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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad
Global #gtchat welcomed Dr. Joy Lawson Davis as we discussed “Diversity in Gifted Education”. Dr. Davis is the author of Bright, Talented and Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners; the Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette; and Chair of the National Association of Gifted Children’s Diversity & Equity Committee. The complete transcript of this chat can be found here.
The opening question was, “What would you like us to know about the lack of diversity in U.S. gifted education programs?” Her reply, “Inequity affects certain groups more than others: Black, Hispanic, Native American, in particular. Gifted classrooms in some areas are the most segregated in America! The huge challenge before us ALL is to ensure that Gifted Education & Equity co-exist peacefully. Radical changes in attitudes about racially diverse students and those who come from low SES (socio-economic status) backgrounds can make a difference. Performance-based assessments, use of ‘talent spotting’, and universal screening are just a few of strategies.”
Next, we asked Dr. Joy ~ “What modifications should be made to assessments/identification process to be more culturally sensitive?” She replied ~ “Using culturally unbiased testing; some verbal tests that were not normed on a diverse population will not give the best results. Assessing students in their native language, training more diverse personnel in gifted education can help. If teachers are culturally insensitive; then they will overlook, misdiagnose, and simply ignore giftedness in diverse children.”
In closing, Dr. Davis reminded us that “We can do this!! Working together we can ERADICATE under-representation of culturally diverse students in gifted education worldwide!” We at #gtchat believe this is a timely and important topic that must be kept on the front burner! Special thanks to Dr. Davis for joining us!
Dr. Joy Lawson Davis website
Bright, Talented and Black (Amazon)
Senginar w/ Dr. Joy Davis ‘Addressing Unique Challenges of Culturally Diverse Gifted Learners’ Feb 12th
We Are Gifted2 (Dr. Joy’s Blog)
Interview of Dr. Davis on Ingeniosus
SENG Conference to Highlight Diversity in Gifted Education
Education of Special Populations of Gifted Students (.pdf 355 pgs)
Joy Lawson Davis @ Great Potential Press
Joy Lawson Davis Bio on Amazon
Cybraryman’s Multicultural Celebration Page
Cybraryman’s Culture Page