Group discussion… Stereotypes Common Characteristics Misconceptions Challenges… Diverse group with varied needs, Many unidentified, Unique concerns/issues
Why Study Gifted Students - Counseling
Carrie Lynn Bailey, M.Ed., NCC, LPSC February 16, 2009 ~ Georgia Southern University
Why Study Gifted Students? When you hear the term “gifted” what comes to mind?
What is a “Gifted Student?” No Universal Definition Having superior mental ability or intelligence A label of potential Based upon achievement NCLB Definition: “The term “gifted and talented,” when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” (Title IX, Part A, Section 9101(22), p.544)
What is a “Gifted Student?” Recognized definition from field of gifted education: “Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” The Columbus Group, 1991 Cited by Martha Morelock, “Giftedness: The View from Within”
Why might their developmental needs be different? Gifted individuals experience the world from a different perspective, with qualitative differences: intensities, sensitivities, idealism, perceptiveness, overexcitabilities, asynchrony, complexity, introversion, perfectionism, and moral concerns (Silverman, 2006). Can render gifted children and adolescents particularly vulnerable along a number of social and emotional domains Require attention from parents, teachers, and counselors for optimal development to occur.
My Interest… My childhood/educational experiences My daughter’s first school experiences Students that I was working with in different settings… Lack of identification Dual diagnosis & Misdiagnosis Self-concept & Identity issues
Myths & Truths… Berger (2006) Gifted students do not need help. If they are really gifted they can manage on their own. May experience heightened sensitivity to their own expectations and those of others, resulting in guilt over achievement or grades perceived to be low. Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers. Some are “mappers” (sequential learners) while others are “leapers” (spatial learners). Leapers may not know how they got a “right answer,” Mappers may get lost in the steps leading to the right answer.
Myths & Truths… Berger (2006) Gifted students have fewer problems than others because their intelligence and abilities somehow exempt them from the hassles of daily life. Asynchronous – chronological age, social, physical, emotional, and intellectual development may all be at different levels & present unique challenges & vulnerabilities Often think abstractly & with such complexity that they may need help with concrete study & test-taking skills. They may not be able to select one answer on a multiple choice question because they see possibilities in all choices.
Myths & Truths… Berger (2006) The future of the gifted student is assured: a world of opportunities awaits. Gifted students are self-directed; they know where they are heading. Gifted students who do well in school may define success by their grades and failure as anything less than an “A.” By early adolescence they may be unwilling to try anything where they are not certain of guaranteed success. Challenges of multipotentiality, limited resources and experiences Gifted students can accomplish anything they put their minds to. All they have to do is apply themselves.
Common Myths… Berger (2006) The social & emotional development of the gifted student is at the same level as his or her intellectual development. May be so far ahead of their chronological age classmates that they know more than half of the curriculum before the school year begins. Their boredom can result in low achievement and grades. Gifted students are nerds & social isolates. The primary value of the gifted student lies in his or her brain power. The gifted student’s family and friends always prize his or her abilities. Gifted children are easy to raise and a welcome addition to any classroom.
Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis May stem from a lack of understanding or recognition of specific social and emotional characteristics of gifted children which may be viewed, instead as signs of pathology (Webb, 2000) Maynot fit stereotypic perceptions/ expectations of gifted students
Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis Most common: AttentionDeficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Oppositional Defiant Disorder (OD) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Mood Disorders Dual diagnosis – “Twice exceptional” May have co-occurring learning disability or mental health issues Often difficult to detect because giftedness masks disability and disability detracts from giftedness
Some Common Issues & Concerns… • Peer Pressures & Social Acceptance • Asynchronous Development • Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities – Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, Emotional • Need to Be Understood • Need for Mental Stimulation • Perfectionism • Need for Precision • Sense of Humor Sensitivity/Empathy • Intensity
More Issues & Concerns… Perseverance Acute Self-Awareness Nonconformity Questioning of Authority Introversion Existential Depression Underachievement Special Populations/Considerations Males vs. Females, GLB, Minorities, SES, Twice-Exceptional (2e), Dual- Diagnosis, etc.
Role of the School Counselor Advocate Identification Counselor – Individual, Group & Family Consultant to/with: Teachers Administrators Parents Source of Information Options/Opportunities
Counseling Goals… Help each student understand and cope with his or her intellectual, social, and emotional needs during each stage of development. Help each student develop a realistic and accurate self-concept. Help each student realize their whole person. Reframe perceived negative traits in terms of strengths and potential
Counseling Goals… Show acceptance & encouragement Encourage flexibility & appropriate behavior. Understanding and following rules does not mean conforming to every situation. Let students live their own lives. Be available for guidance & support (Kaplan, 1990)
Current Research Goals… Build upon conceptual understanding of gifted students social & emotional development and experiences Educate counselors, teachers, & parents regarding the unique needs and challenges faced by this population Expand research to better understand issues of “twice-exceptional” students … Follow where these paths may lead
Where to go for more information? National Association for Gifted Children www.nagc.org Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted www.SENGifted.org Hoagies Gifted Education Page www.hoagiesgifted.org The Center for Gifted Education www.cfge.wm.edu