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Gifted Kids Require Gifted Education

Updated on June 29, 2011

Although gifted and talented students may have the potential to achieve far beyond their peers, special gifted education is important for them to make the most of that potential. Gifted children are special needs children who require special services from the school. It is crucial to work within your school system to get the appropriate assessment testing (including a cognitive abilities test), achievement documentation, interviews, or whatever else is required in order to have your child identified as gifted. While formal gifted education at school is great, so are supplemental programs for gifted kids.

How to know if your child is gifted: the Federal Definition

In Title IX, the US government defines gifted and talented students as follows:

GIFTED AND TALENTED- The term gifted and talented', when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities

Giftedness Assessment at School

It takes more than test scores that indicate whether or not a child is gifted. While IQ tests are certainly a factor in determining giftedness, they're not everything. It's also important to note than few professionals are specifically trained to assess gifted children. The gifted child has special education and emotional needs. If you suspect your child may be gifted, find a qualified professional with experience in working with gifted kids.

Testing involves administering standardized tests that report results in numbers. The information provided from tests is limited. Assessment of gifted children is more interactive and requires a highly trained and experienced evaluator. In addition to test scores they will look at special skills, parent interviews, and academic performance.

Educational Talent Searches

Talent searches identify gifted and talented students (based on test scores) during the mid to late elementary school years. This is the time that difference in abilities really begins to show up. Once in the talent search program, there are newsletters, websites, and correspondence and online learning opportunities for a wide variety of subjects. Gifted kids get access to accelerated learning, plus a sense of camaraderie with gifted peers.

The most important thing you need to know about this valuable gifted education for your special needs children is that your school is NOT the gate-keeper of the educational talent search programs. You have every right to sign your child up for talent search. Do not let someone else's definition of gifted limit your child's opportunities.

Summer Camps for Gifted Children

Almost every major university now offers some sort of summer program for gifted and talented students. There are many things to consider when choosing a program so spend some time thinking about the kind of experience you want your gifted child to have. Do you want her to make new friends with similar interests, explore a new study area, or delve deeply into an academic favorite? Will the atmosphere be competitive or cooperative?

You also want to consider safety. Choosing a camp that is accredited by the ACA, American Camping Association can help you to know what you're getting.

Image Credit: cambodia4kidsorg, Flickr


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  • profile image


    9 years ago from Chicago Illinois

    I would like to say that whatever area your child may fall into advocating for your child is a MUST! If we as parents don't do this for our children who will? The teachers are far too overwhelmed with all that is required with the new "no child left behind laws". Parents need to educate themselves in the area that will most help the child in their school district. Not all gifted children fall into an only "gifted" area. Many children under the autism spectrum fall into the gifted arena but have other issues to deal with. So as a parent you need to put aside your own issues and deal with what works best for your child.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    as an educator I would like to add to the comment made by WildIris. Parents of gifted learners need to advocate not only for their own child but for gifted learners as a group. We are watching programming for gifted learners disappear as funding for education grows tight. Gifted learners are already the group that is making the least academic growth in our schools. Without appropriate programs and teachers with training, gifted learners will suffer unless their parents speak out.

  • Lela Davidson profile imageAUTHOR

    Lela Davidson 

    9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Absolutely! That's why the talent searches are such a wonderful resource. No school advocacy required!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    This is an informative article on the needs of a gifted student. The only thing I'd like to add is that the parent(s) of a gifted child needs to advocate for that child. While many schools recognize special needs students with learning challenges, fewer services are available for gifted students. A parent must search for opportunities for their gifted student and not wait for a school to provide services for the student.


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