Phone: 9447 2000
Fax: 9447 2022

Dr Isabel Fernandez & Associates offers Gifted Assessments for children and adolescents. Our assessments are conducted by highly qualified Clinical Psychologists and Clinical Psychologist Registrars with experience and expertise in recognising advanced cognitive ability.

What Does it Mean to be Gifted?

Generally, children who display an exceptionally high level of cognitive, academic or creative ability are referred to as ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’. Talented generally has nothing to do with classic intelligence, but rather states that a child is very good, or “talented”, at something. This could be football, playing a musical instrument, playing chess or dancing. In contrast, the term ‘gifted’ is considered to be a child with a very high IQ as measured on a standardised IQ test. Typically, an IQ score of 130 or above is used as a lower limit for giftedness. Around 2.5% of the population achieve an IQ test score that high. IQ is considered to be relatively stable across the lifetime, meaning a child will not ‘grow out’ of their high IQ.

Could my Child be Gifted?

Children with an IQ test score in the gifted ranges (IQ > 130) tend to process sensory stimuli and information quickly and efficiently. Sometime spotting these advanced cognitive abilities is easy, whilst other times children with unusual potential fly under the radar, particular when they are “twice exceptional” (having both a high IQ and a learning difficulty such as Dyslexia).

Children with a high IQ typically possess several unique traits, including;

  • A sophisticated vocabulary
  • The ability to learn and understand words easily
  • A strong curiosity to seek out explanations of the world around them
  • A high focus on certain areas of interest (i.e., bugs, space, animals, sports, technology)
  • A preference for solving a problem in their own creative way
  • An excellent memory
  • A tendency to express delight when making a connection between concepts
  • A preference for learning opportunities, as opposed to physical activities
  • A tendency to ask questions that show advanced insight
  • The ability to learn new skills with little instruction
  • A preference for spending time with adults or older children
  • A strong opinion on fairness and justice
  • Significant emotional intensity and a strong sensitivity towards other people’s feelings

In addition to the above traits, a gifted child may exhibit the following behaviour;

  • Complete their schoolwork easily
  • Become bored in class
  • Enjoy taking on more challenging work than their classmates
  • Become frustrated with the ‘slow’ pace of teaching at school
  • Seek out additional schoolwork or homework
  • Continue learning in various ways once the school day is complete (i.e., reading/YouTube)

How is a Giftedness Assessed?

Giftedness is assessed using a variety of psychological tests, as this provides an objective and systematic way for identifying gifted children. A complete and comprehensive Gifted Assessment generally incorporates both a Cognitive Assessment and an Educational Assessment. These assessments indicate whether a child falls within the gifted ranges (IQ >130), as well as reveals their specific academic strengths and weaknesses.

Cognitive testing will reveal strengths in:

  • Processing speed
  • Auditory processing
  • Verbal processing
  • Non-verbal processing
  • Fluid reasoning
  • Working memory

Educational testing will assess skills in key areas such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Mathematics
  • Oral language
  • Written expression

To assess for Giftedness, we firstly gather information from parents in an Initial Parent Consultation, as well as from school reports, medical and allied health reports and NAPLAN. This gathering of information allows us to better understand the child’s presentation, allowing for an individually- tailored assessment plan. In all assessments we use the most recent version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V), as well as a battery of other standardised tests that assess literacy and numeracy skills, oral expression, written expression and handwriting. If needed, other tests that measure attention and socioemotional functioning may be included. Standardised testing means your child’s scores are compared against thousands of other children within the same age range.

Will a Gifted Assessment help my Child?

A Gifted Assessment helps to shine light on your child’s unique gifts, revealing which educational choices will best draw out and enhance their abilities. Identifying the level of cognitive and academic ability allows for a better understanding of how your child’s academic performance in the classroom affects or enriches their learning. In addition, the results also help guide a teacher’s decision to provide relevant extension activities or enrichment or acceleration programs in particular subjects.

Formal identification of giftedness and exceptional academic ability is generally needed for a child to access gifted and talented programs or special classes (i.e. admission to selective schools, acceleration or opportunity classes). As such, the majority of schools and government agencies require a Gifted Assessment to be completed by a Registered Psychologist with expertise in identifying children with advanced cognitive abilities.

It is important to remember that despite their cognitive maturity, the gifted child often experiences some unique difficulties. For example, many gifted children struggle with emotional regulation issues, perfectionism and anxiety. Early identification of both strengths and struggles is key in assisting not only a gifted child’s academic requirements, but also their emotional, social and development needs. If an area of need is identified, we enjoy working with gifted children in a one-on-one therapy setting to support and nurture their psychological health.

Will I be Provided a Gifted Report?

Yes, you will receive a comprehensive Gifted Report following your child’s Gifted Assessment. This report will contain several sections including their biographical, developmental and educational history, cognitive profile and academic strengths and weaknesses. This report can be provided to your child’s school, or government agencies, as formal evidence of giftedness.

Do I Need a Referral for my Child?

Young people are often referred for a comprehensive assessment by Paediatricians, General Practitioners, teachers and school counsellors. However, a referral isn’t a necessity, with many parents directly seeking an assessment for their child for a variety of reasons.

How can I have my Child Assessed?

If your child displays traits or signs of giftedness, or you feel an assessment might be helpful for your child, the first step is to book an Initial Parent Consultation. This appointment is an opportunity for you to tell us all about your child strengths and difficulties and it allows the Clinical Psychologist to closely review your child’s developmental, educational, and psychosocial history. This information is essential in the development of an assessment plan tailored to your child’s presentation.

Simply call Isabel Fernandez and Associates on (08) 9447 2000 to book an Initial Parent Consultation today and get the right advice for your child’s needs.