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What does it mean to be gifted?

Although definitions vary from school to school and state to state, the definition adopted by the Arkansas State Department of Education paraphrased is

Gifted and Talented children and youth are those of high potential or ability, whose learning characteristics and educational needs require differentiated educational experiences and/or services. Possession of these talents and gifts or the potential for their development will be shown through a combination of above average intelligence, motivation and creativity.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.  How do I know if my child is gifted:

Some characteristics are:

  • Early and rapid learning in areas of walking, talking, and reading
  • Superior vocabulary
  • Able to do several things at once
  • Functions at a more complex level
  • Advanced interests
  • Wide range of interests
  • Curious
  • Long attention span
  • Artistic

2.  Is my child bright or gifted?

A Bright Child A Gifted Child
Knows the answers Asks the questions
Is interested Is highly curious
Is attentive Is mentally and physically involved
Works hard Plays around, yet tests well
Answers the questions Discusses in detail, elaborates
Is in the top group Is beyond the group
Listens with interest Shows strong feelings and opinions
Needs 6-8 repetitions for masterery Needs 1-2 repetitions
Understands idesa Constructs absractions
Enjoys peers Perfers adults
Grasps the meaning Draws inferences
Completes assignments Initiates projects
Is receptive Is intense
Copies acurately Creates a new design
Learns with ease Already knows

3.  How do I get my child tested if I believe him/her to be gifted?

Contact your school counselor and express your beliefs. The counselor may direct you to the gifted teacher who can discuss giftedness further with you and together you can decide whether to proceed with testing the child. There are some indicators the teacher can look at before proceeding with the testing procedures which are quite lengthy for the child.

4.  Should my child be getting a different type of education if he/she is gifted?

State guidelines mandate that gifted/talented children receive "differential education experiences and/or services." This means they should indeed have a different type of education, not "more" of the same thing. Again, the school gifted teacher, counselor, and/or principal will be able to recommend the best educational placement for your child based on his/her needs and abilities.

5.  What about acceleration, grade skipping, or advanced placement classes?

These are all viable options for the gifted student. There are also many different types of acceleration - acceleration in a single subject, acceleration within the classroom, acceleration between grades, and grade skipping. Advanced placement classes are designed for use with high school students, usually juniors or seniors. The gifted teacher will be able to explain your options in more detail.

6.  What can I do at home to help my child?

In very young children talk to them, read to and with the children, tell stories, provide puzzles, blocks and games, allow them time and space to develop their curiosity. In older children flexibility and tolerance are necessary, along with discipline which will allow them the freedom to grow but the boundaries needed for them to function within the family.

7.  Will being labeled as "gifted" help my child get a college scholarship?

While the gifted label itself will not ensure a scholarship, most gifted students also have great ambition which translates into academic achievement resulting in scholarships.

8.  If I don't get help from the people at my child's school, where can I go for more information?

Shown at this same website are links to support groups for parents of gifted children, printed materials dealing with gifted/talented, and still other information links are available.