What are the requirements for placement into a gifted program?

The current standards to be eligible for placement into a gifted program in South Florida include a Full Scale IQ Score of 130 or greater on a standardized and accepted IQ test for children. Once the child meets this criteria, his or her current teacher will complete a gifted behavioral checklist. The teacher must indicate that the child demonstrates the need for an advanced curriculum. The final decision for gifted placement rests with the school committee who reviews the test data and other information on the child. For children who are considered minority students or for whom English is not the primary language spoken, a different set of criteria are utilized in determining giftedness. Please feel free to ask Dr. Cherwony about this if you feel that this applies to you.

What tests are used for Gifted testing?

Dr. Cherwony only uses the tests for gifted children that are highly recommended and most commonly used. The most widely used for IQ test for children is the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV) that is used with children who are under 6 years of age. The IQ test for kids who are 6 years old and older is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V) or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV). The Stanford Binet Fifth Edition (SB5) can also be used with both age groups. Dr. Cherwony also uses either the Woodcock-Johnson Fourth Edition Tests of Achievement or Cognitive Abilities as necessary.

What is a gifted curriculum as compared to the regular program?

Most children require repetition for learning. Gifted students tend to think differently and learn more quickly than the average child. A gifted child learns quicker, thinks deeper and draws conclusions more easily. These children have also often mastered material of their grade level and are working at a higher level. Gifted students get bored easily. A gifted program covers the same information as a regular program, however moves at a quicker pace and goes deeper into the material. Because these children can work at a faster pace, they can also cover additional material. It is therefore crucial that children are placed correctly. Programs vary from school to school, and may offer a part time or full time gifted program. In some instances, specific schools are designated as gifted centers. A parent may have the choice as to which type of program best suits their child. Since gifted programs fall under the umbrella of Exceptional Student Education, each student who is eligible for placement receives an Educational Plan (EP), specifically designed to meet the needs of that student.

When is the best time to test my child?

Dr. Cherwony offers testing either in the morning or early afternoon. Most children are at their best and most alert at these times. It is fine for them to go to school once testing is complete or to spend the rest of the day with you.

For children entering kindergarten, Dr. Cherwony will only test your child for gifted placement from January of the same school year that your child will be entering kindergarten. Testing prior to this time will not be accepted by the school district for gifted placement.  In addition, it is recommended that your child be as close to 5-years-old as possible, but at least 4 years, 6 months. Testing will be considered earlier than this age for children who appear to be exceptionally gifted or in the event that developmental concerns are noted. Please contact Dr. Cherwony to determine the best time to schedule your appointment. For all other children (Kindergarten through high school), testing may take place at any time. Again, Dr Cherwony will help you to make the decision of when to test your child based on your individual circumstances.

How long does gifted testing take?

The gifted evaluation typically takes between 1-1½ hrs. The time will also depend on your child and his or her working style. These are average times. However, some children work faster or slower than others. Dr. Cherwony will always spend time with your child before starting the formal testing to ensure that your child is comfortable.

What do I tell my child about why he or she is taking this test?

Children are very perceptive. If you are anxious, then your child will be anxious as well. For this reason, I suggest that parents limit what they share with their child. Avoid the use of terms, such as “testing” or “pass and fail.” A better approach is to tell you child that he or she will be meeting with Dr. Cherwony and will be doing some different activities that will help us make a good decision about school for the following year. You could say, “I want to see who the best teacher will be for you next year.” I also recommend that you wait until the day before or day of testing so that your child does not have time to think too much about it.

How should I prepare my child for gifted testing?

Make sure that your child gets to bed at a reasonable hour. Prepare a healthy breakfast. There is no more you can do to prepare for this test. IQ tests for children are a measure of potential rather than what has been learned. You want to get an accurate picture of where your child is at.

My child is shy. Am I allowed to be present while my child is being evaluated?

You are not allowed to sit in the same room as your child while he or she is being evaluated. Parents are expected to wait in the waiting room. First, your child will perform better without you there. Dr. Cherwony will spend time with your child, helping your child to relax and feel comfortable before starting the evaluation. Dr. Cherwony wants your child to be relaxed so that he or she can shine in his or her abilities. Second, an important source of information is how well your child does without you there. This will provide a better estimate of how your child will perform in school. Third, the information on psychological tests is confidential and it is our duty as psychologists to protect the information on these tests. Allowing a parent in the same room as the child while testing is in process is UNETHICAL on the part of the psychologist. For these same reasons, Dr. Cherwony does not consider home visits for testing. 

When can I expect to get the results?

Dr. Cherwony will not give out any scores with the child present.  At the conclusion of the evaluation with your child, you will schedule a follow up session that takes place as soon as the next day, and almost always within one week of the appointment.  

What can I expect of the feedback session?

At this meeting, you will be given a comprehensive report. You will leave with a full understanding of your child’s scores, his or her learning profile and style, strengths and weaknesses, and how your child performed in various situations. Dr. Cherwony is often able to provide information on your child’s personality as well as other insights that will go a long way to setting your child up for success. You will have the opportunity to discuss the best school placement options for your child based on your child’s performance. And finally, Dr. Cherwony will offer you an honest assessment of your child, one that will provide information for years down the line.

What if my child does not meet the criteria for gifted placement?

TESTING GIFTED DOES NOT EQUATE WITH FUTURE SUCCESS. Your child can be very bright and not test in the gifted range. Your child will be okay. Many factors play into school and occupational success and your child’s IQ score is not an end all. This test helps us to gain a better understanding of where your child is at and how he or she learns best. As long as we use the information gained to help the individual child and place the child accordingly, then your child will be fine. Similarly, some young children test in the gifted range who are not truly gifted children. Placing them in a gifted program may be more harmful than beneficial. Dr. Cherwony will help you to determine the best placement for your individual child.

Should I share the results with my child?

No. It is no one’s business, including your child, what his or her IQ score is.

What if my child does not perform? Can I retest my child?

It is rarely necessary to retest a child. Most children do perform at their best in this type of setting without the parent present. However, in the event that it becomes necessary to retest, a different instrument must be used. If a child becomes sick or does not seem to be trying, Dr. Cherwony will discuss this with you and will reschedule for a later date.

What if I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment?

There is no problem if you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment once you have scheduled. However, please note that Dr. Cherwony blocks off a lot of time for each child for testing. She wants to make sure that your child will be given all the attention needed, time to feel comfortable prior to testing and time for a bathroom or snack break if necessary. For this reason, it is requested that no less than 72 hours notice be given if you need to reschedule or cancel your child’s appointment. Please also be considerate of other parents who may be trying to get their children in for testing and would have liked to have used that time.

Why choose Dr. Cherwony for this evaluation?

Dr. Cherwony has her doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialty in giftedness and testing gifted children. In addition, she has 20 plus years of experience with evaluating children in a wide range of settings. Having taken specialized courses in giftedness, Dr. Cherwony understands both the requirements for a gifted program and also the types of children who will benefit most from a gifted curriculum as compared to the regular curriculum. Most importantly, Dr. Cherwony considers the whole child in making recommendations for school placement. She does not believe that a child is just an IQ score. For this reason, Dr. Cherwony will meet with you for a consultation after she has considered your child’s scores and needs. Dr. Cherwony has an excellent reputation in the community and local schools systems as an ethical, respected and warm psychologist. She has lectured at schools and run workshops on topics such as giftedness and gifted testing. The majority of children who come in to see Dr. Cherwony ask to come back for a playdate. Parents are often very grateful for the information provided through this brief assessment. For these reasons, Dr. Cherwony is delighted that she often gets to meet several children from the same families over the years, regardless of whether they tested gifted or not.

Click here to learn more about gifted testing


Parents often feel overwhelmed by their school choices. Dr. Cherwony offers a highly unique approach to gifted testing and focuses on more than IQ score alone.

Through Dr. Cherwony’s extensive experience, IQ testing and gifted evaluations are used to gain an understanding of an individual’s brain profile. Although parents often come in for the gifted evaluation to find out whether or not their child meets criteria for a gifted program, Dr. Cherwony believes that it is a valuable opportunity to gain further insight into the inner workings of a child, including strengths, weaknesses, and learning style.  Regardless of whether your child is gifted or not, Dr. Cherwony will provide you with a wealth of information to understanding your child beyond an IQ score in order to help determine best options for school placement and set your child up for success. Although termed “gifted testing,” IQ tests are recommended for all children in order to understand their level of intellectual functioning and determine the most suited academic curriculum to match their needs and reach their full potential. The IQ test measures overall cognitive abilities that have been found to be related to school performance. Therefore, this testing is used to learn about your child and determine the best school placement for your child and how rigorous an academic program is needed to help your child thrive.  When necessary, Dr. Cherwony will  identify areas that may be of concern in development and that may either require early intervention or to be monitored.

Dr. Cherwony has extensive knowledge of the schools, public and private, in South Florida.  Using her test process and results, Dr. Cherwony helps many local families and those who are relocating to South Florida to make the most appropriate school choice for their family. This helps parents find the best fit. In addition to choosing the right school for your child, this assessment also helps those parents who are deciding school readiness for their child, whether or not to allow their younger child an additional year of preschool prior to entering kindergarten.

Once the testing session is complete with your child (approximately 1hr 15), Dr. Cherwony will schedule a feedback session with parents to go over their child’s individualized results and to help parents decide the most appropriate school placement for a child. 

In order to qualify for entrance into a gifted program, the child must meet two criteria:

A Full Scale IQ Score of 130 or more on an individually administered test of intellectual functioning. Only gold standard and the most updated IQ tests are used, such as Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-IV); Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-V), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV), Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test (SB 5).

Under Plan B for gifted, a lower IQ score is required for those who are English Language Learners (ELL) or for those from a low socioeconomic status family. 

Exhibit the majority of characteristics of gifted students on a district standard scale checklist. The child’s most recent certified teacher must complete a checklist of gifted characteristics demonstrating that child shows a need for a challenging curriculum.

There is no academic requirement for gifted eligibility. However, at parent request, a brief assessment of reading, math and/or written expression can be added to a gifted assessment.


To learn more about identifying gifted children, please click on these links:

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions About Gifted Testing

Click here to learn more about Gifted Children

                                      Dr. Cherwony offers gifted/IQ testing for children through adults in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens. W


A Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD) results from disordered functioning in the right hemisphere of the brain, which processes nonverbal information. This includes the processing of visual-spatial, organizational, and holistic information. NLD is unique in that the child appears to “grow into” the disability. Although the disability itself does not change, as more abstract demands are placed on the child in the upper elementary grades, the severity of the disorder may become quite pronounced.

Characteristics of NVLD

Academic Performance

  • WISC Verbal IQ is often higher than the Performance IQ.
  • Strong to exceptional vocabulary and more than typical verbal expression.
  • Strong to exceptional auditory rote memory skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail, but not so for the big picture.
  • The individual may be an early reader, OR may have early reading difficulties. Common difficulty with reading comprehension beginning in the upper elementary grades, especially for novel material.
  • Difficulties in math are common, especially in the areas of word problems and abstract applications.
  • Concept formation and abstract reasoning may be significantly impaired.
  • Significant difficulty generalizing information – e.g., applying learned information to new or novel situations.
  • Generally they are auditory, unimodal learners (may not look or write while processing).

Social Interaction

  • Process at a very concrete level and interpret information quite literally.
  • Significant weakness processing nonverbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions, or tone of voice.
  • Unable to intuit what is not specifically stated.
  • May present as uncooperative.
  • Tremendous difficulty with fluid or difficult social interactions.
  • Lack “street smarts” – can be incredibly naïve.


  • Appear to lack coordination – do better in individual rather than team sports.
  • Impaired fine motor skills – handwriting may be poor and/or laborious.
  • Significant problems with spatial perception are common.
  • Difficulty learning to ride a bicycle, catch and/or kick a ball, hop and/or skip.


  • Anxiety and/or depression may be quite severe, especially during adolescence.
  • Individuals tend to be withdrawn by middle school, and may actually become agoraphobic.
  • Cannot readily adapt to new situations, or changes to routine.
  • Self-esteem problems are common. Increased incidence of suicide within the NLD population.


Dyslexia is not a problem caused by poor vision. For most it is also not a disability where words jump around on the page.  Dyslexia is a reading disability that occurs when children do not attain the language skills of reading, writing, and spelling as expected given their exposure through classroom instruction.  Most people with dyslexia have normal intelligence, and many have above-average intelligence. The disorder is a specific information processing problem that is not connected with the ability to think or to understand complex ideas.  According to The International Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia is defined as, “A specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Children with Phonological Dyslexia may have trouble rhyming and separating the sounds in spoken words. These abilities appear to be critical in the process of learning to read. A child’s initial reading skills are based on word recognition, which involves being able to separate out the sounds in words and match them with letters and groups of letters. More developed reading skills require the linking of words into a coherent sentence. Because these children have difficulty connecting the sounds of language to the letters of words, they may have difficulty understanding sentences. Individuals can learn to identify letters and sounds and may even be identified as an early reader, yet later be diagnosed with Orthographic Dyslexia (Visual Dyslexia).  These individuals tend to be easily overwhelmed with large amounts of text or smaller font, lose their place easily while reading, omit letters and words while reading, and spell words phonetically and therefore have difficulty learning irregular spelled words. These individuals often have weaker visual memory which also results in reading comprehension difficulties despite intact or advanced word reading ability.


  1. Delayed speech/langage
  2. Difficulty rhyming
  3. Difficulty learning letters and their sounds
  4. Difficulty organizing written and spoken language
  5. Reads word correctly on one page, but not on the next
  6. Understands phonics, but has difficulty sounding out and unfamiliar word
  7. Difficulty determining the meaning of a simple sentence
  8. Slow, inaccurate and labored reading
  9. Adds or leaves out letters in words (fight for flight)
  10. Difficulty learning to recognize written words
  11. Makes substitutions with similar words (paint for plant)
  12. Confuses order of letters in words
  13. Reads first letter of word and assumes remainder of word
  14. Has difficulty remembering spelling of words
  15. Does not pay attention to punctuation when reading aloud
  16. Has difficulty copying from board
  17. Listening comprehension is better than reading comprehension
  18. Difficulties in writing including spelling, punctuation and capitalization         Not all students who have difficulties with these skills have dyslexia. Formal testing of reading, language, and writing skills is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia. Dyslexia may appear in combination with developmental writing disorder and developmental math disorder. All of these involve using symbols to convey information. These conditions may appear alone or in any combination. Since reading is progressive, it is extremely important to identify children who have dyslexia early.  Research has shown that identification and intervention at 6-years-old results in significantly better outcomes than after 9-years-old. However, it is never too late to diagnose and help a child.  On the contrary, unidentified learning disabilities and other disorders can result in low self-esteem, poor academic functioning across all areas, and emotional disorders.

Call today to discuss which services may be of help to you and/ or your child | 561-699-4639

I believe in a multi-disciplinary team approach and have spent years establishing relationships with other professionals and doctors in
the community who I highly respect and refer to as needed. In the event that I determine that you or your child will benefit from either an additional or alternative intervention, I will refer you to that professional I deem as best for your specific needs. I believe in treating all of my clients the same way I would want someone else to treat my own children and other family members.


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed disorder of childhood.  It is estimated to affect 3 to 5 percent of school-age children and affects two to three times as many boys as girls.  ADHD is not merely a problem with paying attention but rather a problem within the brain’s executive functioning system.  Therefore,  ADHD  makes it difficult to manage the multiple tasks of daily life, especially complex tasks that require organization, planning, and sustained focus.  ADHD  in both adults and children are comprised of deficits in behavioral inhibition, sustained attention and resistance to distraction, emotional regulation, and the regulation of one’s activity level to the demands of the situation.

ADHD is challenging for both you and your child, however, once you understand the challenges and their impact, you can learn to compensate for areas of weakness and take advantage of the many strengths and talents an individual has. There are three subtypes of ADHD: Inattentive Type, previously referred to as ADD, Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, or Combined type. Below is a list of common signs associated with these types:


Impaired response inhibition, impulse control, or the capacity to delay gratification as observed by:

  • Acts without thinking
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Difficulties waiting his/her turn
  • Often interrupts others
  • Guesses rather than taking time to think through a problem


Excessive task-irrelevant activity or activity that is poorly regulated to situational demands as observed by:

  • Constantly fidgets and squirms; restlessness
  • Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
  • Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs excessively (in children more than adults)
  • Talks excessively
  • Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
  • Is always on the go, as if driven by a motor
  • May have a quick temper or a short fuse


Poor sustained attention or persistence of effort to tasks observed by:

  • Trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
  • Makes careless mistakes and doesn’t pay attention to details
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Disorganization
  • Lacks internal motivation especially for uninteresting tasks
  • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, or other items
  • Gets bored with a task before it’s completed
  • Forgetful and has difficulty remembering things and following instructions  

Other symptoms frequently noted include:

  • Delayed development of internal language and rule-following:This includes the private internal voice that we use to talk to ourselves in order to consider, reflect and self-regulate. In combinations with weakness in working memory, an individual with ADHD will often have difficulties with reading comprehension, especially on those longer and less interesting assignments.
  • Lessened ability to problem-solve and remain flexible in pursuing long-term goals.
  • Children’s ability to stay on-task will vary with the situation. They tend to perform best with favored activities and can laser focus, with one on one situations, and when external motivators are present.

Symptoms must be present in childhood years.  For those presenting with hyperactivity and impulsivity, symptoms are typically seen between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. For those who are primarily inattentive type, diagnosis may be delayed since daydreamers and those who are not disruptive to their peers may not be identified until later on.  Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity, this does not mean that he or she has ADHD.  Symptoms of other disorders can appear similar to ADHD. For this reason, Dr. Cherwony will never evaluate an individual for ADHD alone. Rather, a diagnosis arises from a thorough evaluation that includes an assessment of emotional factors (anxiety, depression), academic functioning (often impacted by ADHD), and language processing. It is also common that individuals diagnosed with ADHD meet criteria for other diagnoses. Therefore a thorough evaluation is conducted in order to know exactly what type of intervention will be best to allow your child or yourself to demonstrate full potential.

 Just because a child has symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity, this does not mean that he or she has ADHD.

I believe in a multi-disciplinary team approach and have spent years establishing relationships with other professionals and doctors in the community who I highly respect and refer to as needed. In the event that I determine that you or your child will benefit from either an additional or alternative intervention, I will refer you to that professional I deem as best for your specific needs. I believe in treating all of my clients the same way I would want someone else to treat my own children and other family members.

Call today to discuss which services may be of help to you and / or your child | 561-699-4639


As a parent herself,  Dr. Cherwony understands what it is like to be concerned and worry about your child. At an early age, there is a wide range of what is considered normal development.  However, there are also definite blocks of time when most children will meet a milestone.  A developmental delay is when your child does not reach his/her developmental milestones within the expected time-frame. These delays can affect your child’s functioning in terms of his or her physical, cognitive, speech or language, fine and gross motor skills, social and emotional as well as overall behavior.   In the event that the delay is ongoing, early intervention is key in order to help your child reach his or her full potential.

A Developmental Evaluation is conducted when there are concerns about a child’s development and there is a need to either diagnose or rule out Autism, Asperger’s, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and other Pervasive Developmental Delays.

Since each child is unique and can present with different symptoms, it’s important to have a comprehensive evaluation in order to determine if a diagnosis does in fact exist. Dr. Cherwony works with a multidisciplinary team of professionals to help identify the child’s strengths, assess overall functioning and needs of the individual, provide accurate diagnosis, if applicable, so that the appropriate treatment recommendations can be made. A thorough evaluation ensures that the child receives the appropriate intervention.

Studies show that children who are diagnosed early and who participate in the appropriate intervention programs have better outcomes. A comprehensive developmental evaluation consists of an in-depth interview with parents, review of previous records, standardized assessment including gold-standard tests such as the ADOS-2 and ADI-R, school observation or consultation, evaluation for speech and language and occupational therapy, a feedback session with parents, and a written report detailing diagnostic impressions and recommendations.


Many insurance companies and bariatric surgeons now require all patients to undergo a bariatric evaluation prior to  weight loss surgery. The patient must receive psychological clearance that states that he or she is prepared for surgery and will be able to follow through with the aftercare protocol once the surgery is over. There is so much valuable information that we gain from these evaluations. Dr. Cherwony has specialized in bariatric evaluations and counseling with bariatric patients for over 12 years. Dr. Cherwony’s evaluations consist of a clinical interview and the use of psychological assessment.

The evaluation takes approximately 1.5 hours. Once the data is compiled, Dr. Cherwony will meet with you and discuss the results. She will provide you with feedback on how you can be successful for long term weight loss following the surgery. She will provide you with a treatment plan with recommendations so that you can begin your healthy journey for the last time. Dr. Cherwony is then available to you for support of the lifestyle changes once your bariatric surgery is over.

Please call for an appointment at Dr. Cherwony’s Boca Raton or North Palm Beach office.