Possible gifted child

Doug_TorontoDecember 22, 2004

My wife and I have recently begun to believe that our 4.5 year old may be considered gifted. From the research we've done, she shows a number of the attributes. We have spoken to her teacher, who agrees that she is advanced for her age but didn't want to commit to doing anything about it. We have booked an appointment with a private child psychologist who speicalizes in early childhood educational evaluations. But, I'm really interested to hear if any one on the board has had any experiences with their child being considered gifted (or going through the evaluation process) and what those experiences may be. Thanks for any insight you may have.

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I see your post has been sitting unswered for about 10 days...
First of all you need to realize that there is a huge prejudice toward parants who "think their child is gifted"...I have no idea why....but you will see that it is so!
I don't know if where you live there are programs offering after school enrichment ( for a price!) or museum tours, advanced classes etc....but seek them out and enroll your daughter. There is nothing worse than a bored smart child!!...They get in all sorts of trouble....creativly of course!
Get her tested....then when you tell the school that she needs to be challenged, they won't argue with you!
Good luck......you will need it! Exceptional kids are a joy....but also a huge test of your ability to cope...
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 1, 2005 at 8:29PM
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I am now 25, but was considered a "gifted child", although I believe I am pretty average as an adult. I was skipped up to first grade (no kindergarten), and had a wonderful teacher who had me tested for the "gifted program" in our school district. So from 2nd grade through 6th grade, I was bussed from my school to a different school once a week where they had this program (called Tessera here in WA). I loved Tessera, we did not do typical school assignments and were taught to think and learn in different ways. I would definitely see about what your school district offers, even montesorri programs allow kids to work at their own level more than regular classes. The best thing about these programs is that they make learning fun, not typical "fill out your ditto sheets" boring stuff.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 4:48PM
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Good for you for getting your daughter tested now. 30+ years ago, I was an often-bored gifted child. I was in the advanced program, but nothing really challenged me until particular college courses. And as a result, I became lazy.

It was easy to pass tests without much studying, so I didn't develop good study skills. And I could write an "A" paper at the last minute, so I never learned to do more. Much of my school life was about filling time.

I would have loved to go to Montesorri school, or any other school that challenged me.

Obviously, you have to be aware of your child's social skills. A very bright child who doesn't know how to play with other children probably shouldn't be pushed ahead to a class with older children.

I hope everything works out well.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 2:37AM
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Not a popular response, but since you seem to already be on this tract: When your child is old enough, test at all the most highly-regarded academic prep schools in the area, even the ones you don't want or can't afford. There's always a charge for applying, but the tests are very intensive and the admissions director goes over them with you with a fine-toothed comb, strengths and weaknesses, comparing your child with other same age, currently attending, over-achieving peers. Most tests are the very same your psychologist will administer; however, it's the real-world competitive academic arena you will be entering and you will most probably want to know about it. Your child will also be evaluated on social skills as well, they will observe your child in group situations in addition to the individual tests. My son attended a very good prep school for 5 years on the east coast and it is an enlightening and humbling experience to go through this process, to say the least. In our city, (Baltimore) he couldn't go to a city public school, they were so poorly rated nationally. So, it was private school or we moved to the suburbs if he couldn't get in. I would have to say that the ugly experience of this whole thing was not the school or its program (excellent), but the obnoxious parents of the children who attended. The competitiveness was insane. When report cards came out, it was just terrible, the endless "fishing" of other parents to compare your child to theirs. He is now in a great public school in the SF bay area because we relocated, and it's working out fine.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 7:18PM
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Youngest Ds was classed as a gifted child as soon as he started school in kindergarten.However the school gave us a choice of leaving him where he was or moving him up a grade.After much discussion,we decided to give it a try and if he wasn't happy there we would let him go back to his regular class.Well from being bored to death in kindergarten,he flourished in the new class.
Eventually we moved to another town when he was in grade five and again the teachers suggested that we place him in a gifted school.Again we took their advice and watched him carefully to make sure he was happy and that it was what he wanted.He thrived in the gifted school and made some lifelong friends.I might say that he's a very laid back person and is well rounded..loves to just hang out with his friends and has a teriffic sense of humor.
That was 13 years ago.He's since recieved two degrees in dramatic arts and is working on his PHD.
I think the answer is to let them do whatever they're happy doing.
WE have friends who pushed their gifted child through the program even though he has been very unhappy.As a result he has become very antisocial and has some real social problems.
You know your child better than anyone and should be aware that the gifted program isn't for everyone.Discuss it with his teachers and watch him to make sure it's making him happy.Believe me,you;ll know if he isn't.

Good luck

Eliza ann

    Bookmark   January 9, 2005 at 10:42PM
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I have one "gifted" and one "bright" child. There is a huge difference, interestingly enough. The most obvious difference between them lies their respective senses of humor. My gifted son has always had an adult understanding of any joke or humorous situation. He "gets" it intuitively. My bright daughter has to have things explained to her. Gifted kids are like talking to mini adults sometimes, they seem to know the answers before you ask the questions. Bright kids are fast learners. Gifted kids tend to be fabulous problem solvers.

Honestly, I think my daughter has the easier path. She is never bored, gets straight As. She understands the benefit of putting in some extra effort. Learning comes too easily to my son. He doesn't ever need to put in much effort. What I find is that because of that, he gets lazy and when he stumbles on something that doesn't come as easily he hasn't the fortitude to push a bit harder. The classic under achiever.

That said, gifted kids do need special learning envorinments. Mostly they need to be with other like-minded kids. Socially my son did very poorly in a regular class environment. He was considered just too weird. Once he was placed in a gifted class and had other smart, nerdy, math whiz kids to be with he was much happier!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2005 at 3:25PM
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Hi, I have 2 "AG" (Academically Gifted) sons, officially identified at ages 7 and 9, now 16 and 18. Congratulations on having a healthy child. It's too bad there is a stigma, as Lindac mentioned, since if it is true, you will need all the support from other parents you can get.

First, the bad news:

1) Gifted children most often ALSO have specific LD (Learning Disabilities). These specific "gaps" are doubly hurtful to gifted children. For example, a bright child with a specific gap in short-term visual memory will have difficulty memorizing times tables. Since parents and teachers view the child as bright, he/she will be chided for not "applying" her/himself. This can hurt and cause frustration.

2) Gifted children are EXTREMELY difficult to parent. If you have read about characteristics, you have read some of the difficulties. For example, because they are bright, they will argue with you about everything. They will be terrific at solving complex problems - like how to get around a parental rule or decision. This difficulty will make parenting a gifted child arduous and frustrating - for you and for teachers. My sons were obedient, considerate, and well-behaved. Still, parenting was much more challenging - as if it isn't already challenging enough.

My advice:
TESTING. Get to the best child psychologist WITH specialty in AG children as fast as you can. You need identification of any Learning Disabilities and you need guidance on development, emotional and intellectual. Do not depend on the local school system, because they will not have the resources or special services you will need. Like having a child who is gifted at gymnastics and needs special coaches, you can expect this to be expensive and time-consuming.

I love my sons, and I am proud of who they are and the men they are becoming. I do not view myself as lucky or unlucky to have gifted sons - it is just a difference that needs nurturing and care. To me, it is much the same as having a child with gorgeous fair skin - how wonderful to see how beautiful, but a serious responsibility to guard against the easy sun burn. It is simply another variation on the human condition, and we parent, nurture, and care for all the differences, good and bad and neutral. Gifted children do not grow up to be any more happy or any more successful than anyone else - and it can lead to problems if you don't understand her special needs. If you daughter turns out NOT to be gifted, please see the relief in added responsibility that represents. It is not something I would necessarily wish for.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 3:27PM
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I assume you are in Canada, so this might not be of too much help. But in the US there is an organization called the National Assoc. for Gifted Children (NAGC). They have an annual convention held in different cities around the country for educators and parents of gifted and talented children. I have attended it and gained a lot of information from listening to the speakers and meeting with other parents. They can help you learn how to advocate for your child. They also have a website with lots of good info on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nat'l Assoc. for Gifted Children

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 5:06PM
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both of my sons were determined to be "gifted" early in elementary school. one problem that we had with my older son was in middle school, 6th grade to be exact. he was so far ahead of his classmates, that the school had no academic program suitable for him. (they hire aids and tutors for children who have learning disabilities, why not provide gifted children the same service and keep them at their own grade level?????) at a meeting between my ex husband, myself, my son and the school counselor, the counselor suggested skipping my son 3 grades! the next comment out of the counselor's mouth was that my son could "take the next 3 years off of school and not miss a beat". this was said IN FRONT OF MY SON. ever since then, my gifted child has seemed to decide that he no longer has to put effort into his studies. i would highly recommend that any meetings you have between school counselors, psychologists or teachers that refer to your child's "giftedness" be done without the child present. gifted is a wonderful blessing, but it can also lead to problems down the road if the child feels "smarter than everyone else".

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 7:32PM
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Dear Doug,
It's great that you are showing this kind of interest in your child's intellectual development. First, let me reassure you that there is no link whatsoever between high intelligence and learning disabilities. A very bright child has the same risk of learning disabilities as any other child, no more, no less.

Notice that I do not use the word "gifted." Its meaning is just too fuzzy. You say that you are having your little girl tested, but what is your goal here? Will you do something differently if it turns out that she is at the upper end of that much maligned bell curve? If not, why not wait a bit to see whether she feels stimulated and engaged by school?

The best thing you can do for a bright child - for any child - is to spend a lot of time reading to her, talking to her, and listening to her. Tell her how proud you are of her, and tell her how much fun it is to learn about the world. Visit the library often and take her to science museums if you can. Take walks and talk about the color of the sky and why the leaves change. Teach her how to use an abacus; it's the secret to a solid grasp of arithmetic.

Don't spend a lot of money on fancy props and so-called educational toys. Keep her away from the TV and - gasp! - even the computer. (Books, crayons, and outdoor exercise are better for little kids.) Above all, relax and enjoy this wonderful child.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 4:18PM
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I haven't met a kid yet who isn't gifted in SOMETHING...and an utter failure at something else.

the real trick is matching the educational choices to the child, and vice versa- the goal of the parent is to clear obstacles out of the way while providing challenges.

tough trick to do- tougher in the academic atmosphere, which isn't geared to teaching the young things like research skills and the scientific method.

how well a child takes to the whole shebang depends largely on the behavior of the adults around her...I was raised to see my gifts as a matter of responsibility, not of entitlement- and it did help me in the long run. it didn't make being called a freak any better, but it gave me a framework to understand the stupid attitudes (god help a kid whose more interested in classical music than pop!)

the best thing my parents ever did for me was let me start taking college classes at 15 (should have started younger, but there were laws against it back then)

the worst was trying to make me be 'like eveyone else' without giving me any of the tools- I wasn't allowed TV except for Disney on sundays or special occasions, so I sounded like a real ninny trying to talk to kids whose lives revolved around cartoons, and clothes that I never got to see, much less had the chance to buy...

good luck to the whole family.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 1:35PM
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"Honestly, I think my daughter has the easier path. She is never bored, gets straight As. She understands the benefit of putting in some extra effort. Learning comes too easily to my son. He doesn't ever need to put in much effort. What I find is that because of that, he gets lazy and when he stumbles on something that doesn't come as easily he hasn't the fortitude to push a bit harder. The classic under achiever."

BarnMom, you summed up our oldest child! Everything comes so easily to him that he gets lazy. We had to face this in middle school, when we found out that he wasn't turning homework in! He went from Straight A's to having some D's. That year was very challenging, and I admit I didn't always handle it well. He is now in high school and doing much better (at least on the honor roll), but we still hardly ever see him do homework or study. He simply doesn't want to put the effort in. Our younger 2 children do very well in school, but they work harder to get those grades. They are very conscientious. They WANT to get good grades and they work for them. The one thing our oldest son picked up on very quickly was that since he was "smart", he felt it was "expected" that he do extra work. Many, many times he has made this comment, "I wish I wasn't smart so people wouldn't have such high expectations of me." I've had to learn to ease up on him.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 2:21AM
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I don't care how good your honour roll program is- if your son has outstripped it- admit it.

I went to a little private school with a very good library- but I'd eaten it alive by the end of 4th grade. so from then on, on wednesday, when we went up to the 'big' school for assembly, they let me go over to the 'big' library and check out three books.

if he's got an area of interest- find him adult works on the subject- if he hasn't picked a specialty yet, start with a book or two by James Burke- The Knowledge Web, or The Pinball Effect are good ones for modern kids.

be honest with him- traditional schooling has little to offer most kids. if he finds one teacher a year with the Bard's Gift for teaching, he's lucky- but he should look for them with all his abilities.

my solace in those years was in the company of grandparents with bookend doctorates and their peers- you might think about seeing if one of the local retirement communities has a mentoring program.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 10:15AM
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AMEN to what Brenda wrote! I raised two children (who are adults now) who were tested and pronounced gifted, and Brenda nailed it on the head!
Raising them is an adventure in itself. They get bored easily...they need academic AND physical exercise! Having a gifted child isn't a picnic and, sorry to say...nothing to brag about, either. Some gifted kids make it, some don't. One of mine did, the other didn't (he always knew better!)...there's a fine line between genius and madness. ;-D
Don't treat them as "special"....it's just that they have some abilities that are particular to them, as others have special qualities particular to 'them'. They gobble up books faster than you can bring them home, and I encourage you to try and discover her particular interests and let her run with them. One of our children skipped a grade and did exceptionally well (skipped from JK to a split grade 1 and 2, and always completed her grade 1 work, did the grade 2 work on the other black-board, and tutored some other grade 2s!). They can debate with teachers from the earliest grades (our son "discovered" the barter system for the world economy in grade 3..they read Shakepeare by grade 6), but they can also question all your beliefs and attitudes and when they're teens, you'd better be ready for some...um...interesting exchanges! ;-)
Boredom is her worst enemy. Keep her busy, but give her time to discover herself, too.
Watch teachers carefully. Some will tend to "grade down" gifted kids who "don't show their work". We had to meet with a high-school math teacher who gave her a failing grade on a test because she didn't show her work! No...she skipped about a half-dozen steps and got the correct answer by approaching the problems in other, more efficent ways!
They're wonderful children...so bright,so inquisitive, so 'adult' in so many ways...keep her young as long as you can..keep her busy..persue her interests with her (they'll jump around like crazy from interests to interests!)...They truly are remarkable children and adults!
Good luck.....it's a full-time job!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 9:21PM
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hi,just found this forum after I was paid memberand was searching around. I have a 7 yr.old dd that is "gifted" loose term kinda like I. q. tests .she was born and early on was in daycare and never in pre k or little kids programs and we were very afraid that she would not know enough it turned out she knew to much .
that said she was read to before birth and every day since then she started reading and spelling at 4 reading past k at 5 and entered k at 6 and it was then that we realized she knew all of this stuff literally shoot she knew all the prices in the shopping cart at 5 and they were counting to ten, they were working on abc 123 and she was spelling compound words whew .
I read all of the folks responses here and learn from all .I like the word advanced . although true genius is out there it is rare and if it is genetic how many folks are never seen or "never made it out of the trailer park".
this happens to women more as they are impregnated and become mothers and slaves to their children .
we are blessed although she could have recieved more attention and it took past the first 9 wks of kindergarten the system here weeds these kids out and they are transferred in to a "gifted setting . meaning she starts school in a 1st grade class then spends 4 hrs a day in another class with only 7 other kids from different ages .
and one teacher, in days of under staffed schools this is like a parents dream .and although I don,t feel she is moving fast enough she gets one on one .I know that sounded bad but I still don,t feel the teacher quite has a grasp on what all she knows academically.
to help answer the question the answers about finding the best of the best and start there are solid. also you don,t state what leads you to think this kid is "gifted " does she just naturally act smarter than her peers is she advanced like my kid . is she counting stars .
I would also like to touch on another touchy subject I am now leaning towards the idea that add is present in my d.d. and this is something I said before she was born if people thought this she would not go on meds .I say this about her only because after watching some t.v commercials my wife referred me to aadd website and slowly after about a yr. of learning, I am the poster child for this "disorder" and my daughter has a lot of my characterristics . and although not nearly as hyper or busy as I was she does a lot of the same things I did I am still learning on this one .and frankly it scares me because it is like a big book was opened explaining some of what I have done and do and why and then complicates it further looking at my daughters angle.
I am 41 and was mostly ignored or put to back of the class when I was young because of a lot of the things I heard described here. correcting teachers when your 9 doesnt get you brownie pts.and was constantly pressed to show my work when I could not do it on paper but could think of it and then write it down I speed read and read books backwards I did not know this was not normal until last yr.
the reason I include myself is I probably have an Iq in the very high category and was gifted as a child although not recogognized and I always knew I was smarter I just got ignored or so much was expected of me that I just rebelled.
I quit school at 16 and aced the state test and ged test they thought I cheated somehow and I took it twice scoring higher the second time I turned to drugs and alcohol and joined the navy at 17 same thing I scored so high on the tests that they tried to put me in a lot of jobs that I could not handle . the nuke sub program for a teen hippie ,yeah right . and although I am good at every thing I try I technically don,t have a trade . although I do have 10 1/2 yrs. sobriety.
the reason I included that was to show how quickly you can lose the game as parents I was bored and needed things to do to see different things and while someone was very strongly urging me to stay inside of the box I was figuring a way out and should have died many times while thinking I was smarter than them.
I don,t claim to know much about parenting ,it is a learning game I do know if you read to your kids they will be smarter than your neighbors kid. and I,m teaching my d.d. to use her knowledge and teach her friend the stuff she allready knows and take something from your friend because no one knows it all .
just make sure you are not doing this for your self and be willing to take it all the way . sorry so long but I have a lot of questions also .Rick In wichita

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 11:55PM
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