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Gifted Children/Advancement After Screening?


My daughter is in the first grade; she has a mid-October birthday and thus missed the cut-off for beginning kindergarten early by 2 weeks.  Consequently, she is one of the oldest kids in first grade, although physically, she is one of the smallest.  In kindergarten, her teacher gave her advanced work in reading and math but never mentioned to us the possibility of having her tested to see whether she was an appropriate candidate for possibly advancing early into first grade, or skipping first grade entirely at the end of her kindergarten year. She is reading well into third grade level, although her math abilities are not as high (she doesn't understand multiplication and division yet).

In early October of this year (her first grade year), her teacher suggested that she be given the Woodcock Johnson Achievement Test, in which she scored 99 in Total Achievement when scored based on first grade, and 97 in Total Achievement when scored based on her chronologic age (of seven years).

The question we are now faced with is whether to (1) advance her into second grade mid-year (in December); (2) to allow her to finish the first grade year and skip second grade entirely, placing her into third grade next year, or (3) simply allow her to proceed without any kind of advancement.  The teachers and counselor/academic advisor are completely supportive of any avenue and have indicated that they believe she will do fine in any scenario. They have offered to prepare an Independent Learning Plan that would follow her throughout the years, and hopefully give her some challenging work, if we were to leave her where she is.  We, as her parents, are confused, and concerned that any decision we make will be the wrong one!

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Please keep in mind that I have very limited knowledge about your daughter and family, so I can't presume to say how much of my response applies to your daughter.  

One of the most difficult challenges parents face when raising a gifted child is to be mindful always that even though a child may be years ahead of his/her age intellectually, emotional development stays closer to their age. It's called "asynchronous development." There will be no shortage of intellectual stimulation in all kinds of ways for your daughter, but much of emotional maturing comes from home and family, and she needs her parents to be the gate-keepers of her emotional development staying on track.  Most parents try to include the child's thoughts and feelings as a big part of making the decision you face now.  Kids your daughter's age shouldn't have such enormous responsibility and don't want it.  Often though, their big vocabulary is misleading as to emotional maturity.  I'm truly impressed with you keeping the decision among the adults where it belongs; it tells me that you have the ability to keep her emotional needs in mind.

If your daughter stays in her current group, with an Individualized Learning Plan throughout her K-12 years, she isn't really a part of the group.  "Belongingness" is something everyone needs. I'm sure you appreciate that, especially in her teen years.  It isn't possible to be 100% sure that in future years her teachers and principals will be as supportive, willing and creative as your current professionals.  Schools open and close. Leadership changes. Staff come and go. Relocation happens.

I encourage you to consider advancing your daughter to second grade, but not in December. It's a time with lots of activities for groups already formed and stable.  Consider returning her to first grade after the school break.   Right after the school break everyone feels a bit excited to be back. By the third or fourth week of January the kids will be settled back into their rhythm, and will be able to give your daughter more attention and enjoy acclimating the newcomer. From there she could advance as usual.  I'm adding this revision in order to specify that I meant advancing your daughter from first grade to second grade during the third or fourth week of January may be considered.

There is an answer dated 2/18/12 "very interested in books"  which has information and a list of resources that will be useful throughout your daughter's childhood.

Thank you for letting me serve you. I'd like to know what decision you make and how things go. You can let go of much of your fear of making the wrong decision.  Few of life's decisions are set in stone.  If you need to make a different decision later, you will. Taking your daughter through that will be another learning experience as you teach her to navigate life. You're welcome to return to this site anytime. Your feedback is important.  

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Faith A. Coleman MD


No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.


Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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