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  • Understanding the Dynamics of a Gifted Child

    How can you tell if your child is "gifted"?
    Published Aug 14, 2009
  • American educational psychologist Joseph Renzulli promoted a broader and more comprehensive concept of giftedness, saying that gifted behavior requires interaction of three traits: “above-average general and/or specific abilities, high levels of task commitment (motivation), and high levels of creativity.” According to Renzulli, a child is considered gifted if he or she possesses or is capable of developing a combination of the abovementioned traits and applies them in practical and significant ways.

    Parents need to be fully aware of the ways in which their kids’ giftedness can be recognized to be able to give the necessary support. However, identifying giftedness requires evaluation and identification by child specialists and experts.

    Dr. Leticia Peñano-Ho, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, and president of the Philippine Association for the Gifted (PAG), emphasizes the need for parents and teachers to study the characteristics and potentials of gifted children with an open mind. With very young kids identified as “potentially gifted,” it is important to explain and discuss with them the “gift” they have and what they can do with it.

    Intelligence Is Not Synonymous With Giftedness
    Prof. Myra Garces-Bacsal, clinical psychologist at the Headway School for Giftedness and associate professor at Kalayaan College, reveals that there is no unified definition of giftedness as of yet. Traditionally, an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 130 or higher (two-standard deviations above the norm), coupled with high achievement scores, qualifies a child as “gifted.” Dr. Ho agrees that some people still relegate gifted children as being in the top one percent of the class.

    The concept of intelligence is fascinating, but experts advise against marking it as a synonym for giftedness. It takes more than measured intelligence and a closer look at all characteristics to identify a gifted child. IQ scores only measure or approximate how mentally gifted a child is, but they are not and cannot be the only basis.

    In the book Growing Up Gifted, author Barbara Clark presented an extensive list of characteristics of giftedness that she grouped into five major categories: Cognitive (thinking), Affective (feeling), Physical, Intuitive, and Societal.

    Dr. Ho reiterates that an above-average IQ is a sign of exceptional cognitive abilities, but it does not automatically connote giftedness; therefore, the child would have to exhibit advanced skills in the other four categories.

    • Dr. Leticia Peñano-Ho, neuropsychologist and president of the Philippine Association for the Gifted (PAG)
    • Prof. Myra Graces-Bacsal, clinical psychologist, Headway School for Giftedness; associate professor, Kalayaan College
    • Growing Up Gifted, by Barbara Clark
    • Websites: scholastic.com ; eric.hoagiesgifted.org ; kidsource.com
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