While we often focus on how to help academically struggling children to succeed there is a tendency to forget about kids who are gifted because they easily do what teachers require of them.  When we hear the word “gifted” we quickly assume it means a person has a high IQ, but that is not the only factor used in determining giftedness.  Some common traits and behavior patterns of the gifted are:

  • A score of 130 or higher on a standard intelligence test
  • A desire to complete assignments in different ways than instructed
  • A large vocabulary and a preference for adult conversation
  • An ability to think about things differently than others and to self-teach skills
  • A sensitivity to their environment and a tendency to hyper-focus on tasks
  • Strong feelings about things that are important to them
  • A high level of creativity, artistic or musical ability, and exceptional leadership capabilities

All of these characteristics can lead to a gifted child feeling isolated and becoming very bored in the classroom because they grasp concepts so much more quickly than the average student and are not encouraged to think outside of the box.  Interestingly, some gifted children also have learning disabilities such as ADHD or dyslexia.  These students are referred to as “twice exceptional”.

The Federal government recognizes the need for gifted education, but leaves it up to each state to test and decide how they will manage those identified as gifted.  Most schools require students to be in the top 97 percent of same age peers across all methods of evaluation to be considered for special services.

The purpose of Gifted Education is to correctly identify the abilities of gifted students, to provide appropriate education to these students, and to ensure these students are academically challenged.

Once a child has been identified as gifted through a combination of IQ testing, observation in the classroom, a consideration of behavior in school and at home, and parental input the school will develop a Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP).  This plan is a yearly summary of ways the child is to be educated using Acceleration (curriculum at least one year/level above their current assignment) and/or Enrichment (instruction at current grade/course level with supplementary material to provide extra challenge).

If you feel your child needs to be tested and might require a GIEP, we would be happy to help you navigate that process.

 “Gifted students represent a vital resource that has unlimited potential.  We need to make sure that these exceptional young people have the support and services they need to be successful.”                                                                    -Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley