In truth, there is no universally-accepted definition of gifted. For some, being gifted could mean having an extraordinary ability in, say, music, art or athletics. Others might argue that those strong in leadership skills are gifted. Typically though, experts use IQ scores to measure giftedness. High intelligence specialist Deborah Ruf, PhD, author of 5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options, believes giftedness is on a continuum, with a range consisting of five levels. However, not all giftedness is created equal, and it is very lonely at the top. The higher the IQ score, the smaller the pool of individuals that share it. No wonder many gifted kids feel isolated and different – in many ways they are!
IQ Tests & Giftedness
IQ tests, as they are known, are tests that measure an individual’s intellectual ability or potential. They do not measure what someone has learned already. IQ tests measure innate ability.
Group IQ tests are sometimes given to an entire class to screen for gifted programs, but individual IQ tests, given one-on-one by a trained examiner, provide more reliable results and a great deal more information. Typically, parents who want their child tested must go outside of the school/school district and pay for an assessment. While there are IQ tests for children as young as 2 years of age, most professionals believe waiting until a child is 5 or 6 offers results that are likely to stay stable over time.
Giftedness in our population
What percentage of our population is gifted? This is a subject of much debate. Many experts would tell you that only 3-5% of the population is gifted. However, Dr. Ruf’s years of evaluating children have led her to a different conclusion. In her experience, there are a significantly higher number of highly gifted children than previously thought. Either way, it is clear that a child that is on any level of the gifted spectrum is unique and will stand out from his or her peers in the classroom or a social situation.
* For additional information and assistance, I encourage you to visit Dr. Ruf’s website and read her book, 5 Levels of Gifted. Additionally, you may contact me for a consultation about school placement options.
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