the present study, while arising from a theoretical basis, is nonetheless, an exploratory study that attempts to identify the basic concepts of special education for is gifted and talented students of brazil. the definitions and notions understood by the subjects, all professionals in the field of education, are captured by probing them, about their opinions on which terms and expressions are commonly used, with which meanings, and in which specific settings. the sample is comprised of 80 educators studying or involved within the area, (group a), and 107 regular school teachers from a state school system in s？o paulo state (group b). very few differences of opinion are registered between the two groups, save a few exceptions, mainly in relation to a knowledge of, and familiarity with, the theoretical framework. both groups indicate conceptual confusion, in particular with the following official terms: super-giftedness and highly-skilled, with the largest rejection load (erroneous understanding) and also the highest media exploitation being allocated to the term, super-gifted. the concepts high ability, high performance and giftedness are defined according to the theoretical framework which differentiates natural ability from acquired ability; the word talent reflects the ambiguity encountered in the area, being referred to, at the same time, as natural ability and also as acquired ability.