Gifted Program‎ > ‎

Characteristics of Gifted Children

To the trained eye, it can be fairly easy to spot a gifted child. Even to the not-so-trained eye of a parent, it's easy to notice that a child is not quite like other children. However, parents often question what those differences mean. They know their child is smart, but gifted? Looking at a list of gifted traits or characteristics is a quick first step in determining whether a child is gifted. If you have a toddler and you're wondering if he or she is gifted, take a look at the list of characteristics of young gifted children.

Cognitive Traits

  • Very Observant
  • Extremely Curious
  • Intense interests
  • Excellent memory
  • Long attention span
  • Excellent reasoning skills
  • Well-developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization, and synthesis
  • Quickly and easily sees relationships in ideas, objects, or facts
  • Fluent and flexible thinking
  • Elaborate and original thinking
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
  • Unusual and/or vivid imagination


Social and Emotional Traits (see Supersensitivities in Gifted Children)

  • Interested in philosophical and social issues
  • Very sensitive, emotionally and even physically
  • Concerned about fairness and injustice
  • Perfectionistic
  • Energetic
  • Well-Developed Sense of Humor
  • Usually intrinsically motivated
  • Relates well to parents, teachers and other adults


Language Traits (See Language Development in Gifted Children)

  • Extensive Vocabulary
  • May Read Early
  • Reads Rapidly and Widely
  • Asks "what if" questions


Additional Traits

  • Enjoys learning new things
  • Enjoys intellectual activity
  • Displays intellectual playfulness
  • Prefers books and magazines meant for older children
  • Skeptical, critical, and evaluative
  • Asynchronous development