Is My Child Gifted?
Your child seems very advanced when you compare him to his playmates. Of course her grandparents can’t help themselves telling you over and over “How smart she is!” You don’t want to be accused of being a helicopter parent, but at the same time, you have noticed that little Isabella seems to have an exceptionally large vocabulary for her age and it makes you wonder, “Is my child gifted?” Maybe you are concerned about your child being “bored” if he’s not being academically challenged or you want him to be surrounded by other students that will bring out the best student in him. You know that in order to have your child placed in a gifted program, there is a testing process, but you’re not sure what that involves or what to do next. Mommy Mafia asked Dr. Netta Shaked, a Miami Beach Psychologist who specializes in Private Gifted Testing, to answer some of the most often asked questions surrounding testing children for gifted.
What is a Gifted Child?
Each child is gifted in his or her own special and unique way. However, for the school system, a “gifted child” means that the child meets certain criteria in terms of his or her cognitive capacities. At this time, in Miami-Dade public schools, the required score for entry into a Gifted Program is 130 IQ.
What is the Gifted Testing process?
Gifted testing requires administration of a nationally standardized IQ test, followed by a report from the evaluating psychologist. Depending on your child’s age at the time of testing, there are a few tests which may be used. The usual length of time for administration is between 1 to 2 hours, depending on your child. Only a licensed psychologist is qualified to administer, score, and interpret these tests.
Why test with a private psychologist? Can’t my child be tested through the public school?
The public school might identify you child for testing. If the school decides to test your child, sometimes testing can take several months to a year. The school psychologists are pretty backed up, from what I hear from local parents. If you’re in a hurry, or if you want to ascertain that testing is completed by a certain time frame, it’s usually best to test with a private psychologist. Many parents choose to test privately because of an upcoming school registration deadline, or because they need to make school and relocation decisions based on whether or not their child qualifies for gifted.
What is the fee for Gifted/IQ Testing? Will insurance cover this expense?
The usual and customary fee for Gifted/IQ Testing ranges from approximately $400 to $500, in the greater Miami area. Most insurances do not provide coverage for Gifted/IQ Testing, but you might still check with your insurance. In my practice, fees are on the low end of usual and customary fees, so as to make testing more affordable.
I am anxious about getting my child tested. Any words of advice?
I see a lot of anxious parents. The children, on the other hand, are pretty laid back. Parents, rest assured. During the gifted testing/gifted evaluation, I successfully engage even the most anxious of test takers and the shyest of children. In fact, most children who come to my practice for gifted testing/gifted evaluation don’t want to leave by the time testing is complete…. It’s that much fun!
How can I prepare my child for the gifted test?
Remember, the gifted test is a standardized test of IQ and cognitive functions. The more exposure your child has to intellectual stimuli the better. But in the end, it’s not only about exposure to stimuli but also about heredity. IQ is correlated not only with environment but also with genetics.
I am testing my 4 year old. He doesn’t read or write yet. Now what?
Fear not. The IQ test does not require any reading or writing. We look at pictures, we play with blocks, and we speak during the testing. There is no reading or writing required. However, if you are testing your child at a very young age, please note that a child’s score might change from their score later in life, since young childrens’ brains are developing pretty rapidly.
I’ve decided to test my child. How should we prepare for the testing session?
Many parents ask what they should tell their child about testing. I recommend that you tell your child that we will be meeting to work with puzzles, games, blocks, and words. Encourage your child to do his or her best, but also remind him or her that this will be a lot of fun!
Please note that the length of time required for administration is between 1 to 2 hours, depending on your child’s speed and his/her needs for breaks. Please allow up to 2 hours, should your child require more time or need more breaks.
In addition, please consider the following:
- Rest – Please make sure your child is well-rested, and that he or she has slept sufficiently in the night preceding the day of testing.
- Nutrition – It is essential that your child be well-nourished prior to testing. Please provide a satisfying meal before testing, and please bring snacks and a drink for your child to re-energize with during breaks.
- Time of Day – It is best to test your child at the time of day when he/she is usually most alert and energetic. Please schedule the testing session during such time frames.
- Location – In certain cases, Dr. Shaked may agree to test in your home, although in most cases, it is recommended that your child be testing an office environment, free of distractions such as toys, dogs, and siblings.
My child’s score qualifies him/her for gifted. What does this mean?
This means that your child will likely be “staffed” by the school into a gifted classroom, for the next academic year. Sometimes schools look at a child’s grades, behavior, and teacher recommendations too, prior to staffing a child into a gifted class.
My child’s scores were close, but not still did not meet the gifted criteria. Can I re-test?
Yes, but in most instances, I would wait a year or so before re-testing. Allow your child time to develop, to grow and mature, and to continue to improve their cognitive skills. In my practice, we would provide you with feedback and detailed recommendations after testing. Use that feedback to enhance your child’s skills and to work on their cognitive ‘weakness’ relative to their cognitive ‘strength.’
My child didn’t make it in to gifted, and I am really upset. Now what?
Many parents are pretty upset when they hear that their child’s scores do not qualify for gifted. I always tell my parents that it is better to have the child placed in an appropriate class, and have him/her do well academically and to soar high, than to have him/her inappropriately placed in a class where the child is stressed out, doing poorly academically, and struggling to keep up with the pace. I would much rather see a well-adjusted child with good grades and high self-esteem than a child who is struggling academically, socially, and psychologically. Success is not defined by being in a gifted classroom!
Most importantly, parents, I cannot emphasize this enough: Every child is gifted in his or her unique, special way.
About Dr. Netta Shaked
Dr. Netta Shaked is a licensed psychologist, counselor, and therapist providing therapy and psychological testing in English, Spanish and Hebrew. Dr. Shaked has a PhD in Counseling Psychology, and a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has dedicated herself to not only treating patients but also to educating them about the issues affecting their relationships. Dr. Shaked provides therapy, counseling, couples therapy, family therapy, psychological evaluations, and gifted testing in her South Beach psychology private practice.