The National Association for Gifted Children gives guidelines for identifying gifted people. A person must show, or has potential for showing, "...an exceptional level of performance in one or more of the following areas:
- General intellectual ability
- Specific academic aptitude
- Creative thinking
- Leadership ability
- Visual or performing arts" (page 2)
These things are easier to identify as a a child gets older and can be pretty hard to identify in younger children. Even young gradeschool children are difficult to identify. The question that hangs there is this--is the child gifted or has the child simply had a lot of nurturing in the younger years?
"...giftedness in preschool children can often be seen by their eagerness to learn, quick mastery of tasks, intensity of concentration, and the early age at which they reach developmental milestones" (page 3). If this sounds like your preschooler, your child may be gifted.
Take note that there are many different areas a person can be gifted, and they are not dependent upon each other. Common areas are (found on page 8):
- Linguistic intelligence
- Musical intelligence
- Logical-Mathematical intelligence
- Visual-Spacing intelligence
- Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence
- Interpersonal intelligence (with other people)
- Intrapersonal intelligence (with self)
Typically, only linguistic and logical-mathematical are areas of giftedness focused on in school. (I must side bar here and say, just as a student who isn't gifted in school is encouraged to go to school and learn, children who are not gifted musicians or athletes can be encouraged to participate in those areas and learn in them).
This is just a short glimpse into what giftedness is. If you think your child may be gifted, it is definitely worth reading up on it more to get a better idea. Like I have said before, I definitely wish I had read this book years earlier. There is a lot of helpful parenting advice I could have used.