Gifted and talented children who stammer

Is your child who stammers gifted and/or talented?

Gifted children

There is more understanding now of the need for schools to identify children who are gifted and/or talented so many will have a separate policy on this, or may include that policy within the general policy on special educational needs. Additional support is required for these children to meet their individual needs. Remember that a child who stammers has the same range of abilities as children who do not stammer, so is just as likely to be gifted and/or talented as they are.

The Department for Education defines gifted and talented children as: 'Those who have one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop these abilities)'. 'Gifted' generally refers to the top five per cent of the school population in academic subjects and 'talented' to the top five per cent in other subjects.

The term 'gifted' refers to a child who has a broad range of achievement at a very high level. Those children who are gifted often have very well developed learning skills. The term 'talented' refers to a child who excels in one or more specific fields, such as sport or music, but who does not perform at a high level across all areas of learning.

If your child has not been identified by the school as gifted and/or talented and you think that he appears to be ahead of other children of his age, is quickly completing the work he is given in the class and appears bored for some of the time there, he may need more demanding learning activities. You should discuss this with your child's teacher, as staff have a responsibility to identify these children and provide for their needs.

Information for parents

National Association for Gifted Children UK (NAGC)

This is the main voluntary organisation providing information and support for parents of these children.

NAGC provides basic fact sheets on the aptitudes and behaviours that gifted and talented children may exhibit for parents to use to explore their understanding of their child's abilities. These are only intended to help parents consider the possibility that their child is gifted or talented and are in no way an accurate diagnosis of the abilities of an individual child. However, if you complete one they are a starting point for your discussion with the teacher and will provide you with some evidence that you can use.

What happens if your child is considered to be gifted and/or talented?

The class teacher should now make some additional provision to encourage the development of your child's abilities and talents. Staff should also be able to advise you about interesting activities for you to arrange at home, and NAGC has local branches that can provide you with further information and support. Your local authority will also have an officer with some responsibility for these children's development and there may be programmes and activities available locally that your child will enjoy.

Parents and school staff must balance challenging activities with continued support for the child's stammer however able he is, and ensure that he enjoys all activities without feeling stressed.

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