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You attend a parent-teacher meeting or conference and receive the feedback from your child’s math or reading teacher that your child is gifted. You are exhilarated and proud but may also not be sure if the teacher is just being polite, speaking in relation to the performance of the whole class, or if it’s just a phase of high learning your 5-year-old is going through.
It is possible that you will receive this feedback about your child more than once and from sources other than his or her school teachers. It may be from the sports coach or anyone who spends time teaching your child a skill. So, how can you be sure if your child is really gifted and what can you do to build on that gift, if he or she really is intellectually gifted?
Though intellectual giftedness characteristics are not standard features that you would find in each gifted child, as each gifted person is unique in his or her own way, there are a few characteristics that show up more often than others in intellectually gifted children. However, this does not mean that if a child does not make all or most of the traits mentioned below, he or she is not gifted. There are many "gifted-types" who are difficult to identify because their traits are skewed from common visible traits of gifted children. Let’s take a look at some of the common traits that run through many intellectually gifted children:
1. Learn faster, retain longer than their peer groups.
2. Are early readers and begin to read by 2 or 3 years of age.
3. Exhibit high analytical ability.
4. Are very curious about things around them, how they work, they like to take things apart and put them back together.
5. Possess a large vocabulary compared to the children their age because of their reading.
6. Are possibly emotionally sensitive.
7. May prefer the company of older children.
8. Are functioning on fewer hours of sleep than their peers.
9. May be poor with languages and wizards in working with numbers or vice versa.
10. May exhibit unusual and heightened response to external and internal stimuli (different from a child afflicted with a neurobehavioral disorder) leading to quick sensory overload and hyper-excitability.