I disinfect all test equipment and surfaces to ensure safety for everyone. My family and I are fully vaccinated and boostered. Masks are optional for children and vaccinated adults. For now, I still wear a mask with clients and in public, as my family has ongoing health issues and as I occasionally work with unvaccinated and immuno-compromised children or their families.
How does a child qualify for the Gifted or AGP program?
In the public school system, children are eligible for the gifted program if they "demonstrate a need" for the services. That need is usually established if they meet three criteria. First, they must usually obtain a score of 130 or higher on a state-approved intelligence (or IQ) test. A score of 127 or higher might be accepted under certain exceptional circumstances. IQ is determined by comparing a child's performance to that of other children the same age. For a frame of reference, an IQ of 100 is average.
Participation in ELL/ESOL programs, either currently or within the past two years, or certain economic circumstances might possibly allow the use of different criteria (Plan B).
Second, the children must be rated by their teacher(s) as showing traits commonly associated with giftedness, such as academic achievement, curiosity, creativity, and leadership skills. This is often done via a checklist completed at school by the teacher(s).
Third, the children must achieve high grades and/or high standardized test scores
(Note: Sarasota County gifted magnet schools also require an academic test (reading and math). I have the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement - Fourth Edition. It is an additional fee. Other local counties only require the IQ test.)
Why test my child privately when the school system offers the service for free?
There are many reasons for choosing private testing. The most common one is a desire to have it done more quickly; schools frequently have a waiting list of up to several months. Another possibility is that some children become nervous about the prospect of testing at school. Often they do not know the examiner and have little warning before the actual time of testing. Some parents are concerned that their children may not perform at their best under such circumstances. A third reason may be that the child has been tested before but did not meet the criteria the first time. Private testing gives a child a second chance, possibly under more optimal conditions (e.g., a quieter setting, more breaks if needed).
How long does the process take?
Testing typically takes 40 to 75 minutes. On rare occasions, it can take longer, as some portions are untimed and your child is allowed a reasonable number of short breaks, if needed. After testing, scoring and feedback take about another 30 to 40 minutes.
What will my child be asked to do? Can they "study" for it?
Although different IQ tests use different formats, common activities include defining or comparing words and verbal concepts, putting blocks or puzzle pieces together, recalling things they have just heard or seen, and analyzing patterns of pictures. As we cannot reveal the exact nature of the items on the tests, there is no real way to "study" for it. Indeed, IQ tests ideally try to measure children's ability to "figure out" new or novel problems by themselves, problems they have never seen before. Teaching children how to answer the questions does not yield a valid or "true" IQ result. You are then just measuring their ability to do what they have already been shown how to do - which is a very different skill than solving a problem independently.
To prepare your child, you can ensure that your child is well-rested the morning of testing, that he/she understands that it is OK to guess or to not know something, and that he/she knows that there will be some challenging questions that they haven't learned yet.
In describing it to children, I recommend calling it "brain exercises" or "finding out how you learn best" or "getting ready for (the next) grade" or something similar that will let them know it is serious and not just "playing games".
Where does testing take place? In what areas do you work?
There are two main possible locations. I can come to your house to do the testing, at the breakfast or dining table. (A small table is not enough room). Alternatively, if your home may not be quiet or convenient, I can see clients in my home in Brandon, for a reduced fee as it saves me driving time.
I primarily work in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Polk counties. I may be willing to travel further for a reasonable fee to compensate for the extra time and travel.
How soon can I get the results?
I have my laptop with me. As I set up a template for your child's report in advance, it typically takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to finish the report after testing is over. If you have a computer and printer, I can print it out and go over it with you right away. Otherwise, we can discuss the scores right away and I can then e-mail or mail you a copy.
How soon can I schedule an appointment?
I usually have openings anywhere from immediately to within a week or two depending on the time of year. I have both morning and afternoon appointments during the week (usually Monday through Thursday) and appointments on Sunday afternoons as well. I may be able to work some evenings but I do caution that care must be taken that the child is alert and focused. IQ tests require extended concentration to do well, and many children are not at their best in the evening.
Also, please do not schedule an appointment unless you are reasonably sure that you can keep it. Illnesses and emergencies happen, of course, but, as with all people in private practice, if clients cancel or reschedule close to the date, I may not be able to find a last-minute replacement and, as I reserve ample testing time and often extensive driving time, late cancellations can result in my not getting paid for half a day. If you cancel the first appointment on short notice, I may ask you to provide a non-refundable deposit to secure a second appointment. That fee will count toward the overall fee as long as you keep the second appointment. (I might make an exception with proof of illness or family emergency.)
Who can have a child tested? What information do you need from me?
Only a parent or legal guardian can consent to testing. I will require you to sign a legal parental consent form describing both of our rights and responsibilities in this situation before I work with your child. The form serves to protect us both.
When we set up the appointment, I will ask for basic demographic information. I also need to know the name of any previous IQ tests taken within the last year, as a child cannot take the exact same test twice within 12 months.
Who sees the results?
I give the report only to you. All results are completely confidential unless you choose to share them.
What is the fee? What forms of payment do you accept?
The prices depend on the test given, day, time, and driving distance. The fee includes testing, scoring, an explanation of the test results, and a written report detailing the scores and their meanings. The fee is for one test.
I have 3 tests available. The RIAS-2 is slightly shorter (about 35 to 50 minutes). It has 4 parts, including solving word riddles, completing word analogies, identifying a picture that does not belong with the others, and identifying a missing feature in a picture. It involves only one-word answers or multiple-choice questions. As it is shorter and involves less talking, you might consider it for a child who is shy or has difficulty focusing or sitting still. This is the test the school uses most often so please make extra sure your child has not taken it in the last 12 months. It is for all ages.
The WISC-V, for ages 6 to 16, is slightly longer (about an hour) but covers more areas including a math-related task. It has multiple-choice questions including completing picture patterns and choosing a picture to keep a scale balanced, a construction task with blocks, and questions requiring some single words and some short phrases or sentences, including comparing and defining words or concepts. It also has tasks involving remembering numbers and copying symbols. I can often ask for more information if the child's first answer is unclear or incomplete. You might consider this test for a child who is highly verbal or strong in math or construction (such as Legos). The following website describes some examples of tasks on one outdated IQ test (version 4 of the WISC) but it is not a comprehensive list of the activities that may be required. Activities #1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8 are the most relevant to newer tests.
I also have a younger version by the same company called the WPPSI-IV I use primarily for children under age 6, which takes 40 to 60 minutes. It does not have a math-related component in the standard battery but includes answering factual questions, comparing concepts, matching blocks to a picture, finding matching pictures, remembering pictures , and completing picture patterns.
There is no way to predict if a child will do better on one test than another. Research shows they tend to get similar results but my personal experience has not always matched that finding. It is my policy to have the parents choose the test.
Monday through Thursday
RIAS-2 - $200
WISC-V or WPPSI-IV - $225
RIAS-2 - $250
WISC-V or WPPSI-IV - $275
Monday through Thursday
RIAS-2 - $200 + travel fee (see below)
WISC-V or WPPSI-IV - $225 + travel fee (see below)
Sunday afternoon and Some Holidays
RIAS-2 - $250 + travel fee (see below)
WISC-V or WPPSI-IV - $275 + travel fee (see below)
If I come to you, I charge a travel fee due to the driving time. Typical travel fee is $75 in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties but areas very close to Brandon may be somewhat less and areas very far away may be somewhat more.
I accept cash, checks, and credit cards through Paypal. (If at my home, I ask you to cover the 3% credit card processing fees as I already give a large discount for reduced driving time.) If preferred, you can break the fee into multiple payments, typically due a month apart each.
What other resources are available to help answer my questions?
I have a YouTube Channel, Gifted Questions, with several videos such as this one.
Here are some links to helpful organizations that may be able to provide more information about parenting a bright child and link you to other parents in your community. These change frequently so I apologize for any outdated links :)
Gifted Advocacy Council of Hillsborough, Inc. https://www.facebook.com/GACHInc
Florida Association for the Gifted (FLAG)
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) - excellent resources!
Florida Education Standards (including proposals for Gifted Standards - click Standards at top)
Odyssey of the Mind (an excellent educational program)
Summer Institute for the Gifted (both day, residential, and online courses in many subjects)
Programs through Duke University (TIP), Vanderbilt University, and Johns Hopkins University
The Davidson Young Scholars Program for the Highly and Profoundly Gifted (IQs of 145 and above)
Athena's Advanced Academy - online classes and webinars and even personal tutors
SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted)
Looney Labs Educational Games
Prufrock Press has many books about gifted children, both educational and social-emotional aspects
If you have any further questions, please call me at # (813) 610-7905 (it may be 8 to 10 rings before my voicemail picks up) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also feel free to text me at the phone number listed above (but please be aware that text messaging is not the securest form of communicating so do not provide any information that is highly personal or sensitive.