Sunday, December 12, 2010

How do you tell if your child is gifted?

I want to stress that the gifted are normal people.But they face special challenges, especially unreal expectations, notably being seen as strange and unhappy. Others, such as parents and teachers, can feel threatened by them and react with put-downs. What they need is acceptance for who they are, appropriate opportunities to develop their potential and reliable moral support. These types of scenarios are not unusual. In fact, some estimate that the majority of gifted children in the schools are never identified.

Parents should become familiar with the signs of giftedness even before their child starts school. Most school districts do not even start identifying children for gifted programs until second or third grade, and parents of exceptionally bright or gifted children may want to consider private testing or alternative placement options (such as a private preschool school program or early grade acceleration) before that time.

Early testing and identification can be a controversial subject, but many advocates of gifted children believe that they should be identified as soon as possible so that their unique needs and talents can be acknowledged and nurtured right from the start.

Do not be entirely dependent on the schools when it comes to identification. Keep in mind that many teacher training programs require little (if any) course work in giftedness, so some teachers and school administrators may not have all the information they need to recognize gifted children. For this reason, our insights are important, and the more knowledge we have, the better position we're in to partnership with others when selecting the best programs for our child.