#023 Gifted Assessments & IQ Tests

Kate Plum headshot

Today I’m speaking with psychologist Kate Plum about the assessment journey for gifted kids.

In this episode we talk about when an IQ Test is helpful, what steps are involved, the pros and cons of assessment, the nuances of cognitive tests for gifted kids, the components of the test and much more.

If you’re a parent considering whether you need to get your child assessed, this is the episode for you!

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quotes

“It’s very important that, that the parents. Get what they came for really? It’s not a yes or no scenario. Are they gifted? Yes or no? It’s yes, but, or no, but there’s always a, but, and, and that’s where that, that value, I think in the assessment lies.” – Kate Plum

“The assessment is the beginning. It’s not the end. A lot of parents think let’s get an assessment and find out once and for all. The assessments, just the beginning, the assessment is where we all know what that next step is. And then I provide what that next step is.” – Kate Plum

“We’re all highly trained in psychometric assessment. I think there is,  a widespread lack of understanding when it comes to how nuanced giftedness can be. It’s not just an IQ score. It’s part of it, but it’s not all of it that just tells us what that baseline potential is. It doesn’t show us what the child’s actually doing.” – Kate Plum



Kate Plumb has extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of a variety of issues in children and combines her dual qualifications of psychologist and teacher to develop specific and individualised intervention plans based on each child’s unique need.

Kate conducts a range of assessments for ADHD, Autism (including the ADOS), psychometrics (IQ) & learning difficulties (dyslexia) for any age. Kate provides support for kids and families of primary school age.

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Sophia Elliott: I’m super excited to be talking to you today on the podcast. Thank you very much for joining me. Thank you for having me. Thank you. I thought it’d be great to have a conversation today about assessment.

[00:00:13] Because so many parents I speak to  have these questions around giftedness something’s going on with their kids. They’ve stumbled onto giftedness. And so that the, the next step in that kind of questioning is how do I figure that out? Do I need an assessment? What is an assessment?

[00:00:32] All that kind of stuff. And as a psychologist, you do those educational assessments for giftedness. Yeah.

[00:00:42] Kate Plum: Yes. Yes. And so it it’s, I I’m sitting here pondering that question. Do you need an assessment? That’s where I’m starting to think. Do you need an assessment? Ideally? No you don’t. Because having that teaching background as well I’m primary school trained as a teacher in new South Wales, I would hope that our teacher training enables us to identify what a particular child’s learning needs are and cater for those in the classroom.

[00:01:17] The realities of being in a classroom, there were very different to what. We’re taught at university because the classroom is a dynamic place. A classroom is a very loaded place. There’s a lot of policy and procedure that dictates how we teach and when we teach and why we teach and what we teach. So for a teacher to identify that and cater for that is quite difficult.

[00:01:44] Very difficult. So that’s the teacher side of me. The parent’s side of me thinks, well, none of that matters. All that matters is my child. All that matters is that my child’s needs aren’t being met. And I think, you know, I’m noticing at home disengagement, I’m noticing under achievement. I’m noticing that, there’s a lot of negative talk about school.

[00:02:06] And so that kind of needs to be sorted because they need to be engaged with learning. So then the psychologist hat goes on and says, what, okay, well, what is it about the learning? That’s not meeting this child’s needs. Because quite often when you’ve got the parent and the teacher, they’re very disparate accounts of what’s happening for that child.

[00:02:32] So then I think the psychologist is then able to act as an intermediary. They’re able to see both perspectives to go, okay, this is how the child is at home. This is what the parents reporting. This is what the school’s reporting. What’s the real story, because there’s always the third side. To the story through assessment.

[00:02:51] I think it becomes unequivocal through assessment and through a very considered assessment with someone who is aware of what giftedness looks like and how it can manifest taking into account twice exceptionality as well, having that knowledge and that ability to be that person in the middle to take a bit from home a bit from school.

[00:03:17] A bit from that objective observation, and then come out with what it is that’s happening for that student. It, it then becomes, as I said, unequivocal for the parent and the school, sometimes the parents are surprised to find that their child. Isn’t performing where they think they should be not to say that they don’t end up being on the gifted spectrum somewhere, but there, those expectations, I think come to a very neat resting point where the discussions can then occur quite.

[00:03:56] Um, what’s the word I’m looking for quite openly and it’s it’s related now on, on hard evidence, whereas before it’s opinion and observation, which parents and teachers have very biased in, in that approach assessment. Yeah. Assessment is that thing you can’t argue with the trickiness with assessment though, is if you go to a psychologist, we’re all trained.

[00:04:24] We’re all highly trained in psychometric assessment. I think there is a widespread lack of understanding when it comes to how nuanced giftedness can be. It’s not just an IQ score. It’s part of it, but it’s not all of it that just tells us what that baseline potential is. It doesn’t show us what the child’s actually doing.

[00:04:49] Whether they’re underachieving, whether they’re they have a specific learning disorder, whether there’s ADHD going on, whether there’s also autism impacting or affecting performance on the, on, an academic scale in some way. And I guess I’m only focusing on the academic. The intellectual slash academic dichotomy here, I’m not really going into athletic giftedness or leadership, giftedness or creativity because you can’t assess for those things.

[00:05:18] You, you can’t assess there’s th there’s no psychometric assessment that I know of that exists for that. So it really is. Quite restricted in that it’s that intellectual slash academic issue that I’m looking at. So then when you have those numbers, it’s helpful for the parent to almost feel validated that they were on the right track in advocating for their child.

[00:05:42] And I think it supports the teacher in that they now have a. A very, a very strong reason to make sure that that child’s needs are met in the classroom, because I think it then helps them go to their stage leader or their executive to say, I actually need support for this child. Yeah. So that’s where assessment really, really does come into its own.

[00:06:12] Sophia Elliott: Yep. So in an ideal world, We have a classroom where the teacher’s able to look at the students wherever they are in terms of their, their stage for that age and is able to respond to that. And we don’t need assessment, but the reality is that I don’t know where that  ideal world exists, the  demands on teachers and the training.

[00:06:37] Isn’t always there in terms of identification. So therefore, That psychological assessment is a great opportunity to understand why parents are having one experience of their child and the school is having another experience. And like you say, be that broker in the middle and go, okay, I can see that you’re saying this and the school’s saying that.

[00:06:58] Let’s have a look in terms of assessing intellectually. What’s going on to see if we can get a clearer picture. And like you say, the assessment is just that intellectual test, because we know giftedness is expressed so many different ways creatively and everything else. So it’s not like it’s the be all and end all, but it is this window into understanding some, Oh, you know, what is going on?

[00:07:22]Kate Plum: Definitely, definitely. And, and I, that that’s both the strengths and the downfall of having the assessment is that it’s really not capturing. Yeah, the, the whole child, it’s not looking at, the fact that you, you could have this intellectual giftedness, but you could also be displaying that giftedness in terms of visual arts or public speaking, or, things like that.

[00:07:52]And. And it’s not, it helps, it helps to have that data, but it’s the interpretation around it. It’s the interpretation around what? Me as the psychologist with the parent hat. Kind of sitting there and the teacher hat  sitting there as well about how, what is the quality? What is the quality of not only the answers I’m getting, but the thought processes that I’m observing?

[00:08:21]What is what’s happening in that? You know, that chit chat between the subtests, where I’m setting up the next step, where, where is that child leading me in the assessment? And that to me is the most. Interesting thing about the entire part of it. The numbers are one thing. The numbers are there, but it’s the other stuff that goes on around it.

[00:08:47] It’s, it’s the conversations that I have during the assessment before and after with the child that I gleaned the most information, determining.

More Transcript Here

[00:08:59] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, a hundred. Yes. And it’s interesting that you say that because I was talking to a parent, not that long ago, who had recently had an assessment for a, a younger child.

[00:09:10] And she was saying how, within the report, the psychologist had brought up too, that I think they’d asked the child what. Tell me an animal that, that lays eggs and the child said elephant, but the psychologist could understand from their interaction with their child, that the child said that because they were bored and the questions are too easy.

[00:09:32] Not because I really think the elephant lays an egg. And I was just kind of being that kind of, a little bit cheeky, wicked side of giftedness. And I’m not going to jump through hoops for you. But instead of going, right. Well, Mark you down for that. It’s, it’s actually seeing that for what it was.

[00:09:47] So it’s, it’s understanding what is going on behind the numbers and behind the questions. Like you say, you really need someone who gets it so they can see those. Those kind of behaviors for what they are. Yeah, yeah.

[00:10:03] Kate Plum: Yeah. When, when we’re trained in the psychometrics and now I’m really just focusing on the IQ assessment.

[00:10:09] So most commonly we use the Wechsler tests, which are shown to be. They’re not perfect. They aren’t perfect by any means, but they’re the best we have when we’re trying to measure that, that elusive G G statistically is intelligence. So when we use the Wechsler tests and I think they Really suit kids who I’m assessing for giftedness because they are so language  laden  that there’s a lot of instructions.

[00:10:36] There’s a lot of higher order thinking that they really need to latch  on to, to really get to the ceiling to, to hit their head on the ceiling in those tests. And when I, from time to time, I do get those kids who are quite cheeky  and we’ll say things like, animal  lays an egg and they say elephant, and I go, really?

[00:10:59] What makes you say that? And I would then glean, out of that, that, of course I know the answer, but. To get the point. They do have to give me the answer. So I do try and elicit that. And I would hope that any psychologist who is, is conducting or administering an IQ assessment would have that same kind of innate knowledge that, of course they know the answer, but they do need to say it rather than just going, Oh, you said egg, that’s a zero or sorry, elephant. That’s a zero. And I think therein lies the issue where some parents rightly believing that that any psychologist can assess for giftedness, but it’s that nuance it’s that, that the stuff that’s going on.

[00:11:44] On on that interpersonal level that can impact so dramatically on, or you get the, The underachieving gifted kid who goes, I don’t know, I don’t know,  what a dumb question. That’s a zero saying don’t know is a zero. So it’s a, it’s about, making sure that you can build that relationship in a very short period of time to make sure they do their best because you don’t want them to tank.

[00:12:16] And we know gifted kids do that as well. We know that. Yeah. We know that they sit in class and do nothing because they are beyond  bored, they’re a pathic towards the whole educational process. So teachers write those kids off as not knowing anything, they feel justified in not doing anything because the teachers have no expectations.

[00:12:40] So when it comes to. Those kids in particular it’s vital, it’s vital. They’re assessed because working in, in, school counseling for many years, that those kids who were always the naughty kids in inverted comments, I would say, have they ever done an IQ assessment? And I I’d be looked at like, I’d grown another head.

[00:13:01] What? No. Thinking the teacher’s thinking they’d be at the other end of the bell curve on the left-hand side. But it’s yeah, you’re not just going to get The. The kids who thrive in those environments, you’re going to get the kids who make you work hard, the kidding for getting them in the room in the first place, but they, they won’t make it easy for you.

[00:13:27] And it’s having that knowledge. It’s having that, that prior knowledge of what giftedness can look like and how it manifests. It’s not just the kid in class with the hand in the air, answering the questions. It’s hardly ever that kid hardly ever. But knowing that, knowing that you could get the sullen  and I’m picturing a sullen  teenage boy slumped in the chair, shrugging the shoulders.

[00:13:54] I don’t know what that’s a dumb question. You know, it it’s it’s so. It’s so tricky. It’s so tricky sometimes.

[00:14:05] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, I can. I absolutely see. I can absolutely see that. And Yeah, it must be really challenging because you’re obviously sitting there wanting to help that child and wanting to get those answers.

[00:14:18] And it’s kind of like, come on, work with me here.

[00:14:22] Kate Plum: Exactly, exactly. But then, and this is the point I was making before. It’s the conversation between the subtests. It’s the conversation that goes on around the assessment. Where the, the beauty in the, in the assessment lies because the conversation could be, I know, you know, this what’s happening for you right now.

[00:14:45] And then you can kind of pull apart and tease it out. Well, no, one’s listened to me before. No, one’s interested in. You know, anything I’ve said before, so it’s allowing them the space to be themselves. It’s allowing them that opportunity to know that the person, which is me, isn’t thinking that, that they’re incapable.

[00:15:08]It’s me being an interested person going to show me what you can do. Yeah. Let’s see it. If this is the one and only time you’re going to do it. Well, come on. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:15:20] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. And knowing to push in those places. So, yeah. So we’ve as a family been through the assessment process a few times. But for, for those listening, who kind of looking down the barrel of assessment Let’s have a little chat about what is involved.

[00:15:35] So we’ve personally pet assessments where we’ve had some questionnaires prior and we’ve had some that haven’t had that. So a parent might expect to get some questionnaires before the assessment. Is that a common thing?

[00:15:51] Kate Plum: Definitely for me. So. I try to maximize data collection, but I also try to minimize the impact on families.

[00:16:02] So, yeah. I’m still, it’s always a work in progress, how I kind of structure assessment protocols. But I think what’s working for me at the moment is I typically get, get a phone call or an email. I then do a phone chat quite quick phone chat, just to work out as you know how to tell the parent how it works, what they should expect booking the appointment time.

[00:16:27] And then the, I block out three hours. And that gives time for me to get to know the child through the parents. So I kind of get the child and the parent in, and we just have these very informal chat and everyone is seeing me write down all this information. And I do it as a mind map. So I put the child’s name in the middle of the page, and then there’s just arrows going off everywhere.

[00:16:52] And everyone’s seeing me write that down and I direct a lot of questions to the child  so I, I typically say, Oh, To the child. Do you feel, have you brought with you today because they’re the, they’re the center, they’re the, they’re the person that I’m most interested in. So I don’t ignore them, talk to the parent and then turn my attention to the child.

[00:17:14] It’s always child centered. And so they’re, they’re in the driver’s seat. And from that, I can already assess their language skills I can assess with they’ve got a sense of humor because I. Try and draw that out almost immediately. And I’m okay with looking like a fool. In some instances, but definitely in the assessment process it’s, what you see is what you get with me.

[00:17:39]If they want to talk to me about their topic of interest, if they have one going nuts, because I then take that info. Keep it in my head and then I can just regurgitate it to the next kid who has that similar interest. And I look amazing. I don’t know, half of what these kids are talking about. I can just retain that info and then just, you know, particularly about Minecraft or Roblox  or things like that.

[00:18:04] So. I’m using tricks as well to make them think I’m, this person who they can relate to or who they can, feel comfortable talking any topic about. And then I’m getting a lot of that developmental information from the parents, but the child’s hearing that too. And it might be the first time the child’s ever heard that they were walking at seven months old and could form complete sentences before they were 12 months old.

[00:18:28] So that developmental information is all also, just helping me churn this information in my head. What, what am I dealing with? Even, even though the research shows that the parent is the best. Identifier of giftedness. It’s not school it’s the parent parents are often dismissed. Parents are often not sure what they’re looking at.

[00:18:52] Particularly if it’s a first born, they think this is normal. And I know this from my own experience. This is normal. It’s. It’s not typical development. It’s not typical that your child, instead of using words to communicate builds a library of sounds and each sound is nuanced and different to each sound and you know exactly what they’re referring to by the sound they’re making.

[00:19:18] That’s not typical. Okay. And so, yeah. And so even though it’s not words, even though. That’s through, through my extended family. There’s been a generational history of. It’s usually girls speaking very early and speaking very fluently almost from day dot. And it’s quite confronting for people who see this gorgeous little person, just able to sit up in the trolley.

[00:19:49] Talking about the shopping list to them mother. Like it’s shocking to see, but that’s normal for the side of the family I married into it’s it’s nothing unusual. So to go back to the assessment process, sorry, I go off on tangents. So to go back to that assessment process, Already absorbing a lot of information before we even get to the assessment part of it.

[00:20:14] I then play some games because it’s important. I build rapport with the child, so they like me. So they will do their best. It’s a bit of a trick of the trade, but. If, if they don’t like me, if they think I’m onerous or odious in some way, I’m going to not get the best out of them. So then when it comes to the assessment process, the child is very comfortable remaining in the room with me and shoeing the parent out.

[00:20:42] And then the fun begins. So during the actual subtests there’s not a lot of to, and fro chit chat because I want them to concentrate. What I’m looking at there is how they problem solve what they’re doing with their body while they’re thinking some kids are laying on the floor by the second or third.

[00:21:06] Sub test  because sitting and being still is quite difficult for them. So they’re free. If, if they want to lay down while they’re doing this, that’s fine. If we have to have a 10 minute break, every two subtests, that’s fine. Because I asked them, what do you need? What do you need in this. In this scenario.

[00:21:26] And even if they can’t tell me, I can gauge, if they’re looking up at the ceiling, if they’re taking longer to answer a question, I’m already thinking we’re having a break, the next sub test. During the break, they can do what they like. They can do star jumps, they can color in like draw. They can eat whatever, because in my mind I need them to perform at their best.

[00:21:50] So. Hmm. That’s the assessment process at the end of it, I usually give them prizes depending on the age stickers. Things out of my prize box food, if I’ve already had that okayed by the parent. And then I say, give me a couple of weeks and I’ll be in touch. Those question is that I do send out beforehand.

[00:22:14] That’s when I look at them, I don’t look at them before I do the assessment. I don’t. I try to not load up on a lot of information about the child beforehand, because I want to be as objective as possible. I don’t want that to be I guess, biased in any way. Then I sit down and I have two iPads and a laptop open because I’m looking at all the data and I’m then maybe giving the teacher a call, getting them to do the teacher version of the checklist.

[00:22:44] Then I’m looking at that. The contrast between the answers or the commonalities. And then I write the report and it’s almost like a story that I’m writing. So even though I’ve got a template it’s the story of this kid where they’ve, you know, their development is all detailed. What. The teachers are saying what the parents are saying, what I’ve noticed, what the results say.

[00:23:09] And then that interpretation at the end for me, the assessment is the beginning. It’s not the end. A lot of parents think let’s get an assessment and find out once. And for all the assessments, just the beginning, the assessment is where we all know what that next step is. And then I provide what that next step is.

[00:23:28] And I look at our strengths and weaknesses profile as well. So interestingly, with a lot of gifted IQ profiles, it’s a relative weakness or relative strength because it is always assessed according to the norm, which is the, the bell . So looking at that profile, it’s talking about relative weaknesses where you might be, you know, in the, in the highest bandwidth of that, of that bell  curve for verbal comprehension.

[00:24:04] And this is the Wechsler tests I’m referring to now, but you might just be high average in visual spatial. You’re still above average, but there’s that. That discrepancy between what is your biggest strength and what is your relative weakness? So teasing that apart is quite important because if you’ve got a child in your class and they are excelling in terms of their literacy and their creative writing and things like that, but their maths isn’t quite as high, even though they’re above average, you’ve still got that.

[00:24:41] Possibly 40 point discrepancy between the two cognitive functions. And that needs to be explained that’s clinically significant that, that discrepancy. So there, there is that that interpretation on that very statistical level as well. I don’t just look at the scores. There’s a there’s a well-known child psychologist called Jerome settler and he proposes this almost like a pyramid of when you’re interpreting any psychometrics, you start as broad as you can, and you go as specific as you can, even down to differences between sub tests within those index scores.

[00:25:20] So that, and that’s what I do because it’s important. It’s very important that, that the parents. Get what they came for really? It’s not a yes or no scenario. Are they gifted? Yes or no? It’s yes, but, or no, but there’s always a, but, and, and that’s where that, that value, I think in the assessment  lies. Yeah.

[00:25:45] Sophia Elliott: So, yeah, so there’s the questionaires is but you look at them after, and that’s a lovely explanation of that assessment process and that dialogue with the child. So the assessment, and as you said, a lot of the, the  Weschler is a very popular one, but there are others. But within that there are the subtests, so.

[00:26:09] Verbal comprehension, visual, spatial fluid reasoning, working memory processing speed. Is it always the same five?

[00:26:18]Kate Plum:  Yes.

[00:26:19] Sophia Elliott: So it’s always the same five. So they’re The, and then you do a couple of tests for each of those sections.

[00:26:26] Kate Plum: Yes.

[00:26:26] Sophia Elliott: Average that out to get the overall school client, that kind of thing. We don’t need to go into that too much.

[00:26:32] It’s just kind of understanding that you don’t just sit one exam and that’s called your IQ tests. There are within that process, a little kind of tests that, that. Focusing on different sections. So your verbal comprehension or your visual spatial, or your working memory or your fluid reasoning or your processing speed, because you’re wanting to understand those things all come together to, to have that understanding about your intellectual.

[00:27:01] Kate Plum: Yeah. And exactly because you’re looking at cognitive functioning broadly, but also quite narrowly and. The it’s quite, it’s quite rare for an assessment to show that giftedness is. Almost lined across all of those different cognitive functions. You do see fluctuations and some fluctuations more than others, but then again, there’s ancillary analysis you can do within the Wechsler tests that look just at verbal non-verbal dichotomy.

[00:27:41] That’s your That’s your general ability index, then you’ve got your cognitive proficiency, which takes into account processing speed. As well as you know, that fluid reasoning aspect of it. I might be a bit incorrect on that one, but I will, I will have another look. Um, but then you’ve got just your non-verbal.

[00:28:01] And then you’ve got almost like a, um, like a problem solving and ciliary index. The one I tend to focus on most is the GAI  because quite often you’ll see a profile where they’re quite high for verbal comprehension, visual, spatial, and fluid reasoning, but the working memory and the processing speed in some way, dragged down the full-scale IQ in some way.

[00:28:27] Yeah, even though the full-scale IQ is a very stable measure of overall intellectual functioning. You can’t, I guess, discount those individual differences as well. So the full scale IQ is always going to be the most. Representative of a person’s IQ, but then if you see that there is that discrepancy and my cutoff is about 20 points between the lowest of the, or, sorry, the highest of the visual spatial fluid reasoning, verbal comprehension, triad, compared with working memory or processing speed.

[00:29:06] Then I go to the GI to see how, just how much that working memory and processing speed impacted on that full-scale IQ. As far as I know, Mensa accepts both. If you, if you were intending on applying to Menza, they do accept. The FSIQ and the gai. And that will take the higher of the two. But yeah, those ancillary measures exist because you’re not going to get a flat profile you’re going to get th th that profile of strengths, weaknesses.

[00:29:39] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. So within those five areas, you’ve got. Or your full-scale IQ

[00:29:45] or general ability index. And those two numbers come from doing the math in different ways, basically looking at different parts of those five areas to get those numbers, because that’s an acknowledgement that you rarely get someone who’s just, in the same area for everything.

[00:30:01] And so it’s kind of giving that opportunity to. To let those strengths come out in one of those scores in a way. Yeah, that’s really interesting because we had a situation where one of my kids scored very highly on some of the areas. But. Compare actually incredibly low on the processing speed.

[00:30:24] And the comment from the psychologist was who knew that child look, they’re just not, well today. This isn’t them. And I know them well enough to know that this isn’t, this isn’t representative. So, and then we did eventually retest that area and, you know, the score was much higher, but in that circumstance, there was a huge gap between.

[00:30:46] Some areas and the processing speed and working, working memory in particular. And, and on that particular day, that was because of the child not being particularly well. Where was I going with this?

[00:31:02] I guess it’s it’s like you said before, sometimes you do get these big discrepancies between one area and another, and quite a lot of literature that says often with gifted kids, that processing speed can be slower comparatively to other scores. And the rationale for that, that I was reading about was.

[00:31:22] When you’ve got so many more pathways in the brain, it takes a bit longer to investigate them all and get from a to B. So it can be quite typical that the processing speed is a bit lower than the other areas. So you’ve got these two different ways of interpreting those numbers to try and understand those strengths.

[00:31:39] Oh, and this is where I was going with that. It is possible to get a false negative, but am I right? And understanding it’s not possible to get a false positive. So for example, You can’t really fluke a high arch, but it’s obviously quite possible to get a lower Mark than you’re, you’re able to become a fluke a highway.

[00:32:03] Cause I’ll get parents. Yeah, we got this really high kind of result, but that must have kind of been a fluke, there’s that imposter syndrome and this is kind of like that can’t be my kids. So, so it, but it’s not possible to get false positive.

[00:32:17] Kate Plum: No. I mean the only way to get a false. Positive. And by that we, we mean, showing that a child’s gifted when they’re not is the examiner error.

[00:32:27] So it, a child, a child has a cognitive. Potential that should, you would hope is assessed appropriately with the tool they, they have at their disposal. But if it’s only the examiner who’s you know, assigning two points when it should have been one or one point when it should have been zero, not actually the child.

[00:32:56] Suddenly, you know, having all the answers and being able to reason things out and then the next day not, but it is very easy for a child to tank  very easy. So going back to, to our little fictitious teenage boy who is quite disinterested or uninterested in. The process if they just sit there and shrug and say, don’t know, and then our immovable on that, you would really have to question them one, if it’s a valid assessment, given what the referral question is, is this even a valid assessment?

[00:33:32]And then you can abandon it or you can still try and get something out of them. And. They just go on. I don’t know. Don’t know, but still give you a couple of answers. Will you know that they’re, you know, tanking a little bit on that, but then you’ve also got that scenario where not everyone tests. Well, not everyone can understand that being assessed is, is a very, it’s like a specific behavioral response.

[00:34:03] You, you need to have the skills to. To be able to answer a question when you’re, when you’re asked a question, but then you’ve got things loading on that, like performance, anxiety, or social anxiety or ADHD, which we know does depress IQ. So there’s a lot at play in, in, in that moment. And it’s the skillset of the assessor to know what’s impacting.

[00:34:32] Is this actually the child is that, am I getting a true representation of this child through this assessment? And if not, what, what then I need to do to ameliorate that, what do I need to do to, to try and minimize that impact? And even every report I write, even when I’m not assessing for giftedness, there’s a little disclaimer saying this is a snapshot.

[00:34:57] Things that impact on performance, on motivation, concentration, hunger, fatigue, tired, like all of those things are kind of put in the report to say, this is how they performed on that day. It isn’t set in stone and that, and that’s put there, whether, they’ve come out, in the 99 point ninth percentile or not because it.

[00:35:21] It’s really only the baseline that we’re getting. And, and I think to, to say that, you know, this, this child who is assessed is actually meeting their potential. We can’t say that for sure. So we just say, this is, this is what we saw on the day, but it could be impacted by this myriad list of things. Yeah.

[00:35:45] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So that’s all really helpful. And I feel like we’ve kind of gone through that process and talked about how that works and why, and I’m just thinking now, if I. You know, if I was talking to a parent and they’re saying, what does this assessment, they all about? What can you tell me? You know, what is it that I would want them to know about that process?

[00:36:09] And I think as a parent, it comes back to, in our experience, that information you get has been invaluable. And we went through it with our first child. And at that point we had three kids and we obviously never expected the first child to be gifted. Let alone. Mm, two and three, but we will like we going to do this for all of our kids, regardless, just because it gives such a fascinating insight into who they are.

[00:36:36]And it’s not the be-all and end-all absolutely, but it can be really amazing information. So I think for me as a parent, I, I, if. If people are needing to go down this track, it’s like, yes, it can be incredibly helpful as a parent to parent let alone, finding the right it, education environment for them. So I guess if you were having that conversation with parents who were considering whether or not to, to go through down that route, you know, is there anything you would want them to know or any advice or thoughts about that?

[00:37:15] Kate Plum: I guess, I guess there are certainly some positives for it.

[00:37:21] Doing an IQ assessment is a very, it’s not something you went into on a whim. You, you, you, it’s a very powerful assessment. And it can really open up conversations about potential. It can open up conversations about, the possibility of there being a specific learning disorder that was the child was masking for a number of years and, and it is about making sure that the end result of that.

[00:37:51] Assessment is to the betterment of the child. But I guess the, the warning there is. Once you’ve let that genie out of the bottle, if it’s a valid assessment and you can be sure that it was adhering to all the rules around standardization, which is what makes that tool so powerful, and it really throws out something you weren’t prepared for.

[00:38:18]Then, you know, you need to be aware that that’s a potential risk with any assessment. There’s, there’s a cost benefit. Ratio more often than not, you enter into an assessment because you want to know, you want to know what’s happening and how you can kind of help your child. But yeah, it, it can come at a cost.

[00:38:39] It can come and, and, uncover things that, that. Aren’t necessarily detrimental, but can just be quite challenging in a different way than you anticipated. And, that’s, that’s something that is discussed definitely with any parent who rings up no matter what the assessment is for.

[00:39:02] Even though for example, I get a lot of autism assessments and I say to the parent. Just because you’ve booked in for me to assess your child for autism. Doesn’t mean that’s the result we’re going to get doesn’t mean that, at the end of that assessment, you will be, or your child will be assigned with that particular diagnosis.

[00:39:21]And, and, for some of them that it’s something they’ve not even contemplated. And I say the same as well. Like you’ve come to me for an assessment to see if your child’s gifted. What if they’re not. What if they’re just high achieving and, just really awesome people. And what if, what if we don’t get that number?

[00:39:41]And, we have to say that we have to have that discussion because I think the ramifications of going into an assessment thinking you’re going to get an outcome and that’s different is quite You don’t want this to be a negative experience, no matter what the results are, you want there to be some kind of benefit to your child.

[00:40:02] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. So entering into it as a parent in an open way, not kind of wanting it to be any particular result, but just going to get whatever the information is, getting that information. And, and like you say, The, it can throw up. All the things like, you know, ADHD, autism, other learning challenges just kind of other stuff and being prepared and open to for that kind of stuff, because, and we know that, you know, ADHD and giftedness autism often get They kind of misunderstood for each other and there’s a lot of correlation there.

[00:40:45] So, so just because you’re thinking let’s get, I think my kid’s gifted. Let’s get an IQ assessment be prepared for the fact that they might not be gifted. There could be other stuff going on and, and there could be challenging conversations around. Around those, those other things and just kind of be ready and open for whatever those results are, being those results.

[00:41:07] Kate Plum: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And I, that that’s important and it’s, I guess it’s important and I’m being a bit So fishy when I say it it’s important for me that, that there’s not that expectation that I will find through the assessment that your child’s gifted when they’re not like that’s a lot of pressure to put on me as well.

[00:41:28] So if we just go into it open for any kind of outcome. To, to, to be found, but also knowing that whatever that outcome is, the next step will also be provided. What, what is that next step? Whatever that IQ result shows, whatever the profile analysis shows, whatever the other question is, I send out. So the other question is look at adaptive functioning, behavioral functioning, emotional functioning, social functioning, whatever they throw up and whatever.

[00:42:02] Kind of comes out of that. We need to all be comfortable knowing that it’s not the end point. It’s the beginning point.

[00:42:11]Sophia Elliott:  Yeah. Well, and that’s the truth and that is the G and the journey for uncovering can take years can attest to that. That, and, and we, we continued on that journey as a family not to find a label, not to get.

[00:42:26] I don’t know, just, just to understand so that we can help them understand themselves. Yes. And, and therefore, Grow up with that knowledge rather than become an adult and at 40 or 50 go, Oh my God. If I’d known this 20 years ago, I would have, my life would have made sense. Right. That’s right. I would have known myself, so that’s right.

[00:42:50] Oh yeah. I totally get that. Yeah, he really hard as a parent as well. Yes. Usually, I think if you’re, if you’re looking at your child who might be like a straight a student and you’re like, they gifted for sure. And then I could imagine how challenging that might be to come back with results. That they’re, they’re a high achiever and they’re highly intelligent, but not gifted.

[00:43:12] I was at something recently and I had to do the thing where I go, you know, I’m the parent of gifted kids and I, I have a. I have a podcast around supporting parents of gifted kids. And inevitably someone makes the, the comment after about all wish my kids were gifted and it’s like, really don’t and you just, and I always want to say, and sometimes I do, I just kind of say, actually, you really don’t like, and it’s okay.

[00:43:42] It’d be typical. It’s great to be typical because then you have a wealth of options out there for your child that they can fit into because when your child is gifted, the whole point of that is they’re not typical and they need things that aren’t in the mainstream. And it’s really challenging. And I wouldn’t change my text for anything, but it’s like that book.

[00:44:02]If this is a gift, can I give it back? Like it’s not easy. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:44:09] Kate Plum: And you know, that, that’s exactly how I feel as well. And, and having, I think having that experience, that parental experience helps in those situations because when, when you’re assessing a child for the first time, For this family, they don’t know.

[00:44:33] They don’t know what they’re about to walk in.

[00:44:38] Yeah. Yep, yes. Yeah, yeah. A whole different way of being, it’s a whole different way of relating. It’s a whole different way of advocating. And you, you need to be prepared for that because, and I guess this is, this is the other part of that conversation is okay. It comes back that they are gifted and.

[00:44:56]You do nothing with it. You, then you, you are, you have the impetus, you’re impelled to do something about that. Now you can’t just. Sit back and hope that they work it out for themselves because why else have you come for the assessment? They’re not working it out for themselves, then there’s an issue that’s been identified.

[00:45:17] So then now that you know, you’re, you are on this journey, whether you like it or not, whether it’s comfortable for you or not. And I don’t find it comfortable, I don’t find it a comfortable journey. I tend to not talk about. My own children’s giftedness very much. Because it’s, it’s fraught it’s fraught..

[00:45:42] Sophia Elliott: Yes. Yeah, totally. Yeah, yeah, a hundred percent. So thank you so much. That’s, there’s a wealth of information there and assessment’s really challenging. Really challenging process and really appreciate going through that. So thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:46:00]Kate Plum:  It’s my pleasure. My pleasure.

[00:46:02] Thank you so much, Sophia.

[00:46:03] Sophia Elliott: Thank you. Wonderful. I really appreciate it.


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