What is Giftedness?
According to Kentucky laws, gifted and talented students include those who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in one or more of the following five areas:
- General Intellectual Ability
- Specific Academic Aptitude
- Leadership Skills
- Visual or Performing Arts
Short of some type of standardized testing, there is no definitive way to know. However, there are a number of characteristics that suggest giftedness in a child. You might see a strong memory or a large vocabulary at an early age, an early ability to read, unusual curiosity, an ability to learn quickly, or an unusual sense of humor. What might some of these look like in your home? Well, you might have a gifted child if:
- You no longer need a phone book because your child knows the important numbers.
- Your four year-old beats you at chess.
- Your seven year-old is the only one in the house who can consistently make the VCR work properly.
- Your three year-old knows her numbers and can say the alphabet-backwards!
- Your preschooler is reading Harry Potter and your second grader is reading War and Peace.
- Your child's favorite question is "Why?" and you hear it multiple times in succession.
- Your ten year-old is consistently getting in trouble in school for being the class clown, but only the teacher finds the jokes funny!
If you see any of these characteristics in your child and would more information, contact Amend Psychological Services, PSC or the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education for testing options, and suggested references or check out Resources tab from this website.
This is one of the biggest myths about our gifted children-they will not be just fine on their own. Gifted children need specialized educational services to help meet their needs. Many people who do not understand giftedness believe that gifted children do not know they are gifted or different from others in any way and that they will do just fine if they are treated like everyone else. Unfortunately, this is not true. Although the available research shows that gifted children are at least as well adjusted as other groups of youngsters, gifted children face risks to their social and emotional development-because of their giftedness-that other groups do not face.*
Asynchronous, or uneven, development is a part of every gifted individual's life. While we all show strengths and weaknesses, the peaks and valleys are often more pronounced for gifted people. This uneven development can present in unusual ways, with the same gifted child showing advanced abilities in some areas such as reading years beyond his or her age, but also relatively delayed abilities in other areas such as writing or tying shoes. (More about asynchronous development.)
*From The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What do we know?, a publication of the National Association for Gifted Children.