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.
About the author: Lisa 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: email@example.com
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad