Gifted and talented students are those with exceptional abilities and qualities in areas such as academics, culture, leadership, arts, creativity, and sport. Gifted and talented students are found in every cultural, social, ethnic and socioeconomic group. However, it is relatively uncommon, and is recognized only in children whose IQ is at or above 130. Exceptionally gifted students, usually have pronounced talents in one specific field of interest – for example, music or mathematics – and are even less common.

Due to a gifted child’s rapidly developing cognitive abilities, often there is a large difference between their chronological age, intellectual maturity, and emotional maturity, causing some gifted children to experience an intensity or sensitivity of feelings and emotions.

This sensitivity or intensity of emotions may be displayed in a range of behaviours which may leave the gifted child open to teasing and social isolation at school.

Identifying a Gifted Child

Gifted children often display some of the following traits.

  • Extremely Curious
  • Excellent memory
  • Fluent and flexible thinking
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
  • Unusual and/or vivid imagination
  • Very sensitive, emotionally and even physically
  • Concerned about fairness and injustice
  • Perfectionism
  • Relates well to adults
  • Extensive Vocabulary
  • Reads Rapidly and Widely
  • Enjoys learning new things

A video about Gifted children and Quirky Kid

How are gifted children assessed?

Giftedness is accurately identified through a psychometric assessment. Psychometric assessments including the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fourth Edition and the Stanford Binet 5 are used to assess the general thinking and reasoning skills of children. There are also other kinds of assessments focusing more on  Nonverbal Tests of Ability.  Assessments should always be administered by a specialist Educational  and Developmental Psychologist or a Registered Psychologist with specialist skills.

How can I help my gifted child make the most of his abilities?

Communicate with your child’s teachers. Ask about what accommodations can be provided for your child to help keep him stimulated and learning at a challenging pace. You may also want to ask about accelerated or advanced classes, or special programs for the Gifted and Talented.

Consider enrolling your child to programs like ‘The Power Up!’ program by Quirky Kid

Provide learning opportunities for your child outside the classroom. Gifted children excel when they are given the chance to keep learning and developing their talents. He may excel in academically-themed camps, weekend classes in drama, music, languages, sports, or writing.

Trips to museums, science centres, and other cultural events may also be fun and a great way to bond with your child. The University of NSW (UNSW) offers school holiday programs for Gifted and Talented students through GERRIC. Programs like ‘The Power Up!’ program by Quirky Kid are also a great idea.

Introduce your child to other gifted or talented children. Research shows that gifted children experience less stress and negative emotions when they have the opportunity to discuss their social and emotional concerns with others of high ability. A Gifted and Talented program, either as part of school curricula or as an extracurricular pursuit, can help your child meet and interact with other gifted students.

Affirm your child as a whole being, not just as a ‘high achiever’.
Qualities such as kindness, tolerance, and fairness – not just intelligence or achievement – are important. Recognition as a ‘all-rounder’ will help reduce the pressure many gifted children feel.

Talk to an experienced Psychologist. Gifted and talented children are often at risk of serious under achievement, social isolation, poor concentration and mood swings associated with frustration. Psychological intervention can assist with motivation, organizational skills, social issues and study schedules and many other related concerns.

Recommendations for teachers and parents

  • Gifted students love the idea of learning something new and they will enjoy being provided with additional, more challenging work. By accelerating a gifted child’s work, grades or by attending opportunity classes, it will help feed the child’s need to learn and help to keep their behaviour under control.
  • Gifted students should be provided with opportunities to socialise with peers of similar abilities. This may be possible by attending a selective High School, or participating in Gifted and Talented programs.
  • Gifted children may benefit from being provided with independent study or research projects, particularly in their area of interest.
  • Extra curricular activities, such as drama, music, languages, sports, gymnastics, dancing, or creative writing, should be encouraged.
  • Highly gifted children are often at risk of serious under achievement, social isolation, concentration or behavioural symptoms and may benefit from receiving counselling.

What are the challenges associated with giftedness?

While giftedness is generally considered an asset, many gifted children experience challenges that their non-gifted peers will not.Due to a gifted child’s advanced cognitive abilities, they may find it difficult to relate to, and from satisfying bonds with other children in their peer group. This can lead to social isolation from same-aged peers, identification with adult or elder peers and frustration in class.Gifted children process information more rapidly than others in their age group, which can make them highly sensitive to their environments. This sensitivity can lead to moodiness, irritability, or anxiousness in gifted children.Giftedness is often associated with perfectionism, which can lead to procrastination and, paradoxically, under achievement in school.

Recommended Resources 

Quirky Kid published a range a resources to support the emotional and social development of children and adolescents. Parents can greatly benefit from some of this resources available on the Quirky Kid Shoppe. Below you can see the Face it cards, The Just like when cards and the Likes of youth

 

The Quirky Kid Clinic offers a range of services to assist gifted children. Please contact us to make an appointment or visit our assessment page for further assessment information.


This article was also published at the Essential Kids Website.
First posted on October 2011. Revised  September 2012

Information for this fact sheet was taken from an interview with Child Psychologist Kimberley O’Brien, and the following article.

Dabrowski, K., & Piechowski, M. M. (1977). Theory of levels of emotional development. Oceanside, NY: Dabor.

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16 Responses to “Gifted and Talented Children”

  1. 1. Michael
    May 5th, 2013 @ 23:39

    My child has 9 out of 13 traits in your
    Identifying gifted list . Should I be concern?
    We are in ACT Has an interest in science

  2. 2. Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)
    May 6th, 2013 @ 10:31

    Hi Michael, please contact us on info(at)quirkykid.com.au as we will likely require an initial telephone interview to respond to your enquiry in more detail.

  3. 3. Andrea Menon
    December 26th, 2013 @ 11:24

    Our son who is 10 years old has almost all the symptoms . He has struggled in school not being able to fit in with his peer group due to his way of thinking and interest being so wide apart. So areas of academics is so difficult where as other areas of academics is a breeze for him. Very aware of social issues and his own well being. I am very worried about him what should I do? Thank you

  4. 4. Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)
    January 11th, 2014 @ 13:27

    Dear Andrea,

    Thank you for your comment regarding your son and his likely Gifted and Talented traits. One of our customer support staff will contact you shortly to discuss options available whit the Quirky Kid Clinic regarding gifted and talented children

  5. 5. Jenny
    February 16th, 2014 @ 09:54

    My year 2 child ticks 9 out of 10 boxes. However we live in Queensland. Do you know of similiar organisation around the Brisbane area?
    Thank you.

  6. 6. Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)
    March 9th, 2014 @ 10:55

    Dear Jenny,

    Thank you for your email. Pls contact the Australian Psychological Society for referrals in your area.

  7. 7. Jonathan
    April 5th, 2014 @ 14:03

    I am 16 years old and I believe that 7 of those symptoms apply to me. However, I feel that I am only musically talented. I have an average IQ but I have perfect pitch, create multiple songs in my head on a day to day basis, and am also in band. I have been trying to find this out for months.

  8. 8. Amanda
    May 4th, 2014 @ 12:52

    My 5 year old daughter ticks all 13 of the personality traits. She started kindergarten this year and has already completed the years curriculum. She goes to a very small local school and i am worried she is going to get bored very quickly.
    Any Suggestions?
    Amanda

  9. 9. emma
    June 12th, 2014 @ 12:05

    Hi, I have a 4yo boy who spoke at 5mths walked at 9mths and is constantly surprising us with his development. People have always told us he is a bright child, brighter than normal but we just figuredit would all balance out in time but I would like to have him tested as we want to give him the best chance in life to be balanced within himself.
    we are located in sydney. Can you help us with where to start.

  10. 10. Emma Veenendaal
    June 20th, 2014 @ 10:37

    We’ve had our son tested and it was confirmed he is Highly Gifted, but what now? He is in Year 1 and has complained about school being “boring” since the 2nd week of kindergarten.
    He goes to a large public school. I have spoken to the teachers and Principal, but they haven’t done anything to help him.

  11. 11. Holly Oakley
    July 3rd, 2014 @ 08:04

    Hi, we are having the same problem with the above message from Emma! My daughter was assessed as Moderately Gifted using the WISC IV test and did the WIAT II test also! She is in yr 5 and I have had no choice except to pull her out of school and apply for home schooling! There are DET policies in place for gifted students, yet we are coming across many barriers because of the lack of education on the principals, teachers, school education director part etc etc! They know our daughter is intellectually capable of doing school work years beyond her peers and she has been crying out for years about how boring school is and she is extremely frustrated and so are we as parents! The local school principal etc believes that emotional/mentally she will have long term damage should she accelerate by one year and that she wont be able to fit in with older students. This principal by the way, has not even met my daughter! Yet at her previous private school, her friends were two years older than herself and out side of school she gets along better with older children. Yet, because we are parents and not professionals with a teaching background, the education system chooses to not listen to us and is very ignorant of the needs and characteristics of gifted children!
    The question I have is there anyone out there who can attend meetings with staff from the DEC and us parents and can act as an advocate for these children? Because no matter how much research papers, evidence, psychologists assessments we show them, they do not take any notice and are unwilling to be open minded and actually do some research!

  12. 12. Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)
    July 3rd, 2014 @ 15:44

    Dear Holly,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It must be really challenging not to receive adequate support. Psychologists, like those working here at the Quirky Kid, are really well equipped to represent parents and children within the educational setting. It is often useful to arrange for the psychologists to review all the available information, meet with the family and child and together formulate a plan. The plan often needs to be solution focused. It is important to listen to the school and understand what resources are available and those that are not.

    It is often the case that parents will need to find extra curricular activities and support. We have recently launched our a online program for high performing kids. You can find more about it at Power Up.

    Holly, Please contact us on 9362 9297 if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists.

  13. 13. Caro
    July 21st, 2014 @ 12:04

    My 6 year old son ticks almost all the boxes for gifted and talented. At 2 years old He would hold deep philosophical conversations with complete strangers at the shops and people w say he is highly intelligent. He has very high empathy and looked after the babies when in nursery at child care. Perfectionism, sensitivity to environment, difficulty controlling his emotions and boredom means he doesn’t pay attention in class and is in reading recovery. The school thinks he is slow. Wondering if I should have him assessed. What do I do? My other son is doing brilliantly at school and it seems so unfair when the other is so highly developed. Thanks

  14. 14. Mitra Ahmadi
    August 7th, 2014 @ 02:00

    My 2 year old son, has full conversation with me and others, very confident with stranger, knows almost all ABC and can count to 20, learns nearly evrything instantly and copies evrybody
    the thing is at child care he is board and is often pushes other kids
    he has got great level of empathy and emotions for his age
    he has great interest with cars and always try to fix a broken things
    i do always hear from people and maternal child health nurse that he is very smart and intelegence for his age, i dont know what age he is okey to be assesed

  15. 15. cara
    October 9th, 2014 @ 01:54

    My almost 5 year old son displays all of the above traits. He doesn’t play with many children at kinder as the other 4-5 year Olds usually can’t relate to what he is saying or understand the vocabulary that he is using. The maternal nurse at is kinder readiness test was blown away with his knowledge and suggested we get him IQ tested as he reminded her of her son who is in the Mencer program. He likes to play alone and I feel he also displays some mild symptoms of asperges but most people tell me in being silly and looking into it too much so I haven’t gone ahead with tests. I have notice a big personality change lately and everything is “boring” and h is getting very angry and frustrated at people when they can’t understand what he is talking about, what he wants them to do or not doing what he has asked exactly how he wants it done.
    He is reading his grade 4 sisters reader books and knows up to 3 times tables, not to mention his amazing ear for music.
    Is there a plan of action we should take before he starts prep?

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