What is Gifted?

If your child has been identified as gifted, you may be wondering what that means exactly.  Or maybe you think your child is gifted but their hasn’t been a formal identification.  “Gifted” can have many definitions – both official and subjective.  Below is a sampling of definitions by those that work with the gifted every day (From the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented website,  www.coloradogifted.org )

Gifted describes “a child/student with exceptional potential given culture, language, and traits of exceptionality. Getting to know the student, his/her interests and family priorities are essential to understand a student’s area of strength and gifted capabilities.

Two common definitions addressed by Colorado educators and parents are from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC). The CDE definition drives state and local policy to implement gifted education program plans.

Colorado Department of Education ( https://www.cde.state.co.us/gt/about )

The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) defines “gifted” children as:

Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:

  • General or specific intellectual ability
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative or productive thinking
  • Leadership abilities
  • Visual arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities 12.01(16)

NAGC: What is Giftedness?

“Children are gifted when their ability is significantly above the norm for their age.
Giftedness may manifest in one or more domains such as; intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific academic field such as language arts, mathematics or science.

It is difficult to estimate the absolute number of gifted children in the U.S. and the world because the calculation is dependent on the number of areas, or domains, being measured and the method used to identify gifted children. However, many consider children who are in the top 10 percent in relation to a national and/or local norm to be a good guide for identification and services.

It is important to note that not all gifted children look or act alike. Giftedness exists in every demographic group and personality type. It is important that adults look hard to discover potential and support gifted children as they reach for their personal best.”

The Columbus Group definition, 1991: Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.

Cherry Creek Schools (https://www.cherrycreekschools.org/Page/2653 )

The Cherry Creek Schools defines gifted and talented students as “children between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted students also include students with disabilities (i.e. twice-exceptional). Exceptional abilities or potential are present in all ethnic and cultural groups, across all socio-economic strata and in all arenas of human endeavor.”

“Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of one or any combination of the following areas of giftedness:

  • General or specific intellectual ability
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative or productive thinking
  • Leadership abilities
  • Visual Arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities

Cherry Creek Schools believes that gifted and talented students have unique academic and affective needs. Administrators and teachers support a philosophy that emphasizes the need for a challenging learning environment that focuses on high achievement for every gifted and talented student, as well as meeting their unique social and emotional needs.”