Intellectual giftedness

Intellectual giftedness, what is it?

Intellectual giftednessThe definition of giftedness is not unambiguous and it therefore makes it to be a complex subject. According to the simplest definition, a gifted person should have an IQ above 130. Many people think that only a high IQ does not make you a gifted person yet. Besides a high IQ you also need to be creative and motivated.

What is intellectual giftedness?

When a child is gifted then he is predisposed to deliver exceptional performances in particular areas. When someone has an IQ above 130, they speak of intellectual giftedness. About 2,5 percent of the Dutch population for instance is gifted. However, giftedness is more than intelligence alone. Other factors are also important to come to a diagnose. Personality factors and environmental factors are a big role. With young children it is hard to come to a diagnosis straight away, this is why often they are misdiagnosed, like ADD/ADHD or autism.

Characteristics of giftedness

A distinction is made in learning abilities and behaviour. Not only intelligence plays a role, but also other factors. When it is about learning of gifted children they distinguish themselves from others because they are quick in their reasoning, are creative and keep asking questions. Behaviour wise these children are mentally precocious, perfectionistic, have strong feelings of justice and question the rules. They want to know why and they expect an honest answer.

Social environment

The environment plays a big role in the development of an intellectually gifted child. They often look for contact with developing peers. The school and the family are important factors for the wellbeing of a gifted child. Without challenge, a gifted child does not fully bloom. They often ask for more challenge themselves. However, there are also children that are only seen as difficult and feel not being understood. These are gifted children who are lacking challenge, at school as well as at home. School and family both have an important influence on the development of a gifted child.

Exceptional behaviour

A gifted child can show exceptional behaviour on the area of creative thinking, they have the talent of a leader, the intellectual capabilities and can have specific academic talents. Three capabilities are always applied to the intelligently gifted, namely the analytical skills, creative skills and also practical skills. Giftedness is thus a lot more than only a high IQ score. Gifted children can also be really good in one area, maths for example. Languages can be a little bit less for instance. There are gifted children that have such an enormously high IQ on their 15th year of age and already study in University. However, these are the real exceptions.

Social-emotional problems

Gifted children are ahead in their social development. Therefore they will find less connection to their peers of their age. They find playing with a normally gifted child often boring and not interesting. This often has a difficult communication between gifted children and normal children as a result. A gifted child can be socially excluded through this because he is seen as different. This may create feelings of loneliness. You hear parents of gifted children sometimes saying that they would have rather had their child perform less on the IQ ladder and higher on the EQ ladder.
Problems can arise on the social-emotional level because gifted children have different expectations in friendships. They often use difficult words, and have different interests. Their level in playing develops faster and that is why their peers often do not understand the play of the gifted child. Sometimes they show adaptive behaviour simply to be liked. The separation between gifted children and normal children can sometimes be quite big. Being a parent you can be worried about the fact that your child never sees other kids to play with them after school times. Sometimes it can be that he is never invited, but often the child itself does not have the need or inclination to meet up with any of his peers.


When a gifted child is faced too little challenge then he can start to get bored and even underperform. They can start behaving more troublesome simply because of being bored and not knowing what to do with their own energy. Sometimes it can thus be that they receive the wrong diagnosis. The child is then diagnosed with having ADD/ADHD or he is given the diagnosis of autism. The chances are thus big that the gifted child receives the wrong guidance and treatment. It is important for teachers, but also for parents, to make the distinction between a mental condition and giftedness. This can mean that the gifted child can reach their maximum potential and can be much happier in life.

Gifted toddlers

Nowadays toddlers can also be given a certain test. When children score above the national average then there could be the instance of giftedness. Then the behaviour of the child in class will be closely observed. Does the toddler make quicker jumps in development that the other toddlers? When the school reaches its conclusion that the toddler might be gifted, then everything will be done to challenge the toddler. Complex activities are being though of, but also it is tried to teach the gifted toddler skills on the social-emotional level.

Determining giftedness

The determining of giftedness is often done by looking at the results of an intelligence test, when your IQ is higher than 130 you are considered to be intellectually gifted. As said earlier, giftedness is more than just having a high IQ score. Unfortunately nowadays people look in a black and white manner at the results of such an IQ test. There are also psychologists however that look a little bit deeper into the child than just taking the IQ score as their main lead. They will look at other typical characteristics of giftedness, such as: creativity and motivation.

Under perform with smart people

It sounds rather odd, because gifted people are very smart, but many gifted people perform less than they could. Sometimes gifted children are the worst performers in a class. Often this has to do with the fact that gifted children are quickly bored when they are not challenged enough. The school plays a big role in this. The teacher should be able to recognise gifted children and adapt the class materials so that the gifted child is offered enough challenge. Because under performance is often not recognised, there are many gifted children that finally go into the lower eduction, whilst these children have so much potential.


Giftedness is a big, complex but most importantly and interesting concept. In this article we can not discuss everything about the topic, do you have questions about this article? Then ask them below in the form of a comment.


Article written by: roybor
Times read: 1263x
Added: 30-12-2016 07:58
Last modified: 21-02-2017 23:19

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