Characteristics of a Gifted Student
Gifted children typically display some, but not all, of the following characteristics:
- Uses an enriched vocabulary
- Asks many thought-provoking questions
- Expresses unusual ideas
- Has a wide range of interests
- Uses complex sentences
- Acts independently
- Displays curiosity
- Possesses leadership qualities
- Functions at a high energy level
- Has long attention span in areas of interest
- Reads at an early age
- Understands concept of time
- Engages in self-directed activities
- Is sensitive to feelings of others
- Has a keen sense of humor
- Is able to conceptualize
- Learns skills rapidly and without repetition
- Retains and uses information effectively
- Wants to know what makes things “tick”
- Enjoys learning
- Reasons well
- Is a perfectionist
- Prefers older companions or adults
- Has facility with numbers
- A gifted child learns quicker, thinks deeper and more easily draws conclusions. These children have also mastered material of their grade level and are working at a higher level.
What are the requirements for placement into a gifted program?
The current standards to be eligible for placement into a gifted program in South Florida include a Full Scale IQ Score of 130 or greater on a standardized and accepted IQ test for children. In addition, in Palm Beach County, a child must also score in the 90th percentile on either the math or reading portion of the achievement tests. Once the child meets these criteria, his or her current teacher will complete a gifted behavioral checklist. The teacher must indicate that the child demonstrates the need for an advanced curriculum. The final decision for gifted placement rests with the school committee who reviews the test data and other information on the child.
Program Eligibility Criteria
Students are eligible for the Gifted Education Program through Plan A if they meet the following criteria:
- A need for the program as demonstrated by evidence of a majority of characteristics of gifted students as scored on a District Checklist; and
- A score of 90th percentile or higher on either the math or reading portion of an individually administered achievement test; and
- A score of 130 or higher on an individually administered Intelligence Quotient Test
– Information obtained from http://www.palmbeachschools.org/ese/gifted.asp
What tests are used for Gifted Testing?
I only use the tests for gifted children that are highly recommended and most commonly used. The most widely used for IQ test for children under 6 years of age is the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence Third Edition (WPPSI-III). The IQ test for kids who are 6 years old and older is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V). I also use either the Woodcock-Johnson Fourth Edition NU Tests of Achievement and the Woodcock-Johnson Fourth Edition NU Tests of Cognitive Abilities or the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III).
Here is a link to the Gifted Handbook for Palm Beach County: http://www.palmbeachschools.org/ese/documents/GiftedHandbook2012-13.pdf
Procedural Safeguards for Gifted Children: http://www.palmbeachschools.org/ese/documents/ProceduralSafeguardsforExceptionalStudentsWhoAreGifted.pdf
What is a gifted curriculum as compared to the regular program?
A gifted program covers the same information as a regular program, but moves at a quicker pace and goes deeper into the material. Because children in the gifted program can work at a faster pace, they can also cover additional material. It is therefore crucial that children are correctly placed. Programs vary from school to school, and may offer a part time or full time gifted program. In some instances, specific schools are designated as gifted centers. A parent may have the choice as to which type of program best suits their child. Since gifted programs fall under the umbrella of Exceptional Student Education, each student who is eligible for placement receives an Educational Plan (EP), specifically designed to meet the needs of that student.
Palm Beach County Gifted Brochure: http://www.palmbeachschools.org/ese/documents/PBSDGiftedBrochure.pdf
When is the best time to test my child?
Most children are most alert and therefore, perform their best in the earlier morning or mid morning. It is fine for them to go to school once testing is complete. I offer Saturday and Sunday morning appointments only for psychological testing by request.
For children entering Kindergarten, I will only test your child for gifted placement from January of the same school year that your child will be entering kindergarten. In addition, it is recommended that your child be as close to 5-years-old as possible or at least 4 years, 6 months. Please contact me to determine the best time to schedule your appointment. For all other children (kindergarten through high school), testing may take place at any time. Again, I will help you to make the decision of when to test your child based on your individual circumstances.
How long does gifted testing take?
The gifted evaluation for children under 6 yrs old using the WPPSI-III usually takes 1½ – 2 hrs including the achievement testing (reading and math). For older children (6 yrs and above), the gifted evaluation will take 2 – 3 hrs using the WISC-V. The time will also depend on your child and his or her working style. These are average times. However, some children work faster or slower than others.
What do I tell my child about why he or she is taking this test?
Children are very perceptive. If you are anxious, then your child will be anxious as well. For this reason, I suggest that parents limit what they share with their child. Avoid the use of terms such as “testing” or “pass and fail.” A better approach is to tell you child that he or she will be meeting with Dr. Silverman and will be doing some different activities that will help us make a good decision about school for the following year. You could say, “I want to see who the best teacher will be for you next year.” I also recommend that you wait until the day before testing so that your child does not have time to think too much about it.
How should I prepare my child for gifted testing?
Make sure that your child is well rested and has a healthy breakfast the morning of testing. There is no more you can do to prepare for this test.
My child is shy. Am I allowed to be present while my child is being evaluated?
You are not allowed to sit in the same room as your child while he or she is being evaluated. Parents are expected to wait in the waiting room. I have private waiting rooms available by request. Your child will perform better without you there. I will spend time with your child, helping your child to relax and feel comfortable prior to starting the evaluation. How well your child does without you there is provides a more accurate picture of how your child will perform in school. Third, the testing data and information on psychological tests is confidential and it is my duty as a psychologist to protect the information on these tests. It would be unethical for me to allow a parent in the same room as the child while testing.
When can I expect to get the results?
Your results will be available either immediately or shortly after the evaluation. However, I will not give out any scores with the child present. We will schedule a follow-up session within 7 days of testing. During this session, you will receive a comprehensive report and we will review the results and my recommendations. I will also offer you the opportunity to discuss the best school placement options for your child based on his or her performance.
What if my child does not meet the criteria for gifted placement?
Your child can be bright and not test in the gifted range. Many factors impact school and occupational success. Your child’s IQ score does not equate with overall success. This testing helps you understand how your child learns. After the testing is complete, you will have a better understanding of your child’s learning profile, strengths and weaknesses, learning style, and how your child performs in various situations. As long as we use the information gained to help the individual child and place the child accordingly, then your child will be just fine. I will help you to determine the best placement for your individual child.
What is the cost for a gifted evaluation?
For children under 6 years old, the cost is $550 for the evaluation including the consultation session. For children 6 years and older, the evaluation is $600. This is because testing at older ages takes longer and is more in depth. Fees include the initial session, the testing session, scoring and interpretation, report writing, and the follow-up/feedback session. There are special circumstances in which I am willing to consider payment plans.
What if I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment?
Please understand that I block off approximately three hours for your child’s gifted testing in order to give your child all the attention needed, including time to feel comfortable prior to testing and time for a bathroom or snack break. For this reason, if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please contact me within 48 hours of your appointment.
I understand that there are situations that are out of our control. If there is an emergency and it is the first time you are canceling your appointment the day of, there will be no penalty as long as you reschedule your appointment. There will be a $100 charge for canceling the day of your appointment the second time. Please be considerate of other parents who are trying to schedule testing for their children and would have been able to use that time.
Why choose Dr. Silverman for this evaluation?
I have my doctorate in clinical psychology with specialized training in psychological testing. In addition, I have many years of experience evaluating children in a wide range of settings. Having taken specialized courses and completed specialized training in giftedness, I understand both the requirements for a gifted program and also the types of children who will benefit most from a gifted curriculum compared to the regular curriculum. Most importantly, I consider the whole child in making recommendations for school placement. I do not believe that a child is just an IQ score. For this reason, I will meet with you for a feedback session after I have considered your child’s scores and needs. I have an excellent reputation in the community and local schools systems as an ethical and warm psychologist.