While you may suspect that your child is gifted, you might be thinking “Don’t all parents think their kids are gifted?” Not so. Linda Krieger Silverman, director of the Gifted Development Center in Colorado, has been assessing gifted children for more than 30 years. She has found that 84 percent of children whose parents identified them as gifted tested in the superior or gifted range in further testing. If you think your kid is gifted, you’re probably right.
Reality Check: If your child’s school recognizes his giftedness and provides appropriate educational opportunities, you may not need to pursue formal testing. However, testing results can help your child qualify for gifted programming and receive educational opportunities that better meet her learning needs.
These steps may help in the identification process:
Rate my child using a list of common characteristics of gifted children.
Some children begin displaying giftedness in infancy. They may be alert babies who sleep far less than other babies. They may be fussy and very sensitive to light, sound, or touch. And they may hit developmental milestones ahead of schedule. Other characteristics include:
Advanced vocabulary at an early age
Understanding of complex or abstract ideas
Displaying math or language skills that have not been taught
Advanced sense of humor
Incredible curiosity about everything
Intense interest in a subject (learning about it, talking about it, exploring it)
Ability to concentrate on several activities at once
Learning new material in much less time than other kids
Absorbing information in large chunks rather than small bits
Long attention span
Vivid imagination and creativity
Seek an evaluation with a child development specialist.
It is important to have your gifted child assessed by a professional who has experience working with gifted children. The Hoagies Gifted Education Page has a section that provides information about child psychology professionals by state and country. Those listed were recommended by parents; they could not recommend themselves to be added to the list.
Tip: Interview child psychologists to find one who is the best fit for your child. Some things to find out include:
What tests she will give your child—be sure to let the psychologist know if there are certain tests your school will or will not accept
What experience he has with various levels of giftedness
Whether she has worked with twice exceptional children (if you suspect your child has a learning disability)
What costs to expect and accepted payment options
What will be included in the final report and whether a report summary will be provided to your child’s school
Ensure that my child's evaluation has a multifaceted approach.
IQ and achievement tests alone are not enough to identify a gifted child. The testing psychologist should interview you about your child’s development, health, and social interactions. You and your child’s teachers may complete checklists about your child. If your child is gifted in music, art, engineering, or electronics, be sure that the evaluator receives a portfolio or photographs of your child’s works or videotapes of performances. The evaluator may also spend time observing your child in school or at home to get a complete picture.
Warning: Julia Osborn, in the article “Assessing Gifted Children” notes that it takes 1 ½ to 2 times longer to administer tests to gifted children than to average children. Don’t be alarmed if testing takes longer than you expect.
Spend some time on the National Association for Gifted Children (www.nagc.org) and Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted (www.sengifted.org) websites.
These are good sources for information about gifted children—identifying them and parenting them. Hoagies Gifted Education Page (www.hoagiesgifted.org) is another website with extensive information, links to online communities and e-newsletters, and a fun page with parent submissions to “You Know You’re the Parent of a Gifted Child When . . .”
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