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Gifted/Talented Assessment

As a developmental specialist who acts as both a child counselor and performance coach, I have worked with hundreds of gifted and talented children and adults over the last 20 years. What is most gratifying for me is to help each child/adult not only identify their towering talents, but accelerate the development of those talents.

A key challenge for those who are gifted/talented, is these towering talents are often threatened by the weakest parts of the personality. For example, a 16-year-old can be incredibly gifted intellectually, but struggle socially. This is why my gifted/talented assessments focus on not only identifying the strongest aspects of each client, but also identifying those personality features that threaten to undermine the positive impact those talents can make. I explore this topic in greater detail in one of my most viral blogs: 10 Character Flaws That Can Derail Even Good People

A reoccurring problem with gifted/talented assessments are how narrowly they focus on assessing the IQ of the person. Many IQ tests highlight only certain features of intelligence or giftedness. For a more in-depth discussion of this, see my blog entitled Why you might want to have your child assessed for Giftedness this Summer. This allows certain types of intelligence or talents to go unnoticed.

In contrast, when I first begin the evaluation, I will focus on gathering perspectives from the people around that gifted person to ensure I capture all the different ways in which that person is extraordinary. By interviewing numerous people, I get a great roundtable of opinions and perspectives. It’s important to realize people change across situations, and that is why it is vital to interview several people, so we do not overlook any talents that may come out in one situation, but not in another.

As a personality and evaluation expert, I draw from an expansive toolbox of measures which together allow for a thorough and panoramic assessment of the talents of each person.

Going beyond numbers and labels

Even if the child’s scores do not fall in the “gifted” range, or an athlete is not considered “talented”, my clients figure out how they can maximize their performance. Sometimes by highlighting a few features of the client’s personality, they suddenly breakthrough to the next level of performance. My goal is to give the client the set of customized tools to reach their potential.

After all, what matters most is not if someone is called “gifted”, or is called a “great athlete”. What really matters is what kind of basic character and work ethic they have. In other words, what decides a persons not their IQ, but a complex set of factors. We can all agree that talents + work ethic + character = life outcome.

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