Identifying the Gifted Child

There are several ways of identifying the gifted child. It usually begins at home before school starts.


Parents are the first to recognize how their children soak up information and can remember details or words to songs.

They tend to have a good vocabulary, can be sensitive emotionally and physically, and may read before kindergarten.

There are several definitions used to describe the gifted child. They tend to be different depending on the needs of the school.

Recognizing a student as being gifted and having different learning needs then his or her classmates, isn't an issue of how much that child is valued but rather an issue of need.

The definition of giftedness a school uses will have an affect on who will actually be classified as gifted and how well their needs will be met. 

At School

Once at school, the teacher realizes how quickly the child picks up on things.

He or she may already be reading and finishing tasks quicker then their classmates.

The teacher or parent may want the child to be tested to determine the child's needs.

A Professional Opinion

A psychologist or other qualified professional evaluates the child through interviews, parental feedback, and testing. 

Along with IQ tests, there are otherways to recognize gifted children, such as reading assessment and behavioural checklists.

Based on the results, the psychologist generally makes recommendations to the parents and the school.

These may include accelerated learning or grade acceleration.

The Options

At this point, parents are faced with options. Determining what is best for your child is sometimes difficult.

You are often bombarded with negative scenerios regarding grade acceleration.

Research shows that grade acceleration is a positive experience for the gifted child.

There is also differentiated learning, private schools and other choices as well.

Having the evaluation on paper serves to help parents feel good about their choices and equips them to face both the school and principal to discuss what is best for their child.

More Information

Unfortunately, I often hear from the school that they do not have the budget or resources for gifted children.

Somehow not meeting the needs of gifted children has become acceptable. Why?

Yet, not meeting the needs of students with special needs would be seen as unacceptable and rightly so.

What is needed besides more resources is a change in the way society thinks about gifted children.

Talking about the issues that face these children and dispelling the myths that surrounds them is a good start. 

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