Friday, October 16, 2009

Webinar with Dr. Deborah L. Ruf

My notes from the Oct. 8th webinar with Dr. Deborah L. Ruf (courtesy of Our Gifted Online Conferences) are pretty slim, but I'll attempt to put up something of value regardless. The webinar was very enjoyable and since I'd already read through her book (5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options) when it was previously called Losing our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind, I found it a nice review with her own voice and got extra explanations which made things more clear. I also found it nice of her to share her own experiences with her three children who are all gifted at various levels (she said level 3,4, and 5).

Here are some of my notes from the webinar with some book references:

Dr. Ruf said that the gifted programs offered shouldn't be about cutoffs (as in testing numbers), but being able to meet the needs of each child.

The levels she gives in her book are based on 78 children who she evaluated. There are 5 levels and each child may not meet all the criteria for that level, but Dr. Ruff said it is about the overall feel. So if your child is approximately in the 90-98th percentiles on standardized tests, has a measured IQ score in the 115-120's and when they start Kindergarten it is a repeat of what they already know, you have a child who is Level 1. This is described as moderately gifted in Dr. Ruf's book. (chart 1 on pg. 51) Most level 1 children can be accomodated in the public school systems or more challenging academic programs in public, private, or parochial schools.

Level 2 is a child who is approximately in the 98-99th percentiles on stand. tests, has an IQ score in the 130-135 range, and has the kindergarten skills by age 3 1/2-4. This level is described as highly gifted. What I found interesting is that Dr. Ruf said that with a Level 2 or higher child who isn't reading by the start of kindergarten, may have issues with dyslexia or vision tracking problems.

Level 3 Gifted children are approximately in the 98-99th percentiles on stand. tests, have an IQ score in the 130-140 range, and kindergarten skills down by age 2 3/4-3. This level is described as exceptionally gifted.

Level 4 gifted children are primarily in the 99th percentile on stand. tests, have an IQ score greater than 140, and are described as exceptionally to profoundly gifted.

Level 5 gifted children are in the same percentile on stand tests as level 4, have an IQ score over 145, and have the kindergarten skills mastered by age 2-2 1/2. They are also described as exceptionally or profoundly gifted.

Of course these are all brief descriptions and the book is full of the families' stories of what their children did at different ages to help in describing the levels. The book is also helpful in presenting educational options to parents when schools don't work for their children.

What I find important in Dr. Ruf's work is that all gifted kids aren't the same and shouldn't be educated as such. Just like every child in a normal public school classroom isn't the same and needs their own educational plan (ah, if only in an ideal world).

Dr. Ruf's website will be also testing an online questionaire (for lack of a better word) for parents and other people interested in checking levels of giftedness for their children. This will be low cost and a release date has not been set.

I hope this information has been helpful and feel free to leave a comment for discussion.




  1. Very informative and interesting points that you picked up on the webinar. Of course the problem to public schools with such individualized instruction for gifted students, let alone for challenged kids, is the cost. In the ideal world as you say it wouldn't be a problem. But it is. Getting a kid into a school program that at least has some sort of individualization and some trained teachers is a big step. Being aware, as a parent, of what's happening and helping as much as possible is another step. Sounds llike you've got it covered. Good article.

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