Metroparent: Gifted Kids and School: The Best Approach to Educating Einstein
By Kristen J. Gough
Keeping super-smart children engaged, motivated and accepted can be an incredible challenge. Learn how to help your academically bright child.
“Alison Kenyon looked forward to the start of school for her son, Emmett. “I just assumed he’d take the world by storm,” she recalls of Emmett entering first grade last year.
Emmett had always been advanced for his age. “He is not the ‘typical’ gifted child, if such a thing exists,” explains his mother. “The clues for giftedness were his enormous vocabulary, ability to pronounce five-syllable words correctly in addition to using them correctly, his ability to hear something once and repeat it verbatim.”
Understanding the ‘gifted’ label
What does it mean to be “gifted”? While the question at first appears simple, there’s no one answer. Morse, who’s helmed Steppingstone for 31 years, says, “The definition of ‘gifted’ came originally from individually administered IQ tests, such as the Wechsler, where it was defined as one standard deviation from the top, or the top 2.5 percent. The lower boundary was an IQ of 130.”
The National Association for Gifted Children, or NAGC, offers, “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude or competence in one or more domains.” And yet NAGC points out that the definition is fluid: “Even within schools, you will find a range of personal beliefs about the word ‘gifted,’ which has become a term with multiple meanings and much nuance.”
The NAGC estimates that 6 percent of the total school population (grades K-12) is academically gifted. Here in Michigan, the NAGC reports that 58,090 children were identified as gifted for the 2010-11 school year, the most recent year in which data is available. But there’s no agreed-upon definition of giftedness for the state, nor any mandates to identify gifted children – so those figures may be misleading.”
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