Category Archives: Identification

Characteristics of Gifted Children

 

Characteristics need to go beyond simple checklists to determine the extent of a child’s giftedness. Observation is often the first step in deciding whether or not to begin the identification process. It’s important to know what you are looking for and why. Checklists aside, characteristics may include mastery of a particular discipline that begins much younger than in age-peers, more easily, and much faster. Gifted children may display ‘near obsessive’ interests which go well beyond those of age-mates. They may be drawn to others with similar approaches/interests.

Understanding what to look for when identifying a gifted child has implications for both teachers and parents. Teachers need to know how to modify learning environment and curriculum based on unique characteristics of their students. Parents need to understand characteristics of gifted children to inform parenting decisions that go beyond consideration of academic performance and also considers the importance of their child’s all around environment. They should understand that gifted children need to be nurtured with attention paid to their child’s gifted characteristics.

Incorrect diagnosis is often the result of professionals lacking information and experience about what it means to be gifted. It’s important for professionals to have foundational knowledge of gifted characteristics and parents should question anyone dealing with their child beforehand to determine if they are qualified to assess the child. Different abilities may mask each other making a diagnosis or determination more difficult; especially when identifying gifted children with learning differences.

How do Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities relate to characteristics of gifted children? Dąbrowski’s work did not originate in the area of giftedness, but has been subsequently recognized and applied to the study of gifted individuals. Although not originally posited for gifted individuals only, Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities were adopted by gifted advocates and academics as a way to explain many of the behaviors they saw in the gifted. Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities included Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. Creative and gifted individuals appear to express OEs to a greater degree through increased intensity, awareness and sensitivity.

As a field, gifted education is often criticized for its lack of diversity in gifted programs; especially in public schools. What characteristics of GT children should we look for in underrepresented populations? Intelligence tests are notoriously biased both in fairness to diverse populations and the scope of which they test; in areas, such as, math or verbal reasoning. Skills and characteristics that can be overlooked in diverse populations (ethnicity, low SES) include a child’s ability to make intellectual connections far beyond age-peers or possessing a voracious curiosity.

Defining what it means to be gifted has evolved over the past few decades. Has this been reflected in what we look for as being gifted in the 21st century? Do preferred educational outcomes influence what is thought to be gifted characteristics? What one looks for influences the questions asked; take into consideration how assessments have changed to look beyond how quickly content/knowledge is acquired or remembered. In-demand skills such as the ability to think critically, creativity, collaboration, learning from failure, problem solve … these require rethinking how we see who is gifted. High achievers do not always meet the definition of gifted individuals. Today we look for a child who is able to assess their own strengths and weakness, determine their own learning goals, create learning objectives, and communicate what they know in novel ways.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

What is Gifted and Talented?

Closing the Gifted Gap: Recognizing Characteristics of Giftedness in Underrepresented Populations (Vimeo 45:44)

Gifted Children: What to Look For? Why You Should Know? (YouTube 16:11)

Cognitive Characteristics of the Gifted – Reconceptualized in the Context of Inquiry Learning and Teaching

What is “Gifted” or “High Ability?”

Characteristics of High Ability Learners

Characteristics of Gifted Students: Age and Gender. Findings from Three Decades

The Curse of Genius

Giftedness 101 (Silverman)

Common Traits and Characteristics of Gifted Children

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals

50 Common Characteristics of Gifted Children (Slideshare)

Characteristics and Signs of Giftedness

Recognizing Gifted Students: A Practical Guide for Teachers (pdf)

New Zealand: Characteristics of the gifted – Ngā pūmanawa kia manawa tītī

Characteristics of Giftedness

How to Spot a Gifted Student

Giftedness and the Gifted: What’s It All About?

Kazimierz Dąbrowski Interview 5 – University of Alberta (YouTube 1:00)

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 30: Beneath the Surface of Giftedness

A New Window for Looking at Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 21: Opening Doors To Diversity In Gifted Education

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

 

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The Purple Goldfish Theory: What Your Child Already Knows about Being Gifted

gtchat 08232018 Goldfish

Jamie Uphold, Gifted Youth Programs Manager for American Mensa, joined us at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT to chat about her “The Purple Goldfish Theory: What Your Child Already Knows about Being Gifted.” She described her role at American Mensa, “I’m a (recovering) educator with a passion for gifted youth. Now, I create programs, curate resources, and perform outreach for gifted youth.”

Jamie wrote an excellent follow-up blog post describing the theory on Mensa’s blog. In the post, Jaime writes, “Gifted kids are like purple goldfish. They spend all day swimming along in school with all the other goldfish. But unlike the other fish, they are purple — and they swim backward! They know they’re different from the other kids. No one has to tell them; they realize it on their own. And while purple goldfish know they are different, they don’t necessarily know they are gifted.”

Gifted children learn what it means to be gifted in many different ways. Many do not question the concept until they are identified at school and enter their school’s gifted program. They know they are different from other students around them. How knowledgeable their parent is about what it means to be ‘gifted’ and how they share what they know can have a powerful impact on their child.

Parents sometimes wonder if they should even tell their child they are gifted. Dr. Gail Post, Clinical Psychologist, stated emphatically, “Yes – it validates, provides clarity and perspective on what they already suspect and don’t understand. [Parents] need to explain it carefully, ensuring they [the child] don’t assume they are better than others, or take on undue burdens.” Jamie explained, “The value is in understanding how their brain is wired differently; not in an assessment received from a test. Information, for them, is received and perceived differently than their peers.” Telling a child they are gifted and/or talented should be accompanied by the ‘perspective’ as related by Dr. Jim Delisle that they at ‘better at’ rather than ‘better than’ their age-peers . Jamie believes that “early and honest communication about giftedness can mean the difference between arrogance and understanding.”

How should information about a child’s giftedness be shared with their educational team? If a gifted IEP is mandated, a formal process for sharing information through formal regular meetings with the team and a general understanding of who to contact will already be in place. The sharing of information is highly dependent on the personnel with whom you were sharing the information. Some teachers are more receptive and knowledgeable; making the whole process smoother. Jamie implored parents, “Don’t assume that teachers know what your child needs. They often don’t get the information necessary to make those assessments until later in the year. Simple outreach sparks dialogue.There’s no one-size-fits all approach. Every gifted child is different and has different needs. Giftedness doesn’t fit into neat check-boxes.”

What are the challenges of being ‘purple’ (gifted)? Jamie stated, “It’s hard to be the smartest kid in the room. Kids want to fit in, and GT kids often don’t — they think deeper, react stronger, and don’t transition as quickly. None of these traits are preferable in traditional school settings.” Being gifted is too often about simply being viewed as ‘smart’ when it’s usually much more complicated;  it’s a ‘marching to the beat of a different drummer’ scenario. GT kids can be teased and bullied by other kids and adults to the point of wanting to hide their abilities or ignore them. This can lead to emotional challenges as they get older.

Justine Hughes, educator in Auckland, New Zealand,  warned, “the quote that “All kids are gifted they just unwrap their gifts at different times” has become a dangerous mantra leading to needs not being met. Jamie added, “How many of those kids would return that gift if they could, just to be ‘normal’?”

There are many resources to help children learn about being gifted and for parents on raising a gifted child. Great organizations include American Mensa, Mensa for Kids, Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT), NAGC, SENG, Davidson Gifted, Hoagies Gifted, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, the Institute for Educational Advancement, the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education, and WCGTC.

Gifted children need to associate with intellectual peers whether at school or socially regardless of what anyone else says. This doesn’t mean exclusively; but it must be a major consideration. They need to be challenged in the early years academically. Without it; they will have difficulty later on and it can result in innumerable problems.

“Purple goldfish have extra challenges. Often people assume that a gifted kid, and by extension their parents, have it easy when it’s often the exact opposite. Gifted children can struggle with social norming and are sometimes in stages of development and emotional maturity that make it harder to bond with their peers. Statistically, gifted individuals are 1 out of 100; this means that 99 percent of their peers are different from them. And this is before we add any additional diagnoses. It’s hard to be a purple goldfish! And these kids nevertheless want to find other purple goldfish – their people.” ~ Jamie Uphold, American Mensa 

Check out the transcript of this chat at Wakelet to see what else chat participants said parents need to remember most about having a purple goldfish. Then, refer to the resources below which were shared during the chat!

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Mensa for Kids (website)

American Mensa (website)

Inspiring Self-Efficacy in Gifted Kids

Coloring Outside the Lines – Growing Up Gifted

Jim Delisle Presentation – Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Children

Identity Development in Intellectually Gifted Students

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

Unexpected Challenges of Being a Gifted Kid

Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

Growing Resilient Gifted Kids

Cybraryman’s Growth Mindset Page

Should we tell them they’re gifted? Should we tell them how gifted?

Resources from Jamie’s blog post:

Pros and Cons of Telling Children They Are Gifted

Is My Child Gifted?

What to say to your gifted child…about being gifted 

Is your kid really gifted? Probably not

Should we tell them they’re gifted? Should we tell them how gifted?

Talking about Giftedness: The Elephant in the Room

Your Kids Are Gifted. Should You Tell Them?

Image and graphics courtesy of American Mensa.

Humor and Gifted Kids

gtchat 07192018 Humor

This week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT we explored the relationship between humor and gifted kids. Our guest was Jo Freitag, #gtchat Advisor and founder/coordinator of Gifted Resources in Victoria, Australia. She also blogs at the Gifted Resources Blog and  Sprite’s Site. Jo wrote a great post at Sprite’s Site about this week’s chat, The Punch Line!

Gifted children with advanced abilities well beyond their years can manipulate and play with words in demonstrating verbal ability. They enjoy puns and word games which lead to seeing everyday situations in a comedic light.

Recognition and appreciation of adult humor is often part of an extensive native knowledge base possessed by intellectually gifted children. They may enjoy absurd types of humor such as Monty Python. Higher levels of intelligence permit the gifted child to be more quick witted and display a sense of humor that belies their ability to interpret everyday experiences in a different light than age-peers or even older children.

What are some of the downsides of verbal ability for gifted children? Language abilities tend to shine a light on gifted children making them a target of age-peers who don’t understand them. This can lead to teasing and verbal bullying. When bored in the classroom, gifted children may be prone to express thoughts and feelings conceived as being a ‘class clown’; considered an annoyance by teachers and even other high achievers in the classroom.

Teachers and professionals can use ‘sense of humor’ as an indicator of giftedness.  Recognizing a mature sense of humor is an easy way to begin the identification process. Expressions of humor deemed beyond that of age-peers may reveal a gifted child in hiding. Teachers and professionals can provide opportunities for gifted students to express humor in settings such as school talent shows.

What can teachers do to develop humor potential in gifted children? They may use satire in Greek drama, political cartooning, or investigate bathos (anticlimax; especially in literature) and pathos (pity, sadness; in rhetoric, film, or literature) to develop humor potential in gifted children. Teachers can encourage using humor appropriately and at appropriate times; using humor for positive purposes; and give students time to explore different types of humor. They should model appropriate forms of humor that show students the need to be considerate of others’ feelings; emphasizing the importance of developing positive relationships with age-peers.

Humor can also help gifted children deal with stress. At work and school, it can increase creative output and thus reduce negativity associated with stress. Humor is a natural way to reduce stress; to recognize social injustice and work to seek a way forward involving fairness and equality in society. Humor and laughter can enhance enjoyable leisure activities. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

It’s a Funny Thing: A Gifted Child’s Sense of Humor

Characteristics of Gifted Children: A Closer Look

Verbal Humor in Gifted Students and Students in the General Population: A Comparison of Spontaneous Mirth and Comprehension (Abstract Only)

Affective Trait 5: Advanced Sense of Humour (pdf)

The Double-Edged Sword of Giftedness, Part 2: Affective Traits

Tips for Parents: Teaching the Use of Humor to Cope with Stress

An Investigation of the Role of Humor in the Lives of Highly Creative Young Adults (pdf)

The Power of Humor in Ideation and Creativity

Haha and aha! : Creativity, Idea Generation, Improvisational Humor, and Product Design (pdf)

The Power of Laughter: Seven Secrets to Living and Laughing in a Stressful World (Amazon)

The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach (Amazon)

Using Improvisation to Enhance the Effectiveness of Brainstorming (pdf)

How to Spot a Gifted Child

Raisin’ Brains: Surviving My Smart Family (Amazon)

Neuroscience of Giftedness: Greater Connectivity Across Brain Regions

Class Clown or Gifted Student? It’s A Matter of Perspective

Comedians’ Smarts, Humor, and Creativity

How Laughing Leads to Learning

The Benefits of Humor in the Classroom

Using Humor in the Classroom

Edublogs Webinar Overview – Using ToonDoo

Health Benefits of Laughter (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Words Page

Cybraryman’s Humor in the Classroom Page

Cybraryman’s Educational Puns Page

Photos courtesy of Jo Freitag and Natasha Bertrand.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Early Learning Interventions for Gifted Kids

gtchat 04192018 Early Interventions

Is it possible to provide early intervention for gifted children without formal identification? Very young children have difficulty paying attention during testing and easily distracted. A young gifted child’s performance on tests can be highly variable and thus deemed not as reliable as for older children. That said, not only is it possible to provide early intervention without formal identification; it is often necessary.

There is strong support for early intervention for gifted children based on developmentally appropriate practice; taking both age and individual appropriateness into account (Bredekamp,1987; Bredekamp & Rosegrant, 1992). Informal identification should be based on teacher and caregivers’ observation across domains – cognitive, aesthetic, social-emotional, motor, language – taking into consideration expected behaviors for the age of the child.

“Early intervention is critical to support students’ cognitive and affective growth. Enriched and engaging environments during early childhood years can lead to enhanced educational success. Early enrichment as a form of intervention is even more critical for bright learners who come from poverty or traditionally underrepresented populations.” (Keri M. Guilbault, Ed.D.) “Early educational experiences of many young gifted children provide limited challenge and hinder their cognitive growth rather than exposing learners to an expansive, engaging learning environment.” (NAGC)

Characteristics ‘usually’ associated with early giftedness include excellent memory beyond expectation for a specific age; mature thinking on complicated tasks; or precocious development of a specific skill. Early giftedness may be expressed by self-management of personal learning; seeking new and novel experiences; early reading; delight in problem solving. Young gifted children may seek older playmates; engage in imaginative play; display an advanced vocabulary; demonstrate asynchronous development.

Special activities and/or accommodations provided in the early childhood classroom or child care environment  may include providing opportunities to interact with mental peers; opportunities to think both divergently and convergently – experiences with more than on answer. Very young gifted children need exposure to social situations which respect the contributions of less-able children and foster recognition of the worth of all abilities. Young gifted children are individuals with different needs. They shouldn’t be expected to take on additional tasks or those beyond development capabilities. Consider exposure to a variety of experiences.

What can parents do to make sure their child receives needed interventions during early childhood? They can create a portfolio of their child’s work to serve as a basis for consideration in later identification. They can keep a diary of milestones and skills attainment. Parents should take care not to place unnecessary expectations on their child. They can provide opportunities for exploration of interests with trips to the library, visits to museums and cultural events, and nature experiences. A transcript may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Gifted Children Have Special Needs, Too

AUS: Identify Gifted Children

AUS: Gifted and Talented Education – Identification (pdf)

The Gifted and Talented Child: Best Practices for Identifying Gifted Students (pdf)

NZ: E-Portfolios as a Tool for Supporting Gifted Children in New Zealand Early Childhood Education Centres A Critical Appraisal

Early Enrichment for Young Gifted Children

Psycho-Pedagogical and Educational Aspects of Gifted Students, Starting from the Preschool Age; How Can Their Needs Be Best Met?

Small Poppies: Highly Gifted Children in the Early Years

Practical Recommendations and Interventions: Gifted Students (pdf)

A Different Perspective to the Early Intervention Applications during Preschool Period: Early Enrichment for Gifted Children

Serving Twice-Exceptional Preschoolers: Blending Gifted Education and Early Childhood Special Education Practices in Assessment and Program Planning (pdf)

Appropriate Practices for Screening, Identifying and Serving Potentially Gifted Preschoolers (pdf)

Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at School and at Home (8th Edition) (Amazon)

Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum: Best Practices in Early Childhood Education (Amazon)

Cybraryman’s Early Intervention Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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