Frequently Asked Questions

How can an intelligence test help my child?

An intelligence test measures each child’s school-type mental abilities in comparison with thousands of others of the same age. This means that each one’s personal performance can be seen in terms of normal developmental for that age. From this result, reliable predictions can be made about the child’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what a child is good at or is having difficulty with helps parents to choose the best fitting education they can. It also helps to alert the teachers. But beware, because intelligence tests vary in what they measure and what sort of score they produce. They are also limited in what they can measure and never present an all-round picture of anyone, child or adult.

What is the best kind of education for the gifted?

Good education offers a challenge which is set at the right level for the child - not too hard to be off-putting and not too easy to bring boredom. Knowing what a child is capable of is a vital help in sorting out the right education.

Am I a ‘pushy’ parent?

If you want something in life, you usually have to ask for it. Almost no parents in my long experience are ‘pushy’. Virtually all parents are caring and want to do their best for their children. It is strange how physical development is seen as important for parents to know, but not mental development. But parents have as much right to know what their children are capable of intellectually as well as physically.

My child does not speak English very well; will this make a difference to the intelligence test score?

All tests written in English use understanding of the language as a means of measuring intelligence. The way around this problem is to use tests which do not require the English language to score with. These non-verbal pattern tests give good results, but are not as detailed as a normal intelligence test.

My child has a lively mind and may not do the test like other children

Creativity measurement is not part of any intelligence test, but I can see it in unusual responses and suggest how it might be used. It is certainly a pleasure to test a creative child. Unfortunately, the quality of answers is not easily measured by an intelligence test, and again I can point this out.

Will I understand the report?

My report is written for parents and teachers in straightforward English. I explain why each test has been chosen and what it means, in a manner which is clear and understandable. My report presents a picture of how each child thinks and what they have learned in their personal circumstances, and I make suggestions about how to proceed.

My child is very shy; will this affect her results?

It is extremely rare that a child is so shy he or she cannot be made to feel relaxed and comfortable with me. I am well accustomed to different personalities in children. It is part of my skill as a psychologist to be able to get the best from a child.

How young can a child be tested for intelligence?

I normally accept children from the age of two. In a few cases, I have successfully tested children who are younger but very advanced. But that decision is the parents’. The child has to be able to concentrate for at least quarter of an hour at a time.

Can I stay with my child during the testing?

It is not a good idea to be with a child during testing. Parents can be unaware that they are interacting with the child. For example, any child is likely to glance at the parent for confirmation before speaking and it alters how they respond to the question. Very occasionally, a parent may have to be with the child for a short time and then slowly leave.

Should I bring anything along to the test?

Not unless you have something special, such a drawings, work that the child has done, school reports or previous test results which you think would help in his or her assessment.

Do you recommend a special education for the gifted?

Advice based on individual testing is always tailor-made for each child. No education will be a perfect fit for every child. Sometimes children need special help, but often it is reassuring for parents to find that they are doing fine.

Do you recommend grade-skipping?

In general, moving a child away from friends into a class of older, bigger and more mature children is not a good idea. That move, taken in early childhood, may seem acceptable at the time, but it is a long term action and can cause problems in the teenage years. Just sometimes, though, it can be the right move.

Is my child’s difficult behaviour due to giftedness?

The reasons why gifted and talented children may misbehave are much the same as with other non-gifted children. My many years of research and testing have discovered that the expectation of emotional problems in gifted children is a common myth. The gifted are emotionally normal. But at the same time, they do face some special challenges just because they are exceptional.

Can your report help me get my child into a better school?

I have managed to help secure a school change for the better quite a few times, but it also usually means a coordinated and determined struggle by parents. Local Education Authorities are not always open to parent’s requests for special treatment, however justified they may be. It is particularly difficult with very young children – but it is possible!

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