Families

two children working the Enigma machine at Bletchley Park

High Learning Potential

Potential Plus UK uses the term ‘high learning potential’ to mean the same as the term ‘gifted’. There are other terms used to mean the same things, especially in education, such as ‘gifted and talented’, ‘exceptional’, ‘more able’ and ‘most able’.

The concept of what it means to be intelligent varies across different contexts and cultures, but the term ‘gifted’ or ‘high learning potential’ most often refers to an ability to understand information well, make quick analyses and use memory capacity to learn quickly. This ability is useful in academic pursuits as well as high level careers and creativity. Read more about high learning potential.

Young child leaning through railings to see something

Characteristics of Children with High Learning Potential

Do you have a child who is intense, curious, learns rapidly, has a vivid imagination, reasons well, shows great compassion and concern for others? These are some of the potential characteristics shown by children with high learning potential.

There are many different definitions of high learning potential and giftedness, most of which are based on cognitive ability. These definitions often ignore other, common characteristics of children with high ability, such as intensity, sensitivity, perfectionism, curiosity and quirkiness, that may indicate that they need specialist support. Discover some of the more common characteristics that your child may share with others with high learning potential.

young child being spun around by her mother

Become a Member

Potential Plus UK is a membership charity with over 50 years of unique experience, expertise and understanding of high learning potential. We offer support and practical strategies to parents and carers of children and young people aged 18 and under, with high learning potential.

We offer four types of family membership:
• Family Plus Membership
• Family Essentials Membership
• Associate Family Member by School
• Associate Family Member by Organisation

Join us as a member to benefit from our expertise and resources

Child leaning on the back of a chair looking unhappy

Common Difficulties for Children with High Learning Potential

The difference between the intellectual abilities of children with high learning potential and their age can lead to some commonly experienced difficulties, which include anxiety, intense emotions and hypersensitivities, perfectionism and problems with social interactions. Find out how to support your child.

Joyful young girl

Hypersensitivities in Children with High Learning Potential

One way of understanding some of the characteristics of individuals with high learning potential is to look at their ‘hypersensitivities’ or ‘overexcitabilities’. The term overexcitabilities comes from the Theory of Positive Disintegration, a personality development theory, developed by Kazimierz Dabrowski – Polish Psychologist and Psychiatrist.  Find out more about how to help children who have overexcitabilities/have hypersensitivities.

Child in headphones

Dual or Multiple Exceptionality

The term dual or multiple exceptionality (DME) is used in the UK to describe children who have both high learning potential and a special educational need through a learning difficulty or a disability. Find out what the term dual or multiple exceptionality means, the characteristics of children with dual or multiple exceptionality, common special educational needs which may be linked to DME, the common difficulties such children have and how to support the needs of children with dual or multiple exceptionality at both home and school.

Hand of an adult holding a pen writing in a booklet

Assessments for Children

Potential Plus UK is often contacted by parents wanting to understand their child’s learning profile in order to be able to support their educational, social and emotional needs. To empower parents to support their children, we offer several assessments that give recommendations based on the child’s unique profile. Visit this page to find out more about what assessments are available for children with high learning potential.

toddler on a phone

Advice Service

Our telephone advice service offers a half hour dedicated appointment to speak to a trained and experienced Potential Plus UK advisor. Our advisors are fully trained by Potential Plus UK to answer your questions relating to supporting and parenting a child with high learning potential.  This service is free of charge to members of Potential Plus UK and costs £36 for non-members. To book an advice call, please call the office on 01908 646433 or email amazing.children@potentialplusuk.org

Family Advice Sheets

Advice Sheets and Resources

Potential Plus UK has a wide selection of advice sheets covering many of the issues likely to face parents and carers of a child with high learning potential.

Members can access all of our advice sheets and download them free of charge by logging in. Non-members can download a selection of General Advice Sheets for free and other advice sheets are available to purchase and download at £3.60 each.

Become a Member

Families benefit from access to our advice line, our electronic resources and our Focus newsletter.

Schools benefit from access to our advice line, online resources and the High Learning Potential Best Practice Award.