Being Gifted

We know how giftedness is defined, but what does it actually mean to be gifted? These are the observable characteristics that gifted children exhibit. While strengths and weaknesses exist among CATS kids, these four traits are common among them:

Asynchronous development

Gifted Students
This is a fancy way of saying that gifted kids develop in an 'uneven' way. It's true for all kids, but especially so for gifted children. The higher the IQ, the more asynchronous a child is likely to be. It might look like this:
  • Chronological age= 14, Academic age= 17, Maturity age= 12; 
  • Chronological age= 4, Academic age= 6, Maturity age= 7; 
  • Chronological age=10, Academic age= 13, Maturity age= 10

Precocity

If you ask the parent of a gifted child about their child's "firsts", you are going to hear some surprising numbers. Milestones for gifted children can happen years earlier than expected. Developing cognitive skills at a very early age can be one of the earliest signs of high intelligence. Some examples of precocious behavior include:

  • talks like a "little adult"
  • speaks in complete sentences at age 1
  • sorts items by color and size at age 2
  • offers an extensive, descriptive list of a specific theme- perhaps dinosaurs- at age 3
  • reads independently at age 4
  • regular use of sarcasm at age 7

Excellent Memory

 

In addition to acquiring information quicker, gifted students retain that information much longer. They can often describe conversations from years earlier in great detail, and they often recall events from as early as age two.

 

The Brain

 

Neuroscience has, through research and brain scanning, determined that a gifted brain is physically different from others (it's larger) and its synaptic function differs as well. When asked to perform tasks, brains of gifted students will show significantly more activity (suggesting more complex thinking), and will also show significantly less activity (suggesting more efficient thinking) when compared to typical brains. Interestingly, it is still unclear if the physical brain causes the heightened cognitive function, or if heightened cognitive function shapes the physical brain.

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