You might not have suspected any particular ability, but often others may alert you to your child’s potential. Friends, teachers and often grandparents may comment that he or she is advanced in some way, or seems to be able to do things that their children can’t yet do.
Checklists for identifying gifted behaviour are not very accurate. They are misleading because if characteristics such as “asks many questions” and “seems very alert as a baby” are included, many children could be identified as gifted! It is not so much the possessing of a particular attribute that determines high ability. Rather, it is how many signs and how much of a characteristic is shown that makes the difference. There is a fine line between being an intelligent, capable human being (as is the majority of the population) and one with really high potential that we call ‘giftedness’.
However, because the potential for giftedness has to do with a quick rate of development, it helps to compare the mental development of possibly more advanced children with what is considered ‘normal’ for a particular age. The following are some examples to show what is considered advanced for a particular child:
Early use of advanced vocabulary
Rapid learning ability
Retention of a variety of information
Keen observation and curiosity
Periods of intense concentration
Ability to understand complex concepts, perceive relationships and think abstractly
A broad and changing spectrum of interests
Strong critical thinking skills and self-criticism
Signs of unusual talent in music, drawing, rhythms or other art forms
Advanced ability to play with puzzles, mazes or numbers
Experiencing intense emotions