Gifted Development Center

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Curious about how
the new IQ tests
affect eligibility
for gifted
Read this article
Dr. Linda Silverman,
How to Use the New
IQ Tests in
Selecting Gifted





Exploring Ideal Elements of Tests of Ability for Gifted Students

NAGC 2010 Handout


Advantages of Assessment


All children with atypical development (delayed or unusually advanced) require comprehensive diagnosis and early intervention in order to develop all of their capabilities. This is the primary purpose of testing rather than simply to obtain an IQ score. Individual assessment by a licensed or certified professional who is experienced in testing the gifted is the best way of determining the full strength of a child's abilities or the presence of learning disabilities. Ability testing may qualify your child for special programs and even scholarship opportunities.

These are the types of questions testing can answer for you:

  • I know that our child has special needs, but I can't go to the school and say, "I have a gifted child," without evidence. What exactly are our child's needs?

  • Our child loves LEGO and puzzles, and remembers everything she sees. What special techniques should we and her teachers use to adapt to her learning style?

  • Why is our child underachieving? What can we do to reverse this?

  • Our daughter seems to be hiding her abilities at school. What can we do about this?

  • How can we help our son get along with his classmates?

  • Why can our child do some things amazingly well, and yet have such difficulty with other things? What should we do?

  • Why is our child, who is so quiet and good at school, having temper tantrums at home? How can we cope with this?

  • Our child had chronic ear infections. Now he never seems to pay attention. Is there a connection? How can we help?

  • What resources exist for gifted children?

Testing is also an important safeguard in the unlikely event of accident or injury throughout life, as it enables you (and your child) to prove to insurance companies the level of prior abilities. (Most insurance companies treat scores of average or above on post-injury testing as evidence that no damage has occurred, unless pre-injury test scores exist.)


Why is Individual IQ Testing Needed?

Testing provides us unusual access to understanding the highly complex cognitive abilities of gifted children and insight into ways to support their gifts. Of all the opportunities parents provide to support children's strengths and promote their interests, testing offers invaluable insight into the child's needs and a road map for the future, especially when a full analysis of score rankings and their implications are provided. A professional evaluation can verify cognitive strengths, assess academic achievement, and recommend specific strategies to meet a child's needs at school. It can document the need for advanced work and less drill and practice. Testers of the gifted can usually suggest resources, and may also be able to help with advocacy after testing, such as conferring with a teacher or principal about special provisions.

School Screeners versus Professional Assessment

Limited funding for the identification of gifted children in schools generally confines gifted assessment to IQ screeners administered by teachers or gifted program personnel. Screeners are used for accepting or rejecting children from gifted programs, but lack in-depth diagnostic capability. They are often administered in groups, ruling out critical observation of the way in which a child addresses a variety of tasks and making distractible children vulnerable to depressed scores. Moreover, they generally utilize multiple-choice questions, which gifted children tend to interpret as more complex than they are. They also tend to average the strengths and weaknesses of twice exceptional children (gifted with learning deficits), yielding scores too low for gifted program admission. They rarely reveal that a child might be highly gifted. Screeners fail to provide the in-depth information needed to guide educational planning.

How Will My Child Benefit from Testing?

The benefits of testing become clear as the parent shares the report with a child's school. A professional's evaluation now provides objective verification of the child's needs and prescribes accommodations, relieving some of the parent's burden. The need for accelerated math, a writing mentor, a full-grade skip, or college classes taken concurrently with high school is supported by assessment. Modifications can also be recommended for weaknesses, such as the need for a keyboard for classroom writing or extended time for college board examinations.

How the Gifted Development Center Can Serve You

The Gifted Development Center (GDC) is internationally recognized for leadership in the assessment of gifted children. Our staff is helping to determine Best Practices in gifted assessment based on our research. Our expert team of skillful, experienced examiners are specialists in giftedness who understand the intricacies of assessing asynchronous, reflective, perfectionistic individuals of all ages. We have a large number of assessment tools, including the latest versions of the intelligence scales. While most examiners work individually, we use a team approach to determine the best instruments to use, to assure that the complex profiles of the gifted are examined from all aspects, to detect subtle strengths and weaknesses, and to develop the most effective recommendations. As we also serve as a research and training center; policies determined by our team are often adopted by other agencies and examiners who specialize in the gifted.

We have assessed over 5,200 gifted and twice exceptional children (gifted with a learning disability) since 1979 from all over the globe. Evaluation at the Gifted Development Center provides you with an in-depth understanding of your children: their particular cognitive strengths and weaknesses, learning style, self-concept, personality characteristics, social and emotional development, achievement as compared with ability, visual and auditory skills, any hidden learning disabilities, and unique needs. Regardless of whether they score in the gifted range, this comprehensive diagnosis is invaluable for understanding how your children learn best, and what modifications of their school and home environment will assist them in developing optimally. Your child is worth this investment. The information you receive at the Gifted Development Center often dramatically affects your child's future. Since Dr. Silverman is a licensed psychologist, our services may be covered by medical insurance; check with your provider.

The Gifted Development Center provides a unique service to parents, not available anywhere else in the country:

1. Dr. Linda Silverman directs an incomparable staff of professioals who are knowledgeable about the special needs of gifted children and adults.

2. Our intake and needs assessment procedures allow you to determine beforehand the likelihood of your children scoring in the gifted range. We have developed a list of 25 characteristics of giftedness that have been thoroughly researched. If your child fits 3/4 of these traits, there is an 84% chance that he or she will score beyond 120 IQ (the superior range) on individual testing. Just reading this list is reassuring that we really "get" giftedness.

3. Our comprehensive testing allows you to have greater understanding of your child’s social, emotional, spiritual, personality, perceptual, motor, verbal and spatial development, as well as his or her learning style. We interpret your child’s strengths and weaknesses through the lens of giftedness. It is necessary to take giftedness into account to fully understand presenting symptoms. High abstract reasoning can mask learning disabilities, and complicate other diagnoses.

4.  We have encountered a great number of children with moral sensitivity and curiosity about spiritual issues.  We can help parents support their children’s spiritual quest and their need to understand the meaning of their lives. 

5. We are knowledgeable about resources for the gifted throughout the country. Dr. Silverman has established both a state and national consortium of schools for the gifted. We also have an international network of referral services for twice exceptional children: audiologists, optometrists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, ADHD specialists, etc., woh take giftedness into account in their diagnostic work.

6. We can also assess your abilities and assist you in developing your own potential.

7. We have a full range of services available to families:

  • counseling for children, adults, couples, and families

  • phone and e-mail consultation for continued support

  • school staffings, mediation, and development of individual educational plans

  • publications (articles, books) and tapes on all aspects of giftedness by leaders in the field, such as Michael Piechowski, Deirdre Lovecky and Annemarie Roeper

  • career counseling and preparation for SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT & GMAT exams

  • educational therapy/tutoring, especially for visual-spatial learners

  • mentoring in creative writing

  • a lending library of resource materials available for teachers and parents


Dr. Silverman holds a Ph.D. in learning disabilities as well as educational psychology and a license as a clinical/counseling psychologist. With nearly 50 years of experience studying the gifted, she is often able to see masked giftedness, and to detect hidden disabilities that others may miss. She edited the popular textbook, Counseling the Gifted and Talented (Love Publishing, 1993), and has written the popular Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner  (out of print) (DeLeon Publishing, 2002)—the authoritative handbook on children and adults with right-hemispheric strengths.

Children suspected of being twice exceptional (gifted and learning disabled, AD/HD, etc.); children who were the product of a difficult birth (e.g., lengthy labor, need for oxygen at birth, more than 4 hours of pitocin); children who have had a history of chronic ear infections, visual-motor delays, or emotional trauma of any kind; children suspected of being profoundly gifted; children with unusual spiritual experiences or awareness; or children with complex family, school, or legal situations are best accommodated by a consultation with Dr. Silverman.


Barbara Gilman, Associate Director, offers expert phone consultation. She holds degrees in Child Development and Psychology, and has extensive experience testing and counseling gifted children, making educational recommendations, working with the highly gifted, and gifted children with learning disabilities, AD/HD, or underachievement issues.



Please contact the Gifted Development Center at 303-837-8378, 1-888-GIFTED1, or by e-mail, for more information about our services, and to schedule a phone consultation. At which time we can answer all of your questions and determine which tests would be most appropriate. For testimonials about our services, please see testimonials. Information about visual-spatial learners may also be found at Introduction to the Visual-Spatial Learner and  Visual-Spatial Resource.




To read more on assessment, and our work with the WISC-IV, please see the following articles:

I Know My Child is Smart. Why Does She Need Testing? by Linda Kreger Silverman.

How to Use the New IQ Tests in Selecting Gifted Children by Linda Kreger Silverman.

Testing Your Gifted Child: A Springboard for Effective Advocacy by Barbara Jackson Gilman.

Who are the Gifted Using the New WISC-IV?, Linda Kreger Silverman, Barbara "Bobbie" J. Gilman, and R. Frank Falk.

Using Two WISC-IV Indices to Identify the Gifted, by R. Frank Falk, Linda Kreger Silverman and Diane M. Moran.

Using Test Results to Support Clinical Judgment by Linda Kreger Silverman.

Ensuring Quality Test Reports by Bobbie Gilman.


* DISCLAIMER:  At the Gifted Development Center, we are skilled at working with the entire range of giftedness, including profoundly gifted, and with children from 3 1/2 through adolescence. We also work with gifted adults. We have expertise in diagnosing learning disabilities. However, we do NOT have expertise with severe attentional deficits, autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Delay, or severe emotional problems, such as manic depression, schizophrenia, etc. Specialists in these areas should be sought, if applicable.


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Gifted Development Center

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