Gifted Kids

Gifted Kids, p.3

For kids whose IQs aren't through the roof, giftedness may be less apparent. For those children -- the ones who are, say, brilliant with watercolors but have trouble finishing their science homework -- the broader scope is more accurate."The more restrictive definition eliminated kids who excel in the arts and other areas," says Sally Reis, Ph.D., president of the National Association for Gifted Children and a professor of educational psychology at UConn. "It also excluded a lot of culturally diverse children, some of whom may not score as well on standardized tests."

Ellen Winner, Ph.D., a psychologist at Boston College and the author of Gifted Children: Myths and Realities, acknowledges the confusion and offers a different method of sorting it out. She says that three distinct criteria set gifted kids apart: They are precocious, reaching developmental milestones much faster than their peers; they are fiercely motivated to learn; and they march to their own drum.

It's this last trait that can get gifted kids into trouble -- and why many parents and teachers feel it's so important to get them into special programs.

Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D., child psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Westlake, OH, and coauthor of Education of the Gifted and Talented, pioneered a test to identify "creatively gifted" kids. "They figure things out on their own -- not just faster, but in a different way," she says. "They have a really different way of processing things, and they may have trouble in school because they aren't focused on the right answer -- but on many answers. The greatest issue is preventing them from becoming oppositional."

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