So…do you think your child is gifted?

Your child seems to have many gifted/ talented characteristics: an inquisitive mind; an advanced vocabulary and way of expressing her/himself; a critical way of thinking; an excellent memory; outstanding reasoning proficiency; high energy, alertness and eagerness; an understanding of abstract ideas and complex concepts; and s/he easily meets or exceeds classroom expectations. A student can be gifted in some areas and not others, such as verbal or non-verbal reasoning. Children who have a learning difficulty in one or more subjects or have attention deficits or hyperactivity can also be gifted. Often, a pupil who is “acting out” is bored in a standard classroom, which is at a more traditional pace than his/her capability. More expanded lists and articles about gifted characteristics can be found at

Have you observed a gifted class? Gifted curriculums are intensified, allowing for the more in-depth understanding and interests of these unique learners. Specially trained and certified teachers help the student realize his/her true potential through enrichment, awareness activities and academics. Students have a valuable opportunity to interact, bond and grow with peers who may similarly be excited to learn and “think outside the box.”

Should you have your son/daughter tested for the gifted program? It is an advantage to obtain as much information as possible concerning your child’s learning style and competencies. You will then be a more knowledgeable advocate about applying this information to the available educational options.

What is gifted testing? An IQ assessment is the main method by which an assignment is made into gifted programs. The process begins when a teacher or parent refers a student for placement on a list for “gifted screening”, which is carried out by the guidance counselor. Second graders are usually administered this test in groups for an initial identification.  A pupil who achieves the necessary score is next referred to the school psychologist for a more extensive individual intelligence test.  If your child then attains an IQ of 130 and demonstrates a need for a gifted program, placement is made; however, if the required level on either the screening portion or on the comprehensive individual IQ test is not met, s/he must wait a year to re-start the process, unless tested privately.

What should you do? Parents can then engage the services of a tutor for enrichment during that year. Another choice would be for an independent, licensed school psychologist to administer a different IQ assessment, which may recognize other aspects of that particular child’s talents. (In fact, parents can opt out of or expedite the entire school process altogether.) Private evaluations have the distinct advantage of flexibility to best meet the needs of the families involved. Having advance knowledge of the testing date allows the student to be mentally prepared and to plan his/her day. A comfortable, relaxed atmosphere is essential for the most optimum performance. Appointments for gifted testing can often be scheduled immediately, to ensure placement in the most favorable setting for his/her abilities.

Karen Weisman, MSEd. Licensed School Psychologist  #355


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