Characteristics of Gifted Children

Linda K. Silverman
Director, Gifted Development Center
1452 Marion Street, Denver, CO 80218

Gifted and Talented children exhibit many varied traits. According to Dr. Linda Silverman's ``Characteristics of the Gifted,'' these are some of the more important observable traits of the gifted child. (This list is used with her permission.)

Has a unique learning style Often grapples with complex moral issues
  (often visual-spatial) Has a large vocabulary; loves words
Learns rapidly Is often a perfectionist
Is developmentally advanced Has a highly developed sense of humor
Is very curious; asks complex questions Often sees many solutions to a problem
Gives complicated, detailed explanations Has a long attention span
Is quick to grasp relationships Tends to be intense
Organizes information in new ways Highly sensitive
Often has varied interests May be very energetic
Has more abstract thought processes May have a strong fear of failure
Sees ambiguity in "factual" information Often prefers older companions
Usually has a good memory Is asynchronous (develops unevenly)
Often enjoys working independently Is committed to areas of interest

Areas of Need for the Gifted

It's not always easy to be gifted. The following is a list of general concerns of the gifted. Few children will display all of the problems on the following list; however, parents may recognize several that apply to their child.

Confusion about meaning of giftedness Feeling inadequate
Feeling different Perfectionism
Heightened sensitivity and intensity Difficulty in forming relationships
Trying to be "normal" Intolerance of others
Problems with making career choices Difficulty in dealing with stress
Disorganized Unfocused
Need to understand own introversion Difficulty with others' expectations
Difficulty with hostility of others toward abilities Insufficient challenge in school
Hidden handicaps Underachievement
Moral concerns (related to intellectual abilities) Depression (often masked as boredom)
Feeling responsible for others Excessive competitiveness
Uneven development Lack of true peers


[It appears that many gifted children exhibit the characteristics of TMA's defined by Hank Pfeffer in the preceding article. --KL]