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How to tell if your child is gifted

As her fingers danced across the keyboard, it was clear that piano wasn’t just her ‘thing’, it was her gift. She had only played the piano a few times, but her mother recognised her innate ability to hear harmonies and effortlessly replicate complicated tunes… it was truly magical. 

As a parent, everyone believes their child is special. They might excel in maths, or music or something very niche. We’d like to believe that they are the next prodigy in their so-called field. But how do you recognise the signs of true giftedness versus parental bias? 

Firstly, what does it mean to be gifted?

A gifted child can show their gift in many different ways, including intellectual ability. However gifted children can also excel in areas such as arts, music and leadership skills. 

Giftedness can be particular to one type of skillset or intellect, or it can be a more general gift that covers many skills and their overall intellectual being.

While it can be an exciting time discovering that your child is gifted, it can also be a little daunting, especially as children navigate what might be unfamiliar territory. It’s important for parents to remember to keep providing a safe environment where their child can be challenged in a fun, stimulating and non-competitive way. 

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Sometimes it may be pretty obvious that a child is gifted. It could be as simple as them being able to look at a homework question and know the answer off the top of their head, or pick up a paint brush and create a masterpiece without having to think about it. 

But sometimes, giftedness is not that easy to recognise. Luckily, there are a number of professional indicators that you can look out for, to help you determine whether or not your child is gifted, such as:

  • They are curious and ask questions: A gifted child is sometimes seen as a child who is very curious and wants to know as much as possible. They will ask lots of questions, experiment with different things and look at how things work. These questions help them to understand and build their knowledge.
  • They prefer adult conversations: A gifted child usually has a higher vocabulary for their age and prefers to take part in adult conversations. They use their increased vocabulary to be able to speak with adults and communicate on their level.
  • They are cognitively advanced: Children who are gifted, tend to teach themselves new skills, before they are required for their age. This can include reading and writing and solving maths problems. They are able to take the tasks in front of them and put their minds to work quickly to determine the solution. Their intellectual level is higher than those in their age group and they are able to use the intellect to further themselves and their skills. 
    They may be underachieving: It might sound a bit ironic, but gifted children can often become bored in class as they find the work too easy and look for additional stimulation or distraction. Underachieving, or being labelled a ‘trouble-maker’ could be a sign that camouflages their giftedness.
  • They develop asynchronous skills (think ‘out of synch): The more highly gifted a child is, the more asynchronous they might be. For example, some gifted children may be excellent in maths but poor in reading or vice versa. And to make matters more complex, the individual traits of one gifted child may be extremely different from another. 


If you believe that your child is gifted, there are a number of ways that you can help them to succeed and grow even further. 

Firstly, keep doing what you are doing! Keep encouraging your gifted child as much as possible. Provide them with resources that can further their growth, such as books, instruments and art supplies, and nurture the gift that they have. 

Secondly, you should seek out testing to determine their IQ and whether they may be gifted. The testing includes having them complete a number of different tasks that help create the assessment. 

programs for gifted children

PLC Sydney Futures Extension Centre has a qualified team dedicated to identifying, testing and supporting children and families with gifted and talented children. The Centre offers a number of courses for gifted primary school aged students from any school. The courses are engaging, hands-on and integrate a wide variety of teaching and learning techniques. The teachers write detailed programmes incorporating specific learning outcomes.

Classes for gifted children are conducted on Saturday afternoons during the school term, from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Classes are available for Kindergarten/Year 1, Years 2 - 6. 

If you have seen your child completing activities in a different way to others around them, or you believe that they are gifted, an assessment is a great place to start. Get in touch with the PLC Sydney Futures Extension Centre to arrange a consultation. 

Semester 2 Enrichments Program for Gifted Children 

  • Term 3 Programs commence on Saturday 17 July and finish on Saturday 11 September 2021(9 weeks)
  • Term 4 Programs commence on Saturday 9 October and finish on Saturday 27 November 2021 ( 8 weeks)  *Entry requires a psychometric assessment identifying child as gifted. 
  • All courses start at 1.00 pm and finish at 4.00 pm. Each course runs for one hour and twenty minutes with a twenty minutes break in between.
  • Enrolments close on Sunday 11 July 2021.

You never know, your child may be the next great piano maestro, or world maths champion, needing just the right support to allow them to blossom and become who they are meant to be.