People who are gifted may be hard to identify. For example, curious children who feel bored in school, adults who have difficulty making career decisions or relating to other people, and homemakers who suppress their abilities in order to gain approval and meet the needs of others may be gifted but unaware of it. 
A list of characteristics that are common among people who are gifted is included in the Publications section of this website.

About half of our country's gifted students are never identified, and even those who are identified often perform significantly below their levels of ability. Group intelligence tests, commonly used in schools for screening purposes, frequently fail to provide accurate assessments at upper levels of intelligence; and the performance potentials of creative people are often higher than their IQ scores might suggest.

Early identification and assessment of gifted children provides parents and teachers with the information they need

to structure home and school environments that are optimally beneficial to each child. We generally begin the assessment process with a comprehensive psychological evaluation

designed to identify gifted children and assess their strengths and weaknesses.  We also look for information about their interests, achievement motivation and locus of control, and we assess their emotional/social functioning, adaptive skills, and vulnerabilities. In addition, we look for evidence of creativity, and we determine whether a child is underachieving or achieving in accord with his or her intellectual potential.

In our comprehensive evaluations we use objective, subjective, and projective procedures, which include the following:

  • individual measures of intelligence; 

  • comprehensive academic achievement testing; 

  • projective psychological assessment; 

  • gross neurological screening; 

  • parent and teacher questionnaires; 

  • behavioral observations and clinical interviews;

  • assessment of creative portfolios, as needed;

  • and vocational interest testing, as needed.

Briefer assessments as well as more intensive clinical assessments are also available, as needed.  Sometimes, we also update parts of the testing as children proceed through school to provide parents and teachers with current information concerning their children's changing needs, especially their instructional needs.

The tests included in our comprehensive evaluation process are administered by state certified school psychologists who are highly qualified and have extensive experience working in public schools.

Our evaluators relate very well to children, who generally describe their testing experience as enjoyable and even ask for future interactions with the evaluators. Here, in a private setting, we can take as much time as we need to establish rapport with each child, further ensuring the validity of the test results. In addition, we offer ideal testing conditions that are clean, quiet, and free of distractions.

The test results are analyzed by both a clinical psychologist and a certified school psychologist.  Pooling their knowledge and expertise, they work collaboratively to prepare written reports that include detailed explanations of the data and

interpretations as well as specific recommendations concerning individualized strategies designed to foster each child's optimal growth and development both at home and at school.  Center reports also include information designed to educate parents and school personnel about the special needs and experiences of gifted children and adolescents, as well as about their educational rights.

The testing results are shared during a feedback session that enables parents to ask questions about their child's report and talk about ways to implement the recommendations, which often make significant positive differences in children's lives.

We have no vested interest in proving that any child is gifted.  In fact, some of the children we test do not score at a gifted level overall.  However, most of the

children and adolescents we test have at least one outstanding ability that needs to be identified, assessed and addressed.

People may be gifted or talented in different ways, which may not always be evident without adequate assessment.  This is especially true for children with physical, emotional, and learning disabilities. These children may be excluded from gifted programs when

testing procedures fail to take into account their disabilities and when the testing results are interpreted by focusing on their disabilities rather than their gifts.  If your child has an emotional, physical, or learning disability, make sure the professional who evaluates him or her has experience in modifying the testing procedures and interpreting the results in accord with your child's special needs. For example, one young girl we tested had been referred repeatedly by her teachers for gifted identification but never met the criteria.  When we explored the possible reasons for this, we discovered that no accommodations had been made for her impaired vision during previous evaluations.  Simple enlargement of some of the testing materials enabled her to perceive them properly and respond in accord with her gifted potential and her teachers' expectations.

Where there are differences between our testing results and previous evaluations, we search for reasons for the differences and use the resulting information in the recommendations we make to parents

and teachers.  More often than not, these differences have to do with factors that interfere with a child's ability to demonstrate the extent of his or her potential with consistency.

Psychoeducational assessments of young gifted children may also reveal some degree of developmental unevenness that is not symptomatic of disability.  For example, relative developmental delays in fine motor control are not uncommon among young gifted boys, and such lags generally diminish and disappear with maturity.

Clients come to us from many referral sources, including gifted organizations, satisfied parents whose children we have tested, school personnel, and other clinicians who seek our assistance in meeting the needs of their gifted clients and patients.

Fees for Center testing services vary depending on the age of the child and the nature and extent of the testing required. For further information, contact the Center for the Gifted at (215) 849-5077.

Copyright � 2003 by C. Suzanne Schneider, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.