Archive for the ‘Education of Gifted Children.’ Category

The challenges that gifted people face

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

TALENT without opportunity achieves nothing. This is the problem facing all gifted people, in society: how will a gifted person find or create opportunities appropriate to that gift?

The greater the gift, the more rarefied the opportunity needs to be, to allow that gift to flourish.

Thus, the gifted person is confronted with an awkward conundrum: the more profound their gifts, the more unlikely it is that they will find the necessary opportunities to allow them to flourish.

There is another problem facing all gifted people in society.

A gifted person is one whose intellectual capacity is greater than the norm.

A moderately gifted person (the lowest level of “gifted”), with an IQ of 130, occurs with a rarity of one person in 44 in a population with a mean IQ of 100 and standard deviation of 15. That means they are brighter than 97.7% of the population.

Posing problems

Even at this low level of giftedness, the moderately gifted person faces discrimination of a different kind: the person presiding over any opportunity, job or a special situation, is not likely to be as bright as he or she is.

This presents a very real problem, as we shall see later.

However, the problem is even more acute for higher levels of giftedness.

The highly gifted person, with an IQ of 145, occurs with a rarity of one person in 741.

This means they are brighter than almost 99.9% of the population.

At this level it is almost certain that anyone empowered to decide over their fate, with respect to any opportunity, is not as bright as they are.

The exceptionally gifted person, with an IQ of 160 or more, occurs with a rarity of one person in 31,560. They are brighter than 99.997% of the population.

At this level, it is quite possible to live out one’s life, and never meet another person as bright.

Needless to say, anyone deciding on whether to offer them an opportunity, or not, is very likely to be less intelligent than they are.

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Gifted Children and Language Development

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

One characteristic of gifted children is advanced language ability, which means these children reach developmental milestones relating to language earlier than developmental charts would indicate. This means that gifted children tend to talk earlier, have larger vocabularies, and use longer sentences than non-gifted children.

How can parents tell if their child’s language development is advanced? A first step is to look at typical language developmental milestones. A second step is to look at what advanced language development is.

Language Developmental Milestones

At three months, a child:

  • Makes cooing and gurgling sounds

At six months, a child:

  • Babbles and makes sing-song sounds

At twelve months, a child:

  • Babbles, but with inflection, which sounds like talking
  • Says first word

At eighteen months, a child:

  • Says 8-10 words others can understand
  • Has vocabulary of about 5 to 40 words, mostly nouns
  • Repeats words heard in conversation
  • Uses “hi,” “bye,” and “please” when reminded

At two years, a child:

  • Has a vocabulary of 150 to 300 words
  • Uses 2-3 word sentences, usually in noun-verb combinations, such as “Dog bark,” but also using inflection with combinations like “More cookie?”
  • Refers to self by name and uses “me” and “mine”

At three years, a child:

  • Uses 3-5 word sentences
  • Asks short questions, usually using “what” or “where.”
  • Has a vocabulary of about 900-1000 words

At four years, a child:

  • Has a vocabulary of about 1,500 to 2,500 words
  • Uses sentences of 5 or more words

At five years, a child:

  • Identifies some letters of the alphabet
  • Uses 6 words in a sentence
  • Uses “and,” “but,” and “then” to make longer sentence

By age six, a child’s language begins to sound like adult speech, including the use of complex sentences, with words like “when,” for example. However, children tend not to use sentences with “although” and “even though” until about age 10.

Advanced Language Development

Early Talking
Gifted children tend to begin talking early. While most children say their first word at around one year of age, gifted children may begin speaking when they are nine months old. Some parents report that their children said their first word even earlier than that, as early as six months of age.

Some parents have even reported that their children tried very hard to form words at three months! However, most babies are simply not physically developed sufficiently to control their mouths, tongue, and lips well enough to make the speech sounds they need. They may purse their lips and nearly turn blue with the effort and then become quite frustrated when they can’t make the sounds they want to make.

Teaching babies sign language is a good way to help these children express themselves without vocalization.

It’s important to note that not all gifted children speak early. In fact, some gifted children are late talkers, not talking until they are two years old or even older. When they do speak, however, they sometimes skip over the stages of language development and may begin speaking in full sentences. While early talking is a sign of giftedness, not speaking early is not an indication that a child is not gifted.

Advanced Vocabulary
An advanced vocabulary can mean two different things. It can mean the number of words a child uses and it can mean the types of words a child uses.

While a non-gifted child may have a vocabulary of 150-300 words at age two, gifted children may have surpassed the 100 word mark by the time they are eighteen months old. At eighteen months, most children have a vocabulary of from five to twenty words, although some do reach the fifty-word milestone by the time they are two years old. In their second year, most children increase their vocabulary to up to 300 words. Gifted children, however, will have a larger working vocabulary, approaching that of a four year old or even older children.

The other type of advanced vocabulary refers to the types of words a child has in his or her vocabulary. Typically, the first words a child learns will be nouns: mama, daddy, dog, ball, bird, etc. After that, simple verbs are added, for example, want, go, see, give. Gifted children, however, will be adding connecting words, such as and or even because. By age three, gifted children might also have added transitional words, such as however or multisyllabic words like appropriate.

Sentence Structures
A typical two-year old can construct sentences of two or three words, often without a verb. For example, a child might say, “There cat” for “There is a cat.” A gifted child, however, will often be able to speak in fuller sentences at age two and by age three, their language may already resemble adult speech. They are able to use time markers, like now, later, first, and then, which, along with their advanced vocabulary and more complete sentences, allow them to carry on full conversations with adults.

Although most gifted children have this kind of advanced language development, its absence does not mean a child is not gifted. The range of normal language development is also as widely variable in gifted children as it is in the non-gifted population. These descriptions of what might be typical in a gifted child are meant to help parents understand what advanced language ability looks like.

by Carol Bainbridge.

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Things Gifted Kids Do and Say

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

If you’re the parent of a gifted child, you know that your child is not quite like the other kids. Sure, your child enjoys playing, argues with siblings, and resists completing chores, just like any other kid. However, there are some things gifted kids do and say that you are pretty sure other kids don’t say and do.

For example, my son loved to learn about outer space and the solar system. He was an early reader and read all he could about that subject. One night, when he was around four years old, he couldn’t sleep. He came to me quite upset because he had just read that Polaris would no longer be the North Star in 2000 years. I’m pretty sure other kids don’t lose sleep over the fate of Polaris.

And then there were the many times when my verbally gifted son would correct other people’s grammar. At age five, he was quite the expert and disliked it when people made grammar mistakes. If someone said something like “Everyone should pick up their trash,” my little five-year-old would say, “Everyone should pick up HIS OR HER trash.”

I could give many such examples as could most parents of gifted kids. These kinds of stories help people understand that while gifted kids are kids, they often act and think differently from other kids. As a result, being the parent of a gifted child is a bit different than being the parent of a non-gifted child.

Imagine someone asked you, “How do you know you’re the parent of a gifted kid?” How would you answer that question?

Here are a couple of ways I’d answer that question:

You know you’re the parent of a gifted kid when your four-year-old corrects an adult who confused a Brontosaurus with a Brachiosaurus, explaining how to tell the difference between the two, further explaining that the proper name for a Brontosaurus is Apatosaurus.

You know you’re the parent of a gifted kid when your six-year old answers the question of a museum visitor about the constellation Cassiopeia that the museum guide couldn’t answer.

These short stories can help parents of non-gifted kids better understand what gifted kids are like and what it’s like to be the parent of one.

by Carol Bainbridge.

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Top 5 Ways to Nurture Gifted Children

Saturday, November 13th, 2010
“Is my child gifted?” That is the question asked most often by parents of gifted children. After that question, the most frequently asked question is “How do I nurture my gifted child?” Here are five simple answers to that question.
1.  Follow Your Child’s Lead:
What does your child enjoy? What does your child seem to be good at? Provide opportunities for your child to works with things he or she enjoys or is good at. For example, if your child loves dinosaurs, get books about dinosaurs, fiction and non-fiction. Get games and puzzles about dinosaurs. Go see dinosaurs at museums. If your child is good at music or a sport, provide opportunities for him or her to learn an instrument or play a sport.
2.  Expand Your Child’s Interests:
While it’s important to provide opportunities for your child to work with his or her interests and strengths, it is also important to expose your child to new things. Children only know what they have been exposed to, so if they’ve never been exposed to music, they may not know whether they like it or are good at it. Children need not be forced to try new things, but they should be encouraged. It is not forcing a child, however, to insist that they not quit something after two days.
3.  Be Creative:
This may seem as though it’s easier said than done, but once you start thinking “outside the box,” it gets easier. Gifted children love to think and solve problems, so provide them with ample opportunities for doing so. For example, if your preschooler or kindergartner likes to read, you might write daily notes to pack in their lunch box. If your child likes science, you might cook together and then ask your child why vegetables get soft when they’re cooked or why cakes rise when they’re baked.
4.  Look for Outside Activities:
Many towns offer classes for children as do museums, zoos, community theaters, and many universities and community colleges. In addition, most every region has places of historical interest. Some also have botanical gardens, planetariums, and other places of interest. If you are unsure of what is available in your area, you can call or visit the nearest “welcome center” for your state or province. They have this kind of information to give to visitors.
5.  Keep a Variety of Resources at Home:
These resources need not be expensive or elaborate. They just need to allow your gifted child to develop his or her interests or get exposed to new ones. For example, to encourage artistic talent, all you need initially are simple paint brushes and a paint box, plain white paper, crayons, and other basic supplies. It’s not difficult to create boxes of such materials for your child to use whenever he or she is interested.
by Carol Bainbridge.

Top 10 Ways to Motivate Gifted Children

Friday, November 12th, 2010
Parents of gifted children are often surprised and dismayed when their children underachieve in school. Learning disabilities in gifted children can sometimes lead to underachievement, but it is often simply a lack of motivation. Motivating some gifted children can be difficult; neither rewards nor punishments seem to work, especially for intrinsically motivated children. What can parents do to motivate their gifted children? Here are eight ideas to try.
1. Nurture Your Child’s Interests:
To nurture your child’s interests, provide opportunities for him or her to learn and explore that interest. For example, if your youngster loves dinosaurs, get fact and fiction books about dinosaurs and visit natural history museums. If your child loves music, get toy (or real) instruments and consider music lessons. If your child loves science, get science books and science kits and visit science museums. Kids who can explore their interests are more likely to keep their love of learning alive.
2. Expose Your Child to New Ideas and Areas.
Sometimes a child lacks motivation because he or she hasn’t yet been exposed to what might be a life passion. A child whose true passion is music but who has never had a chance to explore it will not be able to unlock that passion. Look for community programs, not just school programs. Don’t overlook traditionally female activities, like dance and gymnastics, for boys. Keep an open mind; it’s your child’s interests that are important.
3. Use Short – Term Goals and Rewards:
Sometimes a child gets overwhelmed by a large task. It’s not that the task is difficult, but the child may not be able to see the light a the end of the tunnel. Rather than begin the task, a child will give up before he or she even begins. Help your child see the task as a series of smaller tasks. Make each small task a goal and try setting a reward for that goal. Sometimes rewards won’t be necessary once a child is able to see the task as a manageable one.
4. Help Your Child Lean to Manage Time:
When they start school, gifted children usually have few problems keeping up with work. They learn quickly and easily. While that may sound like a real advantage, it can lead to problems. These children may never learn to manage their time in order to get work done. At some point, whether in high school or college, they may feel overwhelmed by the work they need to complete and don’t know how to set time aside to complete tasks. Teach your child how to create and use a time-management schedule.
5. Praise Your Child’s Efforts:
Gifted kids sometimes have trouble connecting personal effort to achievement. Much of what they do and learn comes easily to them, so they can achieve with little effort. To help a child succeed, praise efforts at success and make that praise specific. For example, instead of saying “Nice work,” it’s better to say something like, “You worked hard on your science project; you really earned that A.” However, avoid the reverse: don’t say things like, “If you worked harder, you would do better.”
6. Help Your Child Take Control:
Gifted underachievers sometimes see achievement as something beyond their control. If they succeed, it is due to luck or some other external factor. This attitude makes them feel like effort is pointless. Praising their efforts can help, but these children also need to understand the role personal responsibility plays in success. The way you talk about your own life sends a message. Complaining about your boss or blaming your boss for your lack of success at work sends the wrong message.
7. Keep a Positive Attitude About School:
Children need to see that their parents value education. Even if a child’s problems in school are the school’s or teacher’s fault, you need to be careful of what you say. Negative attitudes toward school in general will transfer to your child. If school is a problem, you can point out that even though problems can occur, education s still valuable and effort will eventually lead to success. Blaming the school will allow the child to avoid personal responsibility.
8. Help Your Child Make Connections Between Schoolwork and Their Interests:
Sometimes children lack motivation because they don’t see a connection between the work they are being asked to do and their goals and interests. A child who wants to be an astronaut should know that math and science is important in those jobs. A little research may be necessary to find requirements of various jobs. However, unmotivated gifted children generally don’t focus on anything but the present. Two weeks in the future is even hard for some of them to imagine.
9. Turn Homework Into Creative Games:
Gifted children love a challenge, so by turning otherwise dull homework into a challenging game, you can get your child to do it. Some children like to race, so you can ask them to see how quickly they can get it done — without mistakes. Checking their work lets them see you care about it. Another creative approach to homework is to link it to an interest. For example, a dull math worksheet can be the decoding assignment of an astronaut’s space mission to Mars. Unless the work is done correctly, the mission will fail. Even the smallest mistake can create a problem that can cause the mission to fail.
10. Keep in Mind the Motivation is Not Always About School Achievement. We often equate motivation with school achievement. However, it’s important to note that some children are highly motivated to achieve goals, but those goals are unrelated to school. A gifted teen, for example, may be more interested in creating a volunteer community program for the elderly or for the underprivileged.
Achievement is Not Motivation.
It’s important to remember that while you may get your child to get homework done, he or she may never be truly motivated to do it.
by Carol Bainbridge.

Should Gifted Children Be Told They Are Gifted?

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Many people believe that it is not good to tell children they are gifted because it will cause the children to get an inflated ego. The children could become arrogant and intolerant of others. These people also believe that children who are told they are gifted can develop socialization problems and become isolated from others.

Some of these people even disapprove of the term gifted since they feel it implies a child has a “gift,” something that other children do not have. This feeling stems from a belief that all children are equal and is the same feeling that leads some people to believe that all children are gifted.

The truth is that gifted children sense at a very young age that they are not like other children. They can easily misinterpret their feelings of being different as something negative, often seeing themselves as flawed in some way, as having something wrong with them. It can come as a great relief to gifted children to learn that they are not flawed and that there is a reason they feel different.

Gifted children can often feel quite isolated and alone and develop social problems because of their being different. They may have a hard time making friends or they may feel misunderstood and disliked. In most cases, gifted children have these problems only in school settings where they are forced to create friendships with their age mates. Children who have problems socializing with other children in school generally have no trouble making and maintaining friendships with older children or with other gifted children.

Telling a child he or she is gifted will not make a child feel different; chances are that child is already feeling different, and discussing giftedness will help that child understand those feelings. Pretending it doesn’t exist will not make it go away any more than pretending a disability doesn’t exist will make that disability go away.

Your gifted child may find one of these books helpful in helping him or her understand giftedness:

by Carol Bainbridge.

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Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Definition: Intelligence

There are probably as many definitions of intelligence as there are experts who study it. Simply put, however, intelligence is the ability to learn about, learn from, understand, and interact with one’s environment. This general ability consists of a number of specific abilities, which include these specific abilities:

  • Adaptability to a new environment or to changes in the current environment
  • Capacity for knowledge and the ability to acquire it
  • Capacity for reason and abstract thought
  • Ability to comprehend relationships
  • Ability to evaluate and judge
  • Capacity for original and productive thought

Additional specific abilities might be added to the list, but they would all be abilities allowing a person to learn about, learn from, understand, and interact with the environment. Environment in this definition doesn’t mean the environment of the earth, such as the desert, the mountains, etc., although it can mean that kind of environment. It has a wider meaning that includes a person’s immediate surroundings, including the people around him or her. Environment in this case can also be something as small as a family, the workplace, or a classroom.

by Carol Baindridge.

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How to Maintain and Grow the Giftedness in Children

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Q: There are a number of checklists to identify gifted children, identification is an easy task — comparatively. But how should one maintain that the “giftedness” continues to “grow” in the child.

p/s. keep in mind that this is regarding Indian children.

A: The biggest loss of potential is when they burn out. One must also realize that giftedness is for life, but the extent to which it is demonstrated over time would depend on how their potential is nurtured. It also depends on how giftedness is viewed. One may think that their child is no longer gifted when his/her grades slip. We must be aware that gifted students may not always test well. It really depends on how a gifted child views testing. If he/she does not see a purpose and meaning to testing, s/he may not test well, much to the disappointment of adults, namely parents and teachers.

Gifted children need differentiation in learning; hence teaching techniques used should promote higher order and creative thinking which enhances the staying power and passion for learning. They need to be interested in what they learn and not merely studying for good grades – otherwise they may burn out. In other words, gifted children are more intrinsically motivated.

There are indeed two categories of high achievers – one that is high achieving alone but not gifted; and one that is both gifted and high achieving. The high achiever will score A’s by working hard and memorizing facts for extrinsic reasons whereas the gifted would do well due to intrinsic motivation by simply enjoying learning. To ensure giftedness is demonstrated, gifted children need learning beyond classroom teaching. They also need to be interested and kept interested in what they learn to achieve long term goals. Help the child think about the future so they are able to develop a vision to in turn, help them engage in learning for a purpose.

Giftedness is universal in most cases. As long as educational experiences are quite standard, racial differences should not make a difference; most of the differences would be due to the kind of nurturing and environment the child is in.

by Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

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Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Definition: IQ is a measure of relative intelligence determined by a standardized test. The first intelligence test was created in 1905 by Alfred Binet and Théophile Simon to determine which French school children were too “slow” to benefit from regular instruction. Binet came up with the idea of mental age when he noticed that children are increasingly able to learn difficult concepts and perform difficult tasks as they get older. Most children reach the same level of complexity at about the same time, but some children are slower reaching those levels. A 6-year-old child who can do no more than a 3-year-old has a mental age of 3. Wilhelm Stern divided the mental age by the chronological age to get a “Mental Quotient.”

Mental Age/Chronological Age = Mental Quotient

A 6-year-old able to do only what a 3-year-old can do has a Mental Quotient of .5 or ½ (3 divided by 6). Lewis Terman later multiplied the Mental Quotient by 100 to remove the fraction and the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) was born!

Mental Age/Chronological Age X 100 = Intelligence Quotient

The 6-year-old with the Mental Quotient of ½ has an IQ of 50.

The majority of people have an IQ between 85 and 115.

by Carol Bainbridge.

What is a Gifted Child?

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

High IQ:

  • Mildly Gifted — 115 to 129
  • Moderately Gifted — 130 to 144
  • Highly Gifted — 145 to 159
  • Exceptionally Gifted — 160 to 179
  • Profoundly Gifted — 180

These ranges are based on a standard bell curve. Most people fall in the range between 85 and 115, with 100 the absolute norm. This range is considered normal. The farther away from the absolute norm of 100 a child is, the greater the need for special educational accommodations, regardless of whether the distance is on the left or right of 100.

Exceptional Talent:

Exceptional talent is the ability to perform a skill at a level usually not reached until later years, sometimes as late as adulthood. A three-year old may be reading like a third grader or a nine-year-old may be playing piano like an 18 year old, who has studied for years. If the exceptional talent is in a non-academic area such as music or art, the children may not be identified as gifted by the school because most testing for gifted programs is based on academic ability or achievement.

High Achievement:

Gifted children are usually, but not always, high achievers. Even when they don’t achieve good grades, they tend to score high on achievement tests, most often in the 95-99 percentile range. They love to learn and their love of learning, good memories, and ability to learn quickly and easily enable them to succeed. However, if a gifted child has lost the motivation to learn, he or she may not do well in school, although achievement test scores will usually remain high.

Potential to Achieve or Excel:

Whether or not a gifted child excels in school, he or she has the potential to do so. Many gifted children are intrinsically motivated, which means the motivation comes from within. They become motivated by interest and challenge. When these children are interested and appropriately challenged, they can and will achieve. However, even though a gifted child may not be achieving in school, he or she may still be learning and achieving on their own at home.

Heightened Sensitivity:

Although heightened sensitivity is rarely, if ever, used to identify gifted children in school, it is so common among gifted children that it is one of the characteristics that set them apart from other children. They may be emotionally sensitive, crying over what others considered trivial. They may be physically sensitive, bothered by tags on shirts or seams on socks. Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski called these “over-excitabilities.”
by Carol Bainbridge.