You know your child is smart. Her 4th grade teacher raves about what a good, well-behaved student she is. She earns straight A’s. She loves to read and loves school. She wants to be a doctor someday. Going to her school conferences are a delight.
You heard that another child in her class was identified as gifted, and you think “What? My child is much brighter.” You wonder, “Is my child gifted?”
There are very clear distinctions between a bright child and a gifted learner. School districts typically follow very distinct protocols to identify children for gifted programs. Usually, the needs of the gifted child cannot be met in the regular classroom. Teachers often love the bright child, since they are wonderful, attentive students, whereas gifted students can sometimes be challenging in the classroom, and teachers may not easily connect with them.
The chart below outlines some of the differences between a bright child and a gifted learner.
|A Bright Child:||A Gifted Learner|
|Knows the answers||Asks the questions|
|Is Interested||Is highly curious|
|Is attentive||In mentally and physically involved|
|Has good ideas||Has wild, even silly ideas|
|Works hard||Plays around, yet tests well|
|Answers the questions||Discusses in detail|
|Tops group||Beyond the groups|
|Listens with interest||Shows strong feelings, opinions|
|Learns easily||Already knows|
|6-8 repetitions||1-2 for mastery|
|Understands the ideas||Constructs the abstractions|
|Enjoys peers||Prefers adults|
|Grasps the meaning||Draws inferences|
|Completes the assignment||Initiates projects|
|Is receptive||Is intense|
|Copies accurately||Creates a new design|
|Enjoys school||Enjoys learning|
|Absorbs Information||Manipulates information|
|Good memorizer||Good guesser|
|Enjoys straightforward, sequential presentations||Thrives on complexity|
|Is alert||Is keenly observant|
|Is pleased with own learning||Is highly self-critical|
|Gets A’s||May not be motivated by grades|
*Table taken from Szabos, J. (1989). Bright child, gifted learner. Challenge, 34. Good Apple.
Modified with addition of last line “Gets A’s etc.”
Sometimes, a gifted child is not identified through the usual process. In this case, parents may choose to have their child evaluated for giftedness by a trained professional. This evaluation includes a brief interview with the parents and administering an IQ test to the child.
If you believe your child is gifted and you want them to be evaluated, please contact me HERE. As a parent of a gifted child, knowing whether or not my child was gifted vs. bright helped answer many questions I had and gave me peace of mind that I was advocating correctly for my child.