Gifted and Bored
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I am writing to inquire about my son.
He's in second grade and recently took the Terra Nova aptitude test. He
scored in the 95th percentile in both math and reading.
My question is this:
For the most part, my son can do his math homework simply by looking at
the problem and writing the answers down. This of course is an issue
because since he doesn't check his work he gets his fair share of wrong
answers (which leads me to believe he may have scored higher on the math
portion of the test). He's bored with the schoolwork.
He's a bit of a reluctant reader. At the age of 4 he could count past
1000. I taught him fractions when he was three and understand basic
geometry - including the rules of a polygon at the same age.
He has excellent eye/hand skills. at four he assembled a Lego
transmission by himself simply by looking at the instructions. When he
was six we got into electronics and began to understand the rudiments of
electrical circuits. He LOVES MACHINERY.
He's gentle, thoughtful, very polite and eager to please. He's a
perfectionist and loves to socialize - but many times he can be very
shy. Sometimes he can be impatient. His sense of humor and overall
patience level is excellent.
In addition, he plays the piano (he'll watch the instructors fingers and
remember the same simple song a week later). He's also a competitive
We never got our son tested. Our issue now is that he's frustrated with
school. Since we live in NJ there are no "gifted" or advanced programs
until he gets older.
Please advice. Thank you for your time and consideration.
From your description, it is quite obvious that your son has above
average abilities and may be gifted. He is probably bored in the
classroom as the learning he is experiencing is not catered towards his
needs. He has probably mastered the content of the lessons in the
classroom much earlier, hence the boredom.
This is quite typical for gifted children who are not given
differentiation education. I am no sure about the gifted programs in
your area but there has to be something available, perhaps termed
differently and not as gifted programs. Better reputed schools should
have advanced learning for children with higher cognitive ability. Do
check with the school to see if they are willing to make reservations
for your son if there is no program for children with advanced
abilities. Personally speak to his class teachers to help him better fit
in the classroom. Sometimes, collaboration with the staff in his school
may work out very favorably.
You can also get his IQ tested as the Terra Nova is an achievement test
and may not indicate his general intelligence. Get a detailed
interpretation from the tester to gauge his strengths and weaknesses for
an individualized program. The results can be used as evidence for an
advanced program for him. Try looking around your area for better
If there is no other option for better schools, you may need to work
extra hard to help him after school hours. Provide him with the learning
he needs; but first you may need to equip yourself with sound knowledge
and awareness on children with high ability. You may want to join the
gifted association is
your area. There is a lot of support and help within members of the
Last but not least, help him learn in a variety of ways, especially for
subject of passion. Help him make sense of his learning so he feels less
bored. Wishing you all the best!.