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Gifted Evaluations

Gifted Testing Program

"My child is in Kindergarten and reads at a fourth grade level. But she's doing cutting and pasting in her class and complains of being bored. She doesn't want to return to school. Can you help?"

"My fifth grader sits in his classroom and daydreams. The teacher says he pays little attention, frequently acts out by talking at inappropriate times, and has become disruptive. I don't see this behavior at home. What's the problem?"

Scenarios like these are repeated countless times every school year in the South Florida area and parents are often at a loss as to how to deal with them. Sometimes, if they suggest that their child may be advanced and bored in class, they are met with skepticism. One solution to this problem is a gifted testing program. An individualized evaluation of the child's intelligence. In the hands of a competent professional, gifted testing yields important information. These Gifted / Intelligence evaluations provide objective data that can be valuable in determining educational placement and guidance.

What You Should Know About Testing Gifted Children

Intelligence tests, or IQ tests, compare a child with others of his or her age on tasks presented in a standardized manner. How well a child responds to these tasks indicates a level of competence that can be quantified as a deviation from the norm and converted to an IQ score.

Intelligence tests can also reveal non-intellectual characteristics of a gifted child. These factors may be equally, if not more, important than cognitive skills in predicting school success. A good psychological report addresses a child's capacity to tolerate frustration, level of anxiety, need for approval, need to be coaxed or encouraged, readiness to take risks in responding to difficult questions, and clearly spells out a child's strengths and weaknesses.

Although children of all ages can be evaluated, assessment of gifted children younger than five years old is not reliable. When very young children do not score well, it only means that they did not perform well on particular tasks on a particular day. When a child scores well, it proves that the child can perform at a high level, given the right conditions. High scores, therefore, are much more meaningful than low scores. It is usually difficult to determine if poor performance accurately reflects ability, or if it is due to a host of other influences, such as illness, uncooperativeness, or fatigue. It is also important to note that any score needs to be viewed as an estimate of ability at a particular point in time. While a high score is generally strong evidence of superior intellectual ability, a low score does not necessarily mean that a child cannot perform at a high level in school and at work.

Most children find taking an individually administered intelligence test an enjoyable experience. It is accomplished on a one-to-one basis, so children receive the undivided attention of a child-centered adult. Young children are generally challenged by the game-like nature of the testing and respond positively.

While individual intellectual assessments are generally painless and informative, parents should not have their children tested simply out of curiosity. However, if they suspect their child is significantly advanced or behind others in class, has difficulty in learning in a particular manner, is acting out for no apparent reason, or is in a class which is not meeting his needs, an evaluation can provide valuable information. Along with other available data (parents' observations, family and child history, school reports) the results can assist the child's parents and school in assuring appropriate educational placement and programming.

If you have questions about what's involved in testing gifted children, please contact our office for more information.

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