Gifted Testing for Children

Eileen Escarce, PhD, MA, MSN
Promoting Optimal Child Development and Family Wellbeing

Red Tricycle Awards September 2013

Eileen Escarce, PhD, MA, MSN
Clinical Developmental Psychologist 
License PSY 18819
Gifted and Talented Children

Why test for Gifted Intellectual Ability?

Early identification of talented students is important. Children with exceptional academic abilities are significantly different from most of their classmates in their pace of learning and intellectual interests. If educational intervention does not take place at an early age, the child is missing out on valuable years of exciting learning. Furthermore, the recognition and rewarding of academic talent in a child helps to build confidence, self-esteem, and a positive attitude toward learning. 

An accurate assessment of specific strengths facilitates the development of an appropriate educational program that is matched to the child’s level of ability to learn. Achieving a good match may necessitate flexible pacing, independent study, accelerated learning classes, or cross-grade grouping for instruction in specific subjects. 

How Should Gifted Children be Identified?
The single best method available for the identification of children with superior cognitive abilities is a standardized, individually administered test of intelligence, such as the Wechsler series, or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fifth Edition. A specific IQ level is currently the most adequate index of giftedness. For example, a Full Scale IQ score of 133 or above, on the WPPSI-IV for 4 to 7 year old children, is on or above the 99th percentile for age.  In addition to an individual test of intelligence, specific ability tests may be important to determine children’s abilities in mathematics or language arts.

Talented children may have a diverse range of exceptional abilities, such as leadership, creativity, and task commitment which are not easily measured.  In addition, art and music skills need different identification procedures from cognitive testing. The most effective means of identification of giftedness combines the results from several procedures, such as standardized IQ and achievement tests, parent and teacher reports, observation of a child’s behavior, and review of a child’s creative work.
Preparing Your Child for Testing

Gifted testing is offered as an enjoyable and interesting learning experience with a supportive, engaging and encouraging examiner. Tell your child he or she will play some word, puzzle, and block games with an adult professional.  The information from the session will provide parents with an understanding of the child's learning style and may help to determine the best school program for the child.  The goal is to see how the child works with easy, challenging, and unknown tasks.  
Federal Definition of Gifted and Talented Students

The United States federal definition of gifted and talented students:
The term 'gifted and talented' when used in respect to students, children, or youth means [those who show] evidence of high performance capability, in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school, in order to fully develop such capabilities.
– P.L. 103–382, Title XIV, p. 388

About the Examiner
Eileen Escarce Ph.D., M.A., M.S.N. is a licensed clinical developmental psychologist (PSY 18819), school psychologist and pediatric nurse practitioner. She received both a Ph.D. in Clinical Developmental Psychology and M.A. in Human Development (School Psychology) from Bryn Mawr College's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her predoctoral APA Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology internship was at The University of Miami Medical School's Mailman Center for Child Development.  She also has an M.S.N. in Pediatrics from Yale University, and completed a year of Special Studies in Psychology and Spanish  at Stanford University .
From 1987-1997 Eileen tested children at Bryn Mawr College’s Child Study Institute for local public and private elementary schools admissions and gifted programs. As a certified school psychologist at the Episcopal Academy of Merion, Pennsylvania (1991-1993), she provided admission IQ tests and classroom consultations for pre-kindergarten through grade 3 students
Moving to Los Angeles, Eileen continued to assess children for the Community Child Health Programs of Cedars Sinai Pediatrics in West Hollywood elementary schools (2000-2001), St. John’s Child and Family Development Center’s Birth to Five Assessment and Treatment Programs (2001-2003), Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center (assessing infants, preschoolers and school-aged children with suspected developmental delays, autism and Asperger's syndrome (2005-2009)), LA County Department of Mental Health AB3632 Unit (assessing school-aged children with severe emotional disorders (2004-2006)), and UCLA Family Commons (2010-11). She has been a mental health consultant for Family Services of Santa Monica to SMMUSD's Head Start and State Preschools (2009-2012), and to the Growing Place Infant and Child Care settings (2010-present). As a community service, Eileen chaired the LA County Psychological Association's Child and Adolescent Special Interest Group from 2006 to 2013.
In private practice, Eileen provides psychoeducational and developmental assessments for children of different ages, including highly gifted applicants to the Mirman School, Stanford's EPGY and Online High School, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth programs, Mensa, and the Davidson Young Scholars program.  She also provides preschool and school consultations, individual and family therapy and parent coaching for children who struggle in school.

Gifted Assessment Options

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI)
(for 2 year 6 months through 7 years 7 months)

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
(for 6 to 17 years )

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales:  Fifth Edition
(all ages)

 How to Schedule Testing
Please send an email to or

Include your name, your child's name and date of birth and the date and time you wish to schedule a testing. I will contact you via email with a confirmation. 
1137 Second Street, Suite 204, Santa Monica, CA 90403

What to Bring
The child will have an opportunity for a snack break with parent in the middle of the testing period (after 45-60 minutes).  Parents should bring a bottle of water and child's choice of fruit or granola bar. 

Oral and Written Feedback for Parents

Parents will be given oral feedback of the scores and interpretation on the same day of testing, either in person or by phone. 

A full written report, describing observations of your child's unique approach and style, scores, and recommendations, is emailed as a pdf to the home. Parent's written consent is needed to send the report to the school (s).
Gifted Children with Learning Differences (aka Twice Exceptional)
Assessment, Intervention, School Consultation, and Family Coaching

Psycho-educational assessments are also provided to gifted children with learning differences (e.g., ADHD, weak Working Memory, weak Processing Speed,  weak Executive Functions, Reading difficulties, or Math difficulties). These assessments may include school observations, consultations, and recommendations for child and family interventions. Family coaching regarding managing weak executive functioning skills is also offered.
Cogmed training is available, as an evidence-based program for helping children and adolescents improve attention by training their working memory .
Cogmed Qualified Practice'


Hours: available 7 days a week



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