Is your child gifted or talented?

If your child is finding spelling, reading, writing or school work difficult, you may not even realise that you may have a gifted or talented child.

Being gifted usually refers to being gifted in academic ability. Being talented generally refers to an exceptional performance in a non-academic subject. Not everybody is ‘gifted’ in the academic sense, or talented with an ‘exceptional performance’, but I firmly believe that everyone has a flair for something. Finding out what your child’s special flair or talent is will raise his self-confidence and his belief in being successful.

Take a look at the table below of gifted and talented children and young people to see if you recognise any of the following qualities in your child:


 Generic Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Children[i] 


  • Achieve, or show potential, in a wide range of contexts
  • Be determined, diligent and interested in uncovering patterns
  • Be fascinated by, or passionate about, a particular subject or aspect of the curriculum
  • Be outstanding leaders or team members
  • Be particularly creative
  • Communicate their thoughts and ideas well
  • Demonstrate high levels of attainment across a range of subjects within a particular subject, or aspects of work
  • Demonstrate particular physical dexterity or skill
  • Generate creative working solutions
  • Make sound judgements
  • Show great sensitivity or empathy
  • Think quickly and accurately
  • Work flexibly, processing unfamiliar information and applying knowledge, experience and insight to unfamiliar situations
  • Work systematically


The checklist below will help you identify if you think your gifted child is underachieving at school. You need to listen to your instinct and raise your concerns with school. Get in touch with us at for professional advice.

A Checklist to Identify Gifted Underachievers[ii]  
  • Achieving at or below grade-level expectations in one or all of the basic skill areas: reading, language arts, mathematics
  • Daily work frequently incomplete or poorly done
  • Dislikes practice work or drill for memorisation and mastery
  • Does not function comfortably or constructively in a group of any size
  • Easily distracted, unable to focus attention and concentrate efforts on tasks
  • Evidences low self-esteem in tendencies to withdraw or be aggressive in the classroom
  • Exceptionally large repertoire of factual knowledge
  • Has a wide range of interests and possibly special expertise in an area of investigation and research
  • Has an indifferent or negative attitude towards school
  • Has difficulty in peer relationships; maintains few friendships
  • Persistent dissatisfaction with work accomplished, even in art
  • Poor test performance
  • Resists teacher efforts to motivate or discipline behaviour in class
  • Seems to avoid trying new activities to prevent imperfect performance; evidences perfectionism; self-criticism
  • Shows acute sensitivity and perceptions related to self, others, and life in general
  • Shows initiative in pursuing self-selected projects at home
  • Superior comprehension and retention of concepts when interested
  • Tends to set unrealistic self-expectations; goals too high or too low
  • Vast gap between qualitative level of oral and written work
  • Vitality of imagination; creative


[i] QCDA – Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency

[ii] Cline and Schwartz (1999); Webb and Latimer (1993), cited in Council of Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (2006)

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