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What is Gifted?

Welcome to the California Gifted Network! We are happy that you found us. This website will be continually evolving as we attempt to meet the needs of the gifted community in California. Read on and don't forget to let us know what else needs to be here.

There are numerous definitions of how people define what it means to be gifted. A common measure that many people are familiar with is IQ, which is assessed by an ability test that is administered by a psychologist. Gifted is a term that is often used to describe people who have intellectual abilities that are significantly higher than the average person. The average individual has a measured IQ of approximately 100. According to a common definition of gifted, gifted individuals have an IQ that is at least two standard deviations above the mean of 100; approximately 130 or higher. Just as individuals with below average intelligence require accomodations in order to achieve their full potential, gifted individuals also have needs that differ from those of non-gifted individuals.

There are many gifted individuals who do not score as gifted on standardized measures of intelligence. These individuals may be gifted artistically or musically, exhibit extraordinary leadership skills, are highly perceptive, possess keen emotional intelligence, or perhaps, have a concurrent learning disability that masks their giftedness.

People often confuse giftedness with being a high achiever. Although many gifted individuals are highly motivated and do well in school, just as many struggle with conventional measures of success at school. High achieving students are bright and highly motivated to obtain good grades and approval in school, but they are not necessarily gifted.

Gifted individuals often have unique characteristics that differentiate them from their peers. Their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social needs require assistance and support from professionals and organizations that understand the unique challenges giftedness brings.

We use the term "gifted-friendly" to refer to professionals, schools, and services that have expertise in their specialty, as well as an interest, training and/or an affinity for working with the gifted.

CGN provides a directory of resources that might be of help to high ability individuals and their families and teachers. Our goal is to create a place where gifted individuals can locate excellent local resources.

Gifted children pass through the same developmental stages as children who are not gifted, but often much earlier. Parents are often reluctant to talk about their child's advanced development due to fear of being disbelieved or seen as boasting. Parents can feel isolated, and need to have the support of other parents trying to nurture children who don't follow the "norms."

Gifted children have an accelerated and more complex intellectual development. This development makes it more difficult for the child to relate to age level peers, and adults often may not take their ideas seriously. Some adults might become competitive or threatened by the precociousness of the child.

Gifted children have unique social and emotional needs. Because these children tend to comprehend complex ethical and moral issues without having the wisdom that comes with age and experience, gifted children often experience anxiety and depression in response to issues and situations of which their chronological peers are not even aware.

Gifted children frequently have asynchronous development. This means that their intellectual, physical and emotional development matures at unequal levels. For example, early readers may not be emotionally ready for the material that is at their reading level.

Perfectionism is a trait shared by many gifted children and adults. The vision of what is possible versus the reality of what a child can actually accomplish is often a recipe for disaster. It can also interfere with peer and teacher relations, as things not being "right" is literally painful to many gifted individuals. Dealing with perfectionism is an ongoing challenge in many families. Perfectionism isn't outgrown, but rather a personality trait that requires tools and skills to keep in check.

Learn about California Gifted Network and our team.