Here is a podcast interview I did with @mamamia recently. The podcast includes how to tell your child is gifted, and what parents can do to support their young gifted children.
“Could your child secretly be a genius? We talk to an expert to debunk every myth you’ve ever heard about gifted kids. Is it only boys who are gifted? Is there a link between genius and autism? Dr Mimi Wellisch answers ALL our questions”.
Podcast can be heard here:
This consultancy specialises in assessing children who are potentially gifted. Although the updated WISC-V was first published in USA in December 2014, the Australian standardised version only became available in March 2016. The publishers Pearson suggests an 8 to 12 month transition period for the purchase of the updated test for practitioners. So I have been waiting for the extended norms to be published before making the purchase. Without extended norms the Full Scale IQ score cannot be calculated beyond 160, whereas with extended norms it can be calculated up to 210, an essential calculation in case an exceptionally or profoundly gifted child arrives for testing. Pearson stated in their Canadian FAQs for WISC-V that the extended norms will be published within 18 months of the publication of WISC-V. This has not happened yet, and it makes no sense to assess a potentially gifted child with an instrument that cannot identify the exceptionally or profoundly gifted. So, until the extended norms are published, this consultancy will continue to assess children with the WISC-IV. If you would like to enquire about fees or make an appointment please send an email and I will endeavour to respond on the same day.
There seems to be a great deal of information about gifted children and their characteristics, but very scant information about giftedness in toddlers. Gifted toddlers display a variety of characteristics. Some of the more common ones are set out below:
When comparing notes with other parents you may find that your toddler sleeps less than others babies and toddlers. Your toddler may be very alert, aware of sounds and noises, light and shade, observing everything with bright, aware, knowing eyes.
Your toddler may be very curious, looking, seeking, and soaking up and all new information.
You may have noticed that your toddler memorises everything, and that s/he may surprise you by talking about something that happened months ago. This is not unusual in gifted children, who need much less repetition than others.
Play and the Young Gifted Child
I have heard many times from mothers of gifted children that their child does not play the way other children do. They are often not interested in their toys, their play may be to read, and they may prefer adult company and conversation to that of their age peers.
Advanced Abilities in Under 3s
Under 3’s with a variety of advanced abilities may, for example, recite a whole story or sing a popular song word for word, or do 50-piece puzzles, recognise and name the entire alphabet (not in order), count to 100, count by 2s, 5s, carry out simple calculations, and want to learn more. They may love books and insist on you reading one story after another; be unusually skilful with a ball or a trike; give you correct directions to a familiar place when you drive; or sing in perfect pitch.
Advanced Abilities in Over 3s
By pre-school age (3+), a general sign of giftedness can show itself in surprisingly detailed or advanced drawings, for example a map of a town seen from a bird’s eye view, and if you ask, they can tell you a great many things about their drawing. A colourful painting may actually turn out to represent a machine with buttons, levers and pulleys. Similarly, pre-schoolers who are gifted may build intricate and complex buildings with wooden blocks or Lego, and they can tell you in great detail what each block represents. Finally, your pre-schooler may spontaneously learn to read (usually these are the highly gifted toddlers), although few will believe you when you try to explain that you did not secretly tutor your child with flash cards or lessons in phonics.
So, is Your Toddler Gifted?
Your child may have one, two or several of the characteristics described above. Here is some more information about giftedness in young children. However, in order to be sure that s/he is gifted you need to arrange for an IQ (cognitive) assessment.
There has been a bit of a furore over a recent article about working mothers. I rarely agree with Miranda Devine, however, as a psychologist and an early childhood specialist, I am completely in agreement with her views that women should either stay home or work part time, at least for the first 5 years of their children’s lives. Why only mothers? Because the infants who grew in their bodies unsurprisingly experience the greatest amount of security in the company of their mothers while they are young and are therefore much more likely to have a healthy developmental trajectory. So strong is this attachment that from day one infants can recognise the smell and voices of their mothers (and therefore also differentiate between mothers and others)! And why for the first 5 years? Because children’s brains grow faster then than at any other time of their lives. During this time the brain hard wires almost everything that will define the person as an adult: environmental input to their IQ, quality of their relationships, empathy, sociability, and more. There is no amount of child care fees that can pay for this connection or guarantee the optimum level of development that secure attachment provides. Instead, behaviour problems can surface quite quickly in children who attend early-to-late care – a fact rarely publicised – and can risk becoming a future burden on families and society alike. Finally, although children’s services can only operate with regulatory approval, 30% of approved children’s services still do not meet the government’s own National Quality Standard.
Welcome to the first Early Childhood Matters blog. Although I may know quite a bit about early childhood, I must admit that I am a very green blogger. I read a blog for the first time yesterday, and this is my very first blog entry. It may therefore be New-Blogger-Optimism, but I am hoping to inspire comments and interesting conversations about young gifted children as a result of this blog.
I wonder if you came across the article Hyper Parenting by Katie Roiphe last weekend in the Weekend Australian Magazine (July 12-13). I did, and although there were some valid points in the article, it caused me to revisit the sad “feminism vs children’s needs” debate, the one that has thrown out the baby with the bathwater.
At yesterday’s Understanding Your Gifted Children seminar, a participating father asked a very interesting question: “Why should we treat our children the same way?”. His question reminded me of a little boy in a child care centre I used to know.
The Productivity Commission’s recenly released discussion paper “A national quality framework for early childhood education and care” (available here) has no problems with conscience or consequence, and makes no bones about favouring the nation rather than what might be good for families and children.
I tried to sell my Stanford-Binet Fifth Edition through the Australian Psychological Society last month, but no-one even gave me a call to negotiate the price. Perhaps it is a good thing that I was forced to keep it, as I sometimes use it with adults. But I don’t think I will be using it very much with children anymore.
Why? Let me go back a bit: When I completed my post graduate diploma in psychology I had to make a very difficult decision: What assessment tool or tools I should invest in for my gifted consultancy. At the same time I was excited. This was the moment I had been waiting for: Only qualified psychologists can administer or purchase IQ tests, and I was finally qualified. I wanted to be sure that I had the best tools available for assessing gifted children, and a mistake could be expensive – these tools are worth several thousand dollars each.