Saturday, August 30, 2008

When Should a Child Be Formally Identified as Gifted?

School wisdom and psychometric research differ on the answer to this question. In a study in Canada, only 50% of the preschool and kindergarten teachers surveyed believed that gifted children should be identified between the ages of 3 and 6 (Sankar- DeLeeuw, 2002). The purpose of testing advanced students in schools is for selection to programs. Where gifted programs exist, they may start at fourth grade and stop after sixth grade. It is common for school districts to test children on group IQ tests at the end of third or the beginning of fourth grade. Some school districts extend gifted programs to the primary grades or up through middle school. Coordinated kindergarten through 12th grade programs for advanced students are rare.

There are three major problems in waiting until around age 9 to test a gifted child. First, this is the age when girls go underground and are likely to hide what they know in order to fit in. Many girls say, “I don’t know” to test questions they can readily answer because they do not want to be separated from their friends. They also become perfectionist at this age and are unwilling to guess unless they are absolutely certain of the answer, which depresses IQ scores (Silverman, 1995). Second, at this age, exceptionally gifted children easily hit the ceiling on the IQ tests. Since

the content is of insufficient difficulty, the children may be considerably brighter than their test scores. Third, a critical period for the development of talent is lost.

Giftedness is exceptionality; therefore, as with all forms of exceptionality, early intervention promotes optimal development (Bloom, 1985; Guralnick & Bennett, 1987). Because of the importance of early intervention, it would not be appropriate to wait until age 9 to identify a child with developmental delays. For the same reason, it is best to identify gifted children as early as possible.

Since parents are able to recognize their child’s giftedness in early childhood, it is wise for them to obtain formal identification before the child enters school. This may sound bizarre to those who have bought the myths that early IQ scores are just the result of a stimulating home environment and that “by third grade, all kids catch up.” It is true that intelligence tests measure a mixture of environmental exposure and innate intelligence. But which child has had the most environmental exposure: the 4-year-old or the 9-year-old? The effects of environment increase with age, not decrease. As for “catching up,” the gifted mind has access to higher levels of abstraction, learns more information, retains it better, accesses it more efficiently, organizes it, and associates it with previous information more effectively. How, then, would it be possible for a child of average intelligence to “catch up” to a child of extremely high intelligence? It can only appear that way if the information being taught is at such a low level that children of vastly different abilities can perform at the same level.

A fundamental principle in developmental psychology is that “Development usually proceeds at the rate at which it started” (LeFrancois, 1981, p. 89). This principle has been found repeatedly to apply to the gifted: “The differences between gifted and non-gifted children were significant at 1.5 years and every age thereafter” (Gottfried et al., 1994, p. 56). From her review of the research, Robinson (1993) wrote: “Advanced ability tends to maintain its rapid pace of development. This evidence substantiates the notion that early giftedness, or rapid development, also predicts the subsequent rate of development” (p. 511).

The optimal time to identify a gifted child is between the ages of 4 and 9. Children younger than 4 may lack the ability to attend and respond to the examiner. Four-year old gifted children are intellectually more like 6-year-olds, and they usually respond to assessment like school-age children. Based on a half-century of research in testing, Elizabeth Hagen, coauthor of the Cognitive Abilities Test and the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Revision IV, confirmed that accurate information can be obtained with 4-year-olds.

Source : Clinical Practice with Gifted Families. Handbook of Giftedness In Children. Linda Kreger Silverman and Alexandra Shires Golon. 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Pre-baby financial checkup (part 2)

Do you have enough life and disability insurance?

You should also plan to review your life and disability insurance coverage to ensure that your coverage is going to be adequate to meet the needs of your growing family. You may be surprised to discover just how much coverage is required to replace your contributions to the family. In addition to replacing any income you generate, your life and disability insurance needs to cover your share of all current and future household expenses, including mortgages, loans, and unpaid debts; the cost of your child’s education; childcare expenses; and — in the case of life insurance — such final expenses as funeral and burial costs, taxes, probate fees, and so on. If you discover that

you don’t have adequate coverage, you’ll want to get in touch with an insurance agent so that you can crank up your coverage sooner rather than later.

Is your health coverage adequate?

The basic health coverage that met your needs so well in your pre-baby days may not be quite so ideal as you switch into mother mode, so you’ll want to size up your health coverage as well. Basically, you’ll need to decide whether you’re looking for a health maintenance organization (an HMO is a nonprofit cooperative that provides medical care to individuals for a fixed fee each month provided that you choose a health care provider or healthcare institution from within the

network); a point of service plan (a healthcare plan that provides you with the built-in service guaranteed by an HMO plus the flexibility of seeing a doctor outside the network); a preferred provider plan (a network of doctors that provides discounted care to members of a sponsoring organization such as an employer or a union); or an indemnity plan (crème de la crème health coverage that allows you to choose your own doctor and hospital, but that tends to be prohibitively expensive). Note: You’ll find some tips on sizing up a health insurance plan further on in this chapter.

Source : The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby. Second Edition . Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D. 2004

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Pre-baby financial checkup (part 1)

If you’re serious about starting a family in the foreseeable future, there’s no time like the present to get your financial house in order — to consider how starting a family is likely to impact on your financial situation over both the short-term and the long-term. Here are the key issues you and/or your partner will want to zero in on as you prepare to embark on Operation Baby:

Are you carrying an excessive amount of debt?

If you’re juggling student loans and car loans, and carrying balances on more credit cards than you’re prepared to admit, this is the time to focus on debt reduction. Pay off your debts as aggressively as possible and consider getting rid of all but one “emergency” credit card (ideally a no-fee, no frills credit card that charges a rock-bottom interest rate).

Are you paying an excessively high rate of interest on any outstanding loans?

If you’re paying an exorbitantly high rate of interest on some of your loans — or, even worse, carrying a huge outstanding balance on your credit card — you might consider refinancing some of your loans at a more attractive rate and/or applying for a lower-interest debt consolidation loan to save yourself some money on interest charges.

Do you have an emergency fund that is equivalent to three to six months worth of net income?

While you might have been willing to fly by the seat of your pants in your pre-baby days, now that you’re assuming responsibility for another human being, you will want to start building up a small nest egg. That way, you won’t be caught totally off guard if you happen to lose your job or find yourself faced by some other unexpected financial crisis.

Are you at least breaking even on a month-to-month basis?

There’s no doubt about it — this is the most painful part of the financial tune-up process: the financial world’s equivalent of paying a visit to the dentist. But it’s really important to get a handle on whether or not you’re managing to balance your budget each month. The only way to do this is to pull out your financial paperwork (bills, statements, etc.) and analyze your income and expenses on a month-by-month basis. Then, after you tally up your income and expenses, you’ll have a sense of whether or not you’re keeping your head above water financially. You will also want to consider what budgetary modifications may be in order when baby makes three. (If your income is going to drop significantly, you’re likely going to have to have to tighten things up on the expense side of the ledger, too.)

Do you have an up-to-date will (or any will at all, for that matter)?

If you’ve been making like Scarlett O’Hara and postponing that will-writing exercise until tomorrow, we’ve got news for you: tomorrow is officially here! You see, once you have dependents, you are responsible for ensuring that they will be taken care of should anything untoward happen to you. If you were to die without a will, you would give up your right to designate a guardian for your child — reason enough to set up an appointment with your attorney today.

Continue to part 2...

Source : The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby. Second Edition . Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D. 2004

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pregnancy Series : The Birth

The birth of your son will be a difficult test ever in your life. This is not because the birth is actually over you or anything else, this is because before birth-job pain is painful for your wife, so she goes to you.

During the first two to twenty-two hours after you stay in the hospital alone in a room with this great woman angry with great pain that he had debts. Nurses and perhaps even a doctor or two checks to ensure that everything goes well, and it has not died, but until it is achieved long enough (see definition below), it is not much more they can do.
Its main goal is to survive your wife happy as close as possible. He is not small or easy task. Your wife is in pain, and probably a bit nervous that now that another person to obtain later, near you. During this phase, your first instinct is to create and run, but you have to fight instincts.

Note: If our ancestors could survive Cavemen involved cavewomen is pregnant, then obviously you-can survive modern people cope with modern pregnant woman. Once you relaxation techniques and pain in your cave ancestors could only dream about. Finally, after time, it seems, at least ten times, it really was, your wife for a long time and all of Tucker, which means that doctors and nurses in the role of the delivery room Now that it is safe A. addressing this part of birth is exactly opposite the first. There are many people around to help you and goes faster than you think

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pregnancy Series : Selecting The Place Of Birth

Back in the old days (before the 1990s) people didn’t really have lots of choices where their baby was born. It was pretty much understood that you would have your baby at the hospital that delivered babies that was closest to where you lived. This made perfect sense. If you can help it, you don’t want to be driving too far with a woman in labor.
Of course this was all before hospitals and birthing centers figured they could make more money by fighting over your insurance money. Today’s expecting parents have far more options than our ancestors. Nowadays, area hospitals have special birthing centers and they advertise and compete for your (and your wife’s) business. They all offer different luxuries and perks for having your “birthing experience” with them. Some of these include: having your loved ones in the room with you, having your baby in water, having special music pumped in—the list goes on.
This is a very personal choice between a woman, her husband, their insurance company and their accountant. I would never suggest which option is best. Just remember, when a woman’s water breaks you really want to be in the hospital as it is not only a bit unnerving, it can also be very damaging to your car’s leather seats. Plus, no matter what a woman says about wanting to be surrounded by her loved ones, when push comes to shove (literally here) she’s not going to
give a darn who’s in the room besides the doctor and nurses (as they are the ones who can give her the drugs.)
Another option that has been gaining in popularity is having your baby at home with the aid of a midwife. I’m sure this is a perfectly safe option, as many midwives deliver as many babies in a year as many doctors. Plus licensed midwifes are backed by doctors and hospitals just in case there is an emergency that needs extra care. Still, I may be an old-fashioned guy, but having a baby at home is a bit too old-fashioned for my tastes. There are times when having a highly trained hospital staff and modern drugs around are good—if not for your wife’s comfort than at least for your comfort.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pregnancy Series : Doctor's Visit

The closer you get to the actual birth the more you and your wife will have to go to the doctor. This is so you know everything is going along okay, and so the doctor can keep making those payments on the Porsche.
While these visits aren’t easy on your wallet, and can be a bit painful for your wife and probably even a little gross for the doctor, they are usually pretty painless for you. As long as you don’t look in the wrong direction at the wrong time, these visits can be a good chance for you to catch up on some magazine reading—and they’re a darn good reason for missing some work.

Source : John Zakour. A Man's Guide to Pregnancy.2003