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Resources for Parenting a Gifted Child

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: I have a 10 year old child. When she was in 3rd grade, her teacher felt she should be promoted to 6th grade. This teacher wrote a personal comment on her report card that my daughter was a "gifted writer". Since they no longer promote out of the age group in NYC, she went to 4th grade and had a very difficult year.

She has social problems as she has little in common with her age mates. She also had a teacher who is burnt out, lost her husband at the start of the school year, and who has a child (now a young adult) with developmental problems. The teacher, who thought she had a "wonderful relationship" with my daughter relied on her to tutor most of the other children, as well as correct their work. As you might imagine, this did NOT help her make friends. My daughter did not care for this teacher from day 1 and soon lost all respect for her.

Since school has ended she has read Carl Sagan's "The Cosmos", and "The varieties of Scientific Experience". She is now reading Stephan Hawking's "A Briefer History of Time" and plans to read his "The Theory of Everything".

My child no longer reads kids books and would rather look through a microscope of telescope than watch TV. Her writing, math, reading, science and vocabulary abilities rival that of an adult and in some cases soars past. I am at my wit's end in trying to get my daughter help in the public school system. They can't even guide me as to how to help her. I was told that I should put her into private school. I would love too, but I am unable to do so. I have returned to school in order to learn how to educate her. I don't even know how or where to get her tested to see if she is in fact gifted and to what extent. Can you offer me any advice or guidance? I would appreciate any help you can give me in trying to guide and educate a very special little girl.

A: Reading the books you describes at 10 is certainly not what an average child can do. You girl is gifted and you know that. You deserve a pat on the back for taking so much trouble to understand and cater for your girl's needs. She should have been accelerated if the system allows it, but since she already has social issues, this may not even be a good idea.

It is such a shame that she somewhat had to "replace" the teacher in class. This makes her rather unpopular in class as she may be the favorite - the know-all, having to teach her age-mates. Such attention can be quite cruel on a 10 year old. As for the teacher, it may be a good idea to speak with someone in authority at her school. Is there a school counselor? They may be able to help locate a good psychologist to get her tested.

What is needed now is a lot of resources for you to work on. There are a lot of resources in the internet to help you. Look up and get some important contacts. Get in touch with the local association for the gifted children. These associations are meant to help and support individuals who are gifted. There is also a lot of support for parents. As an initial step, you may want to contact them:

National Association for Gifted Children: http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=562

New York Association for Gifted Child contact: http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=673

All the best in bringing up this special child.


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