by Hanna Vock


In order to notice some children’s need for special attention and support because of their high abilities, it is helpful to know what needs to be paid attention to. For later and more precise observation the observation form, attached under Joelle Huser (see Bibliography ) for photocopying, is rather helpful.

For now we will go by the following list of characteristics. In advisory literature on the topic of giftedness you will find a number of such lists. We have decided to include characteristics which we consider most useful as indicators for giftedness.

However, if you want to use this list, please keep in mind:

A List of characteristics may be very useful to increase our awareness of high abilities, but it does not replace formal intelligence diagnosis.

Please also see these articles:

How Useful Are Checklists?

Determining Giftedness

Giftedness and High Intelligence

Diagnostics for Advancement – What Is It?

There are examples for each listed characteristic. Some of these examples refer to very highly gifted children. This means, you won’t necessarily recognize the same degree of giftedness in “your” gifted children. The examples have been chosen to show the entire range of possibilities.

The order of characteristics is no order of precedence. Neither do all characteristics have to be found in one child.

  • Elaborate Speech, Large Vocabulary, Great Joy in Configuring Speech (Examples)
  • Consistent, Profound Interest in Subjects Normally Only of Interest to Grown-Ups


  • Great Interest in Systems and Logical Relations (Examples)
  • Early Interest in Numbers and Mathematics in General (Examples)
  • Aversion and Even Unwillingness to Perform Routine and Repetitive Assignments (Examples)
  • Early Desire for Self-Direction and Self-Determination (Examples)
  • Great Perseverance and Resilience in Endeavours Which Are of Interest and Which Push towards the Limits of Individual Potential (Examples)
  • Critical Thinking, Authorities Must Prove Themselves (Examples)
  • Skilled Observation, Pronounced Sense of Justice (Examples)

Well, has reading this brought a certain child back to mind?

If going over these indicators and the respective examples reminds you again and again of certain children, you should dwell further and validate your perceptions by targeted evocative observation. See Modes of Observation


Date of publication in German: October 30th, 2008
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see Imprint.
Translation: Arno Zucknick

VG Wort Zählmarke