Gifted or Bright: Can You Spot the Difference?

Consider the following story as it relates to this topic.

About a month ago, we got a call from Stephanie’s school and were extremely happy when we were told she might be a candidate for enrolling in an alternate program for gifted children. It was a lot of information to take in, but they basically said she has the qualities of a “gifted” child but that they would have to assess her, or we could take her to a private psychologist for testing, to make sure. Well, in talking to my neighbor about this, she planted a bit of doubt in my mind. She said, “What if Steph is actually really bright but not necessarily gifted?” I mean, could we be making a mistake by placing her somewhere she doesn’t belong? Ed keeps telling me not to panic, but I really don’t want our daughter to struggle because of our choices.

Gifted or Bright | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa

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Our kids are the best at everything to us. Ever. They’re the prettiest, the most charming and definitely the smartest. It’s perfectly normal to think this as a loving parent. How would you react if you were told that your child is gifted? Would you react differently if you were told he/she is very bright but that their IQ score falls below the cut off for being considered gifted? At Rice Psychology Group, we want to help you identify the differences and completely understand what it means for your child, which is why we’ve prepared the following information.

Not Better, Not Worse

If presented with the choice of being “gifted” or “bright”, most people would go for the first option based on the perceived meaning of the word alone. Some parents may even be offended at the thought of their kids being bright and only that. However, it’s important to understand that being “just” bright is nothing to be upset about.

Giftedness can come with an array of struggles that have to be dealt with professionally. While they may have to work harder than their counterparts, bright children are often highly successful in the typical school situation. If all other personality factors are considered equal, bright children tend to please their teachers, work well with their peers and make a few waves around the classroom. With that said, many of their characteristics can be shared with gifted children.

The Difference

According to gifted education specialist Christopher Taibbi, M.A.T., the differences between a bright child and a gifted one are as follows:

  • While a bright child comprehends well and gets the answer, the gifted child comprehends at a complex level and already knows the answer.
  • Bright children strive for more and work hard to get to their high grades. However, while a bright child needs anywhere from six to eight chances to master something in the classroom, a gifted learner may need as little as one to two. This leads many gifted learners to be far less motivated by grades.
  • Bright children tend to love school, while gifted children enjoy a more independent approach to learning.
  • A bright child’s imagination is clever and sharp, while the gifted child’s imagination often tends to be much more original and highly inventive.
  • Whereas bright children feel socially comfortable with other children at school, gifted children tend to feel out of place and instead seek the company of a more mature companion.

Let’s Find Your Answer

Your child’s health matters at Rice Psychology Group, and we’re here to ensure it’s always at the forefront. If your child has exhibited gifted traits, know that our team of psychologists is ready to assess them in a comfortable, professional and accurate manner. We’ll test his/her functioning across areas such as intelligence, academic abilities, cognitive processing and memory. Your child is our priority, so visit us in Tampa for more information today.

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