Gifted Kids

Gifted Kids, p.9

Taming the Hype>

Chuba has a point. Experts say that despite the increase in the number of kids classified as gifted, children today are no more brilliant than they were 30 years ago, before the programs -- and the pressure -- exploded. "There's simply more awareness of gifted programs and more concern about kids' education," says Dr. Rimm.

In her view, not being enrolled in a special program probably wouldn't keep a gifted child from succeeding. But, as in Talia's case, the child could become very bored -- even miserable -- if her teachers aren't sensitive to her needs. "For gifted kids, being in a regular classroom is like being in a slow-motion movie six hours a day," says Nancy M. Robinson, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Washington, who has done extensive research on giftedness.

The best programs evaluate kids on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the broader definition of giftedness as well as the child's strengths and weaknesses. Parents can do the same when deciding what's best for their child. "You have to consider the school, the peer population, and the philosophy of the teachers," says Dr. Rimm.

Just don't go crazy with worry about labels, especially in the early years. "For preschool children, evaluation should only be done for placement in a particular program, because in 98% of the cases, you're not going to do anything different as a parent even if your child is gifted," says Rosenstein. In other words, you're going to be reading to, talking with, and playing with your child -- no matter what his IQ.

Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the March 2001 issue of Child magazine.

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