Services to gifted children and their families include assessment, psychotherapy, school consultation, and home schooling consultation.
The Gifted Resource Center of New England also engages in research about giftedness, testing techniques and interventions with gifted children and adolescents, presents at conferences on the gifted and writes about many aspects of giftedness.
The Gifted Resource Center of New England offers a variety of assessment services. These can include intellectual, achievement, neuropsychological testing and testing for social and emotional status.
Why should a child be tested?
Children should be tested when parents have questions about their intellectual and academic progress, when there are issues with emotional and social functioning or when the child may have learning issues. For example, here are vignettes showing the types of problems parents bring to the Gifted Resource Center of New England:
Jack, age 6, was far ahead of his peers in schoolwork. He complained of boredom with school and felt he wasn’t learning anything. While the other first graders were learning how to read, Jack was reading chapter books. He was also far advanced in math. From the time he was a toddler, he had been adding and subtracting, skills the other first graders were only now learning. Jack’s parents had him tested to assess his intellectual potential and his academic levels. Jack scored in the highly gifted range (an IQ of 145+) and he was reading, spelling, and doing math far beyond grade level. No wonder Jack was bored. For him, it was like it would be if the average fifth grader was required to do kindergarten level work all day. With the help of test scores, Jack’s parents were better able to know what he needed.
Tessa, age 12, had been doing well in school until she reached the 6th grade. Part way through the year, she started to flounder academically. Her grades dropped from straight A’s to B’s and C’s. The school didn’t think anything was wrong, but did note that Tessa was missing her homework in a number of subjects. By 7th grade, Tessa’s downward spiral was more than evident with difficulty doing and handing in homework, projects she forgot to do, and some poor test grades. She procrastinated, lost assignments, forgot directions and was irritable and sulky when her lapses were pointed out to her. Punishing her by taking away favorite activities only worked briefly. Her parents decided to have Tessa tested to find out why her performance had dropped so much. She didn’t appear to be lazy or unmotivated, more inefficient and forgetful. Testing Tessa showed that she had visual-spatial weaknesses and ADHD, both of which contributed to disorganization, inefficiency, forgetfulness, procrastination, poor study skills and poor planning. The results of the testing pointed the way to help Tessa develop skills and receive needed accommodations so she could perform more effectively.
Larry, age 10, had a variety of problems. He had trouble controlling his emotions. He had tantrums, arguments, and anger. He was rigid and stubborn. He could only do things his own way and refused to even try what others suggested. Larry had few friends. He wanted to be friends but did not seem to know how to keep friends. He bored them all with his incessant talk about Pokemon. While the other boys had played Pokemon when they were seven and eight, they no longer did so. Only Larry had not moved on. In school, Larry’s grades varied from very high to very low, depending on his interest in the subject. Larry liked math, so his math grades were generally high as were his grades in social studies. He was much lower in English and refused to write unless it was topic he chose; even then, his writing was not well thought out or organized. Larry’s parents had him tested because they needed more help in dealing with his behavior. He had seen mental health professionals and there were a variety of diagnoses. He was an alphabet soup child his father thought. None of the labels had helped Larry very much. Thus, Larry was tested for the purpose of helping to decide what was underlying his behavior, what was the right “label” and what would most help Larry to get over some of his issues. Testing helped to establish that Larry had Asperger Syndrome as well as a learning disability in written language. Knowing this enabled his parents to plan effective interventions for Larry.