Frequently Asked Questions
RIAGE is a small organization staffed entirely by volunteers. While we would like to respond to your questions immediately, we are often delayed by other demands in our busy lives. We hope this list of frequently asked questions will be helpful. If you have sent us an email with other questions please realize we may not be able to get back to you right away. We encourage everyone to come to our meetings which you will find listed here.
Q. I suspect that my daughter/son may be gifted. How do I find out for sure?
A. Some of the Earliest Signs of Giftedness Include:
- Unusual Alertness in Infancy
- Less Need for Sleep in Infancy
- Long Attention Span
- High Activity Level
- Smiling or Recognizing Caretakers Early
- Intense Reactions to Noise, Pain, Frustration
- Advanced Progression Through the Developmental Milestones
- Extraordinary Memory
- Enjoyment and Speed of Learning
- Early and Extensive Language Development
- Fascination with Books
- Excellent Sense of Humor
- Abstract Reasoning and Problem-Solving Skills
- Vivid Imagination (e.g., imaginary companions)
- Sensitivity and Compassion
If a child exhibits a majority of these characteristics, parents may wish to have the child assessed by an experienced examiner to find out if the child is gifted. Firstborn children tend to be recognized more often than their siblings. When one child in the family is gifted, it is quite possible that others may also be gifted. Early identification is recommended (ages 3 through because it permits early intervention, as important for gifted as for any other children with special needs. (Silverman)
To read more about the definition of giftedness you can read the article, Why Do We Need To Define Giftedness?
Q. I would like to have my child assessed except that I do not know how I would go about arranging it or who to contact regarding this. Can RIAGE point me in the right direction?
A. The following is a list of licensed psychologists who administer the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Third Edition (WPPSI-III), or the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV). Click here for a list from the Sage School web site with the names and contact information of psychologists in this area.
Q.The town I live in has suspended the gifted and talented program. How can I get my child’s needs met in school?
A. Consider working with other parents of gifted children in your school district. There is strength in numbers. A parent advocacy group can try to explain to your school district understand that even with its budget crisis, the educational needs of gifted students can still be addressed by creating self-contained classrooms for gifted students. These can be multi-age classrooms based upon the students’ skill levels. Research shows grouping gifted students together produces significant gains in student achievement — a gain of half a year or more per school year when curriculum is appropriately accelerated to these students’ advanced abilities. With properly trained teachers, these self-contained classes for the gifted students in your school could significantly benefit the students as well as help the district control its budget.
At the same time you can talk to your child’s classroom teacher(s) and see if there is a way for them to differentiate the work in class for your child. Find out if your school can provide subject acceleration in an area of strength for your child. For instance maybe your child can work with children in an older grade for writing or math. It might be appropriate to consider whole grade acceleration for you child.
You might also want to look into distance learning options that are available online for gifted students from Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University. Some people find that alternative schools, private schools, charter schools, and homeschooling are worthwhile options, too.
Q. Do we have any gifted charters in RI? Or other schools in RI that welcome and can manage gifted children?
A. No, we don’t have any charter schools in Rhode Island that are specifically for gifted children. However, RIAGE has been informed by other parents of gifted children that some charter schools do a fairly good job of meeting the needs of gifted children. You might want to visit the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools web site to learn more about charter schools in Rhode Island.
The following is from the newsletter on the GeniusDenied.org web site:
Q. There is a lot of talk in our district about “differentiation” for gifted students. Do you recommend it, and is it an effective strategy for serving gifted students? S.D.
A. It depends on the type of classroom differentiation being considered as an accommodation of gifted learners. A differentiated curriculum in a mixed ability classroom, containing only a few gifted students, is not a practical solution as it is not likely to serve the students or the teacher. As Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, one of the leading experts on differentiation notes, “Without grouping in some form, differentiated curriculum is difficult if not impossible to accomplish.” If the differentiated curriculum is in a classroom for gifted students whose abilities range from moderately gifted to highly gifted, differentiation can be an effective teaching tool to accommodate this range of abilities. The more homogeneous the composition of the classroom, the more successful differentiation is likely to be. Differentiation takes a great deal of teacher training and experience; we’ve also observed that certain personality types are more effective using differentiation as a teaching tool than others. Differentiation is a good concept, but difficult to execute well. We strongly encourage schools to consider other options to address the educational needs of gifted learners.