Gifted adults typically possess a number of characteristics that set them apart from others in our society. Giftedness is often identified early in a child’s life. It is defined by having an IQ in the top 2-3% of the population, as measured by a psychologist.
Giftedness does not disappear after the ag of 18 and gifted adults continue to differ from the norm throughout their lives.
Gifted adults frequently realize they are “different”, but don’t understand that the ways they are different are typical for the gifted.
Gifted adults are often seen by the rest of the population as:
- quirky, eccentric, and non-conforming,
- driven and intense,
- perfectionists with high standards,
- too sensitive,
- threatening and intimidating, and
- prone to question authority.
Gifted adults often identify themselves as:
- unable to switch off their thinking,
- introverted and needing periods of contemplation, and
- their own worst critics.
I counsel gifted adults in my practice to help them recognize positive attributes of being gifted, that include being:
- independent and self-disciplined,
- tolerant of ambiguity and complexity,
- imaginative and original,
- highly curious and ingenius,
- perceptive and insightful,
- aware of things others are not, and
- flexible and adaptable.
Gifted adults also typically possess:
- extensive vocabularies,
- remarkable abilities with numbers,
- the ability to learn new things rapidly,
- a long attention span,
- a wide range of interests, and
- a high degree of energy.
I recommend three books on the subject of giftedness in adults to people who are interested in learning more.
In addition, I have written six additional postings about gifted adults that you may want to read. They include:
- Are gifted adults prone to workplace burnout?
- Can you tell me about problems gifted adults encounter in the workplace?
- How far are gifted people from the norm on the intelligence spectrum?
- If I’m actually gifted, why do I discount my giftedness?
- What can you tell me about gifted women?
- Do all gifted children become gifted adults?
You may also want to explore how your giftedness may have affected you as a child. Four postings I have written include:
- Do gifted children develop at different rates intellectually, emotionally, and socially?
- Why do many gifted children struggle in the classroom?
- Are all gifted children recognized in the school classroom or are a significant number overlooked?
- Are gifted children sometimes incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD?
Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta
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