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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2011, Article ID 420297, 14 pages
Review Article

Developmental and Cognitive Characteristics of “High-Level Potentialities” (Highly Gifted) Children

1University of Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, and Inserm UMR-S0669 University Paris-Sud-Paris Descartes, 12 Rue de l’École de Médecine, 75006 Paris, France
2Department of Obstetric and Gynecology, AP-HP Port Royal-Cochin Hospital, 123 Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75014 Paris, France
3Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, Inserm Unit 669, 149 Rue de Sèvres, 78743 Paris Cedex 15, France

Received 16 July 2011; Accepted 4 August 2011

Academic Editor: Alan Richard Spitzer

Copyright © 2011 Laurence Vaivre-Douret. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study covers the interesting field of the development in gifted children which is often neglected in pediatrics because psychomotor development data are still rare, since “gifted” children are generally noticed towards the end of their primary schooling by IQ measurement. Developmental studies have shown the evidence from several fields that children identified as “high-level potentialities” or “intellectually gifted” develop sensory, locomotor, neuropsychological, and language skills earlier than typically expected. The hypothesis is offered that the earlier development originates from biological processes affecting the physical development of the brain and in turn even intellectual abilities are developed earlier, potentially allowing for advanced development. Further it is discussed how these developmental advances interact with the social environment and in certain circumstances may entail increased risk for developing socioemotional difficulties and learning disabilities that often go unaddressed due to the masking by the advance intellectual abilities.