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Gifted Child Feeling Bored in a Gifted Program

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a 1st grade daughter and she is in gifted class. She took RIAS in kindergarten and scored 159> in total. What does this score really mean? And when she is still bored in her gifted class and is not that much excited about learning, what kind of motivation can parents provide? We really want her to become a life-long learning person.

A: The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scale (RIAS is an individually administered intelligence test, applicable to all ages from 3 to 94. It comprises two subtests that assess verbal intelligence (VIX) and two subtests that assess non-verbal intelligence (NIX). A verbal and nonverbal supplementary memory test can also be administered (yields Composite Memory Index score -CMX).

Your daughter's score is in the Significantly Above Average range, which is in the highest range. Since she is in the gifted class already, you may need to talk to the teachers about further stimulating her learning in school. Find out the reason she is feeling bored. What did she say to indicate boredom? Why was learning not exciting enough for her? Being in a gifted class would expose her to a learning program that would match her abilities better. Is she bored only at school or at other times as well? Have you checked her school work? Is the enrichment activity appropriate for her level, If that is not happening, she may need more challenging work in school. Speak to her teachers or the principal about this so her learning could be further enhanced. You may want to suggest acceleration within the gifted class itself.

There are a couple of things I may be able to conclude from your description: Firstly, she may be really bored and finds lessons unchallenging. She does not find meaning in what she learns. Secondly, if she is in the same school and has moved classes or is in another program (as she is in the gifted class), she may be missing her friends and hence the depressed feelings that she may term as boredom. A good way to help her is to simply talk and find out exactly what could be her source of boredom. Depending on the parenting style you adopt, if you feel that she may be uncomfortable talking to you, get another significant adult whom she respects to figure out what is going on.

The biggest loss of potential is if she burns out. Even though giftedness is for life, the extent to which it is demonstrated over time would depend on how their potential is nurtured. It also depends on how giftedness is viewed. One may think that their child is no longer gifted when grades slip. In terms of achievement in school, we must be aware that gifted children may not always test well. It really depends on how a gifted child views testing. If she does not see a purpose and meaning to testing, she may not test well, much to the disappointment of adults, namely parents and teachers. For lifelong learning, parents must emphasis on a balanced development. Gifted children are more intrinsically motivated. Hence, you need to help her engage in learning for a purpose.

Some ideas to help motivate her learning at home can be found here:

Make sure you help her with her socialising skills. Many different kinds of books would be a great source of information for further motivating her, therefore, make sure she has enough of it at home. Plan nature trips, museums outings, musical concerts etc. to expose her to a variety of activities. It will also help her discover her specific interests and variation in activities will surely keep her engaged and stimulated. Best wishes to you and your daughter!


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