More often than not, parents and teachers are on the lookout for learning problems so that they can be remedied at the earliest. But in their quest to do so they often miss out on identifying giftedness. A brilliant mind just like a struggling mind needs to be identified in the early years so that it is molded appropriately and guided in the right direction as early as possible.
According to NAGC – National Association of Gifted Children, ‘almost 6-10% of students are gifted and could benefit from additional support at school’. In numbers, this percentage amount to 3-5 million children in grades K-12. Now, that’s a staggering number of children who could do with special instructions.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Sometimes, learning problems are exactly what parents and teachers need to focus on to identify giftedness. Some children indeed fail to showcase their giftedness positively and tend to behave in a disruptive manner to get attention or express themselves.
It is also important to remember that disruptiveness is not the only sign of giftedness. Some gifted children may also be quiet and do everything in their power to stay hidden in the shadows. Therefore, it is the impetus of parents and teachers to keep a hawk-eye on their wards and identify giftedness early on in academic life.
Problems that May Be Giftedness in Disguise
Here are some signs that may be hiding giftedness in plain sight.
- Getting bored of classroom activities.
- Getting annoyed with instructions.
- Avoiding classes or zoning out between discussions.
- Not doing homework and avoiding classroom activities.
- Throwing tantrums or sensitive behavior.
- Failing to fit in the classroom or make friends.
All of these signs look like a troubled child, but these are also signs of a gifted mind which may be finding it difficult to adjust in a setup that may not serve their IQ and learning requirements. Children who show any, few, or all of these signs should be put through further investigation in the form of rigorous testing or professional evaluation. And once found to be gifted should be immediately directed to a gifted program that suits their temperament.
Advantages of Gifted Education
Gifted education comes with tremendous advantages and that is why it is important to identify giftedness as early as possible. Here are the most important advantages/benefits of gifted programs.
- Tailored Instructions
Gifted programs offer tailored instructions that can engage higher IQ levels. These instructions precisely match the learning requirements of gifted minds and keep them interested in academics. With customized lessons, gifted students absorb more knowledge and learn faster.
- Interesting Curriculum
Gifted programs also have a tailored curriculum that serves the higher learning requirements. They are mostly above-grade and effectively engage brilliant children who generally end up wanting more from the age-specific, traditional curriculum.
A gifted program provides the right incentives and direction to gifted children. It keeps them interested and engaged in academics while improving their productivity at school. As the children grow older, they find themselves focused on their careers with a desire to constantly learn and excel.
- Self Esteem
When children receive the right kind of attention they thrive and do better in academics. Their performance automatically boosts their self-esteem and results in confident individuals who are successful in both professional and personal lives.
- Good Grades
This is a very obvious and important outcome of gifted programs. Children who find themselves in the desired setup, study well and get good grades.
Some More Signs of Giftedness
Here are some more common signs of giftedness that will help you identify them very early in your ward. If you are a teacher, you might also receive formal training in identifying and guiding gifted children. Parents can however run with these signs and get in touch with experts for further resolution.
- Unusual alertness from a very young age
- Extraordinary memory
- Fast/Rapid Learning Capabilities
- Large Vocabulary with Understanding of Complex Sentences
- High level of Curiosity and Sensitivity about the Surroundings
Tests for Identifying Gifted Children
Two of the most common tests used to identify gifted children are CogAT and SCAT. They are conducted across the US to assess and identify children for various gifted programs at the school and district levels. CogAT is conducted for children in K through 12 while SCAT is for students in grades 2-8. Both of them are not IQ tests. Some other formal assessments (IQ Tests) that are conducted to identify gifted students are Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children, Stanford-Binet Fourth Edition, and Stanford-Binet: Form L-M.