FAQ-parents

At what age should a student be tested?

When a child should be referred and possibly tested is determined by the school and the parent. It is important that the student’s educational needs are being met. Often, by identifying a student and completing the necessary steps in the identification process, the school and parents can gain a greater understanding of the educational needs of the child.

How can I find a psychologist?

The Australian Psychological Society website has a "find" feature. Check out the following website: The Australian Psychological Society

How do gifted programs differ from a general education program?

The type of program your child has a chance to participate in will be limited by what the district or school has to offer.
Some districts offer only one option, while others offer a choice. Some let individual schools run their own programs; others centralise all programs at one or two sites – an approach which often requires that children be transported to a school outside their neighbourhood.
Source: Palmer Learning

How do I choose a school for my gifted child?

Some questions you might consider asking the principal of a prospective school for your gifted child include:
Does your school have a policy on gifted education?
Is there an assessment procedure or formal identification process for finding gifted children in your school? Could you please explain this process?
Could you explain how the school might cater for a gifted child?
Is there a particular teacher who looks after the needs of gifted education at your school?
Would it be possible to discuss what the school offers in this area in more detail with that person?

Source: Courtesy Catholic Education, NSW

Link: Article: Double, P (2006). Choosing a school for your gifted child. Vision (VAGTC) Volume 16 Number 2.

How do I know if my child is gifted?

A gifted child may display some, but not necessarily all of these traits

Traits in young children

As infants may get fussy if facing one direction for too long
As infants, appear alert
Need less sleep, even as infants
Frequently reach ‘milestones’ such as walking and first speech earlier than average
May speak late, but then speak in complete sentences
Strong desire to explore, investigate, and master the environment
Toys and games mastered early, then discarded
Very active (but activity with a purpose, not to be confused with ADHD)
Can distinguish between reality and fantasy (questions about Santa or the tooth fairy come very early!)
Source: Courtesy of Carol Bainbridge

Traits in children

Extremely Curious
Intense interests
Excellent memory
Long attention span
Excellent reasoning skills
Well-developed powers of abstraction, conceptualization, and synthesis
Quickly and easily sees relationships in ideas, objects, or facts
Fluent and flexible thinking
Elaborate and original thinking
Excellent problem solving skills
Learns quickly and with less practice and repetition
Unusual and/or vivid imagination
Source: Courtesy of Carol Bainbridge

School aged traits

Advanced language skills, extensive vocabulary
Rapid learning rate/need for stimulation
Excellent memory/attention to detail
Good problem solving, abstract reasoning, intellectual curiosity/insightfulness
Deep sense of fairness and moral justice
Heightened sensitivities/empathy
Vivid imagination/keen humour
Perfectionist/perseverance
Fear of failure
May appear inattentive
May be reluctant writers
Resist drill and repetition
May impact friendship development
May conform to be accepted

Source: Courtesy Catholic Education, NS

How should I approach my child’s teacher?

Always make an appointment to see your child’s teacher. This is basic courtesy, shows that you are treating the teacher as a professional and ensures that the teacher will have the time to give you his/her full attention.

It is also worthwhile to inform the teacher what you would like to discuss. This allows the teacher time to prepare for the meeting.
At the meeting, be prepared to give concrete examples of your child’s work, feelings or behaviour, to illustrate their giftedness, not just your own impressions.
Link: GERRIC Checklist for Parents
Keep in mind that you and the teacher are most likely concerned with the same basic goal – helping your child. Speak to your child’s teacher is a supportive and non-threatening way and they will probably respond in the same fashion.

Source: Courtesy Catholic Education, NSW

Is a student who is gifted a straight “A” student?

Gifted students are not necessarily straight “A” students. Straight “A’ students are not always gifted. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, not all gifted students have strengths in all academic domains. There are many who may excel in only one or two areas. Some students may qualify for gifted services but may also have a disability that interferes with their ability to perform well in certain curricular areas. Students may also be underachieving for a wide variety of other environmental reasons such as peer pressure.

Is one type of program better than the others?

Not necessarily.

The worth of any program will depend on the teacher involved, the support she is given, and the needs of the child. Those who are doing well in a general education classroom and are able to make social connections there may do better in a pull-out program where they are spending only a portion of their time with a group of other identified kids. Those who are totally out of place, socially and academically, in a regular class might do better in a self-contained gifted education room where they spend more time in a modified curriculum around other kids with similar interests and abilities.
Making educational choices is really a matter of seeing what's available to you, and then making the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. Also keep in mind that your child is a developing, evolving creature whose needs may well change over time. What works one year, may not the next. Be flexible, expect change, and go with the flow.

Source: Palmer Learning

My child is bored at school. What can I do?

Speak to your child’s teacher and discuss why your child may be bored. Boredom can mean many things to a child such as having to apply effort or completing an activity that requires lower level thinking before beginning a more complex task. Let them peruse the interests they are most passionate about out of school hours.
For example you might consider giving them art or music lessons.

My child qualified for the enrichment program/class at her school, but he/she likes his/her current class and friends there, so I’m not sure if I want him/her to be in the enrichment program. What do you recommend?

Most parents want their children to:

Enjoy school
Have access to great teachers and a supportive school staff
Be motivated to do their best
Have the opportunity to reach their full potential
And have friends
If enrolment in an enrichment program/class can help your child with these goals, then it’s probably a good move. If he/she’s already succeeding in these ways, then the choice is not so critical.

Source: Palmer Learning

What should I do if I think my child is gifted?

The first thing you should consider is reading some additional information about gifted children so as to be clear in your mind about the issues.

You may want to approach your child’s teacher and explain that you think your child is gifted and why.

If you think that your child’s teacher did not accept your explanation, you could consult the principal or psychologist at your child’s school.

You could consider having your child’s IQ assessed externally to the school in order to confirm what you suspect.

Source: Courtesy Catholic Education, NSW

What type of education do gifted children need?

A school with a gifted education program will typically incorporate some ability grouping, acceleration strategies and an appropriately differentiated curriculum. It is also important to consider learning styles, relative strengths and weaknesses and the interests of the student. Differentiating the curriculum includes incorporating a focus on higher order critical and creative thinking skills.