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Ways to tell if your child is gifted vs bright and accelerating their development by identifying skill gaps

Who will benefit from reading this? Proactive parents wishing to accelerate their child’s intellectual development by helping their child fill in their skill gaps

Is there a freebie? Yes, a great table to put on your refrigerator and/or discuss with your child.

Link to Printable Table:  HowDoIKnowIfTheyreReallyGifted

 Whatever level of intelligence you think your child has at any one point in their development, we can all learn something from the table I have attached to this blog.  While this table is entitled “How Do I Know If They’re Really Gifted?” it is actually highly relevant for any parent wanting to intellectually stimulate their child.  Specifically, what I really like about this table is it makes a critical but rarely voiced distinction that I have found to be highly valid after over a decade of working with children and adolescents as a counselor and child expert.  This distinction is between the child who is BRIGHT (High Achiever), a child who is GIFTED, and the possible problems associated with giftedness. 

What this table does is put into perspective that whether your child is Bright or Gifted,  problems come along with each kind of child.

For example, the parents of children who are bright and high achieving in school (but not gifted) may have children who regularly get good grades because they may tend to be diligent workers and eager to please.  These kids can be much easier to parent, and they can be the ones who sit at the side of the pool in the summertime and brag about how great their kid does in school.

But Bright children (as distinguished from gifted children) may not think outside of the box enough and in fact assume that if they perform well in school they will perform well in life.  While there is a grain of truth in this, it is important to teach a child from a very young age that beyond the grades they get in school it is much more important that they learn core skills in areas including abstract reasoning, how to think on a deeper level, and how to think outside of the box.  These are examples of skills that truly matter when a student leaves academia and enters the workforce, especially if they want to go to graduate school and or seek a higher-paying position.

Gifted children often do not do as well in traditional academic settings not because they cannot understand or master the material but because they are more easily bored by the traditional educational methods including lecture style or other less engaging teaching styles.  What this table also points out is many times, it is not uncommon for gifted kids to be labeled ADHD, hyper, oppositional, odd, socially awkward, anxious, intense, spacey, introverted, or even socially isolative.  Because they may have such a rich inner life of ideas and creativity they can more easily entertain themselves and could be the kid at the pool who was fine playing around on their own.  Other parents may look at them in the gossip generated could include that they are the ODD KID.

Certainly parents can debate how exactly you know whether your kid is Bright or gifted, and certainly these are categories that should be rigorously debated and questioned.  But aside from ongoing intellectual debates about these categories, what is critical for you to do as a parent  is to understand your child’s intellectual profile right now in terms of their learning style in order to ensure you are helping them fill in their skill gaps, which will close the distance between their current performance and their True Potential.

Caveat: The table I am attaching to this blog is a table that I have reviewed and recognize several good points are made, but at the same time please understand I do not necessarily endorse every single point on this table.  But because this table discusses a distinction which is rarely discussed, I believe it has significant value as a starting point to conversations among parents and children.  If you wish to email us your input on this table, please do so.

In additional to posting this table on your refrigerator and/or discussing it with your child, feel free to read my other blogs below on the topic of giftedness and/or how you accelerate your child’s talent:





Dr Tom Brunner is a widely recognized child/adolescent Mentor, counselor, and assessment expert who has worked with hundreds of children who are bright and gifted.  He regularly conducts gifted assessments of children ages 6-18, and his reports are regularly utilized by public and private school systems throughout southern Arizona and beyond.  He is regularly consulted regarding issues including how to help a child more deeply engage their learning environment and/or how to improve their academic or athletic performance.

Meet Doctor Brunner

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Brunner is a Tucson based psychologist and published expert who has a 20 year track record of clinical excellence, scientific research, teaching, publications, awards and podcast interviews.  He is the senior author of a psychological measure adapted into 14 languages worldwide, and has written over 250 blogs, many of them have gone viral.  He is revolutionizing the field of career guidance with his fresh and trademarked approach that is spreading like wildfire. Sign up here to be notified of soon to be published book, Find Your Real Me: Career Guidance Making You Truly Free.