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Nature of the Gifted Learner: An Interview With Dr. Tebbs

“I can only speculate here, but if a holistic approach was to be sustained throughout the 13,000 hours a young person spends in school K-12 ... " Read More

The gifted learner is complex

It is so important to not overlook the asynchronous learner, the bored student with behavioral manifestations, the medically over-diagnosed and those with twice-exceptionalities.

The nature of the gifted learner is complex and strongly tied to environment, motivation, and social and emotional support and understanding as well the presence of any co-morbid conditions.

SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) at www.sengifted.org addresses this holistic "whole child" approach to giftedness.

The SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative addresses the problems associated with gifted individuals being misunderstood and unsupported emotionally and academically. http://www.sengifted.org/programs/seng-misdiagnosis-initiative

Websites

Thank you for the comments regarding the asynchronous learner,the bored student, the inappropriately diagnosed and medicated and the twice exceptional. The availability of web-based resources, e.g. SENG, to parents of highly able and creative individuals is extremely valuable in terms of practical help and growth in knowledge and understanding of issues such as you mention and, of course, much more besides. I am sure those of us familiar with this population are always careful to direct parents and teachers to these sites whenever the opportunity arises. However,
I have found that those who, for whatever reason, have little knowledge or understanding of the exceptional needs of these children (sad to say - teachers, administrators, counselors, school psychologists, and special educators) are completely unaware of websites such as SENG. I am not sure whether or not this has been done - or even if it is feasible, but it does suggest the need for some sort of information pack being sent to schools nationwide.

Thanks!

In response to your suggestion that schools, psychologists, etc... be made more available discussing the complexities of gifted children, many grassroots groups worldwide are actively working to that end. Much resistance sadly occurs in many areas.

One article which may hopefully make a strong impact is the very recent National Register article by Dr. James T. Webb (author of Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children & Adults").

Here is that article. The more people who read this & practice it, the better for gifted individuals everywhere.

http://www.nationalregister.org/pub/the-national-register-report-pub/spr...

not all teachers, administrators ... etc ...

I would like to make it clear that not all teachers and others working in schools everywhere are unaware of the needs of these children ... it would be a mistake to arrive at such a conclusion. It is true that state and local policies (and consequently focus, funding,training and allocation of other resources) do influence, positively or negatively,official recognition and services.

Yes. thank you.

My son has had both wonderful understanding teachers and other teachers who did not understand him. The pain my kid and my friends' kids experienced with adults who did not understand them were significant. I was so glad to have belonged to parent groups that help me advocate for my son and direct me to gifted organizations that have taught me a lot.

Consistency

With respect to teachers ... I have observed a general lack of consistency throughout a child's school career. A few teachers have received training in the field and 'get it,' others just 'get it' intuitively and seem naturally able to work wonderfully well with a particular child. Others I have met are very anxious to do their very best and are willing to learn and give things a try. There are others I have met who are so adamantly opposed to the whole notion of giftedness that their attitudes and actions have caused harm in a number of subtle and/or direct ways.
It is also rather noticeable that sometimes one year is great, while the next year is a disaster.
In my opinion such inconsistencies could be modified somewhat if teacher education courses in general (e.g., early, regular and special education, pre-service and in-service) covered the whole spectrum of exceptional needs, including those of the highly able child. Take curriculum differentiation for example, while it is typically covered,the most part, the focus is on the disability end of the spectrum as opposed to the highly able end.

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Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., is the author of Can I Have Your Attention? How to Think Fast, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Concentration.

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