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Institute for the Development of Gifted Education



Giftedness is "a greater awareness, a greater sensitivity, and a greater ability to understand and to transform perceptions into intellectual and emotional experiences."

—Annemarie Roeper

At the Institute, we are dedicated to supporting gifted children and their educational needs. These needs are best met when all aspects of the individual are recognized—intellectual, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic and cognitive.


Parents, pediatricians and early childhood teachers are often the first to see when a child needs more. The child himself or herself is more intense, more curious and more creative than his or her peers.

A child with these qualities may be gifted and, if so, will display identifiable gifted characteristics at an early age. Although not a replacement for formal identification at age four or older, recognition of gifted characteristics provides the first step.

When assessing potential giftedness, important considerations include:

  • Do other children of the same age act or speak like the child? For example, a young child's humor may not be funny to an adult; however, the word play and use of particular joke formats may be unusual for that child's age.
  • What's the context for the child's trait? For example, a child may have a short attention span and low level of energy if bored by a topic, but have high focus and energy and retain a large quantity of information about a passion area.

The following list describes traits frequently found in gifted children. Please note that gifted children won't display all of these characteristics, but will show a significant number of them.

  • unusual alertness
  • high verbal ability
  • accelerated thought process
  • long attention span
  • high activity level
  • less need for sleep
  • rapid learning ability
  • keen sense of observation
  • extreme curiosity
  • excellent memory early and extensive vocabulary
  • ability to simultaneously process information
  • intense interest in books
  • ability to quickly grasp new knowledge and concepts
  • abstract reasoning
  • high degree of sensitivity
  • perfectionism
  • excellent sense of humor
  • preference for older playmates
  • advanced ability in play with puzzles, mazes or numbers
  • advanced progression through developmental milestones
  • advanced comprehension
  • large quantity of knowledge and information
  • able to generate original ideas and solutions

Learn about why gifted learners need special programming and educational environments to thrive.