How is giftedness measured
- Usually, giftedness is measured using a scientifically validated intelligence scale: the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Fifth Edition), or WISC-V. The WISC-V is considered by many professionals in the field of neuropsychology to be the most comprehensive and reliable measure of giftedness.
How high does IQ have to be, in order for my child to be considered ‘gifted’?
- Although there is some degree of disagreement, there is some consensus that an IQ score of 130 or above constitutes evidence of giftedness. This corresponds to the top 2% of scores in any given population, or two ‘standard deviations’ (a commonly used measure of statistical spread) above the average.
What is an IQ score?
- IQ stands for ‘Intelligence Quotient’ and it is a standardised score that shows where your child is placed in relation to the average score of 100: an average child, regardless of their age, will receive scores of around 100.
Is intelligence just one number?
- Contrary to popular belief, intelligence can be hard to summarise just as one number in some cases. The IQ is actually a combination of your child’s scores in a few different areas. These areas are verbal intellect, non-verbal intellect, processing speed, and working memory. If these four areas are all similar to one another then the IQ is an accurate and reliable summary, but for children whose scores on the four intelligence areas are different from one another a single IQ score can be much harder to interpret in a meaningful way.
Is it possible to be gifted and also struggle in some areas of schooling?
- Yes! Although a high IQ is a great advantage in many situations (for example solving puzzles that rely on logic and pattern recognition, explaining a complex idea using varied vocabulary, and carrying out calculations quickly) a high IQ alone does not guarantee academic success. There are a number of other facets and qualities that predict academic success. This is one reason why, in addition to measuring IQ, we would often measure academic achievement in literacy and numeracy; and we would also often check for problems with attention, ‘executive’ functions, learning and memory, and fine motor skills. Lastly, social skills also contribute to a child’s adjustment at school.
What other challenges might gifted children face?
- There is evidence to suggest that children with a high IQ often show a more drawn-out maturational process in terms of their higher-order ‘executive’ thinking skills: these skills include flexibility, shifting attention, integrating and comparing information, planning, organisation, and exercising self-control. In addition, children with a high IQ may be seen as different from their peers, they may find certain aspects of the curriculum boring or unstimulating, and they may also develop emotional difficulties such as perfectionism if they experience a high degree of pressure or expectation to succeed.
What can I do next if my child is assessed as gifted?
- The Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented and the NSW Department of Education and Communities both have great websites with resources and advice. Another point to consider is whether your child would benefit from accelerated learning courses in high school, and whether a selective school would be well suited to your child in terms of the variety and challenge of learning opportunities.
If you would like to book an assessment for giftedness for your child or any other type of neuropsychological testing, please email or call the clinic on 9438 2511.