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Service for the highly gifted

Is my child highly gifted? Answers to this question are provided by MIND (motivation and intelligence diagnostics), the advisory centre for highly gifted diagnostics, at the CAU. The accompanying advice is just as important as the testing.

Logic riddle with symbols
Grafik: pur.pur

Which of these figures comes next in the sequence?

Outstanding performance at school, a very quick grasp of and great interest in specialist knowledge, sometimes also frustration at being under-challenged during lessons – these can be potential indications of being highly gifted. It can be determined more precisely through various processes used to calculate the intelligence quotient. Normally gifted people have an IQ of around 100. An IQ score of over 130 is referred to as highly gifted. “Around two percent of the population are highly gifted,” explained Dr Steffani Saß. The qualified psychologist heads the MIND advisory centre, which was set up in 2004, together with Professor Friederike Zimmermann, Chair at the Institut für Pädagogisch-Psychologische Lehr- und Lernforschung (IPL, Institute for Educational Psychological Research on Teaching and Learning). Among the clever minds are people with varied social and cultural backgrounds.

The psychologists on the MIND team at the CAU study how gifted children, adolescents and adults are. There are standardised tests for this purpose that correspond with the latest scientific research and resemble some of the puzzles found in magazines. Examples of these include continuing number and picture series, adding cubes to geometric shapes or finding the way out of a maze. Is a child is good at spatial thinking, at verbal understanding, at drawing logical conclusions or at solving puzzles? The psychologists ask all that and more through a series of different puzzles and brainteasers. The puzzles become increasingly difficult, and some have a time limit to make them more challenging.

Steffani Saß
© pur.pur

Head of the MIND advisory centre: Steffani Saß.

“The majority of those we test are school children aged from 5.5 to 14 years old,” explained Saß. The results are important for the parents in that they enable them to find the right school with the best support measures for their child or enrol a child at school earlier than normal. In some cases, young people and adults get tested purely out of their own interest, in others, because they need a certificate for an application or they would like to join Mensa, the society for the highly gifted. A brief evaluation is sometimes sufficient in these cases. For detailed diagnostics, the test subjects need to have time to spare, as these take around 3.5 hours.

Actually, however, the work of Steffani Saß’s team is not as focused on tests to calculate the exact IQ as it is on using this result as a basis from which to work together with parents and teachers to develop support measures and learning strategies to motivate the child to learn at school. Perhaps even find a club where the child can meet like-minded children. “The most important thing is to find something that helps the child,” stressed Saß.

This is the motivation for the other areas of activity of the MIND advisory centre, too. Alongside gifted diagnostics and advice, the experts here offer workshops in schools, specialist presentations and lectures. They work with, among others, their cooperation partner IQSH, the Institute for Educational Development in Schools in Schleswig-Holstein, in training teachers and student teachers on the subject of high giftedness and in supporting children. There are also several research projects covering all aspects of the subject of high giftedness.

Author: Jennifer Ruske

The right answer for the test is: b