Who is an Exceptionally Gifted student and what would s/he "look" like?Those students currently in the Clayton Gifted Program with identified General Ability Index (GAI) scores of 145+ will automatically be considered the "pool" of students identified as exceptionally gifted, and will receive supplemental resource services as part of the Clayton Gifted Program. Obviously, an intelligence measure alone does not define a person, and exceptionally gifted children cannot be recognized immediately just because an intelligence measure is high. We can, however, identify in those students characteristics that are commonly shared by many exceptionally gifted children.
The Davidson Institute for Talent Development, an organization dedicated to recognizing and meeting needs of exceptionally gifted children, has developed a useful list of common characteristics shared by many exceptionally gifted students:
- "That depends . . ." A student who consistently answers questions with "that depends..." is your first clue of extreme intelligence. Exceptionally gifted children demonstrate a need for precision in thinking and expression.
- An extreme need for constant mental stimulation.
- An ability to learn and process complex information rapidly.
- A precocious ability to perceive essential elements and underlying structures and patterns in relationships and ideas.
- A need to explore subjects in surprising depth, to understand the why and how as well as the what.
- An insatiable curiosity; endless questions and inquiries about how things work.
- An ability to focus intently on a subject of interest for long periods of time.
- An inability to concentrate on a task that is not intellectually challenging, such as those that involve repetition or that present material in bite size pieces.
- A propensity toward underachievement, particularly in females and adolescents who want to "fit in" with their classmates.
Social Interactions of Exceptionally Gifted Students: The greater the degree of a person's intellectual differences, the greater the discomfort such an intellect seems to bring . . .
- In the general population, about 75% of the people are extraverted, whereas among the highly gifted, approximately 75% are introverted. Introversion appears to increase with IQ. (Silverman)
- The greater the degree of a person's intellectual differences, the greater the discomfort such an intellect seems to bring to his or her world, and that world responds by creating discomfort for the individual. (Hollingworth)
- The social isolation experienced by many highly gifted children is most acute between the ages of 4 and 9. In a recent study by Miraca Gross on Gifted Children and Friendships, children of IQ 160+ tend to begin the search for "the sure shelter"---friendships of complete trust and honesty--four or five years before their age-peers even enter this stage. Indeed, in this study exceptionally and profoundly gifted girls aged 6 and 7 already displayed conceptions of friendship which do not develop in children of average ability until age 11 or 12.
- Highly gifted children are more often "emotionally disturbing" rather than "emotionally disturbed." (Ellen Fiedler)
- Highly gifted kids are in alpha when they work. Regular kids are in beta when they work, and alpha when they rest. (Alpha is seen in wakefulness where there is a relaxed and effortless alertness. Beta is seen in highly stressful situations, and where there is difficult mental concentration and focus.)
- Many highly gifted children have the tendency to "self mutilate." For example, nail biting, chewing hair, biting fingers, etc.
- Highly gifted children should not be asked to be "well rounded kids."
- In the ordinary elementary school situation, children of 140 IQ waste half their time. Those of 170 IQ waste practically all of their time. (Hollingworth)
Adapted from the Rockwood School District
Exceptionally Gifted Resource Component (EGRC) Information Packet
as created by Dottie Barbeau (2003)