One important thing to remember is to approach 2e with a developmental mindset. Just as the expression of disorders can change with age, so is also true of intellectual gifts. It is important to be observant. Take note of special skills that may show up in the child early on, but that may change or go underground later in life.
It is also important to consider three aspects of the measure being used to test for giftedness:
- It should be developmentally appropriate. Some tests are better suited for tapping skills in the very young vs. the older child
- There can be developmental change in test scores. Because the types of things that tests measure can change with age, and because a child’s brain takes time to mature, test scores can change. It is possible, for instance, for a child to test as gifted at the age of 5 years, and then no longer as gifted at the age of 7 years. This can be confusing, and in such situations it is important to not rely on any single aptitude test that is the same across years.
- The assessment test should validly measure the correct skills. Some schools have a very set-in-stone test that they use to assess qualification for gifted services (and the gifted portion of the 2e equation). These tests can be quite limited in scope and may not tap broad and potential areas of giftedness. For example, nonverbal tests will not adequately measure high verbal intelligence, relying on superior scores on certain academic achievement tests may not do justice to gifts that do not manifest themselves in these school subjects, etc.
Therefore, if you suspect that a child may be learning disabled and gifted, it is often important to be as much an advocate for the child’s disability as it is for the child’s ability. In fact, it can be an even a harder struggle to get a learning disabled child services for their gifts than it can be for their disability!
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