Gifted Kids

Kids who are gifted are often independent, motivated, and dazzlingly quick learners. But not everything comes easy. Even as highly intellectual children seem to breeze through the standard academic curriculum, they may need extra support to manage strong emotions and complex social situations.

There are ways you can help children realize their intellectual gifts while also encouraging them to maintain a healthy, happy approach to life. Learn how to identify gifted kids, understand their strengths, and guide them through challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the signs of a gifted child?

    Every gifted child is different, but they are often keen problem solvers, critical thinkers, and intensely focused on certain intellectual or creative passions. They may read early and have a large vocabulary. Social situations can be tricky for gifted children since they may be more sensitive and easily frustrated than others.

  • What IQ of a child is considered gifted?

    An intelligence quotient (IQ) test like Stanford-Binet or the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is one way schools or specialists identify giftedness. A child who scores between 115 and 129 is considered mildly gifted; 130 to 144 is moderately gifted; 145 to 159 is highly gifted; 160 to 179 is exceptionally gifted; and 180 or higher is profoundly gifted.

  • Is being gifted genetic?

    Scientists think you can inherit a predisposition toward being gifted, and that about 50% of the difference between being gifted rather than just moderately intelligent can be chalked up to genes. However, how you're raised plays a big role. Children of parents who are supportive both emotionally and financially (to provide specialized classes or coaching) are more likely to realize their talents.

  • What are different types of tests for giftedness?

    There are achievement tests and ability tests. Achievement tests (ERBs, MATs, SATs) test what your child already knows or has learned. Ability tests, like Stanford-Binet or the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), measure a person's intelligence quotient (IQ). When experts are assessing giftedness in younger children (age 6 and under) they are likely to rely less on tests and more on parent/teacher checklists of characteristics and observations.

  • Does the giftedness of a child go away?

    No, but some gifts and talents may be suppressed or unrealized. Some innately intellectual children may struggle with attention, lack study skills, or underachieve due to social or emotional issues. Putting exceptionally bright children who are underachieving in gifted programs where they can be challenged and better understood can help them realize their potential.

  • Why do gifted kids become depressed?

    Some gifted kids experience depression, sometimes stemming from emotional sensitivities, perfectionism, and feelings of being different. Experts have observed that gifted people who are depressed tend toward "existential depression," in which they struggle with the heaviness and meaning of life. However, there isn't strong evidence that depression is more common in gifted youths. Research shows that rates of depression are about 10% in gifted teens and between 8% and 13% in all teens.

Key Terms

Page Sources
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