What Qualifies a Child as ‘Gifted’?
Every child is special and is gifted with some of the other talents. A lot of schools offer special classes and talent programs for gifted kids. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandates educational institutes to create special talent curriculums for such kids.
These programs are also referred to as Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). But not all bright children are gifted and vice versa. Some gifted children don’t feel the need for any special support or talent program. The federal law hasn’t set any guidelines for identifying gifted kids. Thus, educational institutes have developed their own screening criteria to identify gifted children.
What’s a gifted child
Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted as:
“Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities”
In short, gifted children have abilities above and beyond the norm. It is difficult to identify gifted children as they have different personalities and come from different demographic groups. Some of these children are shy to even speak for themselves. Thus, the selection process must be robust enough to catch the intellectually gifted children.
The testing criteria for giftedness is determined at the state and local level. There is no one correct method to identify who is more gifted than the usual, hence the screening process becomes complex. Some of the steps followed by schools in selecting gifted kids are:
- Referrals: Since teachers work closely with children, they are well aware of their learning rates. They can easily point out studious kids in their class. The schools take referrals from teachers to shortlist the first set of children for selection. These students are observed closely by the school to pick the intellectually gifted children. Even parents, guardians, and administrators can recommend a child.
- IQ test: Schools also conduct IQ tests among children as a part of the screening process. These IQ tests are designed to test the memory and problem-solving skills of children. If a child scores well in these tests, he or she is more likely to be a fast or unusual learner. Such children need a differently designed program than the classroom ones. More information can be found here: IQ test for kids.
- Aptitude tests: Sometimes schools and educational institutions also conduct aptitude tests to measure the IQ level of children. These tests are also designed to evaluate memory and problem-solving skills of children. Children performing well in aptitude tests are considered for a talent program.
Sometimes gifted children are not identified because of their personality traits such as easy-going nature or shyness. If you believe that your child is gifted, then you must talk to him or her and reach out to their teacher for further guidance.
Your alertness will help your child is getting the best learning in the school. Once the testing process is finished, notification of acceptance is sent to the parents. Once accepted, the child becomes a part of a gifted and talented program for the rest of the year. Even if the child changes schools, the applicability continues. Now you know what qualifies a child as gifted
Why is a Gifted and Talented Program needed?
The gifted children generally have a faster learning rate than others in the class. They have unique needs that a standard classroom curriculum can’t fulfill. The GT programs bring additional challenges in their lives and keep them motivated to study. Doing something different and new from the entire class makes them more focused to achieve success.
Their time management and test preparation skills also improve. They can also pursue their interests by exploring different subjects in these programs. He or she will get more clarity about their career paths.
In short, your child will be able to reach his or her potential by accelerating their education through GT programs. We hope that this article has given you a good idea about the selection process for a gifted and talented program. What qualifies a child as gifted? If your child is showing such signs, you should work with his or her counselor and create an apt learning plan. We wish your child the best in the learning journey.