Working with Gifted Kids – Part 1

Like most populations of people, not all gifted kids are a like. Many are successful, being able to make it on there own, regardless of their teachers. Some are even autonomous, figuring out how to get their needs met in almost any situation. Some of 2E and deal with multiple issues related to both the giftedness and a learning disability, mental health concern, or other exceptionality. Still others are challenging to teachers, earning poor grades and even dropping out of school – and life.

One of the best articles I’ve read on this types is by Betts and Neihart. Here’s the abstract:

        After several years of observations, interviews, and reviews of literature, the authors have developed six profiles of gifted and talented children and youth. These profiles help educators and parents to look closely at the feelings, behaviors, and needs of the gifted and talented. Also, tips on identification of each profile are included as well as information on facilitating the gifted and talented in the school and home. (

read the full article here)

Rather than recap that article here, I thought I’d present some strategies for each of the types mentioned in the articles. I’ll cover half today, and the other half  on Weds.

Okay – so strategies for the different faces of gifted children:

  • Autonomous – there is little you need to do academically for these kids.  True, you will still have the intensity issues that all gifted kids face; but because they are strong, autonomous learners, you will only need to help them learn to regulate the negative aspects of emotional  intensity. My book, Emotional Intensity covers this, with strategy pages and role-plays.
  • Successful – Successful gifted learners have very few actual school or performance-based problems.  With one noticable exception ( and this tends to bug parents more than the children themselves) – they typically work hard to find the easiest way to complete tasks.  Furthermore, they tend to do only what is necessary for the grade.  For them, school is about earning passing grades (usually As) and not about learning.  Like all gifted children, they may face intensity issues and may need strategies related to that (and my book 101 Success Secrets is full of ideas on this).  But, they also would benefit from strategies that focus on the “journey” or learning aspects of school, as opposed to the “destination” or grades.  One way to do this is by helping your child see the value in learning new things – all sorts of new things.  Model this for him or her through your own behavior.  Set high expectations that extend beyond the grades the child earns.  Make sure YOUR expectation relates to the process by which they achieve – not just by the achievement itself.  In this way, the child begins to understand that life really is about the journey – and not the destination!
  • Twice-Exceptional– These are gifted children, who are also identified as having a disability in some way.  They could be diagnosed with Autism, a learning disability or a mental impairment – something that impacts them along with their giftedness.  For these children, the world of school can be uniquely challenging.  Most institutions of learning are very adept at identifying disabilities covered under IDEA (laws that protect the education of students with disabilities).  The law requires that schools find and service all eligible students and provide interventions needed for the student to be successful and progress in the general education standards.  Schools are not as good at identifying giftedness.  The definitions of giftedness vary state-to-state and the identification process is often hampered when a student is already identified as having exceptional needs – it seems many educators do not understand that having a disability does NOT preclude be gifted.  So what do you do?  Well, the research suggests individualized programs that focus only on the disability, or those whose main emphasis is the disability, are actually doing more harm than if we did nothing.  Meaning, the giftedness must be taken into consideration when making all programming decisions for dually – exceptional children.  This can often be difficult for schools – but it is imperative if gifted children with disabilities are going to be successful in a traditional learning program.

On the next post we will look at the harder profiles – Challenging, Underground, and Drop-out profiles.

3 thoughts on “Working with Gifted Kids – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Working with Gifted Kids – part 2 « An Intense Life

  2. Pingback: Working with Gifted Kids – Part 1 « An Intense Life | Gifted Education | Scoop.it

  3. Pingback: Working with Gifted Kids – Part 1 « An Intense Life | Gifted Ed | Scoop.it

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