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Emotional Intensity and Testing for a Gifted Programme

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: I have twins age 6. A girl and a boy. My daughter is extremely smart almost on a third grader reading level and she is in the first but she still thinks as a 6 yr old. She loves school. Her brother on the other hand has stated he doesn't like school but is super intelligent, purposely does only enough to keep him from getting in trouble or failing but thinks like someone twice his age. He understands the concept of segregation. When our home burnt down his sister was more fascinated by the fire trucks where he was more upset about where we were going to live. Sometimes I feel that he is more bored with school, should I have him tested for a gifted program?

A: I believe that both your kids have above average abilities and are potentially gifted; though your son shows more signs of some emotional concerns that are distinct to a gifted child. They are just a little different from one another and gender could possibly play a part apart from the personality make up.

Your son appears to have a deeper sense of emotional intensity as compared to your daughter. The higher the cognitive and intellectual component, the high the emotional intensity. This heightened intensity gifted children is not a matter of feeling more than other people, rather, a different way of experiencing the world. They tend to see things as more vivid. They are also more absorbing, penetrating, encompassing, complex, and commanding of their surroundings and think many steps ahead. This is clearly shown when he started to worry about where you would all live.

It is crucial that you son is taught to see his heightened sensitivity to things that happen in the world as a normal response for them rather than thinking that something may be wrong with him. You would need to nurture him to accept his emotions. As long as he feels understood and supported, it would help him emotionally.

I do believe that he would benefit greatly in a differentiated programme. Check the schools and the criteria for a differentiated programme. They may have their own testing or you may get him tested on a standardised intelligence test if you feel that he is ready. I usually recommend seven years of age for testing purposes but you can speak to the school or psychologist for suitability concerns.

All the best to you and the twins!

Featured Resource

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings
By Christine Fonseca

Designed to provide support for the difficult job of parenting and teaching gifted children, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings provides the resource parents and teachers need to not only understand why gifted children are so extreme in their behavior, but also learn specific strategies to teach gifted children how to live with their intensity.

Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students uses real-world examples through case studies and role-plays that show parents and teachers how to interact with gifted children in a way that teaches them how to recognize, monitor, and adjust their behavior. Worksheets, tip sheets, and checklists are included to help parents, teachers, and the students themselves learn to cope with the explosive feelings that often accompany giftedness. Specific strategies for stress management, underperformance in school, perfectionism, and social anxiety make this a must-read for anyone wishing to make a positive lasting impact on the lives of gifted children.

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