Main characteristics of children with high capacities

Main characteristics of children with high capacities

What we understand by high Intellectual Quotient

Historically, children with an IQ or about 140 are defined as children with general / high intelligence.

Many of them are confident and nonconformist, but they know the rules and duties of the group. They usually present a critical attitude towards their peers. This trait is due to his daring at work and in relationships and sometimes they are impatient and overestimate.

The success of his performances is supported by his degree of intelligence, great self-confidence in this regard, serenity and the high degree of risk They are willing to endure on an intellectual level.

Their education is understood as a recreational activity. In addition, it should be noted that these types of children have a mind that is able to stay awake and attentive longer than any child with a normal intellectual capacity. They remain active for longer and their sleeping hours are lower than those of their peers.


  • 1 When can a child's intellectual capacity be detected?
  • 2 Differences between boys and girls with High Capabilities
  • 3 Stages of giftedness
  • 4 How to help a child with High Capabilities?

When can a child's intellectual capacity be detected?

Specialists recommend paying attention to children's abilities when they have between 3 and 8 years.

In general, gifted children present different interests to children their age. Other factors that distinguish gifted children are their flexibility of thinking, high self-regulation, learning ability and personal maturity.

Among other indications when recognizing a gifted child, the following may be taken into account:

  1. Great curiosity and creativity.
  2. Fast learning and excellent memory.
  3. He says his first word before 8 or 9 months.
  4. He says his first sentence with 1 year.
  5. Holds a conversation between 18 and 24 months.
  6. Vocabulary improper for his age.
  7. Learn the alphabet and count to 10 at 2 and a half years.
  8. Mentally solve addition and subtraction problems up to 10 with 3 years.
  9. The stage of why begins before the age of 3, asking exploratory questions at an early age.
  10. Very varied interests and logical search for the reason of things.
  11. Comprehension and early reading.
  12. He has a high sensitivity towards the world around him.
  13. Concern about morality and justice issues.
  14. Energetic and confident in its possibilities.
  15. Very observant and open to unusual situations.
  16. Very critical of himself and others.
  17. Great attention span and concentration.
  18. He likes to interact with older children.
  19. Rejection of authority and great independence.
  20. Leadership capacity and great energy, with low fatigue.
  21. He sleeps a little less than most children his age (as an adult he may suffer from insomnia).
  22. It gets bored in class because its capabilities exceed conventional study programs.
  23. They are apparently very distracted.
  24. His thinking is productive rather than reproductive. They are based on the construction of things.
  25. They get to feel misunderstood, weird.
  26. High academic self-esteem, but not personal.
  27. They are independent and introverted.

On many occasions a gifted child has a family history of someone similar in the family (although it was not detected as gifted at the time), which indicates that he has an important genetic and hereditary factor.

Early detection is essential to offer the child the most convenient educational environment and the attention it deserves. If they are identified in time, the gifted little ones will be able to enhance their skills and develop them fully once they reach adulthood. Otherwise, your intellectual development will be slowed down and may end up in school failure. In this sense, the Spanish Association of Gifted Children emphasizes the need to "design, program and impart" permanent training activities to non-university teachers, as well as the importance of "promoting educational, school, scientific and social activities with parents".

Differences between boys and girls with High Capabilities

According to research conducted by the psychologist Mª Inmaculada Ramírez Salguero, professor at the University of Granada, girls tend to be better than boys in verbal skills which involve more advanced preparation to go to school. In addition, boys often have greater reading problems and learning disabilities than girls. It is true that these communicative advantages disappear over the years, and there comes a time when they match those of the boys.

Conversely, the boys have greater ease in areas such as science and math, while these only exceeds them in writing.

There are also more boys than girls in the percentage of students who accelerate their academic preparation to enter universities early.

This reason may be due to the fact that acceleration in science and math careers is more feasible than in social sciences, and that the majority of gifted children are inclined to the first two.

Some researchers believe that the differences between the cognitive values ​​that exist between boys and girls are due to their different experiences of socialization. The most likely explanation is that the social pressures of parents, friends, teachers ... cause the child to adopt behaviors that he considers appropriate to his sexual role.

In girls, the female role can cause personality conflicts between what they are and want to be, as opposed to what they are supposed to be.

One solution, proposed by Professor Ramírez, is to give the gifted girl the opportunity to meet women who have gone through the same circumstances, and who have taken advantage of it, but never making them seem special, since many of them suffer from insecurity before the doubt of making mistakes and looking unintelligent, or never making mistakes and looking too smart.

Personality tests reveal differentiating features such as:

  • The masculine gender is usually more introverted, analytical, rational and has a theoretical and pragmatic spirit, while girls are more imaginative, intuitive and attach much importance to interpersonal relationships.
  • The boys value in the studies the atmosphere of competitiveness and individualism, quite the opposite of girls who do not appreciate such circumstances and prefer interpersonal relationships to individuality.
  • Gifted girls are matched in terms of level of reflection and intellectual curiosity equal to boys but aspire to high social functions, are less interested in their instruction during adolescence and suffer intellectual regression in adulthood.

Stages of giftedness

The development of the intellectual abilities of the gifted can be divided into three crucial stages:


The gifted baby is not like other children his age. It shows great precocity in learning and in the interaction with the environment.

They are very sensitive and respond before a normal baby to both visual and auditory stimuli. However, if the optical stimuli are repetitive, they do not pay too much attention because they have an extraordinary photographic memory.

his communicative development is premature. They start speaking before a normal child and their vocabulary will be more extensive, but still the expressive language will be the same as that of other children their age. What is appreciated is a greater use of interrogative forms, the result of his great curiosity.

During this stage the child usually shows a wide capacity to perform a large amount of work to which he will devote much time and effort. He will also show greater competitiveness with all his peers in the field of talent with a great desire to be the best and ability to quickly learn new techniques related to his talent. Already in gifted babies this perseverance and high personal gratification can be appreciated when they manage to perform it correctly.

The family is very important for the baby to develop his intellectual capacity, because a good family response will facilitate a correct evolution. On the other hand, it is shown that the order of birth influences the gifted. The firstborn usually receives a direct stimulation from the mother, and the mother's reactions are also greater when compared to later children.


This period is not easy for a person's life, and it becomes even more complicated when we talk about the gifted because it is a stage of great transformations.

Cognitive abilities change and young people reflect on their own thoughts, have opinions on concepts related to social and moral values ​​increasingly concrete and entrenched.

Also in this period the role of parents is crucial, since the lack of interest of the parents for the work of their children can cause the performance of the gifted to decrease, as well as the lack of self-confidence. There is a very important percentage that if you do not receive the necessary support choose to drop out, despite its high IQ.

They must have freedom to make decisions and some independence, although without neglecting family support.

These types of young people, although they do not usually have problems with their classmates, prefer to share their extracurricular time with older people, with intellectual development similar to their own and their friends are usually scarcer than those of any teenager of their age.

Recent research has shown that there is a close relationship between intelligence, self-confidence, positive self-image and self-acceptance.


The gifted person who has achieved an appropriate level of training usually gets a good job, usually as a specialist, with remuneration in accordance with his level of responsibility and in which he will work comfortably.

It is common for them to work in isolation but to be valued by their peers for their high capacity to solve problems or perform high quality work.

If, during adolescence, he abandons his studies and does not achieve the appropriate level of training, he is likely to develop a type of work that does not require specialization, in which he will encounter great problems of acceptance of himself, and often he may also have difficulty accepting rules of their superiors.

The high intellectual quotient is no guarantee of success in life nor does it require that the gifted have to opt for a particular profession and be a physical, mathematical or aerospace engineer. There are professionals with an exceptional intellectual capacity in all labor fields. The gifted must develop his intelligence according to his personal and professional circumstances in order to achieve his well-being.

Infographic about the emotional overexcitability of gifted children. More information here.

How to help a child with High Capabilities?

For parents or guardians our basic advice would be to pay attention to their inclinations for reading, art or numbers and helping you develop these skills. We can take them to places where they learn new things, such as museums, libraries, etc. It will also be a good action to stimulate him so that he does not get bored, answering all his questions and concerns as best as possible and enrolling him in some extracurricular activity in which he can develop some of his potentials.

As for the school, it would be convenient to talk with your teacher, and if there is access and possibility in the teaching center, do a small follow-up by a school psychologist to avoid being isolated from others and that you can have an adequate learning pace .

On the other hand, there is the option of school acceleration, in which the student can skip a course and enter a higher one (in total, you can accelerate up to three years in compulsory schooling and another in the compulsory post). But before making a decision like this, we should talk about it and value it well with the child, because if sometimes you already have socialization difficulties with those you already know, we do not know how it would affect you to change the environment of friendships and have to be with others older partners and whose affinities are already made a long time ago.

Another less drastic but also effective option would be the curriculum adaptation. This possibility, which is applied by teachers indisputably towards children with very low school performance and learning difficulties, is however less popular when applying to children who are on the opposite side, because teachers think that It is not necessary to stimulate them or pay them so much attention, they are already ready children. But as we have seen, a poorly tutored child can end up in school failure. In addition, this option allows you to keep your friends and their environment in a more normalized way.

As for the programs for gifted children, they have generated a lot of controversy. Some criticize them for being elitist and sending a message of mediocrity to those who have not been chosen as gifted. Although it is true that it is not good to segregate, it is convenient that these children receive special attention.

It is recommended that children go to a normal school, but spend more hours of study per week than others in rich learning programs. For this, the educator and the family must form a team to closely monitor the child's progress.

If they do not receive adequate treatment, Gifted children often develop social problems. In addition, if the education they receive does not fit their needs, they become inactive, distracted and have bad behavior..

Links of interest

Detection questionnaire for gifted children. (34 years)
Detection questionnaire for gifted children. (5 - 8 years old)
Detection questionnaire for gifted children. (9 - 14 years old)
Child tests

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