It seems there is more than one definition of gifted and talented children.
It may vary by state, county, school district, even by individual school. There is no law or regulation mandating states or schools to use the same definition. The federal government put forth a explanation in the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965. It has been revisited many times, but the last revision was in 1992 in the No Child left Behind Act. According to this document, the definition of gifted and talented children is:
Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.
The federal government has made an effort, with this definition of gifted and talented children, to be as broad and as comprehensive as possible. It is unlikely that every situation or every child in need of theses services would be described in one narrow description. So, the wording is meant to be all-inclusive.
Each state has the ability to create its own definition of gifted and talented children.
They are free to create their own programs, curriculum, and accompanying policies. Even on the local level, the definitions and structure related to a gifted and talented program of study can be unique to that particular municipality.
At any level, the constant challenge is identifying the students who will benefit from a gifted and talented program. The skills displayed in class work, grades, teacher evaluation, and testing are all factors that contribute to the identification of a gifted and talented student.
After identifying students who might fit the definition of gifted and talented children, an assessment of their needs must be done.
Programs and classes must be made available to challenge these students on an artistic or academic level. It can be quite a big task to develop an entire curriculum, and find appropriately qualified teachers who are willing to take on the challenge of gifted and talented students.
It can be confusing to determine which state, county or school might best serve any individual child because the definition of gifted and talented children in not universal. However, it is always worth the effort to work with the school and give a child the chance to excel.