Dear Teacher: Disorganization and Home Tests for Giftedness

Home Test for Giftedness?

Is there a test I can give my child at home to see if he is gifted? – Curious George

It is best not to test a child before he or she is at least 4 1/2 years of age, and it is also best to let a professional who is used to working with gifted children do the testing to ensure that you have accurate results. However, by comparing your child to other children the same age you should have a good idea if your child is showing signs of giftedness.

Have you noticed that your young child:

• is interested in computers
• enjoys puzzles
• has advanced language development
• is extremely curious
• asks an excessive number of questions
• is interested in books
• demonstrated an ability to read at an early age
• is very alert
• has high levels of energy
• requires less sleep
• demonstrates a good memory
• is especially talented in art or music
• has good written skills
• is very independent
• is highly mathematical

Not all gifted children act the same way. Children can also be gifted in some areas and not others. There are many ways children can be gifted. If you decide not to have your child privately tested and wait until he or she reaches school, your school district will typically test for giftedness using either an IQ test or an achievement test. There are also private companies that charge a fee to test your child. Those results can be useful when applying to magnet or private schools.


Disorganization May Work for Your Child

It is beyond belief how messy my middle-schooler’s backpack is. How can I help him get organized? – Fussy Pants

Everyone has different standards of neatness. Some students have perfectly organized notebooks with every paper in the right place. Others like your son just jam paper after paper into their backpacks. 

If your son is doing well in school and seems to be able to find papers and other school materials without too much trouble, accept his approach. Disorganization is working for him, so he will likely not be committed to change. Do check with him periodically and provide assistance when he asks.

Here is one way you can help minimize the problem of the overstuffed backpack. Before your son starts his homework each day, insist that he find the papers and books he needs in the backpack and dump the rest into a specific bin or box in the house. This way, he starts each day with an empty backpack except for material being returned to school. This should satisfy your desire for him to have a neater backpack as well as make it easier for him to find important papers.

When the box or bin is full, he can either sort through the papers and find those he wants to keep or simply throw everything out. You may wish to date a few and put them in a folder or album, as they will be a good record of how he is progressing in school.

Parents should send questions and comments to or ask them on the columnists’ web site at


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