One significant concern and problem for parents is the identification and support of education for gifted and talented students. The federal definition of gifted and talented learners is
Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.
Unfortunately, in the US there are no consistent practices for identifying who fits into this
category. Many school systems depend on the ratings of teachers and parents or parent groups and in some counties, parent made up tests to identify who is gifted in the school. In many inner city and rural school district the “gifted programs” are often “clubs” or “activities” for children who are highly socialized or who come from higher economic
backgrounds in order to avoid the general school population.
Yet in some of the more developed school systems (e.g., Fishers, Indiana) the identification is based on standardized test scores, academic transcript, and student referrals from guidance counselors. The more formal assessment processes lead to more opportunity for students to be identified without large influence by educator biases.
The most challenging thing for many educators is to identify students who are gifted but who do not come from majority cultural backgrounds. Children from homes of African American, Hispanic, immigrant, low income, special education, or where English is a second language are often overlooked when considering programs for gifted children (National Association of Gifted Children, 2021). This occurs despite the fact that many of histories most talented and intellectual figures would be considered to have been educationally disabled. These include individual’s like Einstein, Henry Ford, and Beethoven.
Parents have to work with and as advocates for their children with school systems and private organizations in order to obtain the resources and services to assist their children to reach their fullest potential.
• First, contact the gifted and talented coordinator at your state department of
education and in your district. For example, every school district in Maryland has a
• Second, arrange for your child to be evaluated (a clinical psychologist, europsychologist,
- use of a university training clinic or teaching hospital, can decrease the cost)
• Third understand that giftedness can be in one or two areas and often is not a global
• Fourth, understand that gifted children may have significant social deficits and will eed
support to have a well-rounded life.
Be aware that many times, these evaluations require more skill than present in the typical school psychologist. These assessments take a long time as these children elaborate on all of their answers. The evaluator will have to be patient and thorough to obtain a clear evaluation. For example, one child who went in for an evaluation (actually for Autism) was found to be on the spectrum and to be gifted, in a 2 ½ day evaluation Identification is the first step. There are many additional steps necessary for supporting these very talented individuals. If you need support and/or direction in your area please use the links
to contact an advocate.