Gifted children: characteristics of their behavior

It is normal that young children show great motor activity and that many families consider, at certain times, whether this high level of activity will be normal. Especially when it causes uncomfortable situations. We have to take into account that children express their emotions through movement and even more so when they have not yet acquired sufficient language development to express themselves verbally.

However, sometimes, this restless behavior of the child manifests itself at levels higher than what can be considered normal behavior. In this case, surely, there is the presence of other peculiar characteristics such as high capacity.

Behavioral signs of gifted children

Children with a high level of intelligence They have certain behavioral characteristics that expose them to an increased risk of receiving erroneous diagnoses. Generally, they belong to that group of specially moved children. At first glance, they seem distracted, difficult and undisciplined children. Currently, one of the disorders that is more often confused with high abilities is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), since there are several common characteristics among those of the gifted childrens and the symptoms that have been described for said disorder.


The diagnoses are confused because the behavior in class of these children is interpreted superficially due to the lack of knowledge about this exceptionality. In the majority of the occasions, the people in charge of the classroom are based solely on the characteristics of the behavior and do not take into account the cause that provoke them.

In general, there are four types of common behaviors between ADHD and gifted children: motor hyperactivity, impulsivity, lack of attention and dispersion. However, if we focus on the high intellectual capacities, we observe that these traits are only the tip of the iceberg of an exceptional potential that we must identify. In gifted children, excess motor activity does not interfere with their learning. However, this behavior can disrupt the attention of your classmates. It is an intellectual hyperactivity that they need to channel investigating aspects that motivate them.


His great energy, fast and compulsive speech and his curiosity, provoke a high degree of impulsiveness. The apparent lack of attention of the gifted child is derived from boredom. They understand what is explained much earlier than their peers and all the repetitions cause them a distaste that makes them lose attention. Therefore, when the explanation is extended, they disconnect or change activity, which may cause discomfort in the normal rhythm of the classroom. They have a great imagination and ability to abstract. They have a very rich inner life that leads to dispersion. They need intellectual challenges.

Gifted or ADHD: confusions in the diagnosis

The confusion of both diagnoses is seriously damaging. The first cause that should concern us is that the treatment of ADHD is usually, in a very high percentage of cases, pharmacological, with very controversial side effects that lead the child to enter the stereotyped model that homogenizes the group. It prevents you from developing your potentials in addition to administering chemical substances that you do not need.


On the other hand, children with high intellectual abilities must be identified with precision, since they require a specific educational response for the full and balanced development, both of their abilities and of their personality. These are children with different abilities from others and, if they are not well channeled, can be harmful for them to the point of school failure, problems of self-esteem and social skills.

How to distinguish a gifted: children from 3 to 5 years

Experts say that up to six years is difficult to identify high capabilities. But from the two can be observed certain suspicious behavior of high capacity.

The first sign of alert, which can make us suspect that a child possesses high intellectual capacities, is that its great precocity draws attention.

- They start talking very quickly and fluently. Around the two years are expressed with complete sentences. They have a very rich and elaborate vocabulary for their age. They do not usually make grammatical mistakes.

- They start reading at a very young age (even before 4 years old). They show a need to constantly read posters, labels, stories and books on different topics.

- They show interest in knowing about the most curious thingss (astronomy, dinosaurs *) and about different areas, especially those related to science. They are small researchers.

- Extremely curious. The questions appear precociously, especially the reason of things. They do not settle for superficial answers.

- They begin to reason at an early age. They often reflect on philosophical and spiritual issues.

- They are very sensitive, everything affects them more than other children their age.

- They have a high creative capacity and they are very innovative.

- They are great observers with a deep capacity for synthesis and intuition.

Cristina Palacios Hernando. Pedagogue

More information in the bookPilar Martín Lobo, Smart Children: a guide to develop their talents and high abilities.

Video: Gifted Children - 10 Common Characteristics


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