I suspected my ds was gifted since he started recognizing letters at 20 months. He is in kindergarten now, speaks 3 languages (but I suspect many kids in multicultural families do), plays the guitar very well, and sometimes composes music (his teacher is amazed) and his latest hobby is multiple digit multiplications. But the "official" confirmation was when his teacher told me she called a specialist to test him and he reads at 3rd grade level.
So I don't know what to do now... is it worth having him tested? Would it help him with anything? He does great at school, but sometimes when he does his homework (mostly colouring pages and stuff) I can't help thinking, what a waste of time...
Should I have him tested when he's doing great academically, socially and emotionally?
i just hopped on here to ask the same question, so i'm going to be following the responses.
for a long time i totally dismissed the idea of testing my DD (she's also 5, also in K, and also very happy to cut and color at school. and i find myself thinking she'd probably be equally happy actually learning something, and then thinking she's just a little kid, let her enjoy cutting and coloring, and going in circles about it in my head). finally though, i did some reading online, and one thing that struck me was the frequency with which parents are surprised by the level of giftedness in their kids... and i am now asking myself if i should find out whether or not i'm underestimating DD. i know that i would probably pursue different educational options if her IQ tests 20 points higher than i think it is. then again, i've read that testing can take hours, and i'm guessing it costs in the several thousand dollars range... so i don't know, is it worth it?
i also question the validity of results at this age. no one ever tested my IQ, but i am certain that i was a late bloomer, intelligence-wise. i took a lot of standardized tests as a kid per state requirements, and i always scored in at least the 85th percentile in grammar school (usually 95+ but not consistently), but it wasn't until i was in jr. high or high school that i started getting perfect scores on every test i took. i can't help but think DD might be like that too.
so, these are the questions i'm weighing in my head.
We recently had our son tested by a graduate student who was taking a cognitive assessment class. He came in exactly where we thought he would (basically where I tested when I was about the same age). It is nice to have it in our back pockets as he gets ready for kindergarten next year, but it won't change anything about our plans for him.
Unless you have a reason to test, I don't think I would bother. If you think he is spinning his wheels in school, introduce things at home that are more interesting and challenging (not academics in a traditional sense, but deeper experiences that will push him to stretch his thinking).
Our testing was under $100 and by local graduate students.
I am very thankful that we tested; the results confirmed my expectations. (I called DH at work to say, "I'm not crazy! I'm not seeing things that aren't there!") It has also been nice to have a specialist give me her encouragement to keep him challenged and working at his interest level--culturally I had been feeling a push to not rush him. I notice I also worry less about whether we are covering too much ground too fast.
If my child were in a school setting, and I felt that the school understood my child AND was able to meet the child's needs beautifully, I would need the reassurance less.
I will also say that IME first grade may be trickier to navigate than kindergarten, although this seems to vary widely. In many districts kindergarten is fun even if a gifted child isn't learning much. In first grade, a gifted child still isn't learning much, but instead of all the play and art the focus is on seatwork and worksheets and phonics and math drills for addition facts, and even differentiation is often not aimed high enough. So if an official gifted report will help navigate first grade (either by preparing you for what kinds of leaps and bounds your child may show, or by helping you advocate for more challenging work), it might help to start the process this spring to prepare.
Our testing by licensed PsyDs was about $500 and made positive differences for us in the ability for Maya to be both integrated into the social experience of her grade level and peers while having the teacher know to give her more interesting book work so that she does not fall behind out of boredom. It does not make for a lot of visible changes for those not involved, but it allows her to have the best possible experience in school we believe :) We did it at five and were told that it was an excellent time that measured IQ over better-school based learning, a great baseline that she would probably never drop below but could go above as she grows.
thank you so much for replying!
I'm not worried about being stimulated at home. He has plenty of opportunities to learn, and if I'm too caught up with the baby, he keeps pestering me until I give him an occupation (this is how multiple digit multiplications started. Now I give him some calculations and it keeps him busy for half an hour.)
If I DON'T test him, I'm afraid he might have a not so nice teacher in the future who would punish him instead of understanding him and keeping him busy when he acts up at school. Who would believe me then when I tell them my bratty kid is gifted?
If I DO test him, can they make me move him to a higher level? If he's in the first grade, will they make me move him to the second grade? Also, this might sound silly, I wouldn't want to "label" him.
If you don't label him, someone else will, only it won't be a label of your choosing or necessarily a positive one.
Testing has it's place but really, it's not going to tell you anything you don't already know. My eldest wasn't tested until 12 and only because the high school she was moving into needed the scores and would accept nothing else. Prior to that, every accomodation she needed was provided based on shown ability. She's had a full grade skip, subject accelerations, in-class differentiation, you name it. No one ever questioned her giftedness. My DS was tested as part of routine in 2nd grade for the GATE program but his teachers were talking about him in turns of gifted in kindergarten. Again, neither kid's test surprised us or their teachers. Unless your school is not seeing his abilities (which clearly they are since they brought in someone to test his reading) or he needs scores to get in a particular program, I don't see any reason to do it.
Doing coloring pages can be a waste of time for anyone who doesn't like them. I'm actually surprised you are seeing them at all as it's rarely in the kindergarten curriculum anymore.
My son is also in kindergarten and we have not had him tested. His teacher recognizes his ability. He's in a reading group that is at the 1st grade level (although I think another child is above that as well) and then does higher level reading on his own or one-on-one with the teacher, mostly nonfiction. His teacher is very experienced and says we'll know when it's time to do more.
I guess the only reason I'd have my son tested is if a) his teachers weren't recognizing his ability level or b) it was required for admission to a certain program. He's obviously gifted, the school has been very accommodating (letting him start K a year early and working with him at his level sometimes). He's happy right now. They spend most of the day playing and in specials (Spanish, science, art, music, PE, library all 2-4 times a week). He likes to sing songs and get lots of recesses. We'll see what happens in the future. I don't think testing would label him as he has been labeled gifted already by his doctor, his preschool teachers, the admissions committee, and his kindergarten teachers.
I would query the school and school district about what services and supports would be available, and find out what testing they would do, and under what circumstances. Where I am, testing is around $2k - not cheap.
The truth is that many schools do relatively little to nothing for gifted students. There may be some lip service about in-class differentiation, or occasional pullouts. I base this on our experience, those of other families we know locally, reading here, in books and elsewhere online. Some areas do offer gifted schools, gifted classes, structured pullouts etc. I would talk to the school as a starting point.
DS was tested at 5 and again at almost 8. Both told different stories - DS's VS skills were very strong at 5, while his verbal skills were very strong at 8. The testing at 5 was not "clean" as he is a very divergent thinker and is 2E (twice exceptional - gifted with learning differences). In retrospect, I wouldn't have tested at 5 because we came out of it knowing we'd need to test again in the future, and other than confirming he's gifted, it didn't particularly benefit him.
There is evidence that IQ is pretty variable - swinging up to 30 points either way through the childhood years. According to Nurtureshock:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Some kids are late bloomers, some are highly verbal which is predominantly what's noticed at early ages... IQ testing is not considered "reliable" until 3rd grade.
OP, if you think it would gain your child access to useful services but the school won't do it, and you think your son would enjoy it, I would go for it. A child with your son's abilities is pretty likely gifted and some schools are going to need paper to document it. My son thought the testing sessions were fun. Kindie is fun, grade 1 can be a different story as they increase focus on "learning to read" and there's less time for play.
These topics have been covered many times in this forum so you might enjoy reading back for some interesting perspectives and experiences.
Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.
I will say that I hesitated for quite a while because I also didn't want a label--I had a vision of getting a single number and attached label. Our results, though, feel nothing like that. We do have the one overall number, but we got a very thorough report with about ten different subtests in three different areas (verbal, non-verbal, and processing speed), plus several pages of single-spaced observations on DS, so it feels like a much friendlier, thoughtful analysis of how his mind works, particular strengths, patterns. And this is what I'm most grateful for. It's nuanced and sensitive. I am glad now that I did not let concern about a label hold me back from testing.
But it sounds like you have a much more satisfactory school situation--that's terrific!
There is a lot of good information on Hoagies website about testing - why, when, what tests, etc.
According to this piece, testing is considered reliable for average children around age 8, per research. It is thought that testing may be reliable for younger gifted children. This article suggests that you would want to test when you need to make some decisions regarding placement/appropriate education, but before you have behavior related or social problems that may come with incorrect placement.
We tested ds at 5, and even the assessor indicated that our results were of "questionable validity," because ds did not cooperate well with the tester. We already had some behavior related problems due to incorrect placement. Therefore, the neuropsych. assumed that his low and high scores would likely be higher. We probably wouldn't have tested again, but ds is having some issues at school that we (the school and dh & I) are attributing to an undiagnosed learning disability that wasn't discovered earlier due to super compensation abilities, and so we've started the testing process again at age 9. The suspected LD was also probably part of the reason we weren't able to get a good grip on his real test scores when he was 5. This type of scenario doesn't sound like it would be anything that you would need to consider, but I just wanted to highlight that there can be some wide fluctuations in scoring and that an IQ test will give you a snap shot in time.
Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.
for us, part of the reason i'm thinking about testing now is because i think there's a good chance she has ADHD too. gah. i know we should test and figure out what's going on there. she's never going to be ID'ed as ADHD in the school system because her academic performance is fantastic. and i know gifted can equal very very energetic. but i know it's beyond my expertise to determine if it's gifted energy or ADHD. and since ADHD runs so strongly in the family (they put my grandfather on medication at almost 80!!), i know it's a good chance that's it.
i think i'm kind of in denial about the ADHD issue... it's a lot to think about. :-(