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Characteristics of Gifted Children


Updated May 15, 2014

Young girl doing a puzzle
Cheryl Clegg/Photolibrary/Getty Images

To the trained eye, it can be fairly easy to spot a gifted child. Even to the not-so-trained eye of a parent, it's easy to notice that a child is not quite like other children. However, parents often question what those differences mean. They know their child is smart, but gifted? Looking at a list of gifted traits or characteristics is a quick first step in determining whether a child is gifted. If you have a toddler and you're wondering if he or she is gifted, take a look at the list of characteristics of young gifted children.

Cognitive Traits

    • Very Observant
    • Extremely Curious
    • Intense interests
    • Excellent memory
    • Long attention span
    • Excellent reasoning skills
    • Well-developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization, and synthesis
    • Quickly and easily sees relationships in ideas, objects, or facts
    • Fluent and flexible thinking
    • Elaborate and original thinking
    • Excellent problem solving skills
    • Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
    • Unusual and/or vivid imagination

Social and Emotional Traits (see Supersensitivities in Gifted Children)
    • Interested in philosophical and social issues
    • Very sensitive, emotionally and even physically
    • Concerned about fairness and injustice
    • Perfectionistic
    • Energetic
    • Well-Developed Sense of Humor
    • Usually intrinsically motivated
    • Relates well to parents, teachers and other adults

Language Traits (See Language Development in Gifted Children)
    • Extensive Vocabulary
    • May Read Early
    • Reads Rapidly and Widely
    • Asks "what if" questions

Additional Traits
    • Enjoys learning new things
    • Enjoys intellectual activity
    • Displays intellectual playfulness
    • Prefers books and magazines meant for older children
    • Skeptical, critical, and evaluative
    • Asynchronous development
Related Video
Signs Your Child is Gifted
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