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Parents of Gifted INdividuals: What
Should I KNow?
Table of Contents
Page #:
Chapter 1: Identification
Chapter 2: Best Practices
Chapter 3: Discussion Topics
Chapter 4: Activities Outside of School
Chapter 5: Support
Chapter 6: Peers and Mentors
Chapter 7: Resources
Chapter 1:
My child is gifted, how do I get
them the accommodations they
The identification of your child should ALWAYS use multiple
assessments and sources of Reference.
If this is not happening make sure to advocate for your child!
How do I help identify my child as Gifted?
Step 1: Identify the reasons why you believe your child is
gifted. Click here for “Traits of Giftedness” (National Association for Gifted Children).
Make sure to consult with your child during this whole process. This should be their decision too.
Step 2: Consult with a teacher or someone who has observed
your child’s behavior frequently.
Step 3: Nominate your child.
if you have determined after reviewing the “Traits of Giftedness” that you still believe your child is
Step 4: Play an active role in the screening process. Make
sure your child is being assessed using multiple criteria.
Screening Process: Ability Assessments
Ability testing is a cognitive reasoning assessment. This means that your
child will be assessed on the ability and readiness to learn new content.
Ability testing is extremely important if your child is underachieving in the
classroom. This can show that your child has the ability to reason and problem
solve, but for whatever reason they are not motivated in the classroom.
Objective Ability Assessments:
Measures your child’s ability to verbally, qualitatively, and non-verbally reason. Because
ability of children can be measured at very young ages there are a variety of versions.
Click here for more information on Dr. David Lohman’s development of the CogAT7
These two cognitive reasoning ability assessments can assess very high abilities in young
children. Because the assessment is not testing on content, but rather reasoning ability,
gifted children (middle school) can score relatively well on these assessments.
Screening Process: Achievement Assessments
Achievement assessments measure how good your child is at learning the material presented
to them in an academic setting. Oftentimes if your child is unchallenged in the classroom
and bored with content, your child’s scores will be low. A low achievement test scores and
high ability test scores indicates that your child is underachieving in the classroom. In
a later chapter “Best Practices,” we will discuss ways to change this behavior and support
your child’s learning.
Types of Achievement Assessments:
Can be standardized assesses your child and scores them compared to grade level peers
MAPS testing- Measures of Academic Progress
Iowa Assessment
Classroom assessments and performance also fall into this category.
Screening Process: Student Portfolios
Your child’s student portfolio should contain their best
work. This work can come from school activities or other
activities they may be involved with outside of school. You
will want this work to showcase their talents and strengths.
Things to include in a portfolio:
Sample writing
Projects from summer camps
Pictures of artwork or innovative creations
Personal interests- such as favorite books, passions, activities outside of school
Self reflection
Chapter 2:
Best Practices
Best practices are used by teachers
trained in gifted education. The
following are two important areas for
you to advocate for.
Acceleration, a potential form of differentiation, can come in a variety of
different forms for your child. Some gifted children may accelerate an entire
grade level, others may accelerate in just certain subjects, and others may
have a compacted curriculum or classes such as Advanced Placement.
A Nation Deceived is a great resource for all of the dimensions of acceleration, from
types of acceleration to social and emotional affects of acceleration. This resource talks
about some important considerations for assessing if your child should accelerate and how.
Access- What options does your school district have? This would be a great place to consult with your
school administration.
Pacing- Certain types of acceleration, such as a compacted curriculum, would change the pace at which
your child is presented with content.
Salience- Is my child’s acceleration in the spotlight for others to see? How could this affect the
social and emotional well-being of my child?
Peers- As talked about later in Chapter 6: Peers and Mentors, peers have an incredible influence on
the social and emotional well-being of your child. This would be a great place to consult with your
child. Do they want to be accelerated? What would their peers be like? Would it be better?
Timing- When would be the best time for your child to accelerate? At different ages there are
different sets of parameters and developmental stages.
Click here for the full version of A Nation Deceived.
Previously in Chapter 1: Achievement Assessment, we discussed that
high ability assessment scores and low achievement assessment scores
may indicate underachievement. Here are some best practices to help
you child achieve at their ability level.
Two education specialists Lannie Kanevsky and Tacey Keighley discuss that
underachievement often comes from boredom. A way to combat this is to follow
the 5 C’s
Control, Choice, Challenge, Complexity, Caring- these five C’s make up a successful
classroom environment for your gifted child. All five of these C’s may not happen at the
same time, but they should all happen at some point. If they are not have a discussion
with your child’s teacher.
Click here for more information from Lannie Kanevsky & Tacey Keighley
Chapter 3:
Discussion Topics
Sometimes it is difficult to talk to our
children. Gifted children may be even more
complec to navigate conversation with. Here are
some tips to improving conversation.
Talk to your child about their passions
Creating a dialogue with your child will open up
conversations that support their emotional and social
Ask your child:
What do you get excited about?
Support these excitements and share your personal excitements!
What are your values/ what is important to you?
Talk about how values influence the way we conduct ourselves in everyday life.
What are your interests?
Do you share interests? If so think about exploring those interests together!
What ideas do you have about...(insert topic here)?
Validate the importance of sharing ideas and listening to others’ ideas
Help your child reflect
Self-reflection is an excellent skill to support the emotional needs
of your child and this gives gifted children the time to think about
their “thinking.” Developing metacognition will help your child
succeed in many future endeavors including building relationships.
Reflection questions:
What challenged me today?
How can I move forward with my challenge?
What am I proud of?
Was I passionate about anything today?
What are my goals for this week?
What are my goals for the next year/ long term?
These reflection questions could be modified to any specific activity if there is something you or your child
wants to focus on. The main goal of reflection is to allow your child time to decompress and think about
their endeavors at a deeper level. You may want to create an environment where you share the reflections or
this may be a private reflection.
Chapter 4:
Activities Outside
of School
Iowa BIG
Iowa BIG is an incredible place where real-world problems are
discussed and innovatively solved by high school students. This
program connects students to community partners and mentors to help
develop their specific talents by working for a solution.
Iowa BIG is an alternative to high school classes. The classes at Iowa BIG
are NGSS and CORE aligned allowing students to receive high school credit
upon completion.
Creativity is emphasized at Iowa BIG. Creating solutions to problems or
creating meaningful products aligns with 21
Century Skills that we want
our students to achieve.
Click here for more information on Iowa BIG
Talent Development
Talent development can come in a variety of different ways. Depending on your child’s
specific talent there should be local clubs or mentors who can help your child develop
their talent. Talent development outside of school will help your student perform better
academically. As a parent, you have an extremely important role in determining what
opportunities your child has! Research places for your child’s talent development in your
Possible Talent Development Activities:
Dance Academies
Extracurricular sports team
Scientific research
Musical lessons
Click here for more information on why Talent Development is an important outside of school activity
Summer Camps
Summer camps are a great way to challenge and excite your gifted child. Around
Iowa City there are a ton of opportunities for Summer education.
What is important when choosing a Summer camp for your gifted child?
What are my child’s interests?
What areas does my child need to be challenged in?
How long do my child and I want this summer camp to be?
Some incredible camps around the Iowa City area are the following:
KICK Camps: Click here for more information
Willowwind Summer Camps: Click here for more information
Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship: Click here for more information
Chapter 5:
Sometimes it can feel like you’re alone in the desire
for your child to be supported in the development of
their talents, but know there are multiple avenues of
support around your child.
Teachers and administration
All teachers and administration should be familiar with Gifted Education
Practices, if they are not you can direct them to National Association for
Gifted Children: Resources for Administration
What you should expect from Administration:
Knowledge of district policy and support for your gifted child.
Knowledge of potential programming options for your gifted child.
What you should expect from Teachers:
Differentiation for all students- including your gifted child
Be knowledgeable about programming and instruction best practices for gifted students.
A specialized Gifted Education Teacher can be an incredible support for expanding your knowledge
of giftedness. They can also be an ally for you and your child in the identification and
placement processes.
Teachers and Administration should support you in finding the best possible education for your
child, but give them time to understand giftedness like you do! You may want to provide them with
some insight into your child’s struggles and strengths. Be in communication with both of these
groups and make sure to acknowledge and appreciate all the hard work they put in!
Support Groups
Do you know other parents or guardians that would like to get together and
support each other? A great way to find support is by finding someone with a
share experience. If you both have gifted children this is a great place to
Try to stay organized. You may want to elect officials for future advocacy plans.
Have a set time at least once a month to meet.
Make sure to have someone taking notes at each meeting.
Develop an online medium that can connect your ideas in-between each meeting. This would also be a great place to share the meeting
Have a topic every meeting. This will create a more guided discussion. You will want
these topics to be relevant to your children.
Possible topics: district policies, struggles and strengths, social and emotional needs of your child, support you wish you had from
the school, outside of school activities and summer camps.
Click here for more information on the Parent Groups by National Association
for Gifted Children
Chapter 6:
Peers and Mentors
In this next chapter, We will discuss the vital role
both of these groups play in the development of Gifted
Individuals and how to create opportunities for your
Child to be connected to like peers and mentors.
Gifted children will often seek friendship with likeminded individuals. So
often, true-peers (peers with your child’s same chronological and mental age)
are difficult to find. The ability for a child to have like-minded, meaningful
conversation is more important than having a friend who is the same age, so
your child may seek out friends who are older than them.
There are some ways to help your child develop friendships:
Allow your child to participate in extracurricular activities that include older
Find activities that develop their talents (See Talent Development in Chapter 4). This
may be helpful in finding a “true-peer.”
Enroll your child in some summer camps that focus on their interests.
It is important to recognize that peers have a tremendous impact on emotional development,
so be receptive to your child.
A mentor serves many important roles in the life of a gifted child.
A mentor should be someone that has an expertise in your child’s
talent or is a positive role model for your child.
Help your child get identified as gifted- this person may write a recommendation or
nominate your child. A mentor may also be crucial in developing opportunities for
portfolio creations.
Help develop talents- A mentor that is an expert in the talents your child possesses
will give guidance for your child to navigate their development trajectory.
Allow for collaboration
Mentally challenges your child
Knows of opportunities to increase involvement in the gifted world. The mentor would
have a wealth of experiences and potentially connections to develop opportunities that
your child may not otherwise have.
Chapter 7:
Being a parent of a gifted individual can be
overwhelming at times. This chapter is filled with
Resources to help Navigate your Journey.
Being a parent of a gifted individual can be overwhelming at times. On the next couple of pages are some books and websites that can
support you as you are supporting your gifted child.
Resources for you
Smart Parenting For Smart Kids by Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S. Lowenthal In this book,
Eileen and Mark talk about some of the challenges that gifted children may face in school,
with friends, and in their everyday life. They also offer solutions for dealing with all
of these challenges!
Giftedness 101 by Linda Silverman This book talks about the myths surrounding the idea of
giftedness and offers some solutions for challenges you may face with a gifted child.
Crushing Tall Poppies is written by Celi Trépanier an educator turned author and advocate
for gifted students after seeing the missed opportunities and poor treatment of gifted
children in schools.
Gifted Guru is written by Lisa Van Gemert an expert in the best practices of Gifted
Education through experience as an educator and administrator specializing in Gifted
Education. She is also mom to three gifted children! She also facilitates an online book
Books for your Child
You can read these too! A great idea would be to read the books separately and
then take time to reflect on your thoughts together.
A great way to reach a gifted child through literature is by having characters
that are gifted in the same ways. Below are some books with gifted main
Gifted by H.A. Swain Gifted is a novel with a musical prodigy as the protagonist struggling with
the new world where abilities can be purchased. This fictional novel may interest your child and
lead to some interesting discussions about abilities.
Surviving the Applewhite's by Stephanie S. Tolan This is a fictional story about a family who takes
in a troubled, gifted individual named Jake. All of the children attend the Creative Academy where
talents are developed independently. Within the book there are a number of themes and motifs that
would be a great reflection piece for you and your child.
Click here for an extensive list of possible reads from Hoagies Gifted Page
Research Cited in this Booklet.
Clark, B. (2008). Growing up gifted (7th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Colangelo, Nicholas, Susan G. Assouline, and Miraca U. M. Gross. "A Nation Deceived II: How Schools Hold Back America's
Brightest Students." The Templeton National Report on Acceleration. (2004):Web.
Gemert, Lisa Van. "Gifted Guru - Resources, Ideas and Tips for Educators & Parents of the Gifted." Gifted Guru. N.p., 14
Nov. 2016. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
Identification | National Association for Gifted Children
. National Association for Gifted Children,
n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
"Iowa City Camps | Iowa City Preschools | Montessori." Willowwind School. Willowwind School, 2016. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. "Jacobson Institute Entrepreneurship Summer Camp." Jacobson Institute for Youth
Entrepreneurship: University of Iowa, Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
Lohman, David F. "Introducing CogAT Form 7." Cognitively Speaking. Riverside: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Aug. 2011. Web.
28 Nov. 2016.
Research Continued
Olszewski-Kubilius, Paula and Seon-Young Lee. “The Role of Participation in In-School and Outside-of-School Activities in
the Talent Development of Gifted Students.” The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. vol. XV, no. 3, 2004, pp. 107-123.
"Reading Lists for Your Gifted Child." Hoagies' Gifted Education Page. Hoagies' Gifted Inc., 24 Oct. 2016. Web
"Resources for Administrators." Resources for Administrators | National Association for Gifted Children. National
Association for Gifted Children, 2016. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
Trepanier, Celi. "Crushing Tall Poppies." 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.