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Definition of Gifted

In 1993, the U.S. Department of Education define gifted and talented students as “Children and youth who perform at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience or environment.”


A gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression. Some of these abilities are very general such as leadership skills or the ability to think creatively.  Some are very specific talents and are only evident in particular circumstances, such as a special aptitude for mathematics, science or music.  It is generally recognized that approximately five percent of the student population in the United States are considered gifted.  These children and youth exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, or excel in specific academic fields.  Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor.

Characteristics of Gifted Children

  • Asks lots of questions.  Wants to know how or why something is so.  Not satisfied with simple answers to questions.
  • Has lots of information on many things May show more interest in “big ideas” than in basic skills knowledge.
  • Remembers things that have only been heard or seen once.  Seems to understand easily.
  • Becomes unusually upset at injustices.  Interested in adult concerns
  • Has high expectations of self and others.
  • Seems restless if given unchallenging tasks.
  • Likes solving puzzles and problems.
  • Reads books that are normally read by older children.
  • Enjoys meeting or talking with older children or adults. Tries to do things in different, unusual, imaginative ways.
  • Has an unusual or quirky sense of humor.
  • Likes variety and novelty, unusual questions; has a vivid imagination.
  • Responds emotionally to stories or events.
  • Invents new ways of doing things.