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.

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