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Gifted?

Amber - posted on 11/25/2008 ( 41 moms have responded )

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What would anyone consider gifted these days? Curious.

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Deborah - posted on 12/01/2008

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Gifted is a generic term and could mean something different to different people. There is gifted in the arts/music and athletics. And then there is gifted in the 'intelligent' side which of course does not mean you are not smart and artistic or musical etc. As for the intelligence part there are plenty of books out there but Ruf is considered the bible and she (as well as other experts) break it down into 5 levels. There is the normal level and then it starts level 1 up to level 5. To give you an idea level 1 and 2 or the kiddos that are in AP classes, usually excel in math OR language but not both. These kids usually are fine in public school with some AP classes. Level 3+ gets complicated. These are the highly gifted or as some notate HG+ kids. Level 3 kids usually need to get accelerated (skip grades) or are high risk students b/c they are bored. Level 4 kids are the kids you hear about that start college around 12 - 14 of age. Level 5 kids are even more intense than level 4 and they speculate that these kids appear in a 1:250,000 ratio.

There are clues to figure out when they are babies if you have a HG+ kid. These are the babies that raise their heads from almost birth. Have great eye contact early, etc. I could go on and on but Ruf really lays it out in the levels.

Deborah - posted on 12/19/2008

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Thank you Rebekah! You are so right about the parents and how a lot of us were underachievers b/c schools just did not do that much and our parents did not have the internet at their fingertips so they were less likely to know all of the information that we do. The next line of conversation in regards to this is the gifted adult in the work place. I have heard and experienced myself some horror stories of just not fitting in and how boring the job is. Does anyone here feel that? Jumping jobs or stiffled in their career? It most likely links back to you being gifted yourself and possibly being an under achiever do to your lack of challenges in school. In the past few months as I wrap my head around all of this it became so apparent why I hated the corporate world and was happy to leave it. It also explains why I am such a procrastinator on the simple tasks at the house. Just food for thought: but I read that a lot of our movers and shakers that have changed the world are not in the genius category. Most are IQs of 120. These are the NASA engineers and doctors. I find that amazing and sad b/c that means so much potential is wasted in our schools.

Rebekah - posted on 12/19/2008

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I'm new to COMs and just found this group. Deborah, thanks for the great comments and insight! I just ordered Ruf's book online too and I totally relate to your comment about hyperventilating about gifted education. I guess I could describe myself as one of those gifted underachiever/dropouts and had kind of forgotten (repressed?) my educational experiences so I had a bit of a panic when it finally dawned on me that my son is probably in the HG category and it meant a lot more uncharted territory for us. Glad to find some others who are/have been there and know what we're going through.

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NAOMI - posted on 04/24/2011

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Hi, I've found a couple of listserves to be amazing - they are TAGFAM and TAGMAX. I hope this helps.

Rebekah - posted on 03/26/2011

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Thanks Jennifer.
We've had so many "a-ha" moments in the time since my post in 2009. My son is now 5 and we're working on figuring out school, so we had him formally tested. A-ha! That really opened our eyes. And in that process my husband and I have been on the self-actualization roller coaster and a lot of things make a lot more sense for both of us.
I agree with your idea of finding fulfillment in pursuing your passions. My husband has a hobby that allows him that which he doesn't get in his job. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave me as much time for doing those things myself, but at the moment I'm happy with just getting through the current challenges of raising the children (and they make sure it's challenging!) and have ideas filed away for "someday".

Jennifer - posted on 03/25/2011

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@ Rebekah: I am also the consummate genius underachiever. In my early thirties I entered a program for unemployed workers with additional barriers due to my history of anxiety. As part of the program they gave me an IQ test. I tested at the 99.9th percentile, but was also diagnosed with learning disabilities. (I am probably at least a 3, as I am strong in both language and math categories.)

I think the "fulfilling your potential" idea is a really loaded idea. When someone who is of more typical abilities sees someone who is "gifted," they assume the gifted person can do everything the non-gifted person can do too. I think so-called giftedness comes with its own unique challenges. I don't think people who are gifted need to be further burdened with a greater responsibility towards humanity than anyone else.

I think ideally one pursues one's passion. That way one has a better chance to feel fulfilled. Raising a family is a legitimate endeavour in and of itself. In my case,even though I excelled at math (and other things), I don't find it any more interesting than a screwdriver. To me both are just tools. I finally went back to college in my 30's and got a social service diploma. I now work with immigrants as a settlement worker (NGO government-funded program in Canada). I must know about many, many different things and never know what new situation I will encounter. I jokingly call myself a specialized generalist. lol My job allows me to use my excellent problem-solving skills in a very practical way, plus I get to work in an environment built around respecting diversity, so I am accepted for being different. I also think working with people challenges me and keeps me interested because I am definitely not socially gifted! I think that is what draws me to the social work field. I get to go to school and have people teach me about people! lol Ironically, my work also requires me to use plain, simple language. By pursuing my passion, I have ended up making my own contribution in my own way.



My younger son is less intellectually gifted than his brother, but much better at self-regulating and very socially successful. My goal for him is to be a B student. I've decided that B students are most likely to lead happy, productive lives. They are usually socially more successful and will get good jobs because people like them. My husband is like that. He is very bright, but not to the same extent as me or my eldest son.



Incidentally, if you haven't been tested, I recommend getting yourself tested if you can. For me, it was a real a-ha thing.

Candy - posted on 12/23/2010

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Thought you guys might be interested in an article I wrote on gifted preschoolers, which has a list of some of the characteristics you can use to identify very young gifted kids. It's posted on my blog at http://auntannieschildcare.blogspot.com/
-enjoy! Totally free to read, no catch... I'm just a keen educator who likes to advocate for gifted kids.

Deborah - posted on 01/09/2009

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Quoting Tarilyn:

Deborah...I myself am an "underachiever" gifted person. I quit school after grade 9 because I was immensely bored! I moved 2 hours away from where I had lived my entire life, a couple weeks before I started highschool...so the gifted performing arts high school I was suppose to go to, I could not attend! I am considered gifted level 4 bordering on 5 according to many "specialists". Now my daughter is 19 months and I am afraid she will just as gifted or more so then me. She was holding her head up at birth...talking before 2 months...holding eye contact a couple days old...she knew peoples faces by a couple weeks old...she was talking in sentences before 4 months old...walking by 5-6 months old...now at 19 months she can do so much...mentally a 6-7 year old at least....my doctor has sent us to many "specialists" to learn how to deal with it. Nothing is working...any advice for what I can do? Because mentally she is SO advanced compared to her physical body...she gets VERY frustrated. She doesn't associate with kids, because she gets bored with them...she only likes adults...and at 19 months, I don't know HOW to socialize her, let alone deal with her being gifted!!! I'm already homeschooling her (our city has a homeschooling association, who normally does not let kids under 5 in, BUT made an exception with my daughter, after they met with her and saw how gifted she really was). I am afraid though, that by homeschooling her so young, that when its time for her to start school, I wont be able to...although I am all for homeschooling and have considered it for when she starts...I just don't know what to do and I am frustrated!!! Anyone have anything that could help (preferably without spending any money...or very little...as money is very tight, since I can not work)


Tarilyn:



It sounds like you do in fact have a HG+ toddler on your hands and I understand your fears by reading your background on yourself. There is a couple of things that I would say per your comment. First: the mental part is really two folds. They can be incredibly intelligent but being locked in a toddler's body they can have an issue with the physical. Someone correct me if I am wrong here but I believe that is lumped under emotional development. What I mean by that is when the child takes an IQ test many points of data is collected and under that is information to show the emotional age of said child. For all intensive purposes children are usually less emotionally mature than their intelligence age. And I think you are seeing this with your daughter. This also goes hand and hand with the socialization. She is 18 mths and emotionally she is probably more in line with her 18 mth old body so for most 18 mth olds they play side by side and not one on one with each other. Even at 2 1/2 there is still alot of playing next to each other versus with each other.  Because of the emotional information I also feel strongly about the next information and please take this as my own personal opinion. At the age of toddlers I don't think they need to be put into a regiment of school work AKA homeschooling. They can still learn through play and not hot housing. I am sure if I were to sit my toddler down and teach her on a daily basis information from 1st and 2nd grade she would have hardly any problems with the curriculum but I have to weigh that against her emotional level and in my humble opinion I find the emotional age an important one to foster. So I guess I am saying I would let her be a toddler and let her guide you on what she does and doesn't want to learn. If my daughter is interested in numbers and adding than yes we 'play' that game for a while until she is bored and than she is ready to play tea or play with her dolls or whatever. I call it the sneak attack. She has no idea she is learning because it is all done through play. And yes we have problems with socialization as well, but we put her in a dance class and away from mommy and she is really starting to blossom. Another thing is to find a mom's club in your area and have her interact with children around her age.  Take her to the community park is another one that doesn't cost money. Storytime at the local library is another. There are many options you just got to seek them out. 



Anyway, good luck with everything and I am sure you are enjoying you wonderful daughter.

Viktoria - posted on 01/08/2009

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Excellent resource on all things gifted... www.hoagiesgifted.com .  Check it out, and you'll find resources for almost any question you might have (and lots you didn't know to ask).

Rebekah - posted on 01/08/2009

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Hey Michelle, I'll let you know about gifted adult underachievers when I finally get it figured out. But that may be a while... :)

Your post could almost have been written by my husband. He's one of those magna cum laude 120+ doctors that Deborah mentioned earlier! He decides he's going to do something and does it. Until recently I wouldn't have identified myself as a gifted adult, although I was identified for TAG enrichment in 2nd grade. Not that I thought I grew out of it, but it just didn't play a major role in my identity, I guess. Then when my son's abilities became evident and I started really thinking about my experience in relation to what I now know, that good hindsight vision kicked in. Now have figured out through my latest readings that I really have no idea of IQ because there's a good chance I've hit the top of the standard tests. What's interesting is that because of my husband's obvious success and my relative under-achieving, everyone who knows of our son's learning abilities assumes he gets it from his father. He also has a more "intense" personality and I'm pretty laid back, which I think plays into it, as well as gender, certainly. I have never been one to play dumb, but people are always surprised to find out that I'm smart, which I do sometimes find offensive, sexist, or something, but again, if I was the type with something to prove I suppose I wouldn't have dropped out of high school and college! I have that paralyzing combination of perfectionism and procrastination that makes it very difficult for me to finish anything I start, which I really don't wish on anyone, especially my own child. I can definitely relate to your husband. My parents tried to put me on anti-depressants when I was in HS. I would question the ADHD diagnosis -- is he still on Ritalin? You might want to look for a new opinion and find a psychologist that deals with the gifted. Other than commiseration, I can't be of much help. But if you find the magic switch or pill to get the motivation to match up with abilities, please let me know!

To open another can of worms: I am curious to find out everyone's opinions on the topic of "living up to your potential." Is giftedness an obligation to self or society? Our kids are going to be adults one day and what are our expectations and hopes for them? What if, despite our best efforts, they too are directionless dropouts? What is the acceptable ratio of achievement/potential for the gifted? No easy out just-want-them-to be-happy answers!

Rebekah - posted on 01/08/2009

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Tarilyn,
I also dropped out of high-school for a while, for similar reasons. I had a major panic when my son was about the same age as your daughter and I realized I'd be fighting the same system all over with him. Luckily, you and I both can be equipped with lots of knowledge that our parents didn't have.

I don't know that I have much specific advice other than not to stress yourself out about socializing a 19 month old. Even average kids of that age don't pay much attention to each other. And with one like yours I think you'll have to throw most rules out the window and figure out her rules as you go along. We can relate to the physical/mental asynchronies as my son loves letters, numbers, spelling but just in the last month or two has been able to start writing well enough to please himself. It takes a LOT of patience, especially with homeschooling, but hopefully you can find modifications or techniques that will work for her. I bet if you start a new topic and post some of your specific frustrations here there will be some good ideas to try. There is also another conversation on here about education options, where you may find some ideas. We are considering Montessori, foreign language immersion and tutors on our short list. Unfortunately there are no exceptions for early entry to K where we live.

And I have to repeat Deborah's earlier endorsement of Losing our Minds by Deborah Ruf. I got it on her recommendation and it's very interesting and insightful on testing and education for the highly gifted. And at the very least it provides relatable stories of other kids and families who have gone through this before.

Michelle - posted on 01/08/2009

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ok...so with the adults who were underachievers...any recommendations for an adult who is gifted and underachieving?? We know this is genetic...I am an overachiever, probably gifted academically (graduated Magna Cum Lada & all that...blah, blah, blah). My husband is the one who I think my three kids got their gifted genes from..and the combination may may in there. He's amazingly brilliant and creative. He was in a small private school and in accelerated classes all the wat through 8th grade when he was moved to a public high school and thrown into the wolves. Failed 9th grade, was accused of taking drugs, has been diagnosed with ADHD, does HORRIBLE with Ritalin, doesn't hold a job long, and still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. I know all this has to do with his giftedness. Any advice?

Tarilyn - posted on 01/08/2009

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Thanks for the advice Jenn...thats really good to know for when she gets older...i took some college when I was still in elementary school grades6-8...but when I moved to a new area for highschool they didn't allow that...so I got bored again! i will definitely try that with her! thanks:)

Jenn - posted on 01/08/2009

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I know it will be awhile, but here's tip for later on. Whenever your child hits high school, get him/her enrolled in a Dual Credit/ Dual Enrollment college program. That has "saved" my girls. One just finished her first semester at MSU (She has college hours from high school that make her almost a JR now), and the other is senior in high school. As soon as they had 14 high school credits, they each started taking college classes online, at the local community college branch, and even traveld 30 minutes away to a community college. So, for example, my senior currently has completed 19 hours of college and is taking 7 hours this semester while she does high school. THIS is one way (when they get older) to challenge them....my girls became SO VERY bored with school. This summer my son (10th grader) will take English Comp I and will start his college courses. Try it...but until then...you may have to find outside interests such as contests or clubs that challenge your child in whatever areas he excells. Good luck!!!!

Tarilyn - posted on 01/08/2009

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Deborah...I myself am an "underachiever" gifted person. I quit school after grade 9 because I was immensely bored! I moved 2 hours away from where I had lived my entire life, a couple weeks before I started highschool...so the gifted performing arts high school I was suppose to go to, I could not attend! I am considered gifted level 4 bordering on 5 according to many "specialists". Now my daughter is 19 months and I am afraid she will just as gifted or more so then me. She was holding her head up at birth...talking before 2 months...holding eye contact a couple days old...she knew peoples faces by a couple weeks old...she was talking in sentences before 4 months old...walking by 5-6 months old...now at 19 months she can do so much...mentally a 6-7 year old at least....my doctor has sent us to many "specialists" to learn how to deal with it. Nothing is working...any advice for what I can do? Because mentally she is SO advanced compared to her physical body...she gets VERY frustrated. She doesn't associate with kids, because she gets bored with them...she only likes adults...and at 19 months, I don't know HOW to socialize her, let alone deal with her being gifted!!! I'm already homeschooling her (our city has a homeschooling association, who normally does not let kids under 5 in, BUT made an exception with my daughter, after they met with her and saw how gifted she really was). I am afraid though, that by homeschooling her so young, that when its time for her to start school, I wont be able to...although I am all for homeschooling and have considered it for when she starts...I just don't know what to do and I am frustrated!!! Anyone have anything that could help (preferably without spending any money...or very little...as money is very tight, since I can not work)

Laurel - posted on 01/03/2009

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My son's 1st grade teacher was actually the one who requested my son be tested for the gifted program--she could tell he was bored with his class work and he had already tested 4th grade 3rd month on the STAR's reading test. Our school district busses him to another school one day a week for the gifted program and his current 2nd grade teacher gives him challenge work that is at his level, separate from the other students.

Angela - posted on 01/02/2009

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Thank you to all for the book recommendation. I ordered it immediately. So many of your stories are familiar with the recognizing it early in our children, the emotional issues that go along with giftedness, etc. It's sad that I had almost given up on our educational system in terms of getting support for my kids, especially my eldest. Your comments have given me renewed energy to pursue further once again!!! My eldest was also reading words and numbers at 18 months, doing complicated puzzles, and using a very advanced vocabulary. By kindergarden, he was reading Harry potter books and his teachers were ignoring him sitting the corner reading while they taught the rest of the class how to spell cat. Now he is in grade four and I think almost "checked out" mentally of school activities. I enrolled him in a computer programming class on my own, and it was good to see him excited about learning again.. trying to keep him stimulated is a constant challenge!

Jenn - posted on 01/01/2009

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I guess it would depend on what the sector of society in which you function catagorizes or labels "gifted." I think gifted children are children who have reached the height of what a providing institution can offer. For example, many "gifted" children that I have seen in my own small town...who were placed into a special group based on iq/standardized test scores/etc... in third grade....have been "neglected" by the institution which gave them such a label...in that the institution did not continue to provide stimulate and challenge them. It's easy to BE gifted...I mean scoring 30 on the ACT ( my daughter did) or scoring 22 on the ACT in the 8th grade ( my son did ) or scoring 22 in the tenth grade ( my other daugher did)? What good is this if the child is not given the early opportunites to be challenged further than state required test standards?

Gifted doesn't come in the form of statistics, as society says. My children may be labeled..but they are so much more than that. The trophies for top reader, the scholarships for college...what does it all mean without the challenge? I pray that my kids will be challenged....go ahead and get that B...or C...take the harder, different courses...take the "road less travled" Challenge...challenge.....

Deborah - posted on 12/31/2008

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I think Rebekah is dead on with her comments. And it sounds like the mother of your stepbrother is on top of things. It really depends on the child. I know it seems young at 15 or 16 but the educational program in our area (Texas) allows for early college credits. Something they didn't do when I was in school. So you are seeing more and more students graduating early by 6 mths to a year. The ones that freak me out is the 12 -13 year old kids that have all their credits and could graduate and go on to college. The interesting thing is Ruf's son was one of these kids, but he saw more in the social aspect of staying in school so he finished school with his classmates. On a side note: Ruf's son is a child star. His name is Charlie Korsmo. He played in Hook, Men don't leave, What about Bob and Can't Hardly Wait to name a few. If I remember correctly he is a lawyer in NYC now. He graduated from MIT and Yale (I think). She had two boys and Charlie was the 'less' gifted of the two. He was level 4 and her other son was level 5.

She used her son as an example of thinking outside the box. He was into acting and acting got a paid tutor so he could finish his course work easily. But she left the decision to him about graduating early and he choose to stay in school. Again, just depends on the child.

Rebekah - posted on 12/31/2008

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My stepbrother is in exactly this situation. He is 16 and graduating this spring as a National Merit Finalist. He is in the process of applying and has been looking at schools all over the map. He is interested in studying physics, but I think partly due to his age, they are considering smaller schools rather than larger or programs that are more competitive in physics (MIT, for example). I think his mom is fairly protective and I'm sure she's concerned about how he will make the transition, but I think she knows that it's time for him to figure some of these things out for himself. On the flip side, I have another stepbrother (other side) who was 18 or 19 when he started college and has been on academic probation and probably about to drop out. He is smart, but totally unmotivated and unable to do things for himself. So, age doesn't have much to do with readiness. As with everything, it depends on the person. Of course, we don't know how our kids will be in 10 or 15 years, so I guess that's a decision to make at that time and not handicap them now. Also there are a few college programs specifically for underage kids.

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Hmmm excellent point about acceleration. It's also something we have to look at. Here in south Africa you can only test at 3 - they prefer to wait till about 5 though, and to get a child accelerated ahead is harder than trying to broker peace in the middle east from what I hear. They are very big on keeping the kids with their own ages here - and I can see this being a problem as already my son prefers to mix with kids older than himself. I do playdates with a kid his age who has an older sibling, and he is ALWAYS rather hanging around the older kid. Without fail.



Here's a question for you guys - if your child was in a position to finish school, let's say at 15 or 16 and wanted to go on to University/College - would you encourage/allow this or rather let them wait till 18/19? And why?

Deborah - posted on 12/30/2008

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Kylee,



We are in the same boat: debating to start our child early for kindergarten or wait to acclerate her when she is in 1st grade. Wanting to be prepared for the school district is why we want to test her and the question is not only the age but how well do you think your child will interact with the tester? I have heard around 4 is a good time to start testing. But again if at 4 your child is not publicly quiet. My child is the type that for the most part talks your ear off at home but is way more reserved out in public. She is getting better though.



Now the starting early or waiting game. I have heard a lot of suggestions with older gifted children and for the most part they suggest waiting to acclerate in 1st grade since kindergarten is more of a social environment in not really academic. But this depends on your child. Would he/she bored in that environment? If yes then starting early might be the answer.

Kylee - posted on 12/30/2008

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For those of you that have had your child(ren) tested, what's the best age range? My son just turned three, so I'm guessing he's a little young. I'm intrested in getting him an early entrance to Kindergarten, but I'm not sure where to start. Will having a test score help? Or can I simply say he's been reading since just over two years old? He's still so young and I'm already overwhelmed by this gifted thing!

Megan - posted on 12/30/2008

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Question ladies: My son started the testing for gifted programs in my school district (IL) and did exceptional on the first test but completely bombed the second. I know that this was because he had already started to "check out" of school from boredom. I also know his teacher will back me on this. I've started to push to have him skipped to 3rd grade for the rest of the year. FOrtunately, he'll only be 2 months younger than the rest of the kids. I've been basically homeschooling him part-time over the break and feel like iI punish him for being smart by giving him extra work. Has anyone else gone through anything like this and how did you do the right thing for your kid?I feel like am fighting an up hill battle and don't want him to get bored in school because the district doen't want to spend money helping kids like him. Thanks.

Deborah - posted on 12/29/2008

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Dawn,

As nice as it would be to believe that all states have guidelines that make testing a snap it just isn't the case. Though we have the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal mandate this focuses on the lower end of the spectrum and not those that are gifted. Some would argue it is due to the NCLB that gifted children are overlooked. So gifted programs are state regulated and this means each state is different. Some such as Ohio have a mandated program but is only partly funded by the state which means that individual school districts have to pick up the rest. If you live in a larger school district than it is safe to say there is more opportunities for your gifted child. If you live in CA than there is no obligation by state law because believe it or not CA is one of the states that gifted programs are Not mandated. The good news is by your information it states that you live in WI which is very similar to Ohio in that gifted programs are mandated but only partly funded. So there is gifted programs but it depends on your school district to what level they offer.

Now on to the other beast of the specific rules the school follows. It is safe to say that most rules rely on the teachers observation and recommendation of the child to be tested. Some schools (not all) will include a child into testing by the insistence of the parent. So you need to ask why your children have been overlooked. Are they the troublemakers in the class or considered immature for their age, etc? A lot of gifted children are and then overlooked by the teacher which is why the parent or parents have to be the advocate for the child b/c no one knows the child more than the parent.

Let's say you get past this obstacle and you do get your child tested. For the most part in the beginning it is a group test they provide which has a low ceiling and can not truly evaluate the child's true potential. On top of this there is also the possibility that some children do not do well on group tests and will shine on individual evaluations. The lists goes on and on but just wanted to give you some insight into it all.

And last but not least: There is no home IQ test you could take and the ones on the internet are not considered valid for school. (Basically, they are not true IQ tests that test all areas). So the best thing to do is push your school for evaluations.

Michelle - posted on 12/29/2008

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I was thinking the same thing...if the child tests at a certain level (usually above 96th percentile in overall cognitive ability), the state is obligated by law to provide specialized education. You could look inoto your state's department of education website & probably find the regulations for your state. The criteria also should take into consideration parent and teacher interviews, work samples, etc.

Katy - posted on 12/29/2008

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In Ohio we have specific rules the schools follow. There is testing in 3rd grade that tests IQ. The children are then tested further for math, science, reading, etc. The children need to score a certain percentage to receive special services at our schools. There are tests that you can get done at a specialist on your own as well.

Dawn - posted on 12/29/2008

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OMG! I thought I was just lazy, but reading this last post...

I was in the GT program as a child-teen and was soooooooo bored at school, I dropped out and got a GED...how embarassing for a gifted person to tell employers/potential employers..I have jumped so many jobs, and college....goodness, what a relief for me, but now it's my childrens' turn.

I have 6, who are all gifted on one level or another, and of course not all the same, [why should it be that easy]? The schools themselves do not recognize wholly, but do have programs outside of school. There are a few challenge classes for those that are more gifted in that area, ie, reading, math...but nothing else. Now we are stuck. 4 are gifted in reading and language, one in arts, 1 could be in anything, but is not ambitious enough to stick with it. I myself lack the energy to homeschool due to health issues, so now..........are there any free IQ tests that I can give at home.....any otherinfo I can find cheap? We are getting hit with the recession, so any info cheap or free is a big help for my childrens' future. thanks so much for this group....now we figure out the emotional issues we all have, we know we are not alone

Deborah - posted on 12/18/2008

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IMHO: I always say trust your instincts. I am guessing here, but I would think you are the primary care giver meaning you deal more with the children and school than your husband. And food for thought: schools are not perfect and with no child left behind being targeted towards the lower end which means that the gifted kids do not get the support they need. Not all schools are like this and depending on your state it could be a forward thinking one that has some requirements for the gifted, but a lot of schools the parent has to be the advocate for their child. I have been appalled by the comments from teachers and principals that I have read. The most famous is that children catch up by 3rd grade. Sure if you, the school, fails to teach our gifted children then I guess they catch up. The problem with this thinking is it puts HG kids are high risk to be the underachiever and potentially a greater risk of dropping out. So no you are not nuts to pursue the path of acceleration but it is definitely not something you jump into lightly. You need to weigh all your options and your child's personality. Will he be able to handle a jump in grades or would he do better in a pull out program? Perhaps you broaden his curriculum by teaching him other areas that might interest him not just more work on top of what he already does at school. Perhaps you focus on astrology or the arts. The child guides this through his interest. Basically I am just trying to say there are many options and grade skipping is not the only one.

Megan - posted on 12/18/2008

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I'm going thru this with my son. He's probably a 3 on HG 3 on the RUf scale and I've had to bring up the idea of skipping to the principal at his school. He's sooooo bored in class and I'm tired of feeling like a mean parent by giving him more work and projects above and beyond his school work to challenge him and sometimes I feel like he isn't challenged even with that. Of course, my husband thinks I"m nuts and I should trust the school to help him.

Deborah - posted on 12/18/2008

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First siblings is such another beast all together. Logically (which it looks like your kids fit this) children of gifted are USUALLY born to gifted parents. Couple of things with this:

There are many levels of gifted and let's say one gifted parent is that magical level 5 would that mean they would produce a HG kid? Nope, they might have a gifted child but not necessarily equal in IQ to them. And normal parents can have a gifted child. I could go on and on but I think you can follow my thought process. (If not please let me know and I can try to clarify it. )

With the above information than it goes with reason that siblings will not all be the same. You could have a normal child in the mix, a level 1 or 2 and a level 4. It sounds like your two oldest are probably equal in their iq and the youngest it would be hard to say with the information.

The fact that the two oldest learned differently is not really an issue. I would hope that the school's program is flexible enough to realize all kids are different. IE your son is the type that has plateaus and then fires like a rocket. And your daughter probably has a more steady pace. Who is to say that the son will continue that pattern (and your daughter for that matter)

And the social issues: gifted kids can have social issues but if you put yourself in their shoes than it kind of makes sense. How would you like to play with a normal child that in intellect is 2 or 3 years younger than you? It gets frustrating and depending on your child they can be bossy or dummy themselves down to fit in. This is why the evidence proves that gifted kids enjoy the company of older kids or adults. Also the cluster thing: If you have HG kids it is possible that the majority of the kids in the class are just gifted and there is still a huge gap between your child and the others.

Michelle - posted on 12/18/2008

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That brings me to my next question...should probably be a seperate thread...but I had the same milestones with my first child...she sounds a lot like your daughter. Then my son was born, also lifting his head at birth & his first word was actually a complete story, "I went to the lake and I climbed a tree and I JUMPED into the water!" (He had never seen a large body of water in real life...he wasn't even one yet.) But he didn't care for reading like my daughter did in preschool. He didn't know his ABCs until right before kindergarten & I thought I wasn't going to have to worry about challengin him like I did her, until he started kindergarten and then by the end of kindergarten he was reading on a 5th grade level....sooo...my question is your thoughts on education. My daughter is in the gifted cluster (4th grade...all gifted kids in her class). My son (2nd grade) is set to start the same cluster next year. I am feeling torn becase their academic needs are close to impossible to be met in a regular class, but I worry about social issues. They are going to need to know how to interact in the real world & that's my son's biggest issue (social skills). He lives in this great imaginary world in his mind. They are both SO completely different. Then you throw in my youngest, also hits all the signs of gifted, but completely different from the older two. So you get this class of gifted kids who are ALL completely different and all have their own needs with IQs rangin from 125 to 200?? Anyway...rambling...just wondering what everyone's thoughts are about accelerated clusters...thanks!

Deborah - posted on 12/18/2008

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You all are so welcome for the info. I too was scratching my head with my baby and knew there was something going on and it was not until stumbling on the idea of gifted that I was introduced to Ruf and her levels. At first it was such a relief and eye opening as I read the book. My daughter was the poster child for HG kids. She was a c-section baby and freaked the doctor out as she lifted her own head helping him deliver her. She had amazing eye contact since birth. Her first word was Elephant right before she turned 3 mths old. She spoke in sentences by 6 mths. And by 18 mths her language skills were that of a 4 or 5 year old. She knew all her colors, shapes, ABCs (upper and lower and sounds they make) numbers, opposites, her left from her right, etc all before she was 2. She also started reading before 2. (Of course this is recognition of words not sounding out and reading everything but is the start of reading) As well as adding or subtracting by 25 mths. This list can go on and on but my point is before the term 'gifted' I had to deal with so much disbelief and comments of me being nuts that it got to the point that I hid or played down her accomplishments. Now I know by Ruf's book that I am not nuts and my daughter is clearly HG probably level 4 (hoping and praying NOT level 5) Which brings up the next point for hyperventilating when you realize how hard the battle is going to be trying to get some form of proper education and probably thinking outside the box.

Michele - posted on 12/16/2008

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As an elementary school teacher and the mother of gifted children, I can only tell you what I considered "gifted" and how the schools I have worked at identify a gifted child. Most schools still rely on either the Stanford-Binet or the WISC Intelligence tests. A total IQ of 100 is considered average and many schools required an IQ of 125-130 for a gifted identification. Children with IQs lower than 130 can also be identified based on classroom performance or performance in one specific area, such a math. I know that I have taught many students that did not "qualify" for gifted programs because their IQ was not high enough, but I would still consider them gifted. Students with strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills, superior vocabulary can always be seen as gifted or extremely bright students. My experiences with gifted children as a parent has shown me that there is definitely a difference between extremely bright and gifted children. For some reason, gifted children usually have some emotional or mental issues, such as a need to be perfect, high anxiety levels and sometimes even some mild compulsive disorders. Gifted children definitely need alot of guidance and support.

Michelle - posted on 12/08/2008

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There's another great book called, "Raisin Brains: How I survived my smart family." or something like that...it offers delightful humor to the world of raising gifted children! It's so nice to read something and actually say out loud, "YES! Someone UNDERSTANDS what I go threw everyday!" :) My oldest is 9...I have 3 gifted. I contacted the school system trying to find resources when my oldest was 3 and adding double digit #s with regrouping.

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Thanks so much for mentioning that book by 'Ruf'. I looked it up on Amazon and read the excerpt they had online... I definitely need to read this book. My son is almost 9 and some days are great and I'm so proud of him and other days I'm so frustrated and don't know how to handle him. At least this book understands what it's like. I gave up on the parenting books long ago, but I'm excited to read this one.

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Thanks for the info on the book Deborah- I ahve just ordered it online. I also found a few downloadable PDF's from talks given by her (Ruf). SOme of the most interesting things I have read on giftedness ever. I love that FINALLY there are some milestones for recognising this in younger children!

Kelly - posted on 11/26/2008

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Yes it could be. My son started doing maths for 13yr old when he was 9. That is gifted in the educational sense. i think every child on this earth is a gift to their family though

Liza - posted on 11/26/2008

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I don't know.....I'm curious too. I think my daughter is pretty smart. Everyone who knows her says she is one of the smartest kids they know. She recieved the highest score a 2nd grader has ever gotten at her elem. school on a reading assessment test and she is way above average in all other areas.
Do you think that is considered gifted?

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