Giftedness is traditionally defined as having an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) higher than 130. This translates to an intellectual capacity beyond that expected for the chronological age of the child. It also indicates a potential to achieve highly in both childhood and adulthood.
But there is more to giftedness than increased cognitive ability. There is a general heightening of senses, bringing an acute awareness of touch, hearing, sight, smell and taste (refer Dabrowski’s sensitivities), making these children particularly sensitive to all forms of stimuli. There is also a complex processing of information. The path from one point to another is never the straightest. All possibilities and ramifications must be considered before action can be taken. And the perfect response is sought – nothing less.
Martha Morelock, in 1992, defined giftedness in terms of a person’s inner world. The gifted person has an “atypical development throughout the lifespan in terms of awareness, perceptions, emotional responses and life experiences”. That is, the gifted person experiences life events differently to others. They have a different interpretation of life. They are always different in their perceptions and realities. Consequently, they are likely to do things differently as well. And this applies to adults as well as children.
Article by Raie Lyth, November 2003