Child Giftedness: Putting Them to the Test | Rice Psychology
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Child Giftedness: Putting Them to the Test

Child Giftedness

I know every parent takes pride in their children’s accomplishments, but lately I’ve felt like my youngest daughter actually is much more advanced than her classmates. I understand it sounds like I’m just being a mother who admires and cherishes her daughter, but I really mean it. Her vocabulary astounds me, she expresses herself better than many adults I know and she’s extremely creative. I realize how this must sound, but what if she’s a gifted child? I’ve heard that other kids are in the gifted program at her school but never knew how they got there! What’s my first step?

It isn’t uncommon for parents to boast about their young child’s intelligence and successes. Many children who are exposed to books, highly verbal and educated families, early educational and enrichment opportunities start off ahead of the curve and shine from a young age. Sometimes these superstar preschoolers level out and become average to high average students.

However, some continue to find school pretty easy because they catch onto new lessons faster than their peers, seem to have an insatiable quest for knowledge, solve problems faster and think about things in ways that make adults do a double take.

It isn’t uncommon for parents to boast about their young child’s intelligence and successes. Click To Tweet

If your child is showing signs of very advanced verbal and reasoning skills, perhaps he or she is also showing signs of being gifted. If so, they may be eligible for programs at school, but how can you begin to determine if your child really is gifted? At Rice Psychology Group, we can take the first step towards answering these questions with our gifted testing services.

Have you noticed your child exhibiting behaviors that seem ahead of his or her chronological age? Find out if your child is intellectually gifted by contacting us in Tampa today!

What Does Being Gifted Mean?

There is no universal definition for what giftedness means. In fact, almost every state has its own definition for the term. Yet one reliable source, the National Association for Gifted Children, offers, “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.”

To be considered gifted by most standards, a person much attain a score of 130 or above on a standardized, individually administered IQ test, such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V) or the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, Second Edition (RIAS-2).

An IQ score of 130 falls at the 98th percentile or two standard deviations above the average score. This literally means that if 100 of your child’s peers were standing together, there might be two gifted children in the group. But we must keep a few things in mind: an IQ test provides a snapshot in time of a subset of skills. Not all kids show their true potential on these types of tests and may be gifted in ways that are not measured by standardized tests, and IQ is not necessarily fixed, but can be cultivated through learning, effort, practice and having a growth mindset.

Each school district is different. Some identify children as young as kindergarten and others prefer to delay the process until 2nd or 3rd grade. Intelligence tests become more reliable as children get older (around age eight and above), but for children who shine early, some parents prefer to have them tested while they are solidly ahead of their peers. I have often wondered what would happen if we retested children who had scores in the 130’s at age four or five when they reached 3rd or 4th grade.

There is no universal definition for what giftedness means. Click To Tweet

I’ve also wondered if some of the kids identified as gifted as little ones remain at that level or begin to move somewhat toward the high average range with time but are still expected to act and perform like gifted kids all the way through their academic careers.

Moving on, let’s look at some common signs of giftedness in children:

  • Highly advanced vocabulary and language skills
  • Using complex language and picking up on nuances earlier than peers
  • Stick-to-itiveness (being persistent)
  • Constantly wanting to share ideas and asking questions that reflect their understanding
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Ability to solve problems in a variety of different and even unusual ways
  • Being highly creative in terms of playing, making up stories, building things, etc.
  • Learning quickly and efficiently
  • Having many interests and delving deeper than most others of the same age
  • Enjoying a challenge
  • May love to read, although it is possible to have a learning disability or ADHD and also have a gifted level IQ

Comprehensive Evaluations

As your child prepares for an evaluation, it’s important to remember that many of us find success without being “gifted”, and “giftedness” is not the norm, it is, by definition, the exception. At Rice Psychology Group, we customize tests based on needs.

An evaluation begins with a brief consultation with parents to obtain pertinent background information and finding out if there is anything we need to know to help your child feel comfortable. Then we meet individually with your child, and after a few minutes to warm up, get to know each other and feel comfortable. We then begin testing. Testing is made up of a bunch of different types of activities, such as answering questions, solving puzzles, remembering information, etc. Some parts are timed and others aren’t.

A few of the skills we examine are verbal and nonverbal reasoning, visual spatial abilities and memory. We also note how your child handles the parts that come easily and those that are more challenging.

Our IQ testing process only includes the test itself and is followed by feedback to parents and a full written report with interpretations and recommendations. We offer other types of evaluations to look at academic achievements, behavioral or emotional adjustments and learning disabilities. There is no actual reading, writing or math involved in a gifted evaluation, although we know that most of the kids who come to us for gifted testing excel academically.

For eligibility, schools and programs are generally seeking one number. This means that gifted testing for eligibility typically only includes an IQ test and doesn’t necessarily take into consideration other factors that are part of being gifted. Our psychologists are fully prepared to evaluate and understand an individual’s strengths and weaknesses or any underlying learning differences.

The Answers You Need

When everyone around you seems to have “gifted” children, you may find yourself wondering if something is wrong with yours. The answer may be that your child could be standing with the top five kids, not the top two. Or like most people in the world, your child may fall somewhere in the average range, and that’s perfectly okay too!

One thing we know for sure is that effort and determination matter as much, if not more, than IQ points in determining a person’s life path. Whatever the case may be with your child, you can rest assured knowing that Rice Psychology Group will help you find the answers you need. Contact our psychologists in Tampa today for more information about our Testing & Assessment services.

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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