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Concern over Demonstration of Gifted Qualities

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter did not gone to pre-school, and it was recommended that I wait a year before placing her into school because of her inadequate screening score. The next year, she was allowed to enter kindergarten and developed very rapidly from that point on. In first grade, she knew how to multiply numbers, and was in a special reading group because of her advanced reading skills. In second grade, her teacher was astounded by her mastery of phonics and thus gave her many supplementary books for accelerated reading. This teacher claimed that reading material a grade ahead was not even enough for her.

During elementary school she was virtually always the first to finish her classroom math problems. In fifth grade, she was placed in a pull-out program for exceptional children. This program, P.A.C.E, offered these children the opportunity to travel to the local middle school to have fun with trivia, puzzles, computer games, and other mind activities.

On a recent (age 18) online IQ test ( $10 fee with recall, vocabulary, visual, and arithmetic question based off of the Standford Binet IQ tests), however, she scored a 124. She does, however, suffer from depression, bulimia, and anxiety (test anxiety especially) at this time. I have never had her IQ truly tested but she recently scored a 133 and 131 on two different IQ tests ( and respectively, and a 140 on a spatial and visual online test (I don't remember the website). She also took the "Mensa workout" and scored a 23, which indicates that she has "an excellent chance of passing the true Mensa exam".

I am wondering if my daughter may be gifted. She absolutely hates school because she feels that it is boring and ALWAYS procrastinates with her assignments (sometimes skipping school in order to complete the assignment). She was a normal baby when it comes to milestones - walking at 12 months and 22 days (I believe that the milestones were occurred normally as well). She has always been excellent within the arts, drawing practically everyday then and now.

She maintains a 94 average (with all honors and AP courses), but she is disappointed with this "low average." She often questions authority and theory, and promises to not accept things "as they unfortunately are." She refuses to believe that she may be gifted and often degrades her intelligence even. Overall, I would love to know if my daughter seems gifted! Thank you very much for your time and expected response. 

A: Your daughter is 18 now and I do wonder why the concern over whether she is gifted or not especially since she is doing well at school. Unless it would make a difference to her, or to you to know if she were gifted, at this point she should be allowed to make her own decisions on her passion and interests. In any case, her scores and your description about her achievements in general do indicate some signs of characteristics distinct to gifted individuals.

Apart from her Mensa scores, I would not pay too much attention to online IQ tests. If you want an IQ test score, standardized tests would be more reliable. You may want to talk to her to find out the reason she hates school so much it cannot be boredom alone since she is maintaining her grades, that too for quite a while. I am not sure if she is of the same age group with the rest of her class as you mentioned that you had to wait a year before placing her to school; being older may make her feel different. She may be a perfectionist and perhaps sets rather high standards for herself and gets disappointed when achievement is not as expected.

More than anything else, I think what you really need to do now is to concentrate on her other problems. I would not take depression and bulimia lightly, and especially if she is a perfectionist as I believe she is, it would only worsen the situation. You should really seek professional help. Perhaps you could get her to see her school counselor for a start. I hope this is done soon as both depression and bulimia, if left untreated, can lead to more serious problems. Treatment is absolutely necessary.


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