1. What is giftedness?
According to regulatory statues of Kentucky, gifted and talented students include those who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in one or more of the following areas:
- General Intellectual Ability
- Specific Academic Aptitude
- Leadership Skills
- Visual or Performing Arts
The Federal Government defines giftedness as “Students, children or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities,” (From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act).
2. How do I know if my child is gifted?
Although the only definitive way of identifying whether or not an individual is gifted is with standardized psychological assessment (generally IQ and Academic Achievement Testing), there are some common characteristics of gifted children that are often recognized prior to formal assessment. These include:
- Learns rapidly
- Has an extensive vocabulary
- Reasons well / Is a good thinker
- Has an excellent memory
- Generally has a long attention span, when interested in subject or activity
- Tends to be sensitive / gets feelings hurt easily
- Tends to be a perfectionist
- Is intense and perseveres in specific interests
- Shows compassion for others
- Has a good sense of humor
- Is a keen observer
- Early or avid reader
- If too young to read, loves being read to
- Is highly creative and has a vivid imagination
- Good with numbers / puzzles
- Tends to question authority
- Concerned with justice / fairness
- Has strong curiosit
3. Who should test children suspect of being gifted?
Although any psychologist is trained to conduct a psychological assessment, many are not aware of the common characteristics and specific needs of gifted individuals. Additionally, these characteristics often resemble various types of pathology, including ADHD, Asperger’s Disorder, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and Disruptive Behavior Disorders. Misdagnosis of a gifted child is more likely to occur when a professional is not familiar with giftedness. In addition to making an inaccurate diagnosis, learning disabilites may be overlooked in a gifted child, as the giftedness may “mask” the disability. For more information on this, please see our information page on twice exceptional learners. Dr. Wright has been interested in the educational and social/emotional needs of gifted children for several years. As a result of this interest, she has sought out training and education in working with gifted children and adolescents, and has since provided assessment and therapy to many gifted individuals.