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Gifted Child Held Back

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter is 9 years old and is extremely bright. I am unsure if there is more I should be doing for her. She gets very bored easily and it seems she gets depressed due to this, Lately she is either writing, building or sleeps (excessively) every hour she is not in school.

I don't understand a lot about the testing process but will try to recite what I know. The first recommendation to have her tested came from her Pre-K teacher. She read going into Pre-K and mastered it by the middle of the year. She was first tested in 1st grade , her score was like 132 but they said the mean or average or something was (128 IQ). She was not placed in accelerated classes until 3rd grade.

My daughter has no learning curve, she learns instantly, the fist time around. She doesn't study, doesn't need refreshers and is rarely stumped on anything. She has gotten straight A's her whole life. She reads at an 11th grade level (Last years assessment) Her school limits her at an 8th grade level, they are worried that while she can understand higher material that it may not have content appropriate for her age.

I just received notice that due to her FCAT Scores she is eligible for 6th/7th or 8th grade coursework replacement dependent on additional placement and assessment testing. Meaning she would take virtual coursework in school she is at now but, the advanced courses would replace her 4th grade work.

I am trying to be partial and not speak as a mother but, objectively and I feel that she should be evaluated by someone on a more professional level. There are times from an adult standpoint that she amazes us! Family, friends, strangers are sort of awed.

She held her head up at 2 days old, walked at about 6 months and talked at about the same time. I remember even back then being amazed because, she did everything so rapidly!

She wants to go to school for Fashion design and Journalism. She has stacks of notebooks now full of stories, She designs dresses and shirts and finds empty boxes and plastic containers and bottles and creates things. Her last project she built one of those models that city developers make to show how they plan to develop .... I am of an average IQ and I just feel ill prepared at times to give her the challenges she needs.

Her school basically said to me that they try and find every and any additional materials for her, asking local high schools for them. Any advice?

A: Your child is definitely gifted and highly talented. It is amazing that she has maintain passion and realises what she would want to pursue at this stage and actually getting it done!

I personally feel that she is being held back in her development. The school appears to be trying their best to accommodate but perhaps, there is just so much that they are able to do. They may not even have teachers with proper training to help a gifted and talented child. Is there a possibility of moving her to a better school with more facilities to help her advance in your area? You may want to check that out.

You may also want to see a private educational psychologist to have her intelligence tested and get an interpretive report on her strengths and weaknesses. This would help you focus on her needs in weak areas and enhance her strong areas at the same time. I somehow feel that holding her back due to “inappropriate content” for age is not a very good reason to keep her from advanced learning. She definitely requires it especially since she is mastering content rather quickly and may get bored and disillusioned with work that is less of her capability.

Alternatively, seek for help from an association for gifted children in your area. Look up the internet and I am sure there would be some resources. Such associations would help you connect with other parents with similar concerns and experiences and help you decide on the next step to take.

You may also want to get in touch with a Fashion & Design/School of Journalism or both and discuss your daughter's passion and how, if possible, they may accommodate her. Show samples of her work. They would instantly recognise if she has potential and I believe would help her further.

Last but not least, it does not matter what level of intelligence parents may help - but I believe that parents like you, who take the trouble to find out how to help their child, must be very intelligent! So here's wishing you the very best and I am sure your girl will blossom under your guidance.


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