Why assess intellectually gifted children?
Intellectually gifted children generally learn at a faster rate than their age peers and, in the classroom, are often ready to move on to the next step well before their classmates. Their social and emotional needs can also differ from those of other children. In order for gifted children to reach their academic potential, it is important that they be challenged with material that nurtures and extends their level of ability. Gifted children who are insufficiently challenged can become bored and frustrated and in some cases this can lead to disengagement with learning and underachievement.
It is important then to identify gifted children so that schools and parents can provide educational opportunities and life experiences appropriate to the children's specific needs.The kind of curriculum differentiation required will vary according to such factors as the child's overall level of ability, personal strengths and weaknesses, and social and emotional maturity. A detailed cognitive and educational achievement assessment can provide valuable information for teachers when devising an appropriate curriculum. It can also help parents better understand their gifted child.
Sandi Hepenstall, BA (Social Sciences), Grad.Dip.Ed.Psych, MPsych (Child & Education), Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, MAPS.
Sandi Hepenstall is a registered psychologist with many years experience working with intellectually gifted children, conducting intellectual and educational testing through a variety of well known and respected organisations in both Melbourne and Sydney. She also has experience working with children presenting with a range of difficulties including learning difficulties such as dyslexia and Asperger Syndrome.
The assessment process
Assessments are generally conducted over two sessions lasting approximately two hours each. During the first session, background information/history is first discussed with the child's parents. The child's cognitive ability is then measured using the WISC-IV. During the second session, educational achievement is assessed using a variety of tests selected according to the child's needs. A detailed report containing a summary of the results and recommendations is sent out approximately two weeks later. Parents are also given the opportunity to discuss findings in person.
The cost of the full assessment, written report and feedback session is $700 ($350 at the first session and $350 at the second session). Payment of the full fee is required before the report will be made available.