Areas of Giftedness

    Common Characteristics for Areas of Giftedness

                                                   Adapted from the National Association for Gifted Children

General Definition: “Gifted and talented pupils” means pupils enrolled in public schools who give evidence of high performance capability in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or specific academic areas and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided in a regular school program in order to fully develop such capabilities. (Wisconsin Statutes § 118.35)

*Giftedness falls into one or more of the following areas: intellectual, academic, creative, artistic and leadership.

**Please Note: Not all gifted children fit a typical profile, regardless of a child who is of any particular socio/economic status,underachieving, lacks confidence, etc. It is critical that these children are identified and receive appropriate interventions, accommodations and/or scheduling to meet their needs. 


Area of Giftedness


General Intellectual Ability

The intellectually gifted are children who exhibit early and rapid development of language ability, strong powers of reasoning and advanced ability in critical thinking and problem solving. They may manipulate information in divergent ways when challenged by complex issues.

§  Understands complex concepts

§  Draws inferences between content areas

§  Sees beyond the obvious

§  Thrives on new or complex ideas

§  Enjoys hypothesizing

§  Intuitively knows information/concepts before being taught

§  Does in­-depth investigations

§  Learns rapidly in comparison to peers 

§  Highly sensitive

§  Interest in experimenting and doing things differently

§  Desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas

§  Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles

§  Unusually extensive vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age

§  Deep, intense feelings and reactions

Specific Academic

Academically able students are capable of making outstanding progress in one or more of the disciplines taught in school.

§  Manipulates information easily

§  Puts information together in non-typical ways

§  Strong memorization ability

§  Excellent memory

§  Passionate interest in a specific academic area

§  High mental capacity in one or more academic areas

§  Pursues special interests with eagerness and enthusiasm

§  Operates at a higher level of abstraction compared to peers

§  Asks poignant, direct and probing questions

§  Rapid Learner

§  Longer attention span and concentration

§  Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas

Creative Thinking

Creativity may cross all areas (academic, arts, leadership, intellect). High creatives tend to develop original ideas and products. They may express their creativity in oral, written or nonverbal expression. They are flexible and original in their thinking, tending to reject one-answer solutions. These children tend to possess strong visualization. Frequently, these individuals are strongly independent and often resist conformity. 

§  Creates and invents

§  Discusses and elaborates in detail

§  Exhibits original thinking in oral and/or written expression

§  Generates many ideas to solve a given problem

§  Possesses a keen/unusual sense of humor

§  Intrigued by creative tasks

§  Highly developed sense of curiosity

§  Improvises and sees unique possibilities

§  Risk taker

§  Resists conformity

§  Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful

§  Preoccupied with own thoughts- daydreamer


Students can demonstrate unusual adeptness or skill in the field of drama, music, dance, and/or visual arts. Unlike the academic and intellectual areas, students may not have been exposed to these artistic area(s). It is possible for students to have the potential for outstanding contribution in the arts as they become more involved in the arts through school and extra-curricular activities. 

§  Communicates their vision in visual/performing arts

§  Unusual ability for aesthetic expression

§  Compelled to perform/produce

§  Exhibits creative expression

§  Desire for creating original product

§  Keenly observant of surroundings

§  Continues experimentation with preferred medium

§  Excels in demonstrating the visual/performing arts

§  Vivid imagination


Leadership comes in many forms. Students gifted in this area usually have the ability to convince people to act or not act in specific ways. Leaders are self-confident and comfortable with their peers. They express themselves well and frequently are charming and charismatic. It is important to recognize that leadership traits may manifest into different leadership styles, depending upon environment and personality of the individual.

§  Takes an active role in decision making

§  High expectations for self and others

§  Expresses self with confidence

§  Foresees consequences and implications of decisions

§  Follows through on a plan

§  Appears to be well ­liked by peers

§  Ideas expressed accepted by others

§  Sought out by others to accomplish a task

§  Idealism and sense of justice at early age

§  Concern with social and political issues and injustices

* Influences peers

* Demonstrating or delegating responsibility