For a long time the meaning of giftedness has been restricted to the rigid confines of achievement and accomplishment. Academic toppers are, and should be entitled to their share of glory, but in the process of lauding top scorers and scholarship winners we may be crowding out those who actually have advanced and complex patterns of development but just don’t fit the system’s definition of ‘top students’.

Characteristics of gifted individuals: If 75 per cent of the following 37 characteristics fit you, you are probably a gifted adult.
Are you a good problem solver?
Can you concentrate for long periods of time?
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you persevere with your interests?
Are you an avid reader?
Do you have a vivid imagination?
Do you enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles?
Often connect seemingly unrelated ideas?
Do you enjoy paradoxes?
Do you set high standards for yourself?
Do you have a good long-term memory?
Are you deeply compassionate?
Do you have persistent curiosity?
Do you have a good sense of humor?


Are you a keen observer?
Do you love mathematics?
Do you need periods of contemplation?
Do you search for meaning in your life?
Are you aware of things that others are not?
Are you fascinated by words?
Are you highly sensitive?
Do you have strong moral convictions?
Do you often feel out-of-sync with others?
Are you perceptive or insightful?
Do you often question rules or authority?
Do you have organized collections?
Do you thrive on challenge?
Do you have extraordinary abilities and deficits?
Do you learn new things rapidly?
Feel overwhelmed by many interests/abilities?
Do you have a great deal of energy?
Often take a stand against injustice?
Do you feel driven by your creativity?
Love ideas and ardent discussion?
Did you have developmentally advanced childhood?
Have unusual ideas or perceptions?
Are you a complex person?
*Adapted from the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development.

One way to identify gifted individuals is their style of thinking. They usually employ divergent thinking. Their style is original and they tend to come up with crazy ideas, which other people find strange. But sometimes it is these crazy ideas that go on to become the most recognized ones of our time.

Gifted individuals face many challenges, with one of biggest being the inability to be correctly identified by the individuals who should be helping them realize their true potential.

As with any other student, it would be a shame if parents, teachers and peers did not recognize the strengths of gifted students and allow them to reach their true potential. But what must educators and parents do in order to make sure this does not happen?

However until more help is readily available, what are the gifted to do?

Sadly, not enough is known about giftedness. More time and energy need to be spent identifying traits among the gifted, especially since it is these students who go on to contribute much to improving the state of our world.

Acknowledge the possibilities, identify your capabilities and allow yourself to be different. You never know, you may be the next Einstein.

Now its your turn to talk. Have your say: