Many parents wonder whether their child is gifted or just academically bright.

You know your child is smart. Her 4th grade teacher raves about what a good, well-behaved student she is. She earns straight A’s. She loves to read and loves school. She wants to be a doctor someday. Going to her school conferences are a delight.

You heard that another child in her class was identified as gifted, and you think “What? My child is much brighter.” You wonder, “Is my child gifted?”

There are very clear distinctions between a bright child and a gifted learner. School districts typically follow very distinct protocols to identify children for gifted programs. Usually, the needs of the gifted child cannot be met in the regular classroom. Teachers often love the bright child, since they are wonderful, attentive students, whereas gifted students can sometimes be challenging in the classroom, and teachers may not easily connect with them.

The chart below outlines some of the differences between a bright child and a gifted learner.

A Bright Child: A Gifted Learner
Knows the answers Asks the questions
Is Interested Is highly curious
Is attentive In mentally and physically involved
Has good ideas Has wild, even silly ideas
Works hard Plays around, yet tests well
Answers the questions Discusses in detail
Tops group Beyond the groups
Listens with interest Shows strong feelings, opinions
Learns easily Already knows
6-8 repetitions 1-2 for mastery
Understands the ideas Constructs the abstractions
Enjoys peers Prefers adults
Grasps the meaning Draws inferences
Completes the assignment Initiates projects
Is receptive Is intense
Copies accurately Creates a new design
Enjoys school Enjoys learning
Absorbs Information Manipulates information
Technician Inventor
Good memorizer Good guesser
Enjoys straightforward, sequential presentations Thrives on complexity
Is alert Is keenly observant
Is pleased with own learning Is highly self-critical
Gets A’s May not be motivated by grades

*Table taken from Szabos, J. (1989). Bright child, gifted learner. Challenge, 34. Good Apple.

Modified with addition of last line “Gets A’s etc.”

Sometimes, a gifted child is not identified through the usual process. In this case, parents may choose to have their child evaluated for giftedness by a trained professional. This evaluation includes a brief interview with the parents and administering an IQ test to the child.

I am currently taking a hiatus from psychological testing, including IQ testing and ADHD evaluations.  If you would like names of other local providers, please see this page for options.