Gifted Child with Behavioral Concerns
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My daughter was tested for the gifted program in
Kindergarten and they decided that while she didn't test
gifted - she probably was gifted. She had a seventh grade
vocabulary and a fifth grade comprehension - (tested 135 and
128, but on the third section of the test she got a 74 and
needed a 130 average to test gifted). They concluded that
her fine motor skills and inability to relate to time (It
was a time test and she was suppose to fill in circles of
sequenced numbers - she drew triangles instead and erased
answers that touched each other) was what held her back and
that they would test her again in second grade.
She is now in second grade and has no desire to be "smart".
She refuses to write punctuation on her papers (Told the
teacher she has "dot-a-phobia"), writes all her math
problems backwards (01 for 10) or adds the digits (8 8 = 7
which is 16s added digits), leaves answers blank on her
tests because she only wants a "B", and writes her
vocabulary sentences in mirror image. She goes to a small
school (64 kids in Kindergarten thru 3rd grade) and the
teachers all know her and sort of cater to her needs. (She
makes research books on different cultures, studies horse
anatomy, and reads biographies about the presidents).
Her teacher says that he doesn't feel she will test gifted
if we have her tested again because he thinks that she will
purposely screw off on the test - which I agree with, but my
concern is what will happen once she goes to the bigger
school in fourth grade and the teachers don't cater to her
and she isn't able to be in the gifted classes or
accelerated classes b/c her grades are only average.
Are IQ tests the only standards for getting into the
A: From your description, your
daughter is definitely above average. I can understand your
concerns when she goes to a bigger school in the fourth
Different schools use different methods in their
identification procedures for gifted programs. Intelligence
tests are one of the primary (and preferred) measures used
to assess giftedness; however many schools these days
incorporate more than one measure of giftedness that may
include achievement test scores; parent or teacher
recommendations; leadership, creativity, or talent in a
specific area. Having said that, this is usually done
sequentially in which, upon failing one, the rest is not
considered. Since your daughter is already showing some
signs of disliking being "smart", there is a chance for her
to fail on purpose. Though, you may want to give it a try.
There is perhaps a bigger issue that just wanting to be in a
gifted program, which you need to find out from her. Then,
persuade her on taking the test. You need to explain the
rationale behind it and help her dismiss her fears. You may
also want to talk to the staff from the other school which
you plan to send you daughter to see what can be done to
cater to her needs. Get a recommendation letter from her
present school as evidence of her abilities. Perhaps, at
some point if all fails, she may need some kind of
counseling to deal with her fears and some "rebellious-like"
Hope she will cope better with some help from all sides.