Behavioural indicators in identifying gifted children

Behavioural indicators

The list below describes commonly observed behaviours in gifted children with most gifted children displaying several (but not necessarily all) of these: 

  • very quickly remembers facts, or a series of numbers, songs, movies or parts of conversations they have heard
  • knows a lot about topics, such as sports, maths, books, animals, music, art, etc.
  • surprises older children and adults by their use of big words and/or correct terms, and adapts speech according to the age of the audience. For instance, speaks like an adult when talking with adults and speaks like a child when talking with children
  • may have begun to read or write at an early age without being formally taught, and prior to entering school
  • is an enthusiastic learner and shows intense interest, energy and enjoyment when learning new things
  • uses lots of 'how' and 'why' questions, and cannot be fobbed off with a simple answer; often transfers learning from one field to another
  • teaches other children using their language level about how to do things and explains so that others can understand
  • can behave like a little adult and loves to spend time with adults, enjoys adult jokes and participates in adult conversations and discussions
  • shows leadership abilities, and other children seek their help to solve informal problems
  • may make up rules for games that are quite complicated and not easy for peers to abide by, and can be bossy
  • is resourceful and can put together various household objects to invent and solve problems
  • can make something out of nothing (has inner resources)
  • uses imaginative methods to accomplish tasks and therefore can use creative methods to get out of doing tasks, makes imaginative shortcuts and does not always follow rules
  • can be unusually sad and emotional when things do not go to plan.

Checklists for identifying gifted children