Unchallenged Gifted Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My daughter was tested using the
Terra Nova testing last year during first grade. In reading she scored
in the 97th percentile, while in language and math in the 99th.
She is in the CAP program at school, yet rarely had homework
and seemed to grasp everything very easily. Are we doing enough
for her to have her simply continue in the CAP program, or
should she be in another sort of program or school. Our school
is in Michigan and the cap program seems to be the only program
offered for children here. What should we do? Thank you.
A: I believe the CAP program you
are referring to is the Challenging Academic Potential program
(there are many other programs with the same abbreviation). I
am not very familiar with this program. However I shall attempt
to address your concerns.
Your daughter did very well in the test and
should be placed in a gifted program, which I believe the school
did. It is quite strange that she does not have much work and
her ability to grasp learning easily indicates that she may
need more difficult work to keep her challenged and motivated.
What I think you may want to do before
exploring other avenues is to see what is really offered in
this program. In the program itself, does the school have
higher level tasks for students of different ability levels? If
the level is the same (progression at the same level for all
students), this may not be very good for her development. You
may want to speak to someone in her school for better
understanding of the program and to decide on the suitability.
What about your daughter? Is she complaining at
all? Does she appear bored and frustrated? If you plan to put
her in another school, will she be ok with it? If your daughter
complains about boredom and expresses unhappiness in her
learning, you need to see what can be done to cater to her
needs. If her needs are already being catered to at school, but
you still feel that she is capable of doing better, you can
always engage her in more challenging work out of school hours.
You may want to send her for some private classes to enhance
her skills. But first, speak to someone in her school to see
how you can work with the school to improve her learning.