Possilbe giftedness in 2nd grader

MommabearOctober 7, 2001

I have a 2nd grader who was referred to the ESE specialist for giftedness screening by his 1st grade teacher. The specialist spent a few minutes with him and sent a note home indicating that no further testing is warranted. His teacher urged private testing but we declined. That was last year.

This year he is in a different school (a charter school). His teacher has requested that we refer him for giftedness testing as she says she has never seen anything like him in her entire life. I am not sure that I want to have him tested because I don't know that I would pull him out of school in the middle of a school year to go into a gifted class in the public school.

My question is how do you go about finding someone to test your child for giftedness? What kind of test should be administered? I have been told by many people NOT to let the school district do another prescreening as the kids generally score 20-50 points higher on the actual test than they do on the prescreeining. The school district is known to not want to spend extra money on gifted kids so it makes the prescreeing as restrictive as possible. Of course this means that the gifted program contains mostly kids from wealthier families who can afford private testing.

How much will it cost me? We can afford to pay, but I am wondering whether it is worth it. Can anyone refer me to some good books on gifted education?


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Couple of things to consider...Most of the gifted and talented programs around here are pretty bad. I know that the schools that I have taught at had gifted programs that were less intellectual than my class(8th Grade). These programs were pull-out programs, or consisted of just one period per day. Before you go public, take a closer look at your charter school. Many of these can meet the needs of a gifted student much better than a public school gifted program. Although, I guess since your current teacher brought this up she/he does not know what to do with him. Again, just be wary of a public school part time gifted program. Ask to see a class, and grill the teacher.
Good Luck,

    Bookmark   October 7, 2001 at 5:27PM
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Thanks for responding. Sorry this post is long.

One of the reasons I did not have him privately tested last year is that I felt that the gifted program in the public school was lacking. I loved the teacher that he had and I felt that she was attempting to meet his needs in a regular classroom so there really wasn't any need to have him tested and moved. We moved to the charter school because the school claims to be able to meet the needs of all levels within the regular classroom. I see that IS the case with my kindergardener. He is ALMOST reading and the teacher has been working with him but there are some kids in his class that don't even know their letters yet.

Although the classroom teacher in 2nd grade seems to be a nice person I think your assessment of her is correct. I do not think she knows what to do with him so she is suggesting that I have him tested for giftedness. Her assigments are geared toward the average 2nd grader. An example is the book reports. She assigned a book report a week. That's fine for the average 2nd grader that is reading a 40-60 page book per week. There is plenty of time to read the book, and write the report each week. My son is currently reading longer books (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter) and he can't read those long books in one week. When I asked her about it she told me to just have him read 50-60 pages a week and write his book reports on what he read that week. She agreed that it was stupid to have him read a book to easy so that he can fill out the paper along with everyone else. However, I thought that it was sad the SHE DID NOT MAKE THE SUGGESTION. She waited for me to address it.

All of that said, I live in a state where Educational Plans are required for all ESE students whether they are gifted or special ed. I wonder if there is some value to having the classification even if I don't intend to enroll him in the public school gifted program. Maybe it would allow me to meet with the principal and the teacher to try to meet his needs within a regular classroom.

Meanwhile, I still don't know where to go for such testing or how I can do more research on gifted education. Any ideas?


    Bookmark   October 7, 2001 at 6:54PM
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I do not know if having an EIP for a ESE student. On the other end of the spectrum -- a special ed. student with an IEP in a regular class is usually treated like any other student--not in all schools, but in many of them. Public school teachers are usually not excited about having one kid who is different from all the other students. Teachers usually challenge students with the quantity of work, not the critical thinking aspect of it. Especially in the younger grades--again, not in all schools.
I do not have any ideas for testing or research, both a bit out of my league. But...howabout homeschooling him?! I am a teacher of 10 years, and my wife was a teacher. We have decided to homeschool our daughter.
I just see so many smart kids get bogged down in school(I should probably say kids of any ability, but especially those that are outside the norm). I could go on and complain about all the problems with public schools and teachers but I will stop. Since you do not know me I would just come across as some pompous brat :)
Have you considered some private schools like Montessori(sp?)? They are $$$$$, but might be work the sacrifice.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   October 7, 2001 at 10:23PM
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Having two gifted children, I speak from experience! Please, do have your child tested. It matters not whether he is in the gifted program (and most of them are lacking, from what I've heard), but it does matter so that YOU know. Gifted children have many unique personality traits and learning styles. Whether he's in public school, a charter school, or homeschooled, it is very important that his learning ability and style is known. There are many resources on the web also regarding gifted children. To me the program isn't as important as what YOU do for your child. As far as private testing, if you live near a large city, a neuropsych department at a children's hospital will do educational testing, also most psychologists do this testing. It can range anywhere from $300-$700 or even more. I do think there is an advantage to having private testing. Just make sure that the tester has administered the test several times and is learned in the area of giftedness. I believe I've also read that children should be tested for giftedness between the ages of 4 and 8. Good luck to you and your child.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2001 at 11:23PM
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Both of our sons have been in the gifted/talented programs in our K-8 district. Older DS is now a freshman in HS, in all honors classes.

OUr district does not "test for giftedness". Participation in the program is based on a combination of things, including teacher observations and recommendations, classroom observations by the gifted/talented teachers, test scores on the standard tests given to all the children (Gates-McGinity being one) in which they must score at 97% or above to be considered for the program.

While the enrichment of the gifted program was fun for the kids, most of the programs at the elementary level are not geared to advance the subject matter, but more to advance the thinking process and depth of exploration of a subject. In other words, in the gifted classroom sections, the kids may work on the Civil War, which is what their classmates are also doing in the regular classroom. However, the gifted kids will do something with greater depth or challenge, but still on the same subject matter.

Older DS participated in the MIdwest Talent Search sponsored by NOrthwestern University, and took the SAT (the same one taken by high school jrs and srs.)in 6th grade. Don't know if younger DS will be invited to take it, as he is only in fifth grade now. But again, the invitation came because of test scores on the standardized testing, not because of some special screening we did or testing we sought out.

Kids can be gifted/talented in one area and not in others. There are some great websites and books on giftedness, but in truth a lot of the "characteristics" that they mention seem to be present in lots of kids I know.

My older DS was a very early reader, like the poster's son. He was reading at a second grade level before he started kindergarten. But rather than seeing that as a problem, we saw it as a benefit for him as he went to school. It was.

I will tell you that while there are things that the school can offer, you might also look into your local jr. college - they often have a "kids on campus" type of program, part of which is geared to gifted/talented kids, in which they can take advanced classes, etc.

Gifted/talented kids can benefit by being in a regular classroom, and being leaders. Neither of our boys has EVER complained about being bored in school, whether in their regular classroom time or during gifted/talented classtime.

Watch what is happening to your child, and seek out interesting experiences to enrich him, but do not let the concept of being "gifted" worry you, unless HE complains about his learning experiences.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2001 at 1:03AM
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Homeschooling is out of the question. It is NOT for me. Problems in public schools led us to seek out alternatives, like the charter school my kids currently attend so you don't have to convince me that the public schools have problems.

Regarding private school: I could probably afford to send one of the three kids to private school, but not all three. I can't pick just one so private school is not an option right now.


Can you direct me to some of the better web sites on this subject?

I don't want my son to go to school and then go to school again at a local community college. My son loves sports and chess and likes to engage in these activities in his afterschool hours. I think the school should meet his needs during regular school hours so that he can pursue fun activities of his choosing outside school hours.

Just to clarify-my son was NOT an early reader. He started reading in 1st grade. He has progressed in his reading to a fifth grade level (per the teacher) in the past year. He scored in the 99th percentile on the standardized testing they did in the public schools (SAT) last year.


I do not really care if they call him 'gifted' or not I just want the work to be challenging enough for him. That's why I didn't pursue private testing last year. I am just wondering if having the IEP would require the school to address his needs? The teacher seems to think so, but you guys don't. I guess I will have to think some more on the subject. More opinions please!!


    Bookmark   October 8, 2001 at 10:53AM
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Two of mine are gifted. The elementary program was not particularly outstanding, though the teachers were excellent. To me, the benefit was the secondary programs for the student who is gifted in any pareticular area. They took honors classes whenever possible in middle and high school and Advanced Placement classes in high school. My youngest entered U.C. Berkeley with many courses already credited because of his scores on AP exams. He was able to take advanced courses his freshman year at Berkeley rather than start with all the freshman courses. A real savings financially and time wise too. Look forward to the secondary system for your son.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2001 at 1:24AM
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"Most" schools will really try to meet a childs needs. I am kind of in the same boat as you with my first grader. Fortunately he has a very unorthodox teacher who is willing to work with a quirky kid like mine. I would stay right on top of them as far as keeping him challenged, you are going to be the driving force behind his education. I would get him tested by a learning specialist to find out his strengths. Then you can go to the school with the report and ask them to add to/tailor his education enough to keep him challenged. It's going to take alot of lobbying on your part, but you can usually get the school to cooperate if you stay calm and respectful......at least that is how it is in my area, the school is very willing to work with the parent. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2001 at 5:37PM
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I agree with sheilajoyce. The gifted label is an asset when your child begins secondary and highschool. Generally, honors and advanced classes have less students and (sometimes) better teachers. A student can be placed in these classes without being tested for the gifted program, but there is never a question about placement if your child has been tested. Gifted in elementary was a joke where I live. Occasionally you will find an elementary school with a great gifted program, but they are rare.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2001 at 11:04PM
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If your district has IEPs for gifted students, that is a benefit. Our district does not. Gifted students ARE special education students, at the other end. Personally, I'd have my child tested. The IEP will ensure more challenge and appropriate education for you child. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2001 at 2:07AM
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That was my original line of thinking. All ESE (exceptional) students are required to have an IEP. I do not know if it is a state (FL) or county (Broward) rule, but I DO know it is the rule here. At this point we don't know if he IS gifted as he has not been tested yet.

The public ES gifted program uses the same curriculum that my son's charter school is using, so there REALLY is no point in moving him. He is happy where he is, my other son (in K) is at the charter school. However, I am hoping that having an IEP in place will allow me to meet with the principal (who believes in meeting all children's need in the regular classroom) and taylor their program for him.

Thanks to all of you for your responses.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2001 at 10:16AM
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Mommabear, I'm not sure about FL, but where I live the private and charter (although we only have one for pregnant teens) schools ARE requred to follow an IEP as it is state mandated, even in a private setting. If you check giftedness on the web, you'll find many signs, qualities, symptoms (!) of giftedness which will surely give you an idea if your child fits the criteria. As I say, it doesn't matter which school a gifted child attends so long as his/her true ability/giftedness is known. These kids are unique, even socially. Best of luck and let ust know what you decide. If I were you, I would have my child tested, privately if possible and through the school district otherwise. I believe even if a child is in a charter or private school, your public school district is still able, free of charge, to test OR service your child in special areas. Keep us informed!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2001 at 8:59PM
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I know I am late of this. Our school system has someone that specializes in this area and comes out upon the request of the teacher and the teacher for Gifted children. The teacher for Gifted children has already done a test that she thinks is the assumed I.Q. of the child and if it is 130 or over the lady that does the special testing is called. My daughter had the lady that did the testing come. She was then in the 2nd grade , she mentioned puzzles, talking to the lady etc. that's about all I know. I do know she said she had some trouble understanding the lady when she talked. She said the lady had a little speech problem. But anyhow my daughter did make high enough for the program and then some, but I was never sure exactly what her I.Q. was, but it doesn't matter now. I just wonder if she had someone that she could have understood better would her score be even higher than it was? Oh well.

Anyhow wanted you to know that I think that most school systems have someone/ ones in the system that are qualified to check your child's I.Q. In our school system the I.Q. is the deciding factor.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2001 at 11:13PM
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here is a good place to start:

Here is a link that might be useful: National Association for Gifted Children

    Bookmark   April 27, 2002 at 5:03PM
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