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The intellectual precocity in children
Contrary to what many people believe, to be intellectually precocious or gifted does not mean to be smarter than others, but "to function with a different way of thinking, with a different structure of reasoning. The intelligence of the gifted child is atypical."
Jeanne-Siaud Facchin, clinical psychologist, specializing in gifted people in "The Over-Gifted Child, Helping them to grow up, help them to succeed", Odile Jacob, 9/2002 ", ISBN 2-7381-1159-9
How do I know if my child is intellectually precocious?
The only way to know if a child is intellectually precocious or not is to have it sit through a IQ test administered by a professional.
There are many different tests, the good choice depends mostly on the age of the child.
The earlier the precocity is detected, the better. Indeed, precocity which has not been identified as such can lead the child to difficulties with parents, teachers and other children.
Schooling of gifted children
Statistically, if 1/3 of gifted children have no problems, 2/3 can meet more or less serious academic and social difficulties due to:
- a difference in behaviour with children of their age,
- incomprehension by adults, professionals and parents,
- often a negative self-image,
- a gap between the pace of personal development of the child and the pace set by the school system,
- a school system which is unsuitable to the functioning of the brain of the child,
- sometimes a delay in psychomotor and graphomoteur development
The child may react with boredom, disinterest in school, passivity, and sometimes revolt.
Skipping class is one of the solutions offered to gifted children. It has the advantage of reducing the problem of boredom which is often the cause of disciplinary problems.
Since 2009, the Luxembourg primary school system (LINK TO THE SITE), organized in teaching cycles, allows to adjust to the progressing speed capabilities of the child. Indeed, each cycle normally lasts two years, but a student may, in exceptional cases, take a cycle in one year.
Moreover, there are special schools for gifted children abroad (link to page useful addresses, schools section).
Emotional and social problems possible
As Jeanne-Siaud Facchin said, "to be gifted (...) is also growing up with hypersensitivity, intrusive emotions that mark the personality."
The intellectually precocious child has a heightened sensory perception ("hypersensitivity") often paired with an extreme sensitivity. It is "equipped with multiple sensors permanently connected to its surroundings" and shows an "amazing ability to feel with great finesse the emotional state of others."
"A true sponge, the gifted child has always been literally assailed by the emotions, sensations, and multiple pieces of information so much that it is often difficult for him to live, to integrate and to develop."
"This hypersensitivity is both an asset, due to the fine perceptual environment that it allows, but also a source of suffering and emotional hurt."
Thus the gifted children may experience emotional and social problems (social adjustment problems, depression, eating disorders, school phobia, etc..).
You may find more information about the associated problems (www.douance.be/douance-troubles-accueil.htm) on the site of the douance.be asbl.
What should I do to help them?
Here are some tips to help your child:
- identify the precocity of your child,
- explain its particularity (indeed, the gifted child need to be aware of its difference to be able to accept it. Moreover, for a child that has failed or is suffering, this gives him back self-confidence and allows him to bounce back),
- accept its peculiarities,
- trust him, give him confidence, a sense of value,
- help him to benefit in his school from a differentiated instructional approach that respects his differences of thinking,
- offer him extra-curricular activities that are suitable to his capacity,
- let him meet other gifted children,
- support his development.
This test is intended for children between 6.5 years and 9.5 years, children from 9 years of age may participate in the adult test on April 6th, 2019.
Mensa Luxembourg organizes on November 10th, 2018 an IQ test for children born between Mai 10th, 2009 and May 10th, 2012. The test will take place between 10 and 12 am (depending on age group) in Luxembourg, 35, rue de Bonnevoie.
To register, please read the "Registration" section of the main article. Registration is compulsory for the children's IQ test. Registration is open starting on September 26th 2018.
For additional information, please contact: email@example.com.
Mensa IQ Test: General Information
The Mensa IQ test is a standardised and phased test which is supervised by a psychologist, and which is primarily aimed at finding gifted people. Results equal to or greater than the 98% percentile grant the right to be part of the Mensa organization. (www.mensa.lu and www.mensa.org) This test does not contain any question on general culture. It rather tests the logical and mathematical skills and abilities (the speed of information processing, analysis and synthesis , attention to detail, etc..). If the candidate has not reached the score needed for a Mensa.lu membership, he has the right to take the test another time for free.
This test is proposed twice a year by Mensa Luxembourg. The date and place can be found on this site, in the yellow box on top of each page.
This test is intended for children aged from 6.5 to 9.5 years on the day of the test. Children which are older than 9 years take the adult test.
As this test does not contain any question on general culture and does not take into account the academic nor the verbal knowledge of the child, it gives equal opportunities to "good" and "bad" students. There is no need for preparation nor training. The child does not need to be able to read or write. The explanations will be given in Luxembourgish and, if required, in German, French, and English. The test takes about half an hour. Registration is required (only at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 3 days before the test. This test is graded by age brackets and is taken in 2 sessions / groups. The assignment to groups and starting time are determined by the child's age (and the ages of the other children present) and thus can not be known until after the close of registration. The price of 40 € is payable in cash on the spot, before the test. The results will be mailed within 2-4 weeks after the test. No need to ask for results on phone or e-mail
During registration (to the email address email@example.com) please provide the following information:
- Last name and first name,
- Gender and date of birth of the child,
- Full postal address for mailing the results,
- Name of the parent(s), phone numbers, mobile phone number of the parent accompanying the child to the test,
- Email address of the parent(s),
- Mother tongue and other languages that the child understands,
- the nationality of the child,
- Has the child ever taken an IQ test yet?
- If yes, which one, when was it, and what was the result?
- Useful information about your child's personality (especially for smaller ones): introvert / extrovert, confident / shy, feels comfortable / uncomfortable in a new place, medications, etc.,
- This could affect performance and we would like to put your child as much at ease as possible.
Additional information is available by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mensa Kids & Family SIG regularly organizes:
- parent meetings
- activities for children / families (excursions, visits, workshops, ...)
(other activities such as exchange meetings for parents, afternoons of kid's play, etc. as well as the details of the events already announced will be released as their planning moves on)
Still to be organized, we need volunteers:
- Euro-Space-Center, (B) (planned)
- Climbing parc
- Hike trail for kids
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