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WHAT IS GIFTEDNESS?

gifted/ˈɡɪftɪd/adjective: Having exceptional talent or ability significantly above the norm for one’s age.

Giftedness does not constitute good grades or a lengthy CV. It might not entail being the Head Girl or the class topper. It is, in India, a misrepresented state of being characterized by certain cognitive, emotional, and psychological exceptionalities. This includes advanced cognitive abilities like the efficient processing, retaining and application of information, high intellectual capacity, an outstanding aptitude in one or more domains, self-motivation, precocity, and/or heightened sensitivity.


Giftedness can be intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership oriented. It can manifest in a specific field such as language arts, mathematics, or science.


What binds gifted children together is the intensity with which they experience life, and the deep inner richness that compels them to seek domain mastery and intellectual stimulation.


According to Michigan State University, gifted students can exhibit:

  • Above-average general intellectual ability

  • Ability to find and solve difficult and unusual problems

  • Ability to process and learn information quickly

  • Ability to see connections, relationships, and multiple perspectives

  • Ability to understand abstract and complex concepts

  • Extensive and detailed memory

  • Intense love of reading

  • Advanced vocabulary and communication skills

  • Curiosity in many areas

  • Desire to ask a lot of questions

  • Intense, sustained passion in one area, which may change over time

  • Ability to concentrate for long periods of time on projects of interest


The website states that from an affective perspective, research has yielded consistent conclusions that gifted individuals are as well-adjusted as any other student group and are not any more vulnerable or flawed than their peers. However, Robinson et al.’s (2002) landmark compilation of research examining the social and emotional lives of gifted students uncovered common affective characteristics:

  • Perceptiveness and awareness of being different

  • Nonconformist behaviors

  • Desire to become all they are capable of becoming

  • Need for mental stimulation and preoccupation with understanding

  • Perfectionism

  • Introversion

  • Anxiety

  • Heightened sensitivities, particularly emotional intensity

Giftedness has its own vocabulary, with descriptive terms that will help you understand you gifted child (or self) better. You can find a glossary of terms here.

 

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