Four Of The Most Frequent Questions About Gifted Children (Part II: At What Age is It Recommended To Be Identified As Gifted?)

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Prof.Dr. Hanna David 611   -   09-10-2021

There is no “recommended” age for identification for giftedness.

 Furthermore, in many cases giftedness identification is unnecessary, and might even be harmful. For example: when a child is identified as gifted and as a result either the parent or the child thinks that he or she is “better than everybody else”; when the child’s parents expect special treatment from teachers, family members, even the child’s peers; when there are no ways to enrich or accelerate the child, and the feeling of “being gifted” but not facing any challenges, intellectual, artistic, or creative causes the child to be frustrated, angry, or nervous – the “gifted label” might do more harm than good.In many other cases giftedness identification is recommended. For example: when in order to be accepted to a program which might ease the child’s life because it is suitable, interesting, challenging, or requiring hard work, which the child is not expected to do anywhere else. Under such circumstances the child should take the “giftedness test” a short time before the deadline for registration in order to ensure there is still vacancy when accepted. Sometimes the probability of acceptance is maximized; for example: sometimes at age 6 a child will be more willing to take the giftedness examination” with a minimal level of anxiety or fear than an older child who is already more aware of the importance of such an identification process and is more influenced by parental expectations. 

In summa: when “identification for giftedness” is required in order to be accepted to a gifted class, program, or an afternoon activity aimed for the gifted, flexibility regarding the age of identification is very limited. In most cases it is recommend that parents do not delay it by a year or two because “the child is too young” if the activity is aimed for young children, and as we very well know, when younger children need appropriate instruction and enrichment no less than when older. 

The group of double exceptional children,

namely, gifted children with ADHD/ADD, variety of learning disabilities, emotional problems, physical handicaps and social difficulties consists of children who should be identified as gifted as early as possible. When gifted, a child with any kind of disability or emotional/social/psychological problem cannot usually materialize her or his high potential. Such a child feels, at a very young age, that he or she ‘has got it”, namely, that they “can do it”, they “understand everything”, “know much more than others”, while reality “proves” them time and again that they are delusional, that their tests-results are not good enough, their achievements in any cognitive area are comparatively low. Such children tend to deny the fact that they are talented, excellent, or gifted. When getting the “gifted” label they usually become capable of understanding their complicated situation and cooperate with their parents, tutors, teachers and instructors in order to overcome their limitations. 

In summa: when a child is double-exceptional, gifted with a learning-disabled or has emotional/psychological problems, identification for giftedness should be a part of the general diagnosing process the child should go through; the “right time” is as soon as possible. Late bloomers should be identified for giftedness as soon as the educational team and/or the parents feel that the former labeling of the child as “mediocre”, “regular” or “nothing special” does not do justice with her or him. The phenomena of late blooming can be explained in many ways, but no matter of the reason why a particular child or adolescent demonstrates exceptional achievements at a certain time – this should be the “right” time for giftedness identification. For example: a twelve year old, who has been considered a “regular” student, suddenly shows a great interest in literature, writes beautiful poems, reads extensively, and even to choose to watch TV programs focusing on contemporary literature. In many cases in order to help the child develop her or his talent labeling them a “verbally gifted”  is very helpful; getting such a label needs usually an identification profess. In summa: while in many cases there is “over identification” for giftedness, is some this is not the case. Parents should take into consideration the pros and cons, at any given time, and decide accordingly whether to start the identification process or not.

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Prof.Dr. Hanna David Written by

Hanna David received her PhD, "magna cum laude", from Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München and was a college lecturer in Psychology and literature. Dr. Dav

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