Who is gifted?

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Once you start reading you will discover there are a range of ‘definitions’ of giftedness.

“Every gift contains a danger. Whatever gift we have, we are compelled to express. And if the expression of that gift is blocked, distorted, or merely allowed to languish, then the gift turns against us, and we suffer” *

Schools in Western Australia (and Australia in general) use Francoys Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT) to define giftedness. Gagne’s DMGT  model looks at giftedness across both mental and physical domains (in the mental domain – intellectual, creative, social, perceptual and in the physical domain – muscular and motor control). It makes a distinction between Natural Abilities (or gifts) and Competencies (talent) and sees the emergence of competency or talent as a result of a process of development, influenced by environmental, intrapersonal characteristics and chance encounters.

Another definition you are likely to come across recognises that development is not an even process, particularly for the gifted.

Asynchronous Development

Giftedness is ‘asynchronous development’ in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. (Columbus Group, 1991)

The following links will provide you with some further information about giftedness. Look in the various pages of the Learn More part of the website for information on specific topics.

What is Giftedness? from the NACG (USA)

Characteristics of giftedness from Talent Development Resources

Definitions of Giftedness

Giftedness as Asynchronous Development by Stephanie Tolan

Giftedness and the Gifted: What’s it all about?

Is it a cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan

A Place to Start: Is my Child Gifted? from the Davidson Institute

What is Giftedness? Linda Silverman

Recognising Giftedness  by Linda Silverman. Signs may be there from an early age.

Early Signs of Giftedness  by Linda Silverman

Parenting Gifted Children

Gifted_children: Meeting_their_Needs by Louise Porter
A short booklet covering identification, social and emotional needs and educational provisions for gifted children. A good place to begin.

Giftedness Revealed Exploring the unique identity of the outliers.
A US organisation for and about gifted people of all ages that is striving to increase awareness of the specific emotional, social and educational needs of the gifted. They offer a monthly podcast and blog, Facebook page and forums and the website includes Gifted 101 with a glossary and characteristics.

From One Parent to Another: One Profoundly Gifted Kid’s Story  By Deborah Ruf (Educational Options)

Unevenly Gifted Deb Ruf Discusses strengths in one or two aspects including language, mathematical or conceptual reasoning and what might be needed

Stuck in Another Dimension: The Exceptionally Gifted Child in School Please note – scores mentioned in this article refer to superceded IQ tests. Current tests do not return scores beyond mid 150’s at highest. Previous scores of 150+ may be in the 140+ range on the current tests.

Like_Minds: Intellectual Giftedness amongst Siblings by Fiona Smith, from Gifted Minds

IQ test scores – something to keep in mind….
IQ tests provide a way to quantify intellectual giftedness. They do not identify the creatively gifted, those with natural ability in physical domains not those with unusual social of perception abilities.

There are 2 main IQ tests used at the present time in Australia -The Stanford Binet 5th Edition (SB5) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children 4th Edition (WISC 4). Scoring for these tests is calculated using a Standardised Distribution and begin to celing in the mid 130’s with the highest possible scores being in the low to mid 150’s. Previous tests which you may read about were scored using a ratio method and could  return scores much higher (up to and beyond 200). Much of what you will read about gifted children especially where it is referring to Levels of Giftedness or scores beyond around 140 will be drawing on these older tests. This does cause some confusion!

Remember to look to the percentiles as an indicator of how common a score is (if you have IQ test results available), and use developmental and anecdotal information to guide you if you child’s scores are in the mid 130’s or beyond.

You will find more information about IQ testing, the various parts of the tests and what the information tells you in Derrin’s book The Beginner’s Guide to Life on the Bright Side.

* Johnson, L. (1993). Thoughts on giftedness. Understanding Our Gifted, 5(5A), p. 15.