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Gifted 102: The Next Steps...
by Carolyn K. director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
You've been through gifted identification and testing, and it's been determined: your child is gifted. You've been through Hoagies' Page Gifted 101: A Guide for First Time Visitors, you're ready for the next "course." Now... what's next?
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We know they're gifted, but how Gifted?
There are levels of giftedness, and you may find it important to learn where your child falls. Moderately gifted children have different needs from highly gifted children, who have different needs from the exceptionally, and profoundly gifted. Probably the easiest way to describe each successive level of giftedness is "more." The more gifted, the more they need... more knowledge, faster, deeper, more unique social and emotional situations...
While testing gave you some idea of your child's level, you may find you need to know more. Next, read What is Highly Gifted? Exceptionally Gifted? Profoundly Gifted? And What Does It Mean? to learn about levels of giftedness, and other implications. And while you're here, read Ageism, one girl's experience as a gifted adolescent, and Optimum Intelligence: My Experience as a Too Gifted Adult..., one woman's experiences as a gifted adult.
If your child doesn't seem to fit the scores you receive from the WISC-IV or SB-5, visit An Inventory of Tests, to learn about the alternative scoring methods, the Special Composite Scores for the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition or the Harcourt Assessment WISC-IV Technical Report #4 General Ability Index, which offers a score not influenced by low Working Memory and Processing Speed scales, and Harcourt Assessment WISC-IV Technical Report #7 WISC–IV Extended Norms, which calculates credit for questions answered correctly above the minimum required to score a 18 or 19 on WISC-IV subtests, when 2 or more subtest ceilings are reached. Reread What Do the Tests Tell Us?, and get details on specific tests on An Inventory of Tests.
Next, investigate Highly Gifted for many things unique to the highly, exceptionally and profoundly gifted. Peruse the whole collection of Kathi Kearney's The Highly Gifted articles, originally published in Understanding Our Gifted (included in Journals & Magazines). And don't miss GTCyberSource, a treasured resource of full text articles, recommendations, and other resources for and about the exceptionally and profoundly gifted.
The successful education of gifted children has a single common thread: advocacy. Parents must be their child's best advocate, at school, at home, and in society. And Advocacy begins young, often before formal schooling. Long before school, parents often encounter Arguments... and it's good to know what will likely be brought up, and what the facts are of those popular books and experts... which are often not what they might at first appear. Next, Kindergarten enrollment - early, late, or on time - is often the first step in our advocacy journey.
Traditional Schooling calls for a great deal of Advocacy for our gifted children, often resulting in Acceleration, and in the long run, even Early College. Homeschooling is an option exercised by many families of gifted children at some point in their school careers, and whatever the schooling situation, gifted children benefit from relationships with Mentors.
In school, the gifted child may be offered various program options. The parents and teachers need to consider what is best for each child; some gifted children are best served through enrichment, while others are better served through a combination of enrichment and acceleration. Horizontal "enrichment" vs. vertical "acceleration" or Why does the school want K. in 1st grade next fall when he already knows more than the 2nd graders? explains the terms, and their implications.
There are a variety of academic programs available for the gifted student. Academic programs including during and after-school options, that are often integrated with the regular school program. Other programs can replace part or all of the regular school curriculum. Distance learning can replace one or more courses for a student with particular strengths that cannot be met in the school, or a home schooling student. A particularly popular math distance learning program, EPGY, has been reviewed by many parents of the gifted in On EPGY....
Talent search programs offer summer and Saturday residential and commuter programs with other gifted students, after qualifying during the school year by taking an out-of-level achievement test. For one family's experience with one out-of-level achievement test, and its benefits not only in qualifying for a summer program, but in educational planning and advocacy, read The Explore Test, A Talent Search.
And there are many, many other Summer and Saturday programs for students with talents in many, many different areas, most with few or no admission requirements.
Social and Emotional...
The Social and Emotional aspects of giftedness are oft discussed, but little understood. Some research has been done over the years, read The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? for a summary of the research and its implications today. Meanwhile, we have many concerns...
Characteristics of Giftedness are often mistaken as problems. Learning Styles vary from individual to individual, and some gifted children have very unique learning styles. Visual-Spatial Learners often cause further concern. Personality Type is another variable to consider.
Particularly for young and adult women, Impostor Syndrome often impacts our lives. Young men are more likely to struggle with Underachievement, though either can be found in any gifted individual. Many gifted children and adults work with Perfectionism, which can be both good and bad. Sensitivities can overwhelm the gifted child, or the people around them.
Dabrowski did a great deal of research and writing on the topic of Overexcitabilities, those over-sensitivities that often plague the gifted. Read Stephanie Tolan's Dabrowski's Over-excitabilities: A Layman's Explanation. Sensitivity covers other articles and research on sensitivities of the gifted, without reference to Dabrowski himself.
Frequently Asked Questions...
In any subject, there are those questions that come up over and over, time and again, and folks inevitably get tired of answering them. But new folks really don't know! Here's Hoagies' Gifted Education Page collection, including:
And the essays that we all should read...
Visit FAQs and read them all.
An often overlooked population is Gifted Children with Special Needs. Also called the Twice Exceptional gifted child, this child is both gifted and learning disabled. These children may be gifted and ADD, gifted and dyslexic, gifted and just about any physical or learning disability you can imagine. And these children must have additional support for both - neither gifts nor disabilities can be ignored.
Twice exceptional children may not appear disabled at first, however. They are often masters of "covering," and may first appear as Underachievers, or worse. In other children, the disability may be identified, but their giftedness ignored. Or both parts may be ignored. Always, parents are the best advocates for their children.
If you suspect your child might be twice exceptional, you should read Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger's, Depression, And Other Disorders by James T. Webb, Edward R. Amend, Nadia E. Webb, Jean Goerss, Paul Beljan, F. Richard Olenchak, and Sharon Lind , or Different Minds: Gifted Children With AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and other Learning Deficits by Deirdre V. Lovecky . These books can help you understand the difference between gifted, learning disabled, and all the gray area in between.
To understand Learning Disabilities better, visit the PBS site misunderstood Minds and try their Experience Firsthand activities. And read Fitting In and Speaking Out: Me and Asperger's Syndrome, a young man's poignant speech to his 5th grade class.
Special Topics in Gifted
Any good advanced course in gifted must include Special Topics. The Gifted at Risk deserve our special consideration, whether the risk be due to socio-economic background, ethnic background, or other factors. Gifted English Language Learners (ESL) present special challenges. Gender Issues still exist. And Adolescence brings up many new issues for gifted children.
Special groups of gifted students are often overlooked, and poorly researched: Creatively Gifted, Musically Gifted, Math Gifted, Science Gifted and Technologically Gifted all have unique needs.
Learn about Philosophy - a popular topic among the gifted.
There are very few organizations supporting the gifted. SENG supports the social and emotional aspects of the gifted individual. Both organizations need your support to continue their work. Davidson Foundation and Jack Kent Cooke Foundation are family foundations supporting gifted children. Charities offers details on each of these organizations, for your consideration.
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A Little More Fun...
Gifted 101: A Guide for First Time Visitors mentioned many great resources for the gifted child (and adult!) for fun... Magazines, Movies, Software, Hot Topics! Reading Lists and more. One thing that's proven popular with many gifted folks is the "nerd shirt." You've seen them - the t-shirt with "the periodic table... and chairs," the baby's onesie stating "child process," or the tie adorned with Mac icons or Linux commands. Our collection includes "Pi ala mode," and "8" (on the front) and "With math the possibilities are infinite..." (on the back). Visit Nerd Shirts for a collection of vendors for this wacky wear.
Smart Toys is a multi-page collection of gifted-child-recommended toys and products. These are the kind of toys that are fun for years, with room for the gifted child to grow, and still enjoy them, and are even fun for the adults! My kind of toys. Products includes texts, videos, and tools with a decidedly educational bent... they could be homeschooling materials, or fun enrichment. Materials offer some of the best curriculum resources for gifted children, for both homeschoolers and teachers... for free!
Gifted Music includes a list of usual and unusual offerings, appreciated and enjoyed by gifted children and adults around the world. Check these out for your listening enjoyment!
Thanks for visiting Hoagies' Gifted Education Page!
Last updated December 01, 2020