Raising a child is no easy feat. However, raising a gifted child becomes even more challenging. There are more lessons to be had, more conferences to attend, and special coaches to be hired. It’s true that having a gifted child or a child prodigy can bring honor and prestige to your family, but sometimes the additional cost of raising such children could be burdensome.
Based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Annual Expenditures on Children By Families report, parents in middle-income families can expect to spend nearly $250,000 on one child until they turn 18. This figure only reflects the necessities and education up to high school. Now imagine how much higher that figure could get when you have a gifted child.
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These are the things you need to consider.
Testing for Giftedness
Of course, just because your child is showing particular aptitude in math or if they are learning lessons faster than their peers doesn’t necessarily mean that they are gifted. In fact, experts say there is a fine line between a gifted child and one who’s on the autism spectrum. Some children could even be both (which means that this would require more time, effort, and financial costs on your part).
So if your child is showing signs of being special, you might want to have them evaluated by professionals. Giftedness tests can range anywhere from $200 to $700, depending on the expertise of the tester. Be careful, though, as some of the more inexpensive testers are usually psychology graduate students and often do this to help pay for their college fees. That’s not to say that they’ll be doing it wrong, only that the margin of error is higher.
The tests would usually be a combination of IQ tests and achievement tests (to measure what your child already knows). They can be administered together or individually. Speak to your child’s school and see what they recommend, if you’re seriously considering getting your child evaluated.
Special Lessons and Equipment
Gifted children are often special in a particular field: the arts, sports, or math and sciences. Musically inclined? Those beginner guitar lessons might have been cheap, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Pretty soon, you could be wading in virtuoso territory, and they would need more advanced instruments and more experienced teachers. It would be the same thing with sports or dance, for that matter.
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If they’re gifted academically, you might consider enrolling them in a gifted program at their school. Depending on where you live, some states even offer some kind of financial assistance for the schools’ gifted programs. Otherwise, you could expect to cover the expenses of your child’s education, especially if you plan on enrolling them in a school particularly for child prodigies.
Assess Your Own Motivation
Think about the reasons why you are gung-ho about getting your child declared “gifted.” Some reports have stated that parents, especially in low-income households, often push their gifted children to their limits, hoping they would become the next Serena Williams or the next Beethoven. However, the reality is that most gifted children end up as regular adults, holding regular jobs.
What’s your motivation? It’s easy to say you only want what’s best for your kid, but if it comes at the expense of you losing your retirement funds, it’s probably not worth all that effort. Instead, let them live a normal childhood, and think of the music and dance lessons and the sports activities as part of what will shape them into responsible adults.