How to Get Your Child Tested for Giftedness
If you have read the article Is My Child Gifted?, then you may be wondering how to find someone to do gifted testing. Finding someone or somewhere to evaluate your child for gifted identification can be difficult. However, you may be able to locate options in your area through a variety of channels, such as your school and state educational department, private practice professionals, or specialty organizations.
Tips on Getting Your Child Tested For Giftedness
- Know which kind of test you need or is accepted for the purpose you are considering
- Group-administered achievement tests like the PSAT, SAT or ACT may be the most affordable and accessible if it can meet your needs, but they won’t provide in-depth information on your child
- If you need an individually-administered assessment like the WISC V for a more in-depth look at your child, your school or education department may still be able to help
- Networking with local groups and parents may help you find someone to test your child
- Virtual assessment and tele-health options may become more viable and available in the near future
- Always inquire if sliding-scale pricing is available or check with a university for reduced scale options
- It may take time to find someone right for your family and specific needs
Many gifted programs accept group-administered achievement tests like the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or other designated standardized tests. Group-administered achievement tests may be a parent’s first choice for gifted identification because they are widely available at local schools or testing centers and affordable. If a group-administered achievement test is right for you at this time, you may be able to access one through your local school district, a nearby Talent Search program, or reaching out directly to the test publisher, such as the College Board for the SAT or the American College Testing Program for the ACT. However, group-administered tests rarely offer in-depth information on a student’s learning profile of strengths and weaknesses, which is why many parents seek individually-administered assessments and professional evaluations instead.
If you’re not sure which kind of gifted testing is right for you, our article Testing and Assessment for the Gifted Child reviews the differences between achievement tests and abilities assessments for gifted identification and may help you narrow down which kind of gifted testing meets your child’s needs. Since group-administered tests are relatively easier to come by, as shared in the paragraph above, the rest of this article is aimed at helping parents find someone to provide individual assessment and evaluate the results for their child, which can often prove to be a challenging undertaking!
Where to Seek a Gifted Child Evaluation
Local School or Education Department
Your school may be the first place you want to look for a gifted evaluation and may even have gifted identification practices in place already. A school may also be an affordable option if parents are hoping to screen their child for additional concerns, such as ADHD. There are many pros and cons to seeking a school evaluation, and parents will need to consider their goals for seeking a gifted assessment to determine whether or not this option is right for their child.
Even if your school is not set up to provide the gifted evaluation you were hoping for, the education system is full of personnel with knowledge and training. Professionals working in your school district may be able to help you identify people in your area who can provide the right gifted assessment for your child. You may try reaching out to the following staff to inquire about gifted identification options:
- Counselors at your school, including specialists like a Speech & Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Guidance Counselor, Psychologist or Social Worker
- Depending on their gifted policies and practices, your state department of education or local school district may employ one or more of the following gifted and educational specialists: Gifted Education Teacher, Gifted Pull-Out Specialist, Special Education Teacher, Gifted Education Coordinator, Assessment Coordinator, District Psychologist, District Social Worker, Director of Student Services
Many full evaluations take place within the private practices of working professionals. Different kinds of evaluations require differing levels of training and education, but broadly speaking, you may likely be looking for a licensed psychologist in many cases. However, individuals with advanced degrees in areas like education or social work may also be qualified to administer some gifted evaluations.
Knowing what you want is key to any search you may do in your area. If you know the specific assessment you are interested in, such as the WISC or WCJ, you may start with your local area and use these simple search terms to find someone to administer the gifted assessment and evaluate the results. It may be time consuming, but looking through local psychologist listings, such as in the directories on Psychology Today or through other associations, may help you find someone with the qualifications you need. Professionals closest to your home may or may not advertise their specialties on their website or profile, so it is often a good idea to call or email individuals to directly inquire about their past experiences with gifted or twice-exceptional students in addition to any specific information you would like out of an assessment.
You can also look up professionals in your region who have experience working with gifted children through the following lists:
- Hoagies’ Gifted List of Professionals Family with the Gifted
- 2e Newsletter Provider Referral Database
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Directory of Mental Health Providers who may also be qualified to provided gifted assessment
While they may not directly provide testing themselves, local organizations or interest groups may be a way to connect to parents who can help you find a professional to evaluate for your child. Some organizations may even have a list of professionals they work with in the area. Also, families who have already gone through the gifted identification process may provide additional insights into any professionals they have worked with.
You try connecting with the following specialty groups to inquire about gifted testing:
- A state gifted association, such as the ones found on NAGC’s page “Gifted By State.”
- A regional special education advocacy group, such as Parent Training and Information Centers
- Local parent groups, such as your PTA or regional MENSA group
Many test publishers and professionals are currently researching the viability of virtual assessments for gifted and twice-exceptional children. If you are unable to find an option near you and can’t travel, looking into online gifted assessments may be a good fit for your family. You can always inquire if a provider offers online services even if it isn’t directly advertised on their website.
In the wake of COVID19, some gifted testing centers have begun offering virtual testing options. At the time of publishing this article, the following testing centers offered various virtual services:
Assessment may vary in price and can be quite expensive. In large part this is because even professionals with advanced degrees must still pay hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars for additional education, training, and materials to administer cognitive abilities assessments or individually-administered achievement tests. Special knowledge in gifted and twice-exceptional children also requires additional years of training and experience, which is why so few individuals close to home may have the qualifications you seek. We wish we could point to one specific way to find affordable gifted testing, but the truth is this can be difficult to come by. However, here are a couple of cost-effective assessment options families may want to seek:
- If a group-administered achievement test can meet your needs, you may be able to access these from your school or find an option with financial aid through a Talent search program
- Start with your public or private school to see if they would be willing to administer an individual assessment for free
- Find a professional who offers services on a sliding scale or at reduced cost for low-income families. This information may be found on their website or obtained by explaining to them directly what your current financial situation is
- Some universities with counseling or testing centers offer assessment on a sliding or reduced scale. At universities, assessment may be administered by a graduate student under the supervision of a licensed professional as this is one way graduate students gain experience.
- Depending on your needs, you may try a patchwork approach. For example, a family may use their local school to assess for specific concerns like ADHD, take a locally administered PSAT to qualify for gifted services or summer program, and then consult the family doctor on cognitive developmental and related recommendations.
Things to Consider When Reaching Out for Gifted Testing
Parents may have many questions when it comes to researching potential professionals to work with their child: What should I look for in the person who is evaluating my child? What can I expect to receive after a gifted assessment? When should I have my child assessed? It is important to ask yourself why you are seeking assessment at this moment. Is the professional evaluation going to meet your needs, expectations, and goals? If you plan to share the results with educators or other professionals, you will also want to consider what information they will be able to utilize.
The following articles cover additional considerations and questions parents may want to ask a potential tester for their child:
- Tips for Parents: Intellectual Assessment of Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Children
- Special Considerations in Gifted Identification and Assessment
- Tips for Parents: Individual Assessment of Gifted Children
Keep in mind, a professional that is a good fit for one family may not be the right fit for another family. It may take time to find the right professional for your child as it often requires several phone calls, emails, and meetings.
We understand this can be a daunting road to go down. You may find Lisa Van Gemert’s article, “8 Reasons You Should Label Kids as Gifted,” as a helpful source of motivation! We hope this quick guide has served as a starting point for your journey.