Gifted Child, Gifted Children, Gifted Kids FAQs
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Below are abbreviated excerpts from Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education which answer some common questions parents have about gifted children.
How can I tell if my child is gifted?
Are gifted children typically high achievers in school?
Can children be both gifted and learning disabled or gifted and ADHD?
Are there school programs for gifted kids with learning disabilities?
Is it true that gifted children have a hard time socially?
|"We were curious about our daughter's advanced abilities and wanted more information. Dr. Palmer's book explained the process of IQ testing and the different aspects of identifying gifted children, as well as explaining gifted education and other educational options. This book helped guide us through the process of identifying our daughter's needs and has assisted us in our ability to advocate for her. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is curious about their child's intelligence and wants some direction and help getting answers. It is a reference we refer to often."
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Q: How can I tell if my child is gifted?
A: There are no "sure signs" that a child will measure in the gifted range on an IQ test. Gifted children can be as different from one another as they are from the rest of society. However, research shows that many gifted kids tend to show some common characteristics.
Signs of giftedness can include early attainment of developmental milestones, advanced language skills, enhanced learning aptitude, and emotional and behavioral traits like emotional sensitivity and heightened empathy, a high energy level, the tendency to think and talk fast, strong leadership qualities, enjoyment of alone time, and appreciation of natural beauty and art.
But keep in mind that some gifted children show only a few of these signs, or show traits that are quite the opposite of what you'd expect. For example, some will start to speak late rather than early, some will be emotionally reserved rather than intense, and some appear to think and speak slowly rather than quickly.
Chapter Five in Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education looks in detail at some of the traits of giftedness and also considers why some gifted kids do not shine on IQ tests.
Also keep in mind that there are children who show gifted qualities when it comes to language or emotional traits, but who do not appear exceptional when it comes to learning or academics. While some of these kids may have a specific learning disability (see Chapter Seven in Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education) getting in the way of their performance at school, others may have learned early on to hide their abilities in order to better fit in with others their age, or to avoid the pressures of higher expectations.
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Q: Are gifted children typically high achievers in school?
A: Many are, but not all. Many high-achieving or gifted adults show few signs of giftedness early on in life. Its commonly known that Albert Einstein learned to speak at a late age and didnt read until he was seven. Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, and Winston Churchill also had trouble early on in school. Countless others, famous or not, have been misperceived as "slow" or worse in childhood, only to go on to accomplish amazing things later in life. How can we explain this? We can't always. It may be that these late bloomers were products of uneven or delayed neurological development - their brains took a little longer to get all the "wires" connected in just the right way. Or it could be that the signs were always there but were masked by other aspects of giftedness - such as distractibility or nonconformity - which made it difficult for adults to see beyond to the child's true talents.
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Q: Can children be both gifted and learning disabled or gifted and ADHD?
A: Yes, absolutely. Many experts agree that it is not only possible but relatively common.
Learning-disabled children are often defined by state law as otherwise capable students who are not working up to their potential in some area because of an underlying learning problem. These are children who show strengths in some areas and noticeable weaknesses in others. Many gifted children fit this pattern. An individual IQ test, the kind commonly used to diagnose gifted students in schools, is made up of several separate subtests measuring different areas like memory, visual spatial skills, and verbal ability. While a child's full scale, or overall, IQ score may fall in the gifted range, the pattern of scores on these individual subtests can vary widely. For example, some gifted children show unusual strength in subtests which measure visual reasoning ability and a relative weakness in those measuring verbal areas. Other gifted children show quite different patterns. In fact, rather than being universally gifted, most children with high IQs show a definite pattern of strengths and weaknesses, or peaks and valleys, when it comes to their cognitive abilities.
Similarly, gifted children can vary greatly in how well they do in school, depending on the subject area being considered. While they shine in some academic areas, they may struggle in others. Some of these children will be able to compensate, using their underlying strengths to make up for their weaknesses. But sometimes the learning problem - memory, ADHD, expressive language, or some other difficulty - is so severe that the child is not able to compensate. Gifted children like these are sometimes called "twice exceptional," or "2E" kids.
Chapter Seven in Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education will show you how many schools assess bright kids with learning problems and will help you identify learning disabilities in your child so that you can begin to seek the support he or she needs.
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Q: Are there school programs for gifted kids with learning disabilities?
A: Yes, gifted kids with learning problems can often qualify for services through a schools resource specialist teacher who can support them in the particular academic subject where they struggle the most.
Yet many parents of these children may not request assessment for such services because they believe that this type of support is only for students with more severe cognitive or physical disabilities. They are unaware that a child can be both gifted and learning disabled. Parents may also be afraid of labeling their child. Many are understandably hesitant to saddle their child with a term like "learning disabled," believing that this may damage the child's self-esteem or cause teachers to treat them differently, possibly lowering their expectations.
And sometimes twice-exceptional children are never tested because their educational needs are already being met through creative scheduling or other programs on campus, so parents and teachers see no need to consider special education options.
Chapter Seven in Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education will show you what school resources and programs are available for twice exceptional kids and also go over some creative programming options that you might consider for your child.
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Q: Is it true that gifted children have a hard time socially?
Just as its unfair and unrealistic to make generalized statements about any group of people based on similar traits they share, we shouldnt oversimplify our view on the effects of giftedness on children. In fact, having a high IQ doesnt necessarily come with any particular social disadvantages. The research in this area is mixed, at best. And much of it is based on interviews or anecdotal evidence, which makes it hard to come to any firm conclusions about the findings.
Yet, all children are susceptible to struggles at some time in their development and gifted children are no different. A common belief is that they are more prone to certain developmental problems due to being perceived as different by others, or because they see themselves as being out of touch with most of their peers. And this makes sense. A primary need of most kids - and maybe, to a lesser degree, of most adults as well - is to
"fit in." Anyone who's been through school understands how important it is to dress like, act like, and be like everyone else. Or at least like everyone else in your own little subgroup. We seem to have a need to be folded into a crowd with whom we can share certain interests - a social connection, an identity. Yet gifted kids are, by definition, different, at least when it comes to certain skills or talents they possess. Yes, giftedness is arguably a positive difference - at least from an adult perspective - but a difference, nonetheless. For kids and teens, the pressure to conform is often so great that any deviation from the norm can be distressing. We've all heard terms like brain, nerd, geek or worse applied to kids who seem too bookish, or too "into" school.
Of course, the potential for social problems is not unique to gifted kids; all children are susceptible to teasing, bullying, or social isolation when they don't fit in, for whatever reason. The school years can be tough for all children. Gifted kids, though, do share some unique pressures and developmental issues that others may not.
Chapter Six in Parents Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education looks at the flip side to being gifted and discusses the idea of optimal IQ - that range where kids are likely to have all the cognitive ability theyll need to be successful in school and in a career, but are less likely to be affected by the potential drawbacks related to being too different from their peers.
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