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Superior Ability Concerns

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 9 year old has recently taken the The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Second Edition (KBIT2) and I am confused about the results I received. The paper shows a graphical profile between 40 and 160, aside from this the back of the results pages states it is not an IQ score and children tend to score higher on a comprehensive IQ test than of an abilities test. My son scored:

Verbal Knowledge 33 Riddles 38 = Verbal 71 - Standard Score 122
Matrices 44 = Non-Verbal 144 = IQ Composite 266

WHAT????? I know he is smart but what steps should I take to nurture this little mind? Should I have his IQ tested? He attends Edmond Public Schools in Oklahoma and when he was in Kindergarten his teacher wanted him tested for a learning disability. Daycare, pre-school teachers swore he was autistic. Since his first grade year his teachers have noticed he catches on very quickly and although he is in 3rd grade (I held him back in Kindergarten) he is on a 5th grade math level and a 6th grade reading level and his teachers just keep moving him forward out of fear of his getting board which they see does happen.

I am a bit intimidated I want him to be the best he can be but I don't want to push him because he has always pushed himself very hard. He is my little fact machine and he craves knowledge but I want him to keep him grounded and not let him forget that there is more to life than learning everything you see, hear, touch, and think about. He knows he is smart and he shows it off, which I wish he would not do so much as we also have a 9th grader in LD classes on a 4th grade math level and 6th grade reading level. He Any advice on any of this, internet links, summer camps, that I may want to check out would be wonderful.

A: The graphical profile is between 40 and 160, which is the range of IQs the verbal, non verbal and IQ composites scores. The non verbal scores indicate very high abilities. The standard score indicates above average (above 131 is the upper extreme). Here, there appears to be a rather large discrepancy of the verbal and non verbal components, which is why a comprehensive IQ test is recommended. In this case, I believe a comprehensive test may capture his strengths and weaknesses in more detail. Note that the KBIT-2 samples only limited areas of cognitive functioning and does not measure processing speed or working memory constructs.

He is definitely very advanced based on your description and some of his scores but a comprehensive test would determine his abilities better. I feel you should not be holding him back as he needs that mental stimulation to keep him for burning out. He appears very determined as well since very few kids at his age would push themselves. I do understand that pushing oneself too hard has its downside - a common trait of gifted children; perfectionism.

I somehow feel that a regular school curriculum will not be suitable for him and he definitely needs to fulfill his cognitive hunger. A planned and individualized program may be best suited for him. You did not mention any other concern so I would rule out any specific behavioral concern. If there is an association for gifted children, you may want to join and share your concerns and experiences.

Last but not least, just because his siblings are not at the same level as he is, it is very unfair to hold him back. He needs to be allowed to flourish. Burning out is just one setback - there are other emotional concerns as well when a child does not get the stimulation required for his cognitive functioning level. You may want to approach someone at his school to discuss your concerns and determine if the school can do something about it. They could perhaps suggest something useful that is available. You may also find this forum useful - Circle of Moms and Gifted Children in the classroom. Good luck!


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