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What is the difference between very bright and gifted?

(30 Posts)
redspottydress Mon 31-Mar-14 13:57:09

Just that really. One of my twins appears to have a bizarre ability in maths which seems to come from nowhere. He is 4.

64x32x24 Mon 31-Mar-14 16:43:12

Depends on how you define gifted, and for that matter, on how you define 'very bright'.

Does it matter?

exexpat Mon 31-Mar-14 16:48:02

It's a spectrum - how could there be an exact cut-off point? Eg IQ 135 = bright, IQ 136 = gifted?

At four, I'd encourage his interest in maths if he enjoys it (DS was obsessed with numbers from around that age, and maths is still his favourite subject now, aged 15), and make sure he has the books and materials to do whatever he wants, but don't make a huge thing of it, and make sure he is also developing in other ways (language, imagination, creativity, physical play etc).

morethanpotatoprints Mon 31-Mar-14 16:53:31

There is a list of differences on the G&T website, if this still exists.
It makes for interesting reading. There are distinct differences.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 31-Mar-14 16:56:13

I think there's a difference but it's hard to explain. A child who is good at maths would understand a concept after it's explained to him/her in clear terms. A child who is gifted will figure it out himself/herself.

For example, DS1 is good at maths, he understands stuff like fractions and in year 2 is at the top of his class in most aspects of maths. He is bright, I think.

DS2 asked me, at the age of three, what is the largest negative number. We never explained to him what negative numbers were, or indeed that there were negative numbers. He started adding up negative numbers to other negative numbers, without any help or guidance, and add negative and positive numbers together. He could convert percentages into fractions without any explanations, and figured out what decimals were, on his own. He could add fractions from about 4. At 4, he told me that half of half is a quarter, and half of that is a eight. He is gifted, now in year 2 and is registered as G&T in maths.

Martorana Mon 31-Mar-14 16:59:38

It's like being a traveller and a tourist. You're a tourist, I'm a traveller. Your child is very bright, mine is gifted.

<caveat> except on Mumsnet, where they are all perfectly average and there are 15 just the same or even brighter in my dc's class.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 31-Mar-14 17:13:25

It is a weird one though.
One of my children has a gift, in fact everywhere we go people tell me this. Other parents tell me, professionals tell me she is gifted.
When I look at what gifted and talented actually are, my dd is talented not gifted as she excels at one thing not multiple.
Its confusing if you really get bothered about it.
I just support, help and encourage as much as I can.

redspottydress Mon 31-Mar-14 19:24:57

It doesn't matter! I was just having a look on here as the preschool said he is beyond anything they have experience with and they were concerned about year R. One of the threads was about a child being very bright but not gifted and I wondered what the difference was.

nooka Mon 31-Mar-14 19:43:26

To me a gifted child (or adult for that matter) excels at something specific, whereas saying someone is very bright is more of a generic description.

It's all slightly odd though. My ds has been in his school's G&T program, but it seems to be designed for slightly off the wall children as a way to keep them engaged. It's a district thing and dh and I have sometimes given lifts to the children from our school. They all seemed similarly quirky and interested thinkers, able to make intuitive jumps. ds is also dyslexic and very self directed (eg if he's not interested in something he really doesn't bother very much).

My dd is very bright and very hard working and always does better than her brother. She has been on the academic honour role ever since we moved to Canada, usually getting high As across the board. But she has never been in the G&T program.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 31-Mar-14 19:50:38


I think it means different things to different people, but your question is good and hopefully this will be a very interesting thread.

I'm sure on the website for G&T it said if it was two or more subjects it was gifted but one specific subject and none academic was talented.

I'll try and find it and link but not promising anything grin

EmmaGoldmanSachs Mon 31-Mar-14 21:05:35

This link is quite helpful. I think the short answer is that gifted is a slippery thing that is hard to pin down. I'm not even sure how helpful a concept it is - since in theory at least schools should be differentiating by ability to meet each child's needs in any given subject.

sittingatmydeskagain Mon 31-Mar-14 21:15:57

I think it is just the way your brain processes information.

It's funny with the maths thing though. I have one son who can mentally juggle numbers, has always worked at a very high maths level, and is competitive and enjoys tests. I think he is very bright.

My younger son couldn't care less about tests, is not so fussed about times tables, etc, but just "gets" maths. He can see patterns in things I can't spot. He could get 100% on a 11 plus non verbal reasoning test at 6 years. He taught himself to read, and to read music. I think he is gifted, but he would never apply himself in the same way as his brother, so isn't as visible.

Just encourage and enjoy. And don't worry about school, they will spot it too.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 31-Mar-14 23:06:30

depends who you ask.

School gifted and talented lists have muddied the water somewhat further I think.

to ME what I would call gifted is what would have been called that say 20 years ago. generally someone who is exceptionally bright, sees the world 'differently'. I think often gifted people have a lot of traits which can be seen by some as being indicators of ASD but in many cases aren't enough to actually put them on the spectrum. I think gifted people are often a bit eccentric with it.

I would say looking at my family that whilst my sister and I are probably very similar IQ wise she is gifted and I am very bright.

out of my daughters I would say again both are very similar IQ wise but one is probably gifted more than the other.

my personal way of seeing it is the slightly erm unusual traits are part of the giftedness to me. verging on genius.

upyourninja Mon 31-Mar-14 23:20:42

For a slightly different perspective, my director of studies at Oxbridge called me 'gifted' - but she meant it as a vague insult, to mean I wasn't working hard enough but was managing to keep up. Having been 'very bright' at school I suspect it's linked with perceived effort and work compared to simply being able to do the subject.

However, as a parent I'd say 'very bright' would mean talented, applies him/herself, but will always have to work at things. I'd perceive 'gifted' to mean that the knowledge and understanding seemingly comes from innate cognition or deduction.

RosemaryandThyme Mon 31-Mar-14 23:44:59

In schools GnT is being replaced by HLP, Higher Learning Potential, the idea that some people have the potential for learning way beyond chronological age.
At 4 an HLP child would be exhibiting traits rather than acumen.
For example unusually adapt memory function would be a trait - can your child recall the christmas presents they got age 3 ? On a second visit somewhere they haven't been for months do they show recall of a large amount of detail?
Likewise HLp traits for enviromental awareness. for example is child absorbing unusual amounts of new knowledge from the world around them without direct teaching ? At 4 signs would include repeating words in foreign language that they overhear another person saying, applying number knowledge to comparison of weights etc

gardenfeature Tue 01-Apr-14 06:15:06

If you do a Google on "gifted high achiever differences" you get loads of articles which are mainly from the USA.

gardenfeature Tue 01-Apr-14 06:18:31

Here are a couple:

insanityscatching Tue 01-Apr-14 06:36:27

My daughter is very bright and by that I'd say she learns easily and was consistently at the top of the class. My son is gifted, he just knew or found out for himself he didn't need teaching. He's doing a Masters at the minute (not maths where his abilities lie), he's done no work so far and yet in assignments and exams he's still top two. He had to do a presentation last month he winged it and still was considered the best. His fellow students are both envious and amazed and his lecturers find him "interesting"

HolidayCriminal Tue 01-Apr-14 16:39:39

There is a list of differences on the G&T website, if this still exists.
It makes for interesting reading. There are distinct differences.

which website? Linky? Same as GardenFeature's links?

my problems with GF's links is... I am formally identified as gifted (and was as a child). I belong in the Profoundly Gifted camp, apparently, if IQ scores are to be believed.

And I wouldn't say I was that different from the all-rounders (which is the trend of what GF's links describe as the difference). I definitely don't deserve to be described as "intense". Or half the other words that are supposed to distinguish my ilk.

So I think it's Bullshit. So far. Until I read something better. Not that I think I care about knowing the supposed difference. I'm too thick to figure out why most people care so much about these distinctions, I suppose.

richmal Wed 02-Apr-14 09:21:02

If you take the benchmark of learning at their correct chronological age being at the rate a child learns in state school, then quite a few children have the ability to exceed this either through one to one learning at home or by going to a private school with smaller class sizes and more intense teaching. Most children have higher learning potential than that acquired through state education.

EmmaGoldmanSachs Wed 02-Apr-14 11:43:19

I think something that further muddies the water - but a useful addition -is the difference I've seen described by a poster on here differentiating between 'normal giftedness' and 'spectrummy giftedness'.

DH, DD and I have all been described as 'gifted' in the school system, and show in the top 0.5% of VR/NVR tests. We're all very different in personality, though - DD & I are both in the 'pick things up very easily when taught' camp, DH I think more in the 'getting it for himself'.

I was a very easy child in school, sailed through doing minimal work & getting top marks and having a nice time doing extra curricular stuff. DD is very different, she's been described as 'lots of Aspergers traits' but I think isn't genuinely on the spectrum, its more stuff linked to the being out of chronological age in terms of intellectual understanding. DH also struggles much more than I do with the rest of the world not quite keeping up.

I do prefer the HLP description though, and I think RosemaryandThyme's summary is a good one. I can identify lots of HLP people looking back through my family, but due to circumstances (very working class deprived background) they weren't academically outstanding in the school system. I suspect many successful (as opposed to small time) criminals are HLP without the support to take things in a positive way.

richmal Wed 02-Apr-14 14:10:53

From what I can make out "bright", "gifted" and "HLP" are terms used to determine how genetically intelligent a child is. As it does not consider factors such as education and is subjective, it is impossible to quantify when brightness changes into giftedness.

gardenfeature Wed 02-Apr-14 16:17:46

Very interesting point about criminals Emma. I have thought this myself. I reckon that without a moral compass, my DS could easily swindle people out of their life savings.

insanityscatching Wed 02-Apr-14 17:58:55

Oh yes definitely agree about criminals. In secondary ds used his skills, through boredom, to disrupt the running of the school. Hacking into the computer system was only part of it. He got away with many of his scams only really getting caught when he decided to push his luck to the limit and act with blatant disregard for the consequences.
Thankfully when he left compulsory school he had a change of attitude.
In his role in Local Government he supports schools and many's the time he is asked "You aren't the "insanity's son"?" as he had a really bad reputation that hasn't been forgotten many years later.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 02-Apr-14 22:29:45


I can't find it now, and it was there for so long. Its been replaced with the HLP definition now. Sorry, I'll keep looking.

To me it is other worldliness, completely standing out from other high level peers. I don't always mean better or cleverer it could be a difference.
I also don't think it can be just intelligence.
So many people suggest that dd must be good at maths because if you are good at music you will be. This makes her grin and she's a bit confused by this. Maths is no more than average at best.

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