Testing for giftedness. Should I? Is there a reason to? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 07-09-2011, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I have a son turning 6 this month. Entering 1st grade. At the same time he was diagnosed with ADHD, he was also diagnosed as Cognitively gifted. It was a rather vague diagnosis because at the time (he was 4), I'm guessing it was difficult to do formal testing, nor was there a purpose. As he has been through kindergarten, it's clear he's excelling tremendously. For example, he's reading at a 3rd -4th grade level. He's started doing more complex math in his head, his processing/problem solving skills allow him to process A+B+C+D= xxxx. I.e., he can process logic at a complex level, and his sense of humor is possibly the best part!

My question is this: how do we test for giftedness or should we at this point? So far he's content in school. So no negative behaviors pointing to boredom. Before 3rd grade he will get tested for honors programs. Without overcomplicating his life or pushing him, we were cautioned by his dr.'s that giftedness does not equal success. And we may have to work to find ways to keep him motivated.

At this point should I be doing more? Or am I over thinking it? The ADHD certainly already gives me plenty to think about!
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#2 of 11 Old 07-09-2011, 01:55 PM
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Testing is good for two main things: unlocking access to services, and finding out more about your child to better raise him.  If your son is highly gifted, raising him will be a significantly different experience from raising a normal or moderately gifted child.  Full testing, if it goes well, will probably give you some useful information, may highlight areas of difficulty, etc.  And if you go to a tester that specializes in gifted children, they will probably give you a lot of insight on how to approach raising your son, if he does turn out to be gifted.

 

Now in your case, the testing might be extra useful because of the ADHD diagnosis.  Gifted children may suffer from ADHD, but also be misdiagnosed with it too (for example, out of boredom with things in which they're not interested, which might be the case with your son even if he's not openly showing it in ways you understand).  The testing might help explain some of his cognitive differences in a way that sheds more light. 

 

Testing can be done in a variety of ways.  You would have to pick a tester, and there is a full gamut from gifted testing experts to freebie interns at the local college.  Here, you sometimes get what you pay for, and you should make sure that your tester, whoever it is, has tested gifted children before and knows their quirks. 

 

You also have to pick one or more tests.  If you're going to engage in testing, it is probably worthwhile to do both a cognitive/IQ type of test and a more achievement-oriented test.  The most common, and commonly accepted, IQ tests for children are the Stanford-Binet 5 (SB5) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), followed by the WPPSI, which is used generally for very young children.  For children under 5, if you want to go with the biggies, you're pretty much stuck with either the SB5 or WPPSI.  Once a child hits 6 and the WISC-IV is available, the WPPSI is not considered to be the best option; pick from the SB5 or WISC.

 

There are different achievement tests too, and the most common seem to be the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III) and WIAT.  Your tester will educate you on the differences between all of these tests, and may steer you toward particular ones based on having more familiarity with, liking for, or access to particular tests.

 

On the services end, having documentation can help with placement in gifted and talented services.  If your son turns out to be exceptionally or profoundly gifted, some programs like the Davidson Young Scholars program can be beneficial in giving access to further services, free advocacy, etc.  Good luck.

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#3 of 11 Old 07-09-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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There are some things to figure out first. For starters, what sort of program does your school have? When do they test? What test do they adminster? Will they even LOOK at private test results (they may not.) Do you feel the testing will tell you anything new as you already know he's gifted correct? How open has the school been? You say he's been happy. It sounds like he's continuing to grow. Personally, without a real issue or neccessary "proof" I wouldn't do it. But then, my kids didn't test until ages 12 and 7 because that's when it was needed for specialized programs.

 

Private testing can be expensive. Prices seem to be regional but in our area, you are looking at about 900 dollars for a private IQ test done by a professional who specialized in gifted children.


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#4 of 11 Old 07-09-2011, 05:53 PM
 
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Testing may be worthwhile if there are possible learning issues. If a child isn't globally gifted (gifted on all scales), then an assessment can reveal where the gaps are. It can provide insight and understanding into the child's cognitive processes and help with planning support. It doesn't sound like there's any issues with your DS - he's progressing and he's happy. Both my kids, but especially my DD, have atypical profiles on their gifted assessment results. We really appreciated the added information from the assessments.

 

Having said that, they weren't performed until they were being considered for the school district's gifted program, at age 8 yrs. Looking back, I suppose we could have used the information a little earlier. I don't think it was a problem that we didn't get it until they had done a couple of grades at school, because they were both doing well.  But if they had been struggling, it would have been useful to test earlier.

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#5 of 11 Old 07-10-2011, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all of you for your reply's. This is really one of those situations where face to face, back and forth conversations would be so nice. In short, we are in San Diego, so I'm not thinking of looking into finding a support group or something where I can get that. I've asked his school, and while his teacher is impressed with his abilities, I'm left to understand that the financially desperate state of San Diego schools doesn't lend itself well to resources, therefore I haven't received any suggestions. UCSD and the Rady Children's Hospital have teamed up to create a very special program that includes many experts diagnosing vs. just one short assessment by a pediatrician. That is the program we thankfully stumbled into, but my questions about testing for giftedness have led to zero answers from them as well. Therefore, I'm guessing I won't make much headway unless I can ask very specific, informed questions.

 

Lastly, all of you who responded seem to be very informed. I feel like thats my next step -- just getting informed. Any other suggestions about where to begin?

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#6 of 11 Old 07-10-2011, 11:02 PM
 
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Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is a good place to start.

 

A Nation Deceived is a good book to start with. I'm hoping others will chime in with good books. I have found that the books about parenting gifted children have been almost universally disappointing to me.


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#7 of 11 Old 07-10-2011, 11:14 PM
 
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I'm in San Diego. I should say that not ALL the San Diego Schools are in such a state. It's pretty much just the City district (which is huge.) We have one child that recently moved into the city district and it really is a whole different world from our area district. They ONLY accept the Raven and it must be school administered. Don't even bother with private testing if your goal is to get accomodations from a city school. Now, the one positive is that if you request testing to learning disabilities, they have to comply. That is a route I've known other parents to take.

 

I used to have some resources on testing but they were too expensive and in the end, we never needed to go that route. It's been like 8 years and I have no idea where those names went. You might check with the local chapter of Mensa. They couldn't really help us but that was a long while ago. They may have better resources now.

 

We've been incredibly happy with our local district. I just wish they had a high school so my DD could continue with them.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbrenn View Post

Thanks to all of you for your reply's. This is really one of those situations where face to face, back and forth conversations would be so nice. In short, we are in San Diego, so I'm not thinking of looking into finding a support group or something where I can get that. I've asked his school, and while his teacher is impressed with his abilities, I'm left to understand that the financially desperate state of San Diego schools doesn't lend itself well to resources, therefore I haven't received any suggestions. UCSD and the Rady Children's Hospital have teamed up to create a very special program that includes many experts diagnosing vs. just one short assessment by a pediatrician. That is the program we thankfully stumbled into, but my questions about testing for giftedness have led to zero answers from them as well. Therefore, I'm guessing I won't make much headway unless I can ask very specific, informed questions.

 

Lastly, all of you who responded seem to be very informed. I feel like thats my next step -- just getting informed. Any other suggestions about where to begin?



 


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#8 of 11 Old 07-11-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbrenn View Post

I feel like thats my next step -- just getting informed. Any other suggestions about where to begin?



- I second the suggestion for the Hoagies site.

- Search through this forum - there are lots of threads on almost every topic imaginable.

- Check for local groups and websites and message boards (google can be a good friend). When I started looking for information, I was lucky to find a website with a message board for my local area. It allowed me to get a lot of information and assess some of the local school politics without personal, face-to-face involvement. Conversations about giftedness can get a little intense, so I was grateful for some background knowledge before I dealt with it IRL.

 

 

When you are reading message boards and parenting sites, keep in mind that they all have different flavours that reflect the beliefs and philosophical leanings of the group. IMO, this site tends to a more holistic perspective and a "just let them play and explore" attitude than you'll find on many other boards. It's one of the things I like about it. Some boards have a bit more of an active interventionist tendency with suggestions that could attract accusations of hothousing. Some boards get pretty competitive and sometimes a little nasty.

 

As for books, it's been a long time since I read any on giftedness, so I don't have any current recommendations. Hope someone else has a few.

 

  

 

 

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#9 of 11 Old 07-11-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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Just wanted to throw something out there.  If you decide to test, make sure that your DS is capable of taking a test like that.  Sounds simple, right?  LOL  I got my DD tested (I think she was 4, though, so a little younger than your DS) by a child psychologist, and paid out-of-pocket for it.  When I got the results back, the tester noted that DD is left-handed, to which I go headscratch.gif.  I then asked DD about it and she admitted to using her left hand throughout the test ("because it would make the test harder and more fun"), which threw off a significant portion of her results.  She was asked to do mazes, complete shapes, draw according to specific directions, etc.  Those scores were all useless.  So just a word of caution if you can't get the school to perform the test and you end up paying out-of-pocket.


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#10 of 11 Old 07-11-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramama View Post

Just wanted to throw something out there.  If you decide to test, make sure that your DS is capable of taking a test like that.  Sounds simple, right?  LOL  I got my DD tested (I think she was 4, though, so a little younger than your DS) by a child psychologist, and paid out-of-pocket for it.  When I got the results back, the tester noted that DD is left-handed, to which I go headscratch.gif.  I then asked DD about it and she admitted to using her left hand throughout the test ("because it would make the test harder and more fun"), which threw off a significant portion of her results.  She was asked to do mazes, complete shapes, draw according to specific directions, etc.  Those scores were all useless.  So just a word of caution if you can't get the school to perform the test and you end up paying out-of-pocket.


Good point. I have a friend who tells a somewhat similar story about her DS. He didn't see any point to some of the questions, so he didn't bother answering fully. Not surprisingly, the results weren't accurate. Re-testing a couple of years later showed a significantly higher result and he entered the gifted program then.

 

You can try to explain that the assessment is helping the adults figure out how he learns and how best to teach him since everyone learns differently. We didn't mention the words "gifted" or "gifted program" to our dc before their assessments, to avoid any pressure on them. We encouraged them to make their best effort and show us what they could do, so that we'd be able to help them better. I think it's a lot easier for a 7or 8 yr. old (or older) to understand that, than a 4 or 6 y.o.
 

 

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#11 of 11 Old 07-11-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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Are you in North America?  Diagnosing ADHD before 7 or 8 years old is not standard in N. Am.  It's also misdiagnosed in gifted children.  The diagnostic process for ADHD is pretty subjective, and the list of behavioural manifestations of ADHD is very similar to the behavioural manifestations of other things (including being gifted).  What method was used to make the diagnosis?  Your son may very well have it, as one can certainly be both gifted and have ADHD.  Having a successful kindergarten year without interventions and with ADHD would be unusual, though.

 

A full psych-ed eval might be beneficial to tease out what's going on for him.  But, if he's happy in school and there's no programming or accomodations that would be made available by testing, I would wait until he's 7 or 8 as you'll get more reliable results.

 

The James T Webb book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults is a very good read.  It's available on google books with a sizable preview.


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