In Canada and USA almost every child in a public school gets accessed for giftedness, typically in grade 3. Yet, it excludes many children in private schools (e.g. Montessori or Waldorf) or children who missed school testing e.g. new immigrants. Even gifted immigrant children who are not fluent in English may not pass standardized tests as their verbal IQ will not be properly reflected. In those situations parents can wait and then request the school to reconsider and retest their child. The school will typically send them to licensed psychologists for a privately conducted gifted assessment. The costs of these private assessments may be prohibiting, especially for new immigrants. I usually recommend parents to start with free resources such as Gifted 101 at Hoagies Gifted website or gifted screening test at Advanced Psychology website. These online resources help parents evaluate the chances that their child is gifted before paying money for a private assessment. Based on gifted test results , a separate school body, IPRC (Identification, Placement, and Review Committee) has the responsibility of reviewing the child and making decision regarding her placement in a gifted program. In most cases, the school and school board have a predefined criteria typically 98% scores on both verbal and non-verbal IQ or 99% on either one of them. If your child scored that high you should request a hearing. According to the law, a school is obliged to set a date for an IPRC meeting. Lately, many parents started abusing the system by gaining access to gifted test questions and training their children prior to the test. It has to be clear that curriculum in gifted programs is specially designed based on learning dynamics of highly gifted and talented students, so for ordinary students (if their parents succeeded in cheating) such programs will have disastrous consequences. This often results in anxiety, depression, and even suicidal attempts as these students struggle and feel inferior to peers.
Gifted Assessments Tools
The best time to assess giftedness amongst children is the age between 5 to 10 years. There are predefined standards and psychometric scales, which are used to identity gifted children. Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children is a popular scale to help in gifted assessments. Other than this, SB5 is also used to assess the thinking and response characteristic of these children.
The SB5 (Stanford Binet) has eight areas of concentration to evaluate a child for giftedness. These include:
- Knowledge Module, which is used to assess the knowledge level of such children.
- Quantitative Reasoning under which children use numbers and symbols to come up with judgments and predictions.
- Fluid Reasoning.
- Verbal IQ which is used to assess a child’s ability to respond to a problem verbally. It also includes their ability to hear and memorize conversation.
- Non-Verbal IQ.
- Full scale IQ.
- Working memory.
- Visual Spatial Processing.
How to tell if my Child is gifted?
Although, you would need a proper psychometric assessment to identify giftedness in your child, however; such children have certain characteristics which include:
- Eager to Learn more:
Gifted children are always excited to gain more knowledge. They are always hungry for gaining more information. If they are uninterested in some topic or an activity, you will notice them to lose their attention and get busy elsewhere.
- Want everything to be Flawless:
You would note that such children want everything to be perfect and as they desire it. Whether its room temperature, or sleep schedule, a gifted child would need everything to be impeccable.
- Tendency to be Multilingual:
Another distinctive feature about gifted children is their ability to pick up words from different languages. Such individuals can learn different languages from internet, or TV programs. Giving such children proper language courses help them to polish their language skills. Apart from these characteristics, gifted children develop fluent speaking ability at a very early age. They also know how to use advance vocabulary while speaking to adults, and when to speak in simple English when addressing toddlers.
- Good memory:
Gifted children have a very sharp memory and can recall past events of childhood or minor details which are not very important. Moreover, such kids have great learning skills and quickly memorize school assignments and other knowledge based interest.
- Take interests in more than just Games:
Gifted children tend to be more mature than other kids of their age. They take great interests in knowledge based programs, problem solving skills, and other similar activities. You may find them asking question which seem too difficult for kids of their age group.
Parenting Gifted Child
It is very important for the parents of gifted children to recognized giftedness of their child and communicate with him/her to provide all facilities in order to polish their skills and provide them with a competitive environment.
You will notice that such kids enjoy field trips more than the leisure activities. Therefore, it is important that parents take their kids to museums, art galleries, historical sites, and other similar places where gifted child can satisfy their desire to learn and curiosity. This provides them with better learning opportunities apart from their usual academic routine. You can also enroll them into weekend art classes, dramatics club or other such activities.
It is important that the school also provides a great learning atmosphere for such individuals. Teachers can develop advance study modules and research analysis. Such children require dedicated teaching for better results.
Some Common Problems Faced by Gifted Children
While gifted children are thought to be inspirational and a blessing for their parents, some of the children might suffer from certain problems in school and at home. Since gifted children have a higher IQ than their peers, they might not be able to mix in with their class fellows and siblings. This is because their level of thinking is more complex than their age group. Such problems cause them to lose their focus in the classroom since they lose their interest. It is also common for such children to develop mood swings, get irritated, and stop sharing their views with family members. Gifted children are very sensitive and emotional. Attention deficit is also very common amongst gifted children due to such reasons.
Parents should regularly interact with teachers to keep a track of their children and make sure that gifted child is accommodated in each possible way. Having a gifted child is true blessing, however; parents need to play their role in order to utilize the true potential of their children.
Finally, giftedness is often confused with or accompanied by Asperger’s syndrome, a common autism spectrum disorder. When conducting a private gifted assessment it is a good idea to ask the psychologist for evaluating traits of Asperger’s. Similarly to children with Asperger’s syndrome or autism spectrum disorders, gifted children are a likely target of bullying. Parents should educate themselves and their children on bullying and cyberbullying, gifted children are often a target of bullies but perpetrators of cyberbullying.