Friday, June 19, 2009

Gifted Children

Gifted Children

Gifted children have SPECIAL NEEDS. They are NOT like other children and ignoring their giftedness leads to later emotional problems. This is because gifted development is asynchronous, meaning different aspects of the child’s development progress at different rates – for example, a particular 7 year old child may be reading at the level of an average 10 year old, doing maths at the level of an average 14 year old, but only have the emotional maturity of a typical 4 year old. This uneven development can lead to serious problems if not understood and handled correctly. It is therefore important to identify your gifted child as such.

Giftedness is not limited to only child prodigies and the profoundly gifted. Another big area of misunderstanding about giftedness is we tend to think of the gifted as those prodigies or those profoundly/exceptionally gifted – however, “gifted” typically applies to the top 2% of the population, with a “qualifying IQ” of 130. This means that statistically 1 in 50 are gifted, not such a rare occurence after all – but also not so common considering there still remain 49 out of 50 not classified as such.
Mildly, moderately, highly and profoundly gifted children are as different from each other as mildly, moderately, severely and profoundly retarded children are from each other, but the differences among levels of giftedness are rarely recognized.

When one child in the family is identified as gifted, the chances are great that all members of the family are gifted.

Giftedness can be observed in the first three years by rapid progression through the developmental milestones. These milestones should be documented and taken seriously as evidence of giftedness. Early identification of advanced development is as essential as early identification of any other exceptionality. Early intervention promotes optimal development.
Gifted children’s IQ scores become depressed at approximately 9 years of age due to ceiling effects of the test. The ideal age for testing is between 4 and 8.

Gifted children often have hidden learning disabilities.

Children in the top and bottom 3 percent of the population have atypical developmental patterns and require differentiated instruction. Children in the top and bottom 10 percent of the population are not statistically or developmentally different from children in the top and bottom 15 percent, and it is not justifiable to single them out for special treatment.

Extracted from: Hoagies Gifted Education Page (please load this page for more info)
For those has gifted children you could joint NAGCM
Frequently Asked Questions
What is NAGCM all about?
The aim of the association is to assist by all possible means children with outstanding gifts and talent to fulfil their potential, and to give support to parents, teachers and others professionally concerned with their development.

When was it established?
The National Association of Gifted Children, Malaysia (NAGCM) grew out of a National Symposium and Workshop on Gifted Children, jointly organized by the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya and the Malaysian Mensa Society in March-April 1986.

Why was it established?
The Symposium and Workshop gathered together all those concerned with the identification and development of gifted children, to discuss the techniques and strategies required to solve the problems faced by the parents and teachers of these gifted children. The response was overwhelming. For the first time in the country, parents of gifted children realised that they were not alone, and could also give voice to their problems and frustrations. They also decided that something could be done to help themselves. A unanimous decision was taken at the conclusion of the Workshop to form a national association for gifted children, and a pro-tem committee was immediately elected.

Who were the founding members?
The founding members comprised the members of the Symposium and Workshop organizing committee from the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya and the Malaysian Mensa Society, together with the parents, teachers and others who attended the Symposium and Workshop.

Are all the founding members of NAGCM gifted?
Being gifted is not a pre-requisite to be a member of the NAGCM; however all the founding members were certainly fully committed to helping the gifted children of Malaysia achieve their potential.

Who are eligible to be members of NAGCM?
Membership is open to any individual of 18 years and above desiring to foster the purpose of the Association. The spouse and the children under 18 years of age are eligible to attend all functions of the Association and use its facilities. Only the paid-up parent can vote and hold office.
How does the public join the association?

By filling up a membership form and paying the membership dues.
The majority of the members are parents of gifted children and parents interested in giftedness , who meet together through the Association for mutual support, to exchange ideas and experiences, and arrange activities for their children. The children can meet other children of similar talents and ability, make friends, and extend their interests together. The children are not required to pass any tests in order to join the Association or to participate in activities. Educators and researchers form a minority.

How many members do you currently have?
About 140.

What kind of activities does NAGCM organise?
To date, the Association has attempted to achieve its aim by organizing the following activities:
Talks and Workshops
Social Gatherings

In addition to the above, the Association has built up a resource centre comprising videotapes, books, magazines and other publications on gifted children, available on loan to members. The Association also produces a newsletter containing information on the activities of the Association, contributions from members and reviews of publications connected with the subject of gifted children. The Association also collaborates with the Ministry of Education and universities on programmes for the gifted.

Why is there a need to identify and acknowledge gifted children?
Gifted children find themselves out of step with their contemporaries. Some have no difficulty, but others find themselves isolated and rejected by their peers. They may withdraw into themselves and have only a few friends. They may be bored with their school work and become frustrated and discouraged. They may deliberately underachieve to make themselves unacceptable to their classmates. Unless carefully nurtured, some will drop out from society and may even turn their talents to delinquency and crime.

For parents, a gifted child at home will be too much to cope with and they often need guidance especially during the child’s pre-school years. The opportunity to share their concern with other parents in similar situations and to be able to call on expert advice and friendly support is a necessary and greatly appreciated service.

What are NAGCM’s plans to promote its activities and further its cause?
NAGCM plans to make itself more visible, while continuing to provide the kind of activities that nurture young minds. A series of information leaflets on children of high potential has been produced and has been circulated to parents and teachers. From time to time, we also organize public fora aimed at educating the public on the challenges faced by children of high potential and ways to help them. Some events targeted at bringing together children of high potential and providing them with stimulating activities are also being planned by the NAGCM.
Are children born gifted or can they be nurtured?

Just as some children are born tall and some short, and some more chubby than others, all parents will notice that children are born with different types and levels of gifts and talents. Some children will have a greater aptitude for music while others will be more talented in art, reading, etc. Thus, while we believe that some children are born with a higher potential in certain fields, these gifts or talents cannot be fully developed without proper nurturing. In fact, most children barely achieve a fraction of their potential and they can all be helped with proper nurturing.

What is the population of gifted children in Malaysia?
The estimated population of Malaysians in 2008 between the ages 0-14 years is 8.9 million. If 2% of that figure are gifted (the standard common definition of intellectual giftedness is two standard deviations above average IQ, or 98th percentile, or top 2% of the population) – if 2% of 8.9 million children are gifted, then it would be about 178,000.

How can the educational sector help in addressing the needs of gifted children?
The needs of gifted children need to be addressed from the start, that is, from Primary 1. Material presented in classrooms must cater to diverse learning styles, gender needs and intellectual abilities, so that all pupils will benefit.

The educational sector can help by raising awareness of teachers to the identification & needs of the gifted, training opportunities for teachers to handle the gifted, enrichment/acceleration programs for the gifted i.e. varied programmes & not just academic — EQ, special talents, etc
DISCLAIMER: In keeping with its objectives to, among others, advocate and support the needs of the gifted, the volunteers of NAGCM may in the course of carrying out these functions be called upon or of their own volition share their knowledge and individual experiences and offer advice where solicited. As such, the NAGCM and/or its members shall not be held liable for such sharing of information, knowledge and/or advice.Those seeking help are reminded that the NAGCM is run by concerned volunteers who are willing to sacrifice their own time to help those in need. There are and will always be limitations to the assistance that can be rendered by these well meaning and committed volunteers. Accordingly we seek your co-operation in not placing unrealistic expectations on them. If you have any serious concerns about your child, you should always consult with a qualified professional.

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