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Giftedness: A blessing or a curse


When we think of gifted and talented children, we think of kids with high abilities, accelerated learning and exceptional performance. However, the truth is that gifted children can present complex challenges for parents. While gifted children have huge potential and exceptional prospects, the expectations of performance can result in problems.

Challenges of a gifted child

Gifted children are just as inclined towards low self-confidence as the rest of the population. Perhaps even more so, as the expectations and pressure on them, both self and externally imposed, are higher than normal.[1]

High performance expectations can lead to a fear of success. If your child earns a top mark in an assignment or test, they may feel pressure to replicate that result. Over time, this can lead to low self-esteem and less willingness to put in effort. [2]

Characteristics of a ‘gifted’ child

Every child is different, and not all characteristics are present in each individual.[3]

  • Highly alert, even as an infant
  • A fast learner, learns basic skills quickly
  • Large vocabulary, excellent memory and the ability to form complex sentences
  • Advanced comprehension of word meanings and abstract ideas
  • Enjoys puzzles and number problem solving; experiments with doing things differently
  • As a pre-schooler, may teach themselves reading and writing skills
  • Very curious with probing questions, and very insightful
  • Very sensitive with deep feelings
  • Good abstract and complex thinking; puts concepts together that are not typical.
  • Interest in political and social issues and a sense of justice
  • A daydreamer with a vivid imagination
  • Intense concentration/ long attention span
  • Good/ quirky sense of humour
  • Wide variety of interests, or an intense focus on one subject
  • Naturally organises people and things via games or ideas

How is giftedness assessed?

If you think your child is gifted, speak to his or her teacher. They can advise the next steps and offer support if needed. Assessments are carried out by trained educational psychologists. These tests are designed to identify strengths, weaknesses, and any learning differences.[4]

The Stanford-Binet IQ test is part of the assessment. Giftedness levels can be quantified as:

Mildly Gifted - IQ 115 – 129

Moderately Gifted – IQ 130 – 144

Highly Gifted – IQ 145 – 159

Exceptionally Gifted – IQ 160 – 179

Profoundly Gifted – IQ 180+[5]

What can you do to help your gifted child succeed?

At school, gifted children can have their education accelerated across years or subjects. Teachers can develop extension programs for more enriched learning. Working with your child, the school can create programmes for specific interests and skill areas[6].

At home, continue to love and support your child. Treat them holistically - they are more than just their giftedness. Gifted adults have expressed that the pressure and expectations placed on them as a child was counter-intuitive. Trust your child and your instincts, and know when they can take on more work, or when they need a break.[7]

Allowing your child to pursue their strengths and interests is important. At school, resources may not be available for extension or specialist programs. After school tutoring at NumberWorks'nWords can provide the extra challenge required to stretch and grow your child’s interests. Personalised programs can be developed to stretch their abilities and keep them interested in learning. NumberWorks'nWords want to help bring out your child’s true potential.


Helping your child to prepare for assessments or exams

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