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What Are the Characteristics of a Gifted Child?

What are the characteristics of a gifted child? What are the criteria for the gifted child? In short! All about gifted children in this article.

The gifted child has intellectual abilities above average for children of his age. Some children are born with intelligence out of the ordinary, ahead of their comrades. They are children whose intellectual development rate is much higher than that of their peers of the same age.

Gifted children are considered very intelligent beings. By the way, here are some types of intelligence:

– language

– logico-mathematical

– spatial

– musical

– somato-kinesthetic

– interindividual

– introspective

A gifted person has by definition an IQ of at least 130. It is estimated that this is the case of 2.2% of the population.

It is important to identify this precocity early, to make it an asset and not a handicap. The help of parents and adapted support depend on the future of these gifted.

Speaking of children, here are terms that appear: early (precocious), talented (clever), gifted that should not be confused.The Characteristics of a Gifted Child

*** Early/Precocious

A child with skills is usually seen in older children. He is ahead of his age, in one or more areas:

– he speaks earlier

– he walks earlier

– he reads earlier

– he builds constructions earlier.

Precociousness can be promoted by a rich and stimulating cultural environment, providing more knowledge than the school offers.

We will no longer talk about precocity in adulthood. But only higher skills than other adults in the areas in question, if this remains the case, which is not necessarily noted.

*** Talented

A child who has a specific skill in a field, much better than those all children of his age (memory, imagination, sport, music, oral or written verbal expression).

The gift, natural aptitude, is expressed through training in the field concerned. It can remain hidden if the child is not aware of it and does not train it.

*** Gifted

Who has an overall intellectual level much higher than that of children of his age, defined by an IQ greater than 130, with homogeneous skills in all areas evaluated:

– very rich language skills

– very effective perceptual reasoning

– large working memory capacity

– speed of processing visual information very fast.

This is due to a specific intellectual and cerebral functioning – intuitive, rapid and comprehensive understanding, excellent memory, great curiosity and keen desire to learn – which is not observed in the case of an early child.

This specificity will be preserved in adulthood.

I – First Signs of Gifted Child

There is no typical profile of the gifted but rather a list of indices. The intellectually precocious children have a common characteristic: they have a strong desire to learn to read before the age of six. Moreover, 90% of them can read at the entrance to the preparatory course.

Signs that can be seen early in childhood:

– very toned baby

– baby scrutinizer: awake and curious

– baby little sleeper, who can settle for short nights

– a child who speaks very early, or later, but immediately in a correct way

– a child whose vocabulary is quickly very rich

– a child who, once entered the language, starts immediately to ask many questions and begins to wonder, well before the others, on existential questions (on the life, the death, the world …)

– a child who wants to learn very young to read and write (alone or with the help of adults).

Growing up, a gifted child will often find himself out of step with his peers. He is curious, asks a lot of questions, and wants to get to the bottom of things; he holds back and manipulates the information. He does not necessarily speak before others, but when he does, his syntax is much better.

One of the characteristics of a gifted child is that he learns to read very quickly, sometimes without being stimulated by an adult. His intelligence is intuitive and deductive, he manages to understand the rules of reading by himself. It integrates new information extremely quickly, after one or two repetitions.

And each idea gives birth to many others: this is called tree thinking, very typical in the gifted child.

*** Signs of Early Maturity (Precociousness) in Babies

The gifted children were first awake babies. Infants immediately have a powerful, scrutinizing look. At this early oculomotor maturation, some posture-related behavior is associated. They sit, walk earlier than others, and most importantly, they often find the only way to do it. The cabling of their brain seems to be done sooner.

– Sleep too can be a landmark. The early ones sleep little, but deeply.

– Language: Expresses very well without necessarily going through the phase of “talking baby”. Speaks easily at 2 years instead of 3 and can read from the entrance to the CP. He has a rich and surprising vocabulary for his age.

*** Detection Methods

Intelligence tests have been studied to measure either the overall intellectual capacity, the state of mental development in a child or the form of intelligence – verbal or practical -. Alfred Binet’s test was developed in 1905 with Dr. Simon to detect pupils in difficulty in specialized classes. These authors have devised very simple tests that could be representative of the behavior of the majority of children of a given age. 100 is considered the average quotient.

Apart from the child’s behavior and his school results, there are two techniques for detecting precocity: the IQ test and the identification questionnaires.

The IQ test.

The psychological assessment can be done in just a few hours. It consists of intelligence tests (with IQ assessment) and cognitive tests (personality assessment).

The tests of the Binet-Simon test were modernized (by Casselin, in 1959) and measured the development of intelligence from the age of 2 years, from 6 months in 6 months to 5 years, then from year to year until 14 years old.

– Identification questionnaires.

Consisting of comparative tables, they serve to differentiate early children from school children. They are mainly intended for teachers who question the abilities of a student.

II – Characteristics of a Gifted Child

– Existential questions:

A gifted child asks existential questions at a very young age. His questioning is anxious because he is considering the worst. He extrapolates and seeks to be reassured. He is concerned about issues that can make sense of life. This leads to a state of anxiety in high-potential children that may very well have an impact on their social and academic life.

– The meaning of the effort is undeveloped.

The gifted child understands quickly, even very quickly, but his comprehension is global and it lacks rigor. Sometimes he thinks he knows and is stubborn in his way of thinking. His knowledge is intuitive, so he makes no effort. Besides, he hates the effort. Yet he cannot stand to fail.

– A fragile and lonely child.Lonely child

Hypersensitive, the intellectually precocious child has its senses as exacerbated. It will be all the more difficult to feel different if he feels misunderstood. His fragility is real and requires recognition and support from the first years of his life if we want to see it flourish before approaching his teenage years, a step always tricky for any young person.

– Reading.

Learning to read alone and early, 90% of gifted children can read before CP.

– Faculties of learning.

Very fast, instant understanding.

– Hate the routine, support evil failure, and lack of tenacity in the face of difficulties.

– Curiosity.

The early child is very curious. He asks innumerable questions, is interested in subjects that are not necessarily his age (origin of man, prehistory, astronomy), and exhausts the subject to the end, and then changes its center of interest.

– Many philosophical questions:

Death, life, God, space …

– Social relations.

Difficulty to insert socially. The child is rarely the leader of the group, he prefers to go unnoticed. In general, he is more comfortable with older or younger children.

– Frequently hypersensitive and anxious.

He cannot bear the injustice to himself or to others.

– Emergency situation.

His morbid timidity can prevent him from acting, he will then be angry at not having intervened when he should have done so.

– Fertile imagination.

The child creates an imaginary universe – and sometimes an imaginary friend – to satisfy his need to escape.

– Great sense of humor

This allows him to distance himself from the events.

– Critical mind.

Facing himself and facing others, including adults. He does not hesitate to take his interlocutor if he is facing failure.


But in any case, a child with some of these signs is not necessarily early. Only the passage of a test with a qualified psychologist will have a value of confirmation of the suspicions.

An intellectually precocious child is a child who thinks otherwise. His particular way of thinking generates certain difficulties or frailties: hypersensitivity, psychomotor delays, a psychological vulnerability that compromises his academic success, and his socialization.

In these children, the hand and psychomotor development in general, as well as the emotional, did not keep pace with the development of intelligence. This paradox is part of a more global shift: dyssynchrony, which makes a gifted child ask adult questions while having the emotional needs of a child.

The various questions and the desire to know the why of everything are another sign of precocity. These children are interested in the Universe, the metaphysical problems of man, the limits of space. They also change their passions often, it’s their jack-of-all-trades. If they are particularly attractive for complicated games, they are, however, very quickly bored by routine activities.

From kindergarten, a contrast between gifted youth and other children is emerging at times. At odds with children their age, with whom they do not find common ground, early children often befriend older children, or conversely, much younger and they like to talk with the adults.

It is scientifically proven that a gifted child uses privileged his right brain, which gives him more intuitive intelligence than reasoned.

We also know that the information is processed more quickly because it is redistributed in all areas of the brain, which results in real neural hyperactivity. One could also add that his sensory perception is extremely powerful – his view is wider, his hearing allows him to listen to several conversations at the same time, his sense of smell is ultra-sensitive.

On the affective plane, the gifted child is above all a hypersensitive being, in whom the emotions are exacerbated: his love, his anger, his susceptibility, or his fear are of uncommon intensity. His exalted senses also allow him to feel imperceptible things and empathy, that ability to feel the emotions of others is his sixth sense. He is particularly sensitive to justice, but especially to the injustice that revolts him. His quest for truth is an absolute necessity, making him a very modern child, searching for meaning, human and generous.

III – Difficulties Associated with General Characteristics of a Gifted Child

From a school point of view, the profiles of gifted children are paradoxes. They have a lot of new ideas from the beginning of the lesson, they give back the material, usually getting good grades, but in reality, they get bored quickly. Their reactions to this vary, of course, according to personalities and backgrounds, and can range from a rowdy child who disturbs everyone to another who locks himself in his world and does not open his mouth from the morning to the night.

It also happens that the first visible sign is school failure. His quick comprehension and memorizing ability lead him to easily succeed in primary subjects. He is rarely confronted with difficulty, let alone failure, and when things become more difficult to manage, in high school or later, he is completely helpless. He has no method, no tools to work with, and no way to protect his self-confidence if he fails. This leads to sometimes extremely painful situations.

Gifted young people find it very difficult to make friends with their classmates. Their relationship with adults and teachers, by whom they often feel misunderstood and rejected, becomes problematic and children often pass for insolent, impertinent.

In children with a higher IQ, there are frequently:

– Sleep disorders: difficulty “extinguishing” your brain.

– Eating disorders: especially food phobias.

– Behavioral disorders: due mainly to the misunderstanding they encounter. This can result in headaches, stomach pain, eczema, anxiety, hyperactivity, tocs, stuttering, or various addictions.

– Psychomotor disorders: such as dysgraphia, dyslexia.

– Relationship problems: difficulties of adaptation, difficulty to make friends, phobia of the school.

IV – Hypersensitivity of the Gifted Child

Hypersensitivity or hyperesthesia refers to the exacerbated sensory capacity of the five senses with respect to intellectually precocious children.

Being gifted is a whole, formed both by the intellectual potential of the child and by his psycho-affective personality.

It is a child whose mental age is several years ahead of his actual physical and emotional age. It has to assume daily the gap between the different sectors of its development. In addition to her above-average intellectual abilities, there is her hypersensitivity and her emotional reactivity.

They are children in whom a trifle can trigger an emotional cataclysm. They capture the slightest variation of the world around them and have empathy that can even be invasive.

If their rate of intellectual development is faster than that of children of the same age, their emotional, relational, and psychomotor development is more in keeping with their biological age.

In Summary

Do you have gifted children? Share with us how you detected it! Where do you think your child seems to be? Thank you for sharing the signs you see at home!

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