Numerous definitions of giftedness exist across the field. Colorado’s definition comes from the Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA), which defined gifted children as: Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:
General or specific intellectual ability
Specific academic aptitude
Creative or productive thinking
Visual arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities 12.01(16)
This definition opens formal gifted and talented identification in Colorado to be any of the following areas: general intellectual ability, reading, writing, math, science, social studies, world languages, creativity or productive thinking, dance, leadership, visual arts, performing arts (theater and speech and debate), music, or psychomotor. For more information of identification processes, visit Hulstrom’s Identification Processes page.
At Hulstrom, we take it one step further and believe giftedness is not what you do, it is who you are. In 1991, The Columbus Group defined giftedness as “asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally” (The Columbus Group, 1991).
We know gifted children exhibit asynchronous development across the numerous facets of their development. We know giftedness is not what one does, but who one is and how one experiences the world around them. We know gifted children need specialized curriculum and instruction delivered by highly-trained, empathetic staff. We know gifted children need a whole child approach which is three-pronged, including academics, enrichment, and affective/social-emotional programming. At Hulstrom, we strive to live these beliefs and work collaboratively to support our amazing children and their families.
Advanced Academics/Talent Pool
Although the majority of our children at Hulstrom are formally identified as gifted and talented, not every child at Hulstrom has a formal label of gifted and talented. Children who are high achievers but who are not currently identified as gifted and talented formally, are considered in need of advanced academics. Within the field of gifted and talented and in Colorado legislation, children in need of advanced academics are entered into a talent pool. “A talent pool is defined as a group of students who demonstrate an advanced or even exceptional ability in a particular area, but at this time do not meet the criteria for gifted identification. Often students in a talent pool are provided advanced or gifted programming services. As students are presented with additional levels of challenge and rigor, increased achievement may occur. A student may meet the criteria for gifted identification at a later date...Selection for a talent pool is not just being included on a list for future identification assessment. Rather, it is inclusion into appropriate differentiated programming options necessary to develop an academic or talent aptitude and promote achievement and growth” (Colorado Department of Education Office of Gifted and Talented, 2015, p. 16-17).
We know a formal identification of gifted and talented is a process and can require a body of evidence collected over time. We know children in need of advanced academics/talent pool often require the same differentiated curriculum and instruction as children with identified gifts and talents. We know with a focus of individual growth, all of our children will grow and many of our children will be formally identified as gifted and talented as a result of this growth.
For further information, visit our other pages:
Colorado Department of Education Office of Gifted Education
Colorado Association for the Gifted and Talented
National Association for Gifted Children
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
Center for Bright Kids
Mensa for Kids
Hoagies’ Gifted Education
Center for Talented Youth