Signs that your child may be gifted

Updated: Feb 22

Although there are no definitive signs that will tell you for sure whether your child is gifted, many gifted children share some common characteristics, and knowing these is a good place to start.

  • Gifted children often master developmental milestones early. Many parents of gifted children note that they often master developmental milestones at an earlier age than expected. In particular, language skills may be significantly above age level. Many gifted children often develop an extensive vocabulary and speak in complex sentences at an early age.

  • Gifted children are often early and/or self-taught readers. Gifted children often learn to read quickly, independently and earlier then other children the same age. Many gifted children have already learned to read before entering school.

  • Gifted children have an intense curiosity about how things work. Most children are interested in and curious about the world around them, but gifted children often have an intense curiosity to find out how things work. Gifted children might test their parents’ patience by continually asking questions about what they see and hear, and wanting to receive thorough responses and explanations. They independently seek out information on topics of interest (e.g., space, dinosaurs) and have a deep fund of knowledge about the world around them.

  • Gifted children tend to learn quickly. Children who are gifted often pick up ideas and skills effortlessly.

  • Gifted children engage in problem-solving and creative thinking. Gifted children often enjoy coming up with their own unique ways to solve problems and making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts.

  • Gifted children have excellent memory. Gifted children are able to easily recall what they have previously heard, saw or learned.

  • Gifted children often have difficulty relating to same-age peers. Gifted children may find it difficult to relate to their peers who may have different interests and abilities. Because their cognitive skills and interests can be advances for their years, children who are gifted tend to seek out more stimulating conversations with older peers and adults.

  • Gifted children tend to have intense emotional responses. They can also be more sensitive to others' feelings and may display a great deal of empathy in situations where other children their age appear indifferent.

  • Gifted children tend to be natural leaders. Gifted children often have strong leadership qualities, take charge, and guide others in new directs.

Some gifted children may only show a few of the signs listed above, and some may show characteristics that are quite the opposite of what you would expect (e.g., Einstein learned to speak at a late age and didn't read until he was 7). Each gifted child is unique. As a parent, your insight and instincts, along with those of your child's teachers, are so important in truly understanding your child's unique gifts and potential.

Many specialized education programs for gifted children in Calgary (e.g., Westmount Charter School, GATE program) require that a child's cognitive abilities are at the 98th percentile (i.e., the same or better than 98 out of 100 children of the same age), or higher. Both Westmount Charter School and the CBE GATE program require a recent IQ test completed by a registered psychologist as part of the application process.

Having worked as a psychologist and behaviour analyst in both the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and the Calgary Catholic School District (CSSD), I have extensive knowledge of the eligibility requirements, supports and programs available. As such, gifted assessments through Chickadee Psychology are tailored to the specific requirements of gifted programs in Calgary.

Give me a call at 403-808-9308, or send me an e-mail at for a free, 20 minute consultation to see if a gifted assessment is a good fit for your child.

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