How Can I Tell If My Child Is "Gifted"?


The characteristics listed below are some of the most commonly identified traits of an academically gifted person.

Keep in mind that gifted children are diverse, so not all of them will exhibit these traits to the same degree.

Further research about these characteristics can be found in A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend and Arlene R. DeVries.


  • Asks many thought-provoking questions
  • Reads voraciously at an early age
  • Has an extensive vocabulary
  • Is curious and enjoys learning about new things
  • Learns new skills rapidly, easily and without needing repetition
  • Displays a distinctive sense of humor at an early age
  • Has a wide range of interests and pursues those interests in a self-directed manner
  • Has deep, intense feelings and reactions
  • Is highly sensitive to the feelings of others
  • Has a keen sense of justice and fairness
  • Gets along well with adults and is comfortable conversing with adults
  • Exhibits unusual alertness, even in infancy
  • Has excellent memory
  • Uses complex sentence structure at an early age
  • Displays advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas
  • Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles
  • Often develops self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler
  • Thinks in abstract, complex, logical and insightful ways
  • Has long attention span and concentrates intensely
  • Is preoccupied with own thoughts — a daydreamer
  • Interested experimenting and doing things differently
  • Puts idea or things together in ways that are not typical
  • Likes to organize people/things through games or complex schemas
  • Displays vivid imagination (including imaginary playmates when in preschool)

SOURCE: This list was adapted from the National Association for Gifted Children, “Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals”