Anyone have a school-age child identified as gifted? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Anyone have a school-age child identified as gifted?

My daughter is 8 and has been evaluated a number of times for various things--suspected Asperger's, ADHD, etc. We've run in circles, honestly, trying to "figure her out" and weathering the storms as they came.

Since Kindergarten it has been mentioned that she is "extremely bright" and upon entering 3rd grade, within the first week, her teacher (head of our district's gifted & talented program for the last 10 years) identified her as gifted. We went through testing, and sure enough, she scored high. Some of the behavior concerns/issues we've had she said are actually common amongst gifted children. She said DD presents "atypically" but has certain characteristics very common in gifted children.

We go next week for an intro session for our district's gifted & talented program. They do 6-week pullout programs for gifted learners.

As I am learning about all this, I was wondering if anyone else has a child identified as gifted, and how their learning experience is enhanced/encouraged for them?

We have struggled a lot with boredom and lack of motivation due to it, and I am thinking a lot about what we need to do now. 

Mom to J (10), L (4), and baby #3 arriving in July of 2015

Re: Anyone have a school-age child identified as gifted?

  • I do but she was just identified in kinder because her teacher was having difficulty keeping her challenged and keeping up with her reading level. It is brand new to us so no idea what to expect. We have not had any behavior issues yet. I have no doubt in my mind DD is also ADHD, but we will cross that bridge when it is causing academic or social issues which it is not yet.
  • My kids' school district has very little in the normal classroom to accommodate highly gifted kids.  The highest placement they offer is 1 year above grade level classes. The schools test every kid for giftedness in grade 2.  Kids who qualify can go through an even more selective application/testing process during 3rd grade for a magnet program that begins in grade 4.  

    My DD has attended the magnet program for grades 4 through 7.  We've been very happy with it. One of the biggest advantages of the magnet program is access to fantastic teachers and a lower chance of winding up with a mediocre or crappy teacher.  Also, teachers in the g/t program have far more control over their curriculum and instruction than the regular classroom teachers.

    In addition to being the parent of g/t kids, I also teach middle and high school English, and I have considerable professional experience working with the GT/LD population.  Know that it's not unusual for kids to be both gifted and LD, as you've found with your DD.  Many kids I've taught who are exceptionally bright also present with the characteristics of specific learning disabilities but are never formally diagnosed.  

    When you're sizing up options for your GT/LD child, here are some things to look out for:

    --some g/t programs get really focused on having the kids produce flashy projects that make the program look good.  Beware of a program that leans too heavily toward "project based" or "experiential" learning to the exclusion of skills and content.  Both project based and experiential learning are appropriate for gt kids, but too much of a good thing... isn't a good thing.

    --some g/t programs become slaves to rigorous homework.  I don't think it's unreasonable for a student in a g/t program to have more homework than a typical kid, but some programs confuse "g/t" with "more work."  Any kid can technically do more work.  It's the type of work that matters.

    --a really good g/t program still emphasizes study skills, time management, and organization.  G/t kids can struggle with these skills more than typical kids do.

    --a good g/t program understands that highly gifted kids come with a particular set of weaknesses that include: over-sensitivity, perfectionism, being judgmental, preoccupation with fairness/injustice, and having extra energy and intensity.  A good g/t curriculum will not ignore these issues.  A great g/t program will actually attempt to address these characteristics!

    Be especially vigilant about the "project factory" and the "homework factory" type of g/t programs with your daughter.  Also, after the 6 week pullout program, what happens?  Will that much transition be a challenge for your DD given her suspected Asperger's and ADHD?  I am kerflummoxed by the whole notion of a 6 week pullout program.  What does that accomplish?  I'd want to know about the endgame, and about opportunities for my child down the road. 

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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  • imageneverblushed:

    Be especially vigilant about the "project factory" and the "homework factory" type of g/t programs with your daughter.  Also, after the 6 week pullout program, what happens?  Will that much transition be a challenge for your DD given her suspected Asperger's and ADHD?  I am kerflummoxed by the whole notion of a 6 week pullout program.  What does that accomplish?  I'd want to know about the endgame, and about opportunities for my child down the road. 

    I do think our district's program sounds like a "project factory." When we go to the intro session next week I will get more info.

    Basically, a 6-week pull-out means that for 6 weeks DD will attend her regular class for the first 2 hours of the day, then the G&T kids from her school are bussed to another school in the district. 2 schools combine for the pullout program. Each 6-week block has a different theme/goal. After 6 weeks they go into the next 6-week block. Make sense?

    I still have a lot to learn. Project-based would meet a lot of DD's needs (she can't stand the busywork of worksheets which is what she gets a lot of in class) but I don't want certain areas going neglected, either.

    Our district's GATE program is actually used as a model for other GATE programs in the state (as in, they model for others to observe how to set up a GATE program). So it is highly-recommended. But just because it is doesn't mean that it will be the best FOR HER.

    Thanks for your input--it was so helpful!

    Mom to J (10), L (4), and baby #3 arriving in July of 2015
  • imageheyitsme:
    imageneverblushed:

    Be especially vigilant about the "project factory" and the "homework factory" type of g/t programs with your daughter.  Also, after the 6 week pullout program, what happens?  Will that much transition be a challenge for your DD given her suspected Asperger's and ADHD?  I am kerflummoxed by the whole notion of a 6 week pullout program.  What does that accomplish?  I'd want to know about the endgame, and about opportunities for my child down the road. 

    I do think our district's program sounds like a "project factory." When we go to the intro session next week I will get more info.

    Basically, a 6-week pull-out means that for 6 weeks DD will attend her regular class for the first 2 hours of the day, then the G&T kids from her school are bussed to another school in the district. 2 schools combine for the pullout program. Each 6-week block has a different theme/goal. After 6 weeks they go into the next 6-week block. Make sense?

    I still have a lot to learn. Project-based would meet a lot of DD's needs (she can't stand the busywork of worksheets which is what she gets a lot of in class) but I don't want certain areas going neglected, either.

    Our district's GATE program is actually used as a model for other GATE programs in the state (as in, they model for others to observe how to set up a GATE program). So it is highly-recommended. But just because it is doesn't mean that it will be the best FOR HER.

    Thanks for your input--it was so helpful!

    Okay, I get it.  It's a program divided into 6 week themed chunks, not 6 weeks of g/t then back to the grind!  I would go for it, if you feel they are set up to deal with the Asperger's/ADHD stuff.

    I think any g/t or GATE program is going to involve projects, because that's what engages gifted learners.  My DD has done many interesting and enriching projects (and a few that were sort of a waste of time or bizarre, truth be told!)  But she also had good, rigorous math instruction, an excellent course of vocab and grammar, and good basic science and social studies content.  So it's been a mix of funtime projects and advanced content.

    Overall far more good than bad in her program. 

     

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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