So your child is gifted? Now what?
Once all the testing is said and done, as a parent you receive a permission slip to identify your child to receive gifted education services. You sign it and send it back to the gifted specialist at your school. So, now what?
Let’s start with a definition of Gifted. The Colorado Department of Education’s definition of gifted:
- The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) defines “gifted” children as:
Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents and potential for accomplishment in one of more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted Students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and student with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic, ethnic and cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:
- General or specific intellectual ability
- Specific academic aptitude
- Creative or productive thinking
- Leadership abilities
- Visual arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities
Basically, this means your student is looking at and solving problems at a higher level than their peers and some adults. Our job as the gifted and talented specialist for your student is to make sure they are being challenged intellectually, supported in their social emotional needs, and reaching their goals throughout their academic career.
Ok, what’s next?
Every school and school district is different, but a general rule of thumb is the gifted specialist will start working with your child to set up their Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) and setting goals for them to work on for the semester, year, month, etc. The ALP is a working and changing document. Once a goal is met, a new goal is set. As a parent, you have a right to access and provide input into this plan and document. Then it is the job of the gifted specialist to make sure teachers are made aware of the ALP for the student.
- Annual document to be done at the start of the year
- Progress monitoring throughout the year
- GT Specialist should provide updates on the progress of the goals
- Classroom teachers are made aware of, have access to and utilize the ALP in class.
- Goals are written and aligned with tiered classroom instruction and supplemental or intensive programming if needed.
- Students are active in the ALP process
- Parents need to be informed and included in the ALP process.
Seems easy enough and pretty hands off, right? For the most part, yes this is true depending on grade level and how involved you want to be as a parent. My biggest piece of advice is to look at your schools gifted and talented resources and programming options in order to determine the type of program your student is going into.
How can you support your child at home?
- Collect resources on your child’s interests- books, videos, and websites.
- Make time to talk to your child about those interests everyday and encourage active questioning.
- Find peer groups that have similar interests
- Allow your child freedoms or responsibilities appropriate for their individual social and emotional development.
- Model the behavior and respect of others you expect of your child. Find and encourage them to participate in acts of service that can make a difference.
- Provide challenges outside of school. Enrichment is very beneficial whether it is to supplement academics or explore their passions make sure to encourage outside learning and challenges.
- Encourage your child to take risks. Make sure to celebrate mistakes as learning opportunities. Even when you make mistakes, model positive ways to problem solve and grow.
- CDE’s Parents Corner
- District Gifted and Talented page
- National Association for Gifted and Talented
- Click on the parents tab for resources
- Davidson Institute
- Facebook Groups
- Parents of Gifted and High Ability Learners
- Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented
- Parents of Gifted Children