Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals


        Because gifted children are so diverse, not all exhibit all characteristics all of the time. However, there are common characteristics that many gifted individuals share:

        • Unusual alertness, even in infancy

        • Rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly

        • Excellent memory

        • Unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age

        • Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas

        • Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles

        • Often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler

        • Deep, intense feelings and reactions

        • Highly sensitive

        • Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful

        • Idealism and sense of justice at early age

        • Concern with social and political issues and injustices

        • Longer attention span and intense concentration

        • Preoccupied with own thoughts—daydreamer

        • Learn basic skills quickly and with little practice

        • Asks probing questions

        • Wide range of interests (or extreme focus in one area)

        • Highly developed curiosity

        • Interest in experimenting and doing things differently

        • Puts idea or things together that are not typical

        • Keen and/or unusual sense of humor

        • Desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas

        • Vivid imaginations (and imaginary playmates when in preschool)

        Reproduced by permission from: Webb, J., Gore, J., Amend, E., DeVries, A. (2007). A parent's guide to gifted children.Tuscon, AZ:  Great Potential Press,

        Characteristics of economically disadvantaged gifted learners include:

        • Advanced language (casual register and nonverbal)

        • Unusual and unexpected perspective

        • Sensitivity to justice and fairness issues

        • Accelerated learning demonstrated by quick understanding beyond the facts

        • Finely tuned sense of humor

        • Use storytelling in casual and colorful ways

        • Analytical thinking—ability to discern patterns in human behavior

        • Meaning motivated

        • Independent and curious

        • Ask questions focused on relationship

        • Has extensive memory about people and conversations

        (Slocumb & Payne, 2000).

        For more information, please read Identifying and Nurturing the Gifted Poor from the National Association for Gifted Children".

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