Saturday, January 31, 2015

Testing: How?

One of the first things you learn about giftedness is that it comes with A Number. Usually, also with a designation - HG, EG, PG - as well. Mercifully, there are groups of people who will talk with you without those numbers, but many of them require The Number for admission, and that presents a problem.

When you're sitting well below "middle class," testing becomes a big issue. In looking for anywhere to do the testing we'd need, we found that we were, quite neatly, excluded from any sort of testing. Not only are there no practitioners within 100 miles of us that are familiar with gifted children, the only practitioners we could find in the local-ish area were those who either seemed to purport all children having some fashion of LD (be it ADHD, ODD, or something else) or who believe that there are not such things as ADHD or childhood anxiety. Needless to say, neither of these are suitable for testing for giftedness, given the intensity of OE's we have. However, going farther afield doesn't help much either.

Looking outward from our home, we find testing - and recommended testers! It's wonderful!  Right up until the point we get to the cost. The testing itself would need to be done over several days, requiring hotel stays. That also means meals, gas, and traveling time. On top of that, though, the average cost of these tests is over $1500. Adding those things all together, you find that one round of testing would work out to well over $2500, plus the days Skeeve would need to take off work for us all to be present for this testing.

There is exactly one time per year we can afford this sort of expense - at tax return time.  Unfortunately, that would eat up the entirety of our tax return, and leave us with no money to even try to save, much less to purchase curricula for Mad Natter's next school year, or enroll him in any of the various classes he enjoys, or to take trips to visit our family in the US. Where does this leave us? We're able to use Deborah Ruf's parental survey to get an idea of Mad Natter's level of giftedness, and we're able to use our anecdotes to try to sort out where he seems to struggle or sees nigh immediate success. We don't get to do the "real" testing, once again because poor people aren't gifted.

We have been on our local children's hospital's waiting list for a psychoeducational assessment for almost two years. We've been "next" on that list since September. We still have no testing, no hope of getting any testing, and most of the programs that would challenge a boy like Mad Natter as he gets older all require that testing just for membership... and more money still to enroll in the programming.  The world of the gifted, as the testing conundrum implies, is rather hostile toward the economically disadvantaged, and much as we might wish it were not the case, there is little sympathy from anyone anywhere for that problem. The outside world assumes we're only poor because we won't work, or because we're not really gifted. The inside world has their own problems, and they've already had to pay those same fees.

What I wish, I really wish, there was? Some sort of scholarship fund - somewhere we could apply for a means to defray the costs attached to the testing so we had a hope of someday being able to have the testing run. It's hard to know where strengths and weaknesses are, if there are comorbid issues, or what The Number is when the very thing designed to tell you these things is, by nature of the level of specialization needed, is prohibitively expensive.  And so I read a great many posts on testing, the whys, the logistics, the benefits and risks, and I wonder: testing? How?

This post has been part of Hoagies' Gifted Education's February blog hop: Testing - Why? How?