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Further Enrichment for a Gifted Child

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son took the WPPSI-III at age 4. He scored:

Composites/composite score/qualitative range/percentile rank:

processing speed/128/superior/97
Full/132/very superior/98
General language/135/very superior/99

all the other subtests indicated consistently strong skills in all areas.

Now that he has just turned 7 and is a current 1st grader I do not know if he should take another test or what other programs or options might be of interest to him...annually he participates in the Johns Hopkins center for talented youth program for 3 months with online math courses. He finished 2 courses within this 3 month time frame.

He will need to take the SCAT this coming fall to become part of the CTY Gr. 2 and up program which would include a summer camp session that happens to be located on the campus of his independent school.

I am a single parent and he receives significant financial aid to attend his school and participate in CTY.

Yet with all of these opportunities he wants more...any suggestions? We live just north of Washington D.C. in Olney, MD.

Also, he shows perfectionist tendencies and it took awhile for his teachers to know what he can do. He is not competitive. They say he is a kind and gentle friend and his report cards with extensive narrative comments (2 single space pp.) could not be better in all areas: math, reading, science, music, art even PE)

Is he missing any opportunities for his development? Would further testing be helpful? Are there any other programs he would benefit from?  Thank you so much for your time.

A: It appears that your son is already getting quite a lot of what is offered to nurture his gifts. Unfortunately, gifted children are a diverse group. Some may be occupied with what is offered out there, but most would need to satisfy their cognitive urges. In your son's case, since he is the one to suggest for more opportunities, it would be a waste if it is not given. Gifted children learn beyond their years, so when they enter school, it's easy for them to become bored and unmotivated by what their classmates are learning.

I understand your concerns about the financial burden with some enrichment programs but it really does not have to be costly if you are willing to put in some time and effort to personally help him. One way is if you know someone who has a gifted child about the same age group. This helps as you will be able to help one another come up with activities to enrich the child's experiences. Parenting a gifted child can be very exhausting, so any shared responsibilities would certainly help. It would also help to join an association for gifted children in your area (you may want to do a search on this). Such networks are essential and provide many resources for parents and gifted children.

Participation and membership is usually on a voluntary basis, hence charges are minimal. There are also a number of online programs which helps keep them busy. The key is for them to be challenged all the time so they have no time to be bored! You may even want to have a mini project with your son on an activity, say, to invent something, help the world, or anything that interests him. Have some structure and get others involved as well. What he needs is exposure and such activities can be very helpful. However, make sure that he is developing evenly ĘC emotionally and socially as well, so make sure the activities have some of these components.

As for testing, you may want to test him again to determine his areas of strengths and weaknesses. The results would help the relevant authorities to place him in specific programs that cater for his needs.

Here is an interesting (but rather old) reading on enrichment for the gifted. Another one on A Parent's Guide to Giftedness. An free and excellent enrichment program for Math (from Cambridge University). Lastly, an Online network for gifted children. Best of luck.


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