Association for Bright Children of Ontario Definition for Intellectual Giftedness Exceptionality

Intellectual Giftedness is a quantitatively assessed, advanced intellectual ability characterized by asynchronous development and heightened intensity; these increase with higher intellectual capacity. Giftedness is often accompanied by any, or a combination, of the following:  

  • persistent intellectual curiosity
  • rapid acquisition and mastery of concepts
  • advanced reasoning and problem solving skills 
  • exceptional creativity and divergent thinking, or 
  • potential for advanced achievement in a specific domain or general academic aptitude

and requires continuous interventions beyond those available in a regular school program including:

  • modified curriculum that matches the zone of proximal development 
  • increased complexity  
  • accelerated pace of instruction 
  • ongoing interaction with like-ability peers 
  • specialized supports 
  • continual opportunity to accept challenges, take risks and learn to overcome obstacles and failures.

Giftedness can occur across all demographics and co-exist with or mask other exceptionalities such as learning disabilities, and communication, attention, behaviour or mental health disorders, as well as physical impairments.

If educational interventions are inadequate, the unique traits of gifted pupils render them particularly vulnerable to developing a range of negative outcomes such as behaviour issues, educational disengagement, underachievement, low self-esteem, social isolation, anxiety, unhealthy perfectionism, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and depression. Therefore, consistent provision of optimal interventions is critical for supporting the well-being of gifted pupils and achievement of their full potential.