Multiples?

Amy - posted on 09/01/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I don't know if this is the right place to put this, but I had a question about gifted children. Is it common for siblings of a gifted child to also be gifted?

My 8 year old is in 3rd grade, and this is her second year in the gifted program. Our school system doesn't begin SAGE (Students in Academically Gifted Education) until 2nd grade, but my oldest was tested for it at the end of her 1st grade year. We moved into the area halfway through the year, so when they gave her an assessment exam, and she completed it on her own in less than 10 minutes, the librarian, who also happened to be a SAGE Reading Assistant, took notice. In the span of about an hour, she had completed the 2nd and 3rd grade exit exams flawlessly, and gone through the exit vocab lists all the way through 7th grade before being given a word she couldn't spell and define. Needless to say she got a high recommendation and began SAGE at the beginning of 2nd grade, rather than in the second semester like most kids. By the time she took her first SAGE assessment, she was 7 and finished out at a 5th grade reading comprehension level, and a 4th grade math comprehension level. She recently started 3rd grade in SAGE, and at 8yrs, her reading comprehension took her through books like the Percy Jackson series, and the 39 Clues series over the Summer. She reads her dictionary for fun, and has recently discovered that Encyclopedias are even better.

All that being said, every time she does something, or says something, beyond her years, it's pretty expected. Her little sister however, has, in my opinion, always been "par for the course" if that makes any sense. She has always held her own in class, but never excelled in any particular area. Since Preschool, she has always been where her age group was expected to be, never ahead, never behind. In fact, the only thing I ever noticed Olivia doing that is uncharacteristic for her age, is her level of intuition and empathy, but I always attributed that to her diagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder. So I was a little taken aback when her 2nd grade teacher came to me the other day, and asked me if I ever thought of testing her for SAGE.

Is it common to have multiple gifted children in the same family? Should I have her tested based on the fact that her sister is highly gifted? Or would I be setting her up for disappointment by trying to fit her into her sister's mold? Also, should I expect to go through this all over again when my Kindergartner gets to 2nd grade? The youngest, I'm fairly certain will also be in SAGE, because comparatively, she is just as advanced, if not more advanced, than the oldest was at the same age.

I hope I haven't rambled too much. Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks!
Amy

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4 Comments

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Candi - posted on 09/10/2010

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Its common for siblings to be pretty much on the same level (gifted or not). I think it depends on genetics as well as environment. When we lived in TX, my son's teacher requested the school to test him for gifted classes. That was in 1st grade. He passed with flying colors. The school would not release his IQ score though. That keeps the kids from saying "i'm smarter than you" to the other kids! Coming out of 1st grade, my son was on 5th grade reading level and advanced in math, science, etc. My daughter is 16 months younger than my son. Her attitude is "I will learn it if I have to." Even though she never makes below an A in anything, she is not on the gifted level. She works hard for her grades and she is proud of herself. My youngest daughter is 5 yrs younger than my second and she is showing signs of giftedness. Now we live in VA and found out they test kids in 2nd and 5th grades for gifted. That helps figure out where to put kids so they can function to their full potential. My son is now in Middle School, in the highly gifted program still and is loving it. All of his classmates are highly gifted as well, so all the kids are on the same level. My middle child is in 5th grade this year and I know she will be tested. I honestly believe she will be 'gifted' but not highly gifted. I could be wrong. We will move from here before they do the mandatory gifted test on my youngest, so she may not be able to enjoy all the stuff (good and bad) that goes along with being gifted. People should encourage their kids no matter what their status and be proud of them. If one kid is highly gifted and the other is dumb as a rock, both should be treated equally. Good luck

Rebekah - posted on 09/09/2010

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When we had our son assessed the psychologist told us that much of what contributes to IQ is genetic. Spouses are usually within about 10 pts of each other because people are attracted to others who understand them, like discussing the same things, get their jokes, etc. Children are usually within 10-15 pts of the average of the parents. So, it's extremely likely for gifted adults to have gifted children. Likewise, siblings are usually within about 10 pts of eachother. Now, when you have an outlier, like a child with a 180+ IQ, that holds less true, but a sibling within 30 pts of that child would still be well above average. Adoption studies have shown that environment can elevate IQ slightly, but children regress to their biological norm after time away from that environment.

I would consider having your second child tested since there must be something the teacher has noticed. You don't necessarily need to tell her exactly what the test is for. Just tell her that it will help her teachers figure out the best things for her to learn.

Good luck.

Laura - posted on 09/06/2010

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There is a book called parenting guide for gifted children. The research shows that in each family the sibling of a gifted child is usually within 10 points. It can go highter or lower. your situation sound like ours, but with boys. My oldest is 8 and excels at being gifted. Also noticed early, very intense etc. my youngest is 6 and is right where he is suppose to be. Although, he can read really well!!! He hides it and pretends he can't, but it slips out sometimes. The gifted teacher at school is watching him though. They test this week and she will take a look. Because it does run in families and yes yoiu can have multiple gifted kids. I agree with Laura Parents can and do help in giftedness, but also it runs in families. My husband is VERY intelligent, my father was in Mensa, and my brother was identified as gifted. I wasn't because I could not do the spacial part of the test. Even though I passed the rest. That was 30 years ago, today I would be gifted. I have never pushed either of them I let them be how they are. I do answer questions to the best of my ability and if I can't we look up the answer. Good luck

Laura - posted on 09/02/2010

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You pose some excellent questions, Amy.

It has been my experience that "yes" gifted kids run in families. This is my only opinion; however, you might be able to find research on line to back this idea up. My daughter (an only) has been in G/T classes since 2nd grade. The way our school system's program works, the kids test in at 2nd grade and go through the grades as a unit until 6th grade. Needless to say, one gets to know the kids and parents pretty well! Those siblings of my daughter's classmates were also in the G/T program in other grades. That has been my experience and testimonial data isn't very scientific!

I have a theory on way this may be: Parents! Again, just my opinion (though there might be research out there to back it up!). Parents of gifted kids TEACH their children from early on how to do things rather than wait for school. Parents of gifted kids generally understand that little minds are sponges and they work to give these kids things to soak up. I know I did! Genetics of the child, IMO, is a relatively small part of why these kids are gifted. The larger part is because of involved parents who teach their kids and encourage their kids to learn. That's why gifted kids run in families, in my opinion.

You have 3 kids that are exceling in school, perhaps in different ways, but are achieving nonetheless. Your concerns about comparing siblings are valid, but you can reduce the stress on them by encouraging them to each find their own strengths. Refrain from making comparisons--they are each individuals. One might be good at writing while another might excel at music. Encourage them to discover their talents for themselves. Gifted programs can provide opportunities that regular classes can't, so if your kids qualify I would encourage them to try. If a child doesn't like the class or seems to be struggling, then take them out. Encourage them; set expectations that are high but reasonable for each. Make sure that lines of communication are open to you so that they can express their feelings to you--that way you can pick up on possible stress and frustration and be able to deal with it right away. Hope this helps and good luck!

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