How Children with Advanced Abilities Can Benefit from Gifted Programs
Girl looking bored with open textbook in front of her

Does Your Child Need to be Challenged in School?

A regular public school atmosphere may not be appropriate for some children due to their advanced abilities. When you start to notice that your child is bored with their regular school day activities, simply because he or she is further ahead than the other students, it's time to consider gifted education.

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Gifted and talented education can be offered to students as a supplement to their regular school day, or you can enroll your child in gifted schools, which focus on providing a stimulating atmosphere for more advanced learners.

The challenge to gifted and talented education is identifying gifted students. Some gifted students may actually appear to be falling behind in their grades because they aren't stimulated by the material and don't try. These children fail not because they can't understand the work, but because they don't do the work. While this isn't the case for all gifted children, a child who consistently demonstrates an understanding of appropriate or advanced grade-level material, but who doesn't show this understanding in his or her schoolwork, should be tested.

Gifted Schools

Gifted schools are typically private schools, which use tuition fees to pay for teachers and materials that can cater to the needs of advanced learners. While this may pose a difficulty for some parents who may not have the funding to send their child, many of these schools can provide assistance or scholarships to students who truly need to be moved into this type of learning situation in order to succeed.

ADHD and Gifted

Symptoms of ADHD and gifted children are often quite similar: like a child with ADHD, one unstimulated by the typical classroom or overstimulated when learning something he or she is interested in can be fidgety, loud, or spacey. What teachers notice, though, is that the gifted child is typically more able to control these behaviors, or at least explain them. Teachers can't always recognize the difference, though, so you may find that your gifted child is tested for ADHD before being tested for high ability.

However, it isn't unknown for there to be a simultaneous diagnosis of ADHD and gifted. In this case, you have a difficult line to walk between treating the ADHD and stimulating the overachiever in the child.

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