Gifted Children: Who they are and why we should talk about it

Parents bring their children into my office for a variety of reasons, but usually the children are there because somehow their cognitive, academic, or social-emotional needs are not being met by their current environment. Sometimes, after I get to know the child and conduct an evaluation, it becomes clear that the child is gifted, and that giftedness is part of the equation of this child’s unmet needs.

One 12-year-old boy told me his reasons for wanting to be evaluated:  “I want to find out how many people in the world have a personality like me, because I want to know: where do I fit in?”  He then poignantly added, “at lunchtime, all the boys want to talk about football, and I want to talk about physics!”  A 16-year-old I tested shared with me that middle school had been the hardest time for him, because that’s when he “had the most disagreements with teachers on the worth of what we were doing.”  A mother of a 6-year-old girl told me that her daughter comes home from school looking dejected, and described what she termed as her daughter’s “nerdy acting out.”  When the girl’s first grade teacher asked the children to write down different ways to make the number 6, the girl wrote “2×3” and “-1 + 7”. The teacher then told the girl that “that’s not what we are doing right now.”  After that incident, this child became even more disengaged from school.

When I share the results of the evaluation with parents and with the child, we discuss how being gifted is an important part of the child’s unique learning profile and of the unique way this child relates to the world.

At this point, it becomes important to clarify:  what does “being gifted” mean?

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Understanding Math Disability

Does your eight-year-old still count on her fingers? Is your fourth grader having a tough time with simple addition problems? Is math homework a daily battle with your middle schooler?

According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, between 58 and 75 percent of school-aged students in the U.S. perform below proficiency levels in mathematics (1) (2). A variety of factors are contributing to this alarming statistic: cultural attitudes, low academic self-confidence, poor instructional methods, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders that affect learning across the board. However, up to 10% of students struggling with math have a specific learning disability known as dyscalculia. Children with this learning disorder have a difficult time making sense of numbers and math concepts.

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Anxiety in Young Children: What Parents Can Look for and How They Can Help

My daughter has been at her preschool for over three months and still cries at drop off. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

My four-year-old son used to sleep through the night, but all of a sudden he is scared of the dark and cannot sleep alone. What can I do?

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Does Your Child Need a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

At every age, a child is working on mastering a particular set of skills or developmental tasks. Thus, every age, every stage of development, brings with it its own set of challenges. Difficulties in mastering age-appropriate developmental tasks will likely manifest as behavioral problems, academic struggles, or challenges in interacting with family members or peers. Parents can see that their child is struggling, but are not always sure what is going on and how to help. In order to better understand the nature of a child’s difficulties and to chart the most appropriate course of action for addressing the problem, parents might choose to bring their child in for a neuropsychological evaluation.

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Bilingual Children: Dispelling the Myths of Language Acquisition

In my practice, I often see children who are growing up in a bilingual environment. Parents of bilingual children often wonder if, and how, bilingualism affects the process of language acquisition. “My child is behind in his speech, could it be because he hears two languages?” parents often ask. To clarify the facts and dispel the myths about the effects of bilingualism on language acquisition, I will take a closer look at the research on this topic. In thinking about the path of a bilingual child’s language development, here are some things to consider:

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