachers about your gifted and talented child at childcare, preschool, or school. On the downside, IQ tests can’t measure creative, social, or physical abilities.


Supporting Gifted and Talented Children IQ test results are more reliable for children over 6 years although gifted children can handle these tests as early as 4 years old. Also, children grow and change quickly. This means the results of your child’s IQ test at 4 years might be different from their results at 6 years. Younger children might also find the 60-90-minute IQ testing process a long time to stay focused, and the result might not be accurate.

Supporting gifted and talented children

Some things might come easily for your gifted and talented child, but they might need support in other areas, depending on their particular abilities and personalities.

Structured Opportunities to support Gifted and Talented For example, your child might:

not have much in common with children of the same age, especially if they have wide-ranging or unusual interests, so they might get frustrated with other children

bored at preschool or school or stop trying when school lessons are about things, thuse their high verbal abilities to take over discussions with other people, especially at school, or they might use these abilities to avoid doing tasks they don’t like

find it tough to follow strict rules – for example, at home, school, or sporting clubs, especially if they have original ideas and like coming up with creative solutions

have strong feelings compared with other children the same age and have trouble managing these feelings – for example, a young gifted child might be very upset when an insect dies.

might hide advanced interests or learning when they reach the teenage years because they want to fit in with friends.

About Gifted and Talented Learning If this sounds like your child, you can help them make the most of their potential by supporting your child’s learning along with their social and emotional development. Families of gifted children need to help them to understand others, manage challenges and learn life skills. Your family is a safe and secure place where your child is accepted and loved for who they are. Gifted and talented children have different learning needs from other children the same age. This is because they’re very curious, learn quickly, and like more complex ideas than other children their age. They don’t need to go over things as often as others do. And they’re often ready for activities, games, books, and puzzles designed for older children.

  • Learning is important to the overall well-being of gifted and talented children.

  • Everyday activities like playing, reading, and using educational websites can help your child explore new interests and develop talents.

  • Structured activities like trips to galleries, music lessons, or sports camps can also extend your child’s learning and develop talents.

  • Play activities to support the Gifted and Talented Learning is important to the well-being of gifted and talented children. When you support your child’s learning in the areas that interest them, you also support their overall well-being.

Play activities to support gifted and talented children’s learning

Support for your gifted child’s learning starts with noticing their strengths and natural abilities.

When you know more about your child’s strengths and abilities, you can give your child everyday play activities that help them learn. For example, many homemade toys and free activities can extend your child’s learning.

When you’re choosing toys for younger children, you can look for things that encourage your child to play using imagination, creativity, and problem-solving skills – for example, blocks, balls, cardboard boxes, dress-ups, and crafty bits and pieces like colored paper, washable markers, crayons, and stickers.

If you choose toys designed for older children, age recommendations are still important for safety – for example, some toys might contain small parts that toddlers could swallow. In these cases, it’s wise to follow the age recommendations, even when your child’s natural abilities are advanced beyond this age.

A range of play opportunities will keep your child stimulated. It might also lead to your child developing talents. For example, playing outdoors can prompt imagination and problem-solving, develop physical skills, and provide opportunities to play with others. Watching birds, learning about trees, or collecting autumn leaves could be the start of scientific interest.

Reading books is a great way to find answers to your child’s questions, guide their learning and extend their interests. You can borrow books from your local library, or use the library’s online resources. You could also let family and friends know that books make great birthday presents for your child.

Independent learning ideas for the Gifted and Talented Play is a lot of fun – and it’s also how children learn and develop. Our play videos have ideas for sparking children’s imagination and supporting their learning through play.

Independent learning ideas for gifted and talented children

Independent learning skills are important for gifted children. You can encourage these skills as part of everyday activities with your child. For example, if your child wants to know about something, search online for information together, go to a library, think about people you could ask, or start a little experiment.

In time, your child will build the skills to answer their questions and do their arch.

You might be interested in using educational apps, websites, and software to support your child’s everyday learning at home. To get ideas for appropriate apps, websites, and software, you could:

· ask other parents of gifted children

· contact the gifted and talented association in your state or territory

The time your child spends using educational software and websites is valuable. But a healthy family lifestyle includes screen use and plenty of other activities that are good for your child’s development.

Part of family life is giving everyone in your family opportunities to learn and develop. Sometimes you decide to put more time or money into a learning opportunity for your gifted child. At other times your other children, your work, or your budget might come first.

There are many formal, structured, or planned ways to help your gifted child develop talents and explore interests and skills.

For example, you might visit neighbors, family, or friends who have hobbies, live on farms, play musical instruments, or have interesting jobs. Or go to local parks, native bushland, museums, festivals, libraries, and art galleries. Even a simple trip to the airport can fire up your child’s imagination.


These more structured experiences can help your child develop talents in their areas of ability.

For example, a child who has great physical coordination and goes to weekly gym classes might develop a talent for gymnastics.

As your gifted child gets older, their learning needs will probably be more complex. You and your child can ask about opportunities at school – for example, mathematics competitions or music camps.

Raising Gifted and Talented Children Other options are programs run by associations for gifted children, sports programs, music lessons, drama, creative arts programs, and more.

When your gifted child goes to childcare, preschool or school, it’s a good idea to talk with teachers about how they can extend learning programs to support your child. You can also find out more about gifted and talented programs in your state or territory.

Your gifted and talented child might amaze you with deep questions about life and death or creative drawings that show the thinking and skills of an older child.

Keeping up with a gifted child’s need for learning can be exciting, but it can also be a big job that takes time, money, and energy.

Looking after yourself can help you do this big and important job well. You can look after yourself by eating well, getting enough physical activity and rest, making time for things you enjoy, and managing any stress you experience.

Parents of other gifted children can also be a great source of support, information, and ideas. You can meet them through your child’s gifted programs or an association for gifted and talented children in your state or territory.

The way you support your gifted child’s development depends on your family circumstances. For example, you might decide that you can’t afford extra dance classes for now. The main thing is to support your child’s development in the long term.

Determining whether or not your child is gifted is no easy task. As you have likely already discovered, there are a plethora of definitions, characteristics, assessments, and theories – a virtual abundance of information. To help parents unravel some of the conflicting information, the Davidson Institute has put together this article summarizing gifted characteristics, the difference between tests and assessments, points to consider in having your child tested or assessed, different types of tests that can be utilized, and tips for locating a professional if you decide to seek a full assessment.


How do I know if my child is gifted? Signs of Gifted and Talented Children There are many definitions of giftedness and equally as many ways to formally identify whether or not a child is gifted. Essentially, as NAGC defines in the article “What is Giftedness?”, “Children are gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age.” Students can exhibit gifted abilities in various spheres – creatively, intellectually, musically, and academically across the board, or in a specific subject area such as math, language arts, or science. The Davidson Institute focuses on serving students with profound intellectual talents.

  • an extreme need for constant mental stimulation

  • an ability to learn and process complex information rapidly

  • a need to explore subjects in surprising depth

  • an insatiable curiosity, as demonstrated by endless questions and inquiries

  • ability to comprehend material several grade levels above their age peers

  • surprising emotional depth and sensitivity at a young age

  • enthusiastic about unique interests and topics

  • a quirky or mature sense of humor

  • creative problem-solving and imaginative expression

  • absorbs information quickly with few repetitions needed

  • self-aware, socially aware, and aware of global issues

Identifying Giftedness Gifted children may demonstrate some but not all of these traits; every child is different. To determine the extent of your child’s abilities, testing or a full assessment may provide some of the answers you seek. Because there are no federal mandates or national policies requiring gifted education, parents need to review what gifted identification policies and procedures are in place in their area before seeking a test or assessment.

Many experts have a difficult time agreeing on a definition of giftedness. However, most would identify gifted kids as smart kids. How Smart are they? Well, giftedness generally means those students who score in the tin top 3–5% on a test of intellectual ability. However, the last two decades have seen a shift in our understanding of identifying gifted students.

Many places offer special funds to provide programs for those students with very high abilities. In some places, these students are referred to as GATE (gifted and talented education), TAG (talented and gifted), or by some other acronym. For the therapies, I refer to these students as gifted or GATE. Three criteria often are used to qualify a student for a gifted program:

· High performance on an intelligence test

· High performance on a test of academic skills

· Close alignment to a series of characteristic behaviours of the gifted.

Put together, these three criteria represent a profile of a gifted student. This triangulation of identification components was given the name The Three P’s of GATE

The following chart shows how this looks:

THE THREE P’S OF GIFTED IDENTIFICATION Measured from results on a state test of academic performance and/or report card grades Measured by using a characteristic behavior scale intended for gifted students Performance Personality Potential Measured on an IQ test, administered either individually or as a group

There are five major areas in which a student might be identified as gifted.

1. Most states require that general intellectual ability is one of the areas served.

2. Most educational agencies also serve students in a specific academic ability category as well (usually language arts or math), because identification is based upon the state standardized achievement test.

3. The other three areas (creative thinking, leadership, and visual and performing arts), are more difficult to define and, therefore, it’s not as easy to identify and serve students as, The Gate Classroom as the Best Classroom­­­­

Potential versus Performance For any of the areas in which a school district identifies gifted students, it should be prepared to provide an appropriate program for those students.

Looking at visual and performing arts, for example, a student who is

identified as gifted should expect more than regular classroom art or school chorus. Lessons with noted artists, inclusion in a community orchestra, or performing with a local theatre group are examples of possible above-and-beyond opportunities in the visual and performing arts.


What we know about giftedness is quite interesting—both potential and performance are dynamic, changing over time.

A student might qualify for GATE, in second grade but, if tested again in a year or so, he might not qualify.

This changing situation can become a nightmare for administering gifted programs, so most educational agencies follow the practice of being once gifted, always gifted, even though that is not always true. However, the opposite situation can occur.

A student assessed for placement in a gifted program in third grade might not qualify then, but when tested again in fourth grade, she qualifies. Why is this? Many factors come into play when a student is assessed: dynamics of the testing situation, a student’s health or confidence on that day, maturity, and so forth. Who knows?

So, most educational agencies operate on the premise that once students are identified, they remain in the gifted program. Such a position makes things easier both from an administrative standpoint and also for public relations.


DEFINING GIFTEDNESS


Giftedness in children denotes their potential for becoming critically acclaimed performers or exemplary producers of ideas inspheres of activity that enhances the moral, physical, emotional, social, intellectual, or aesthetic life of humanity.

STRESSING CONTRIBUTION

If you accept Tannenbaum’s definition, being gifted isn’t about receiving a gift; it’s more about giving a gift.

As I explained, I believe an obligation is attached to being gifted. This obligation is associated with the concept of contribution.

People of high abilities are responsible for making this world a better place. This obligation translates itself into a variety of behaviours: tolerance, empathy, intel actualism, patience, and honesty, along with problem-solving ability and ethical behaviour.

You have all been identified as gifted, which means you are among the top 3–5% of all students in mental ability. What will you do with this gift to make your classroom and this school a better place? The Causes of Giftedness As we further examine who is gifted, the question arises, “What causes giftedness?”

Is it genetic, is it environmental, or is it simply an aberration?


Here is a simple genetic explanation:

Smart people marry smart people and have smart children. Generally, this is true. Occasionally, however, two very smart people will have a dull child. Likewise, two people of very average or low intelligence may have brilliant children. In biology, this phenomenon is called a mutation.

Another cause of giftedness is environmental,

The belief is that you can make a child gifted by exposing him or her to various enriching experiences, beginning at an early age. Studies have confirmed that this does work for younger children; however, their intelligence seems to level off when they reach about fourth grade or age 9 to 10. This does not mean parents shouldn’t play Mozart with their unborn child. It can’t hurt but won’t help much in the long run. We know that children whose parents engaged them in conversation at an early age and encouraged them to “use your words” generally won’t help smarter than those who have not had these experiences. It won’t help. Whatever the cause of giftedness, some kids are help smarter.


Grouping Practices for the Gifted What always concerned me was that the most common off-task of gifted and high-ability students was waiting. The vast majority of more intelligent behaviour students I observed in regular classrooms spent nearly 20% of their day waiting.

Most helped me calculate this alarming statistic: By the time a gifted child graduates from high school, he has spent two years of his educational career waiting for others to finish. Let’s examine what the research says about grouping gifted students together. Reis’s research indicated that a pull-out program with a highly trained teacher might work best for students.


Let us also be aware of some facts about Intelligence 12 supported facts about intelligence compiled from earlier research.


1. IQ correlates with some simple abilities—The higher your intelligence, the faster you process information, and the quicker you can solve problems.

2. IQ is affected by school attendance—The longer you remain in school, the smarter you become. Staying in school can prevent your IQ from slipping.

IQ declines over summer vacation and with a lack of performance. For each year of high school not completed, there is an average loss of 1.8 IQ points. Delaying schooling has adverse effects on IQ.

3. IQ is not influenced by birth order—There is no correlation between birth order and intelligence. However, as a group, smarter people tend to have fewer children than those of lower intelligence.

4. IQ is related to breastfeeding—By age 3, breastfed babies have an IQ of three to eight points higher than bottle-fed; smarter people tend to have fewer children than those of lower intelligence as a group of babies. (This may be related to the amount of time a mother and child spend together while nursing. It also may be that the immune factors in mothers’ milk prevent children from getting diseases that deplete energy and impair early learning.)

5. IQ varies by birth date—Students born late in the year, as a group, show lower IQ scores. For each year of schooling completed, there is an IQ gain of approximately 3.5 points.

6. IQ evens out with age—Siblings who are raised separately may have marked differences in IQ when they are younger. However, once they reach adulthood, their IQs are more similar. (This probably is due to genetic factors, which take priority over environmental ones.)

7. Intelligence is plural, not singular—Three kinds of intelligence are generally recognized: spatial, verbal, and analytical/mathematical. A fourth type, practical/common sense, also has been noted by the author. Other recognized GATE authorities have embraced the theory of multiple intelligences.

8. IQ is correlated to head size—Based upon IQ tests, the larger a person’s head, the smarter he is. Cranial volume seems to be correlated to IQ. (This correlation was discovered in the Armed Forces, where every inductee is given an IQ test and measured for a helmet.).

9. Intelligence scores predict real-world outcomes—Over their lifetimes, people who have completed more school tend to earn more.

10. Intelligence is context-dependent—A person can be really smart in one area and average in others. Being able to reason complexly depends upon what each person must think about it.

11. IQ is rising—Average IQ has risen 20 points with every generation. We are smarter than our parents, and our children very likely will be smarter than we are. The bar continues to rise.

12. IQ may be influenced by brain functioning.


Causes of Gifted Underachievers We need to recognize that some students are more intelligent than others. However, instructional strategies previously reserved for Underachievers for the brightest students can be used effectively with a broader range of student abilities.

Many times, the entire class can participate successfully in an activity that is appropriate for students of high ability. All students can benefit from being asked to think critically, examine the content in-depth, connect content being learned to other content, and move faster through the content. Some youngsters will grasp the concepts very readily; others may labour a bit, while some students might struggle a lot.

Gifted Challenges However, the more frequently you provide students with opportunities to stretch their thinking, the more adept they will become at it. Conversely, if students are never asked to extend their thinking,we teachers are doing them a disservice. Every student has a right to be exposed to the most rigorous content.


"Beyond intellect: Exploring the social and emotional aspects of giftedness."


Why does your gifted child struggle in school?

What causes Gifted underachievement? Your child, once curious, energetic, and overjoyed to learn, now has little interest in academics. As a parent, you stand by helplessly, saddened as you watch the spark disappear.

Why do some gifted students lose interest and underachieve?

Gifted underachievers vary in how they display their underachievement. They may exert enough effort to coast through school under the radar and be ignored because of average or above-average grades. They may become "selective consumers" who choose to achieve only in classes they enjoy, Or they may give up completely, perform poorly, fail, or drop out.

Yet not every gifted child underachieves. All children, especially teens and middle schoolers, face peer pressure and heightened expectations; not all respond by losing their drive to succeed too much or being insufficient in school.

Researchers and theorists have suggested various reasons for underachievement, some based on sound research, others based on clinical observation or theory (see several references below). Here are some findings:


1. Family dynamics - Family dysfunction, distress, conflict, inconsistent parenting, mixed messages about achievement, an absence of role models, excessive pressure to succeed, or too much or insufficient supervision - all may negatively impact a gifted child's drive to achieve. In families where parents are divided in their opinions about achievement, children may develop resentment about expectations and may withdraw or rebel. If there is a high level of conflict at home, gifted children may become anxious, angry, and preoccupied with the family struggle, and school may take a back seat.



2. Individual traits - Various personal traits, behaviors, and emotional reactions have been linked to gifted underachievers in research and observational studies. These include any of the following: insecurity, perfectionism and fear of making a mistake, conflict avoidance, passive-aggressive behavior, existential depression, and perceiving oneself as an "impostor." These traits limit students' willingness to push themselves, care about their school work, risk failure, or endure the envy of peers.


3. Sociocultural Issues - Peer pressure, the desire to "fit in," and cultural issues that discourage achievement all take their toll. Much gifted youth "dumb themselves down" to remain popular; others do this to survive and protect themselves from bullying. Gender role development plays a part, including boys' concerns about appearing strong, athletic, and tough and girls' self-doubt and desire to be popular and attractive - all quite different from the "gifted nerd" stereotypes. And some cultures discourage academic success, particularly for girls.

4. School Policy – Under identification of giftedness, misconceptions about gifted students' abilities, and school policy that discourages universal screening or appropriate and meaningful education for gifted children all contribute to underachievement. Some gifted children become "involuntary underachievers," particularly those in impoverished school districts lacking financial resources for gifted education. School policies that discourage enrichment, acceleration, ability grouping, or creative alternatives to the mainstream curriculum deprive these students of the education they desperately need. Without the necessary complexity, depth, and pace of learning, without like-minded peers, and without teachers who are trained to understand and teach gifted children, they quickly lose interest in learning, and disrespect their teachers and the school culture.

5. Teaching mismatch - Even though most teachers genuinely try to provide the best possible education, gifted students are frequently left behind. Many teachers lack training in gifted education and some hold biases about giftedness.

Middle School – A Perfect storm Teachers who do not understand asynchronous development or who think all gifted students are high achievers may assume unrealistically high expectations and become frustrated when students perform poorly. Some teachers place gifted children in the role of "junior instructor," expecting them to teach fellow students. When gifted students are singled out, their differences are highlighted even further, resulting in increased isolation from peers and possible bullying. And in many classrooms, gifted students are just left alone - it is assumed that they "will do just fine" and don't warrant the time and attention the rest of the class requires. They become bored, inattentive, and discouraged without school work that challenges them. They also may become apathetic, afraid to take academic risks, and may never learn study skills or the value of hard work.

Although some gifted children lose interest in academics early on, most underachieving gifted students don't start to disengage from learning until middle school and high school. At that point in their development, there is a perfect storm combining the following:


An accumulation of apathy and disrespect for the system built up after years of boredom, frustration, and feeling that their intellectual needs were never understood, appreciated, or challenged. School may seem boring and pointless, and they may refuse to consider any possible benefits it could offer;

Increasingly independent thinking, as they forge their own identities, formulate their views, and develop distinct beliefs, often quite different from those of their families (fueled even more by their sharp intellect and questioning approach to just about everything);


Developmental changes related to puberty, hormonal shifts, mood swings, and a heightened interest in sexual and dating relationships, which may take precedence over academics;

Social pressure to conform and achieve popularity prompts decisions regarding the necessity of fitting in, and whether to embrace or discard their gifted identity. If it is seen as a liability, many will "dumb themselves down" to gain acceptance. And for some, especially those in inner-city schools, conformity can be a matter of survival;

Increased academic demands. Middle school provides an increasingly competitive, somewhat rigid environment, with higher expectations related to performance, less attention and support from teachers, fewer opportunities for creative expression, and less tolerance for quirks and divergence from the rules. Students also may encounter a difficult assignment for the first time - frequently a shock for those who had coasted through elementary school;

Awareness of their inadequacies. If they have not had an opportunity to fail at something in elementary school, they surely will by middle school. In addition to the social scene, often filled with pain and drama, gifted students realise that they will not be successful in every area of their lives. They may not be the best in every subject, may not get the highest grade, and may never be the most talented. While some can brush this off and move on, others may believe their identity is threatened, feel devastated, and retreat. Fearful of taking risks, they may give up easily or become highly anxious before every exam. Since they never had to work hard before, they lack the study skills and strategic planning abilities others learned years earlier.


A thorough understanding of the possible reasons for underachievement is essential to address the roadblocks that can derail gifted students' performance.


Every child is different, so offering sweeping generalizations about reasons for gifted underachievement does not benefit any particular individual child.


The list of causes above is a starting point, but parents, teachers, counselors, physicians, school psychologists, therapists, and the child all need to sort out the unique and specific factors that are creating problems.


Typically, more than one causal factor is involved, and resolving the problem requires intervention at many levels. But it is critical that a thorough understanding of the cause(s) must inform and drive any intervention. Your child will benefit from your close and attentive focus on what is contributing to the problem, with the hope that you and the school can intervene to resolve it quickly.

There is a pervasive myth that all gifted people are high achievers. But many are not.


Who is a Gifted Underachiever? Most young gifted children are a ball of energy, full of life, curious, intense, and driven. Then reality sets in. They confront the limitations of school, peer pressure, others' expectations, and their fears, and some scale back their drive. Their intrinsic love of learning seems to vanish overnight.

Underachievement may develop gradually, with less effort expended on homework, tests, or projects. Or it can start abruptly. A gifted child, once actively engaged in school, might lose all interest and motivation. Examples of underachievement include risk-aversion, cutting corners on assignments, a refusal to study, or angry rejection of the school culture.

Once actively engaged in school, a gifted child

Gifted underachievers are a widely diverse group of children (and adults), whose behavior springs from multiple sources. Some underachievement reflects emotional distress, family problems, or the effects of peer pressure; other times, it develops primarily in response to boredom and an absence of challenging academics. Some underachievement is more easily recognized, such as when a child starts failing at school, but sometimes it is subtler and is overlooked. Understanding Gifted Underachievers Why are gifted underachievers so hard to identify?

Although underachievement might seem obvious, gifted underachievers may remain hidden. Many students are not identified as gifted, their giftedness is masked by a learning disability or other twice-exceptionality, or they may not fit the "gifted child stereotype," (i.e., the well-behaved, highly verbal, slightly nerdy student who always excels). As they get older, they may hide their giftedness to fit in, and as long as they are not disruptive, may be ignored. Their subpar achievement may not be recognized because they can often coast through school and receive adequate grades without exerting much effort.

Researchers also have struggled to agree upon a clear definition of gifted underachievement. Difficulties include the differences across studies in terms of definitions of both giftedness and achievement. The criteria and cut-offs used to identify giftedness or gifted programs have varied, with some studies using a wide range of test scores, and others settling for placement in a gifted class. And defining achievement is even more difficult. Questions arise regarding whether to use achievement tests, grades, teacher ratings, or some other measure of progress, along with whether to assess improvement based upon objective criteria over time, or on the difference between actual achievement and the child's potential. And how do you define potential, anyway?


Despite these theoretical and practical difficulties, researchers have settled upon the following criteria for defining underachievement:

1. A discrepancy between ability and achievement.

2. Must have persisted for at least a year.

3. Not due to a physical, mental, or learning disability.

These very basic criteria are only a start and do not convey the complexity and diversity of gifted underachievers.


Researchers have offered more detailed information based on investigative studies, theories of gifted underachievement, and classroom or clinical observation (see references below as examples). Based on the literature, a picture of several types of gifted underachievers has emerged.

One way to understand different types of gifted underachievers is to consider four categories of underachievement: 1. Involuntary underachievers

These students would like to succeed but are trapped in schools that are underfunded, poorly staffed, or unable to meet their needs. Frequently a problem in minority and low-income communities, these gifted students are often bored, distracted, and may be completely unaware of what might be available through a more comprehensive, enriched education. Many are never even identified as gifted or offered gifted education. Some of these students may be hard-working but never have an opportunity to excel. Others may coast through school, give up, or act out due to boredom. These students' underachievement results from an absence of available options and is not caused by personal, family, or peer conflicts.

2. Classic underachiever

These gifted underachievers underperform in all areas of study. They have given up on school... and on themselves. Their underachievement typically starts in middle school, although there may be signs of boredom or depression that manifest in elementary school. They are often angry, apathetic, rebellious, or withdrawn. Given their intellect, they often espouse a host of "logical" reasons for refusing to exert themselves and resist parents' or teachers' efforts to encourage, prod, or coerce them. School faculty may give up in frustration, pointing out the "waste of potential," and worry that they have "lost" these children.

3. Selective Underperformers

These underachievers are active consumers - they choose to excel only in areas that interest them or within classes where they like and respect their teacher. Otherwise, they exert little effort. They view school as a Sunday buffet, where they can select what they want and ignore the rest. Gifted underachievers as "selective consumers" is a concept first identified by Delisle and Galbraith, describing the independent path these students take. While involvement in what they enjoy still creates challenges, their refusal to achieve in other classes limits their academic development and sets an unhealthy precedent for future learning. It also may affect their grades and opportunities for college or career.

4. Underachievers under-the-radar

Under the radar" are frequently overlooked and sometimes even mistaken for high achievers. These are the exceptionally gifted students who coast through school, often receiving average to high average grades, but who fail to reach their potential. Given their performance, their lack of effort often goes unrecognized and they are rarely encouraged to challenge themselves. Consequently, they may never learn how to take on academic risks, experience and learn from failure, or develop resilience. These life lessons often occur much later - in college or at work - where they may feel blindsided because of a lack of preparation.

Recognizing the different ways gifted underachievers may present their difficulties is a first step toward understanding them and finding an appropriate intervention. Certainly, prevention is ideal whenever possible. Although some situations may not be avoidable, such as a family crisis or an innate tendency toward depression, many precursors could be remedied, particularly when they involve changes within the schools. Early identification of giftedness, providing gifted services, and allowing these students to accelerate or study along with other gifted peers is the first step toward providing the stimulating, creative and engaging education they need.

Research has shown that many gifted children are underachievers who fail to reach their potential. Some mask their abilities to fit in with peers, some stop caring and receive barely passing grades, and some drop out altogether. Academic achievement becomes meaningless, and their intrinsic love of learning seems to vanish. These conspicuous underachievers often capture the schools' attention because their disengagement is so apparent.

There are other underachieving gifted students, though, who remain hidden; their struggles detected by only the most astute observers. On the surface, these kids seem to be model students, with good grades and stellar test scores, creating an appearance of hard work, motivation,are and drive. Their failure to reach their potential remains unnoticed, well beneath the school's radar. These underachieving students have mastered the ability to easily coast through school and still achieve good grades and test scores. They finish their work quickly, and distract themselves with reading, texting, doodling, or daydreaming. They might seem cooperative, but they rebel by taking shortcuts and performing well beneath their potential. Having lost faith in an educational system that appears dull and lifeless, they have learned to entertain themselves and exert enough effort to get by in school. They don't know their limits, they don't know how to fail, and they don't care to push themselves anymore.


Gifted underachievers under the radar take shortcuts and certain risks, but none that ultimately help them succeed or reach their potential.

· Their decisions reflect passive rebellion, risk aversion, conflict avoidance, or attempts to entertain themselves.

· For example, they may take "easier" classes to avoid homework that would require much effort

  • and avoid competitive activities, such as the debate team or math contests, to evade d in the school play.

  • procrastinate until the last minute to meet before band auditions to see if they still make the first chair, despite sight-reading the music.

  • take idle participating in the science fair because the project would require too much extra work

  • and refuse to study or prepare for the SATs, claiming they only want a "pure" score to reflect their abilities.


The long, slow road to underachievement

Gifted underachievers typically embark upon school just like most gifted children - eager to learn and excited to stretch themselves and take on new challenges. Disappointment gradually sets in - sometimes soon, sometimes later - but always in reaction to boredom and repetition. Gifted children get used to breezing through most material and occupying themselves while lessons are repeated for other children, They learn to stop asking so many questions to elude ridicule from peers or resentment from their teachers. They also learn that requests for more challenging assignments may evoke a sigh of frustration from an overburdened teacher, or result in busy work or extra homework.

Unlike those gifted underachievers who struggle to attain even average grades, or drop out of school completely, gifted underachievers under the radar are not necessarily troubled with family conflicts or personal traits sometimes attributed to underachievers, such as insecurity or perfectionism. And while they may experience pressure to fit in with peers and conform to socio/cultural and gender stereotypes, most of these students are not plagued with emotional or psychological problems. They have become apathetic, complacent, and frustrated in response to an educational environment that has consistently ignored their needs - often for years.


Frustration, apathy, and fear

Most gifted underachievers under the radar juggle several competing emotions related to their efforts. Frustrated and angry toward a system that labels their learning needs as less important than those of their classmates, they become cynical about what school has to offer them. Some also may feel betrayed by teachers who have misunderstood them, criticized their outside-the-box thinking, or failed to protect them from bullying. Apathetic toward schools that have eliminated opportunities such as acceleration or ability grouping, these students may stop caring about their progress. While they may comply enough to achieve good grades, they rarely push themselves to reach their potential. If no one is going to encourage me, why should I bother? Without the opportunity to tackle truly demanding academics, gifted underachievers under the radar develop a fragile sense of overconfidence. Cynical and critical of teachers and school, they may appear arrogant at times, but this attitude often masks underlying fears. Most realize that they lack the "self-regulation skills" (i.e., organizational strategies and study skills) that their classmates have mastered. When learning seems effortless, there is little incentive to apply strategies and skills that seem unnecessary at the time. Unfortunately, these students remain unprepared for more rigorous work when it finally arrives. Many gifted underachievers suspect that their lack of preparation will catch up with them. They worry that they will be exposed as "impostors" once they land in a more demanding learning environment, and may secretly doubt their abilities.


Three keys to help the Gifted Underachiever

1. Improve their education

This might seem obvious, as it serves to both prevent and remedy the problem. But given the philosophical and financial constraints present in many school districts, the needs of gifted children are frequently overlooked. Gifted underachievers under the radar benefit from learning that incorporate depth, complexity, and an accelerated pace, where they feel free to express their creativity, where they are not embarrassed to be themselves, and where they are grouped with like-minded peers.

As Siegle and McCoach have noted, gifted underachievers need to trust the academic environment and expect that they can succeed within it.

2. Enlist their sense of integrity

Gifted children are idealistic, with a highly developed sense of fairness and justice. They care about those who are less fortunate and struggle with existential concerns related to life's meaning. Sometimes their idealism results in discomfort with their talents or guilt about having choices that are unavailable to others. While their integrity is admirable, it can unnecessarily limit their options. Encourage them to appreciate that they can better position themselves to help those in need if they apply themselves academically. Help them recognize that ignoring their talents benefits no one.

3. Engage their passions and interests

Remind them that even if the school has been a bore, they can direct their energy toward what they most enjoy learning. Whatever intrigued them as young children can be transformed into a variation of the original activity. If they loved Legos, for example, they could pursue robotics or architectural design. If their interests cannot be met at school, help them find extracurricular activities in the community or online. Once they discover a meaningful, engaging activity, they might be willing to challenge themselves, take on a new and difficult skill, or develop some of the self-regulatory strategies that previously seemed unnecessary. Exploring Gifted Super achiever

“A super achiever gifted child on the other hand, may show potential or a natural ability in a particular field such as music, math, or art, however, this gradually emerges and the development of those abilities may not happen until later, such as adolescence or adulthood.”


The most obvious sign that your child could potentially be a prodigy is if they’re showing a superior adult level of competency in a specific area at a very early age (before age ten) – so more advanced than the average adult. Usually, they are also very intensely focused on this particular talent


Spotting a prodigy

Is s child prodigy born or made?

Several psychologists and experts ascertain that prodigies are born and not made. The advocates of this view, state those cases where young children showed extraordinary talent at a tender age. These young children didn't practice or weren't tutored at a school.

“A child prodigy is generally someone who by the age of ten is performing at an adult level, so they may or may not actually be in the gifted range,” says Michele. “However, they are very talented individuals with their advanced capabilities obvious very early on.

True child prodigies, though, are quite rare. While there’s no strict definition, many experts think a child prodigy is someone who has professional skills before they reach 10 years old. That only happens in about one out of every 5—10 million people. A child prodigy is a distinct form of giftedness that must be understood independently.

In contrast with the child of great general ability, the prodigy tends to have a more focused, specialized, and domain-specific form of giftedness. Studies of prodigies have contributed to changing theories about the nature of giftedness (e.g., from single to multiple) and will likely continue to do so. Along with the related phenomenon of savant syndrome, the prodigy points to a set of complex relationships between psychometric intelligence in the traditional sense and expression of talent within specific domains like music or mathematics. Based in part on findings from studies of prodigies, it is likely that there are important roles for both general and specific abilities in most forms of giftedness and that they represent two distinct evolutionary trends to maximize the likelihood of human survival.


A child prodigy is defined in psychehology research literature as a person under the age of ten who produces meaningful output in some domain to the level of an adult expert.[1][2][3] The term is also applied more broadly to young people who are extraordinarily talented in some field.[4]

Some researchers believe that prodigious talent tends to arise as a result of the innate talent of the child, and the energetic and emotional investment that the child ventures. Others believe that the environment plays the dominant role, many times in obvious ways.

Child prodigies typically perform a skill at an adult level before age 12. They paint for 24 hours straight. Whatever the skill, the prodigious child has an intense drive to master it and is found performing during all of their spare time, without prodding. They have an advanced ability in a abilities area.

Child prodigies typically perform a skill at an adult level before age 12. They paint for 24 hours straight. Whatever the skill, the prodigious child has an intense drive to master it and is found performing during all of their spare time, without prodding. They have an advanced ability in a specific area.


What is the IQ of a child prodigy?

He is a highly gifted child. Two to 3 percent of children are considered highly gifted, showing IQ scores of at least 130. For many such youngsters, their extraordinary intellect gives them a real advantage in school. They may shine in music, math or science.


A final note...

If you look carefully, you will find gifted underachiever rad radar sting through schools everywhere. Some may hide behind average to above average grades; others may be stand-outs or even class valedictorians. None of them have tested their limits and they don't recognize the extent of their capabilities. As they get older and enter college, the workforce, or adult relationships, they may "hit a wall." Lacking adequate organizational strategies, fearful of risks, and new to the business of exerting effort, they may struggle with self-doubt, increased apathy, and even feelings of anxiety and shame. It is a disservice for schools to neglect these talented students and assume that grades and test scores are sufficient evidence that they are thriving. These children need your help. Continued advocacy is needed so that even seemingly "successful" gifted students - those under the radar - are challenged to reach their potential.


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