How Smart Is My Child?

Deborah Ruf, PhD
6 min readMay 16

Using the Ruf Estimates™ of Levels of Gifted

Many parents wonder how their children compare to other children. They worry about how to select the best school for their young children and wonder if they will not only learn up to their potential but be happy in their school environment. But, before parents can make good choices about where their children go to school, they need to learn how their children compare to the other children who will go to that school they’re considering. The single most important factor for achieving academic as well as social and emotional success, I have found, is whether or not the child fits the school.

So, you need to find out how smart he or she is compared to the other students likely to become classmates. You may have very good reasons to suspect your children are above average, maybe even gifted (for example, your five-year-old is adding pupils and eyelashes to drawings of people or your three-year-old can read an “Exit” sign), but you’re not sure if this is advanced, normal, or means anything in particular at all. Knowing how smart your child is can be critical, because it helps parents to provide more opportunities for their kids’ increased growth, enjoyment, and success in areas of interest.

There are certain childhood behaviors — milestones — that can tell us when children are ahead of or behind others their age. Most of the charts on childhood development show the typical range of behaviors for each age group. If your child is ahead of those tables, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is on the fast track or slated to become the next Einstein. Levels of Giftedness range from those who are simply bright to those who are intellectually astonishing.

Here’s an overview of the various levels of giftedness and milestones that are common — but not necessary — to each Level. Here, also, are the numbers at each Level of Giftedness that you are likely to find in an average elementary classroom of 28 children. It is the overall “feel” of where the child fits that tells you the Level.

Level One — bright to moderately gifted

  • These children show interest in many things before they are even two years old — like colors, saying the numbers in order, and playing simple puzzles.
Deborah Ruf, PhD

High Intelligence Specialist & Writer, Dr. Ruf writes about highly intelligent people from birth to very old age.

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