Monday, December 05, 2005

Prodigy Puzzle, redux.

The NY Times magazine printed a number of letters on the Prodigy Puzzle (the cover story on "The Rise of The Gifted Child Industry") in their Dec. 4 issue. See the letters here.


Anonymous said...

I have never seen this whole world, until by chance I read the letters to the editor regarding the Prodigy Puzzle article, bought the article from the NY Times website and followed up into the resources of the Davidson Institute.

I have scanned arouund a bit, and have uncovered lots of leads to follow with ideas and information that will help up with our Gr 2 kid, but not uncovered anything that will help us with one spciific problem area.

Distraction during math work is holding up the teacher's recognition of our daughter's special abilities. Her understanding is fine, although perhaps not yet superior, but she will not sit and finish the work. I believe she is not able to shut out sensory and creative input while she works. I think a kind of self-regulation training is in order, but I need to find a way of applying it to a very young, verbal/creative person. Is there a training manual for teachers and/or parents in helping the very bright buckle down when the situation demands (even if only temporarily)?

The complicating factor is that I too was gifted, started early, skipped a grade, underachieved with pretty good marks. But I have, as the article calls it, the "schoolhouse package" and my daughter does not. We are not on the same page at all in our work habits.

Can someone suggest something? Should this be posted somewhere else for a bigger response?

Davidson Institute said...

Hello –

You bring up some good questions regarding your daughter. We have a couple of ideas and suggestions we thought we would share.

Do you think her distractibility during math may have something to do with the amount of repetition in the homework? If so, perhaps the teacher would be willing to cut back on the number of problems your daughter needs to complete. For example, if your daughter can show she understands the particular math concept by completing 5 problems correctly, perhaps the teacher would be willing to allow the rest of the assigned 30 problems to go by the wayside. Such a compromise in the classroom can appease both parties – the teacher gets the documentation he/she is looking for regarding the child’s mastery of the material, and the child is given the opportunity to prove themselves in a reasonable manner. A couple of resource you and the teacher may find useful are:

Developing Mathematical Talent by Assouline, S. and Lupkowski-Shoplik, A.
A review of this book can be read at

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Students by Delisle, J.

Is your daughter’s distractibility only evident during math? Or, do you see it in other venues as well? If this is a pattern seen across the board, perhaps it would be useful to get further assessment to see if there are other issues going on. If you decide to pursue this avenue, I would suggest seeking out a professional who is well versed in gifted, as many gifted characteristics can look like ADD symptoms when they are not. For more resources on this topic, you may also want to visit GT CyberSource, an online searchable database of resources at

Also, if you are not already aware of the Davidson Institute’s Young Scholars program, you may be interested in learning more about this free service for your daughter. The Davidson Institute's mission is to recognize, nurture, and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference. The Young Scholars Program is designed to provide personalized assistance with appropriate school placement, assessment information, educational advocacy, and the location of resources for exceptionally bright young people. Applicants are between the ages of 4 and 16, and are served until they are 18. While eligibility and/or goodness of fit for the Young Scholars program cannot be determined outside the context of a completed application, you may want to look into it further. To read more about the program, you can visit the website at The application can be downloaded online and you can access information regarding testing criteria as well.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Best regards,
Jill Adrian
Manager of Family Services
The Davidson Institute for Talent Development