Leonardo Gifted School is partner or member of: COBIS - Council of British International Schools, ECHA - European Council for High Ability, WCGTC - World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, AERO - Alternative Education Resource Organization, BPLUSA - Big Picture Learning Design USA, University of Bucharest - Faculty of Phychology and Educational Sciences, University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education, Simon Fraser University - Faculty of Education
Of course, one of the first questions is: Is my child gifted? How can I tell if my child is gifted? We offer you a list of signs. If some of these (not all of them are needed) show up, then you might probably have at home a gifted child.
Click here for a detailed list of “signs”.
In general, parents observe their child’s special abilities (see point 1). However, there are cases of child overestimate or underestimate. So there are parents who are amazed when they find out the level exceptionality of their child development in one or more dimensions from a psychological evaluation specialist.
Over the course of time, through our generated experience of more than 5 years of direct working with children and parents of gifted, we have seen that mostly all of the time, parents who think that their child is gifted according to a list of personality criteria, most of the times, they really are. Please read here more on the “mistakes” of identification – and what research shows.
Measuring children’s abilities is realized by a psychologist specialized in clinical psychology or school counselling. Currently in Romania, thanks to the effort of specialists from RTS teams Cluj and Bucharest TestCentral, a number of internationally recognized tests have been validated, tadapted and normed to the local population. We refer mainly to WISC IV (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition), used to measure general intellectual function (IQ) of children aged 6 to 16 years and 11 months, by evaluating four areas: verbal, reasoning, memory and processing speed. For younger children, aged 2 years and 6 months to 7 years there is the option of assessing cognitive skills through an internationaly reputed nonverbal test SON-R (Snijders-Oomen Nonverbaler Intelligenztest). All these tests are available in our school. Click here for more info.
Gifted children must benefit from differentiated curricular paths (see Law 17/2007 and 1/2011 Act section 14, that Title II – Pre-university Education Chapter I – General Provisions. Art. 21 (3) “The State guarantees the right to an appropriate education, based on educational pluralism, according to the age and individual peculiarities.”) stratified according to the expression of ability, following specific objectives. They are adapted both in terms of quantity (volume information) and qualitatively (pace, learning style, etc) according to the special needs of gifted children.
You may discover that a child is “gifted” or has high skills from a very young age, sometimes from the early childhood. Signs include when infants need less time for sleep and show a state of unusual vitality and vivacity . Some studies suggest that children need stimulation and this sign can be seen as a sign of giftedness in infants.
Characteristics of gifted children of young ages include high levels of energy and intense curiosity. Gifted children also tend to reach and surpass earlier stage of development than other children. That means you can walk or talk earlier than other children. However, not all gifted children go faster ahead the early stages. In fact, sometimes they can stay behind than others. For example, some gifted children do not start talking until after they turn two.
Evaluation of the child’s intelligence may start with 2.5 years. The sooner their identification occurs, the earlier they can benefit for longer adequate stimulation, which is so important, because these children have special needs for differentiated education and high social risks associated with lack of stimulation or challenge and an environment which can feed high skills.
To have a better understanding of the problem you must read the history of gifted people. For a more detailed view please read the book of Sir Ken Robinson “The Element” and Malcolm Gladwells’ “Outliers”. For example: Einstein spoke at 4, wrote at 7, has poorly learned in high school and failed a year in the university . Isaac Newton had poor grades in elementary school. Edison’s teachers have said he was too stupid to learn anything and was later expelled from school. Walt Disney was fired by an editor for lack of ideas and Carusso had his teacher tell him he is unable to play because he has a poor voice. Leo Tolstoy was kicked out of college, and Luis Pasteur was considered mediocre when he graduated the Royal College. Even Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade.
There are approx. 127,000 gifted children and young adults in Romania between 0 and 19 years of age (assuming 2-3% with IQ> 130). There could be more than 190,000 gifted children if applying 6% to the total number of young children (estimation source of percentage: NAGC, USA; the percentage is applied to the population of 3,13 mil. children below 15 years of age according to National Institute of Statistics data of 1.06.2014)
Although there are no national studies which track statistically the incidence of talent (in the view of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences) among the population of children, the number of gifted children with high potential (talent or multiple intelligences) increase in number, as soon as we use more categories of giftedness in estimation. These children are not identified in the education system currently, with international tests, or through observations, recommendations or interviews (as stipulated Law 17/2007). Does it seem logical relationship between the parties? These children are gifted and so largely unknown to themselves, because there is so little understanding of what intelligence really is, and none shows great interest in how to spot it, in its many versions. And nourish and make it grow.
We estimate that in every class of 30 children there is a minimum of 1-2 children intellectually gifted.
FALSE! Reality: Their discovery is extremely important as early as possible
Gifted children have high social risks that manifests early as alienation, antisocial behaviour, dropout, changing schools, depression, suicide, because their needs are not provided in the normal system of education – more you can read: Social disadvantage of Gifted children and Why support gifted children.
It is guaranteed “the right to a differentiated education as a set of formal, non-formal and informal programs adequate for their appropriate development to the segment of the population of young gifted, capable of high performance, characterised by particular needs” (Art. 3 / Law 17 / 2007);
They enjoys an impressive number of international recommendations from the Charter of Rights of the Child (UNESCO) to European Recommendations (1248/1994), and a bunch of stipulations in national and international legislation of their right to an appropriate education but their ignorance among the general public, perceptions and misconceptions, labels as elitist, or the negative attitudes are still. There is a grossly missing national information campaign on legal rights and especially the legal means of discovery: click here.
We have a permanent center of testing and discovery of multiple intelligences and natural abilities. Our oragnization develops an annual academic program “School of Excellence” during the week-end, exclusively dedicated to gifted, having 100% satisfaction among gifted children, and also, an International British school, for gifted children, Leonardo Gifted School. Selections are annual and run year round. Details are here. For the whole range of tests possible, parents can address Centrul Gifted Education which collaborates with licensed specialized psychologists for all necessary tools for both intelligence assessment with WISC IV (WISC IV (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition), used to measure general intellectual functioning (IQ) of children aged 6 and 16; SON-R (Snijders-Oomen Nonverbaler Intelligenztest) to assess cognitive abilities (IQ) in children from 2.5 years to 7 years and for personality profiling (NPQ test – Nonverbal Personality Test ( Nonverbal Personality Questionnaire), the Profile of skills (CAS ++ for assessing cognitive skills to assess personality, occupational interests and to assess emotions), Creativity Testing (TTCT: Test of Creative Thinking Torrence discovery CQ – Creativity Quotient).
It is a huge chance for a child. It is very helpful to identify a gifted child so that he/she can receive the education in the skills and incentives to develop his skills. Modern pedagogy is increasingly influenced by recent neurophysiological research that gives outstanding results for the optimization of measures to encourage children to develop their potential. According to qualitative research it was discovered that brain development in children takes place in coordination with informational ambient pressure or stimulation which causes selective cerebral use of the potential.
Early identification of giftedness is as essential as any other way of exceptionality. Parents are usually the first observers of the behaviour of giftedness and they too, are those who can decide the testing, which makes it even greater the importance of observation and involvement of parents in this process.
If the skills children are identified early and are not adequately stimulated, they are likely to remain in a dormant state, and not be enhanced. They are not going to develop as much as they would allow by potential, or children can choose to hide them and go to an underground profile. A huge number of children with high abilities are gifted underground, hiding their skills so that they do not get subjected to punishment by their social environment or to be accepted in the community. The percentage of “gifted underachievers” – which despite their natural abilities and qualities have poor results in learning – is also enormous. World statistics show that over 50% of children with high abilities have social or professional do not have success in adulthood (source: National Commission for Excellence in Education, USA). Other statistics are even more alarming: according to a study in the UK in 2010 by researcher Joan Freeman, the percentage of children with high ability who “miss” social success or reaching their potential is 97%, – gifted children do not perform well in adulthood to the level or to the promise when they were small.
It is imperative that more and more people are passionate about discovering human abilities and finding solutions to stop wasting people with high abilities, which is “the greatest loss of our culture” (Gowan). Underachievement is when a gifted person performs very low – it is like when someone misses using his high high skills; they also do not feel realized or appreciated, and sometimes feel they have lost their sense or their meaning.
The reality is that their social disadvantage is a taboo that can endure forever in the absence of specialists and media to takeover the message which supports the busting of myths which are pretty many. These children have special needs, high social risk (alienation, depression, school abandonment, suicide, antisocial behaviour, according to the answer of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, September 2003) and their right to an appropriate education isanctioned by national and international law is blatantly violated.
Yes, for an introductory book please download a very good guide for parents (which can make you smile, while going to the heart of the issues of what it means to be gifted): You Know Your Child Is Gifted When . . . To download it please click here
Sadly, many schools nationwide or worldwide would compromise a child’s brain just to make them fit in with all the rest.
In Romania gifted children don’t get special attention or support in a regular classroom. Subject acceleration, grouping, enrichment, compacting, extension, and pull-out classes are not common.
Many children would go „underground” and not show their abilities than to face the fear they shall be rejected for who they are. They need friends, and usually, they can’t make friends with their peer group. For highly gifted children regular classrooms are not enough. Children are underperforming in an environment where they are constantly not facing any challenge. Sometimes they also get bullied for their continuous tirade of questions or their constant imagination, or their different way of seeing things. But this is normal for them, it’s their curiosity, their imagination and their ability to see the world in a different way, sometimes so much more candid than it is. They feel desolated, and not rarely they ask their parents that they do not want or like to go to school. They feel isolated because they are unable to meet children with the same interest or passions as they have. With their advanced level of reasoning and their different sense of humour, they feel they are somehow different, in a world that does not appreciate their difference. This affects their development into psychosomatic symptoms. But even when they seem to be well adapted and don’t show any symptoms they can still underperform by not showing their high abilities.
Wasted talents – is the name of a phd study by dr Anne Favier-Townsend.
She conducted a PhD study into the issue with the help of Mensa members –
article published in December, in MENSA UK newsletter, as a cover story.
We highly recommend it.
“Several years on, and with the research complete and the PhD awarded, she reflected on the rather depressing findings of her survey in an area that hitherto had attracted little or no interest, but which she now feels ought to occupy the minds of everyone in education and government.”
„Wasted talents – Why are so many people with high IQs not recognised in childhood and so underachieve at school and in life?” Anne Favier-Townsend conducted a PhD study into the issue with the help of Mensa members. Interview by Robin Healey
• “In principle I favour any system that places children of the same ability in one class. Otherwise, those who are bright get bored, and those who are less bright can’t cope.”
• “The worst aspect of classroom education is the mixed ability classes.”
• “Usually they give them more work, rather than more challenging work. This could perhaps be more maths exercises which can be totally counter productive, because a child gets even more bored through having to repeat the same type of work. „
• “This is what those who responded to my questionnaire told me, time after time.” Perhaps it was the case that a poor teacher faced with disruptive children would be unable to select out the high IQ children who disrupt through boredom from those who are just wilfully destructive because they can’t understand what they are being taught.”
• “I don’t know, but what I do know is that I wouldn’t want to be a teacher in a secondary school today, mainly because of the amount of work that is demanded of them by those who run the system and the lack of support given to them in order for them to cater to all the children. The worst aspect of classroom education is the mixed ability classes. „
• “It is impossible to cater for five different levels of ability in one class and this is what is favoured by comprehensive schools.”