One universally accepted definition of giftedness does not exist. Therefore, at E. A. Young Academy, we incorporate an amalgam of thematic definitions based upon gifted studies. These themes include the concept that giftedness is defined by cognitive abilities which are significantly above the norm; giftedness across the lifespan shifts from aptitude and potential to that of cultivating a demonstrable expression of those aptitudes and talents; and, giftedness holds unique social and emotional considerations which influence life meaning and holistic development of the gifted individual (Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2019).
The National Association Gifted Children (2019) supports the following definition:
Students with gifts and talents perform - or have the capability to perform - at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience, and environment in one or more domains. They require modification(s) to their educational experience(s) to learn and realize their potential. Student with gifts and talents:
Come from all racial, ethnic, and cultural populations, as well as all economic strata.
Require sufficient access to appropriate learning opportunities to realize their potential.
Can have learning and processing disorders that require specialized intervention and accommodation.
Need support and guidance to develop socially and emotionally as well as in their areas of talent.
Require varied services based on their changing needs.
traits & characteristics
Every child is unique and so too will be their expression of giftedness. The Institute for Educational Advancement (2019) has identified the following traits seen within gifted children:
Extensive and detailed memory, particularly in a specific area of interest
Advanced vocabulary for his or her age; uses precocious language
Advanced communication skills for his or her age
The ability to express ideas and feelings
Asks intelligent and complex questions
Is able to identify the important characteristics of new concepts and problems
Learns information quickly
Has a broad base of knowledge
Understands abstract ideas and complex concepts
Uses analogical thinking, problem solving, or reasoning
Finds and solves difficult and unusual problems
Understands principles, forms generalizations, and uses them in new situations
Wants to learn and is curious
Is reflective about learning
Is more aware, stimulated, and affected by surroundings
Experiences extreme positive or negative feelings
Experiences a strong physical reaction to emotion
Has a strong affective memory
Institute for Educational Advancement What is Gifted? Retrieved 2019, from
NAGC Position Statements & White Papers. Retrieved from
Worrell, F. C., Subotnik, R. F., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Dixson, D. D. (2019). Gifted students. Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 551-576.