Monday, October 22, 2012

Gifted Children - But Gifted in What Way?

Big Change in Gifted & Talented Testing
Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2012

The test for entrance into New York City’s gifted & talented program is being overhauled.  The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) will become the major measuring stick by which student will be assessed.  This test relies on abstract, spatial thinking and eliminates language, even in the instructions.

I’m glad to hear that NYC is embracing the idea that our children can be intelligent in many ways.  Howard Gardiner’s work on multiple intelligences documents this.  The NNAT may also help to show that children who are dyslexic are not disabled or handicapped, but actually demonstrating a higher form of intelligence.

But the point we must recognize and appreciate is that there are many ways our children can be gifted.  Parents, too often, can be concerned that their child is not academically gifted and fail to see that particular gifts their child has, and then work to facilitate and strengthen those gifts.

As Francie Alexander, Chief Education Officer for Scholastic Inc., said, “Children can demonstrate their various intelligences and gifts by being socially gifted, athletically gifted, and/or artistically gifted.  Being gifted is not restricted to math, language and science.”

Parents should focus on their child’s strengths and enhance them, not fret over apparent “below expectation” levels of skill or ability.  Validating what the child does well actually lifts all other aspects of the child’s endeavors.  By stressing and fretting over the child’s apparent lesser abilities only drags down the child’s confidence and self esteem and damages their overall achievement.

The traits of gifted children:
Language development
Questioning & probing
Integrating advanced words into their conversation
Focused on the pursuit of a purpose
They love to learn
Physically, they have good eye-hand coordination
Love to play and excel at a sport
Able to take any object and create something from it

There are extensive resources for facilitating gifted children at

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