That being said, however, I've amassed a laundry list of "signs" from the following three sources. Raising a Gifted Child by Carol Fertig, The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids by Sally Walker, PhD, and A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, PhD, Janet L. Gore, MEd, Edward R. Amend, PsyD and Arlene R DeVries, MSE.
All of these books have commonalities about what "is gifted." It would be nice to say "you know it when you see it" but I don't think you can. All of the reasons I started researching books about gifted kids had little to do with her ability to read Charlotte's Web between age 4 and 5. It was that, combined with all of the quirky, challenging personality characteristics that sent me down the research road.
So, away we go!
Some signs of the gifted child, according to these three books:
- Strong verbal abilities
- Unusually good memory
- Intense curiosity
- Wide range of interests
- Asynchronous development
- Interest in experimenting
- Strong imagination,
- Sense of humor
- Motor skills delay
- Need for reason and understanding
- Impatience with others and/or with themselves
- Longer attention span
- Complex thinking
- Awareness of or concern with social/political problems and injustice
Two-thirds of the population are considered to have "average intelligence," or an IQ between 85 and 115. The other one-third falls evenly at each end of the spectrum, 16% below 85 and 16% above 115. As a general rule, to be considered "gifted" from an IQ perspective (because there are other ways to be gifted, not dealt with in this post), you need to have an IQ greater than 115:
From 115-129, you are considered mildly gifted.
From 130 - 144, you are considered moderately gifted.
From 145-159, you are considered highly gifted.
From 160+, you are considered exceptionally gifted.
And Profoundly gifted is upwards of 180.
Only 2% of the ENTIRE population has an IQ higher than 130. That's 1 child for every 50 students (though some research says it's more like 1 in 40) with an IQ over 130. Hoagie's Gifted does a great job explaining what an IQ in the 130's means vs. 160 in terms of behavior. Because the higher your IQ gets, the more difficulty you have being able to be "mainstreamed." You think so radically different from your age peers, that they can't really even be considered your peers.
Lots of research talks about how parents downplay their child's giftedness, or underestimate how smart their gifted child actually is. I find an interesting dichotomy with that.
I think people who have merely bright kids overestimate their child's intelligence and parents of gifted kids underestimate it. Why? This is my personal opinion only, but I believe the aspects of giftedness that are really hard (see the past 5 weeks of the Super Sunday Series as examples) make you think you must be wrong about having a gifted child in the first place. Because until you do the research and discover that all of these extreme personality traits are, in fact, the gifted "normal," you think you can't possibly be right about having a gifted child. No one that smart could be that extreme, correct? Incorrect.
So, in conclusion this week, I've listed some comparisons between "bright" kids and "gifted kids" to show how experts differentiate them. (printed, with permission, from Carol Fertig's book, Raising a Gifted Child, pg 5, see above for the link):
Bright Kids Gifted Kids
Know the answers Ask the questions
Are interested Are highly curious
Are attentive Are mentally & physically involved
Have good ideas Have wild and silly ideas
Work hard Play around, test well
Answer the questions Discuss in detail, elaborate
Listen with interest Show strong feelings and opinions
Learn with ease Already know
Needs 6-8 repetitions for mastery Need 1-2 repetitions for mastery
Understand ideas Construct abstractions
Enjoy peers Prefer adults
Grasp the meaning Draw inferences
Complete assignments Initiate projects
Are receptive Are intense
Copy accurately Create a new design
Enjoy school Enjoy learning
Absorb information Manipulate information
Are technicians Are inventors
Are good memorizers Are good guessers
Enjoy a sequential presentation Thrive on complexity
Are alert Are keenly observant
Are pleased with own learning Are highly self-critical
So there you have it, some guidelines to get you started if you're not sure about your child. They're not perfect and a wealth of information exists online about this for further reading. Great books too. Especially the ones I've referenced today. Well worth the buy.
Next week, I'll dive into some of the characteristics at the top (like what asynchronous development means, for example). See you then! Happy November!