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Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Children
Selected Readings For
Parents and Educators
The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC EC)
EC Minibib EB5
Updated March 2003
Compiled by Sandra Berger
Citations with an ED (ERIC Document; for example, ED123456) number are available in
microfiche collections at more than 1,000 locations worldwide; to find the ERIC
Resource Collection nearest you, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm. Documents can also be
ordered for a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com/, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1-800-443-ERIC.
(no longer available)
Journal articles (for example, EJ999999) are available for a
fee from the originating journal (check your local college or public library),
through interlibrary loan services, or from article reproduction services such as:
Infotrieve: 800.422.4633, www4.infotrieve.com, email@example.com; or ingenta: 800.296.2221, www.ingenta.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alvino, J. (1995). Considerations and strategies for parenting the gifted child. Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED402708. www.sp.uconn.edu/~nrcgt/
This monograph offers practical suggestions for interacting with gifted children at home. Chapter titles include the following: "Parenting Styles Make a Difference," "The Enriched Environment," "Nurturing Your Child's Creativity," "Critical Thinking, Research, and Study Skills," "Academics at Home: The Core Subjects," and "The Value of Play." A summary of key parenting tips is provided.
Ackerman, C. M. (1997). Identifying gifted adolescents using personality characteristics: Dabrowski's overexcitabilities. Roeper Review, 19(4), 229-36. EJ550593.
This exploratory study of 79 high school students examined overexcitability assessment as a potential method for identifying giftedness. Overexcitability (an intensified way of experiencing the world) can occur in five areas: psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual, and emotional. The measure of overexcitability differentiated gifted and nongifted students, although 35 percent of nonidentified subjects had similar profiles to gifted subjects, suggesting potential giftedness.
Berger, S. L. (1998) College planning for gifted students, 2nd edition revised. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED439566. www.cec.sped.org/bk/catalog/gifted.html#12
The guide offers information on undertaking a comprehensive, well-organized, programmatic approach to college planning. "The College Search: Defining the Problem" provides an overview of college-planning problems and offers solutions. A comprehensive, systematic 6-year time line provides a step-by-step guide. Additional chapter titles are: "Planning for Gifted Students: What Makes Them Different?" "The College Search: A Matter of Matching," "Learning About Colleges: What Have They Got That I Want?"and "The Application Process: What Have I Got That They Want?"
Callahan, C. M., and others (1994). Foundations for the future: The socio-emotional development of gifted, adolescent women. Roeper Review, 17(2), 99-105. Special issue: Affective dimensions of being gifted. EJ497614.
This study of five gifted female adolescents examined their male-female relationships, independence, perceptions of ability and expectations for success, over-reliance on social manipulation, motivation, ethic of caring, superwoman syndrome, and familial influences. The study found positive examples of the use of problem solving strategies; it also found examples of a need to conform.
Cohen, L. M., & Frydenberg, E. (1996). Coping for capable kids. Strategies for parents, teachers, and students [and] Strategies for students. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
This book is designed to help gifted children, their parents, and teachers consider a variety of coping strategies for dealing with their concerns. It is uniquely formatted into two inverse parts. One part is written for teachers and parents and the other part is specifically designed for adolescents and preadolescents. Topics of the first part include: (1) definitions of coping, capable kids, and self-concept and self-esteem; (2) personality characteristics of gifted children; (3) coping with problems (perfectionism, boredom, underachievement, drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia and bulimia, and depression and suicide); (4) teaching for coping; and (5) family functioning and coping (helpful things parents can do). The part designed for adolescents provides information on coping and capable kids and presents case studies of capable kids. Activities to develop coping skills, in such areas as time management, goal setting, depression, and belonging to a group, are presented. Both parts of the book list additional resources on coping.
Coleman, M. R. (1996). Recognizing social and emotional needs of gifted students. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 19(3), 36-37. EJ527621.
This article identifies typical problems that gifted students face in social and emotional adjustment, including: (1) anxiety caused by advanced knowledge or understanding; (2) heightened sensitivity to feelings of others; (3) perfectionist tendencies; and (4) feelings of being alone, isolated, and different. Resources to help students, parents, and teachers are suggested.
Cross, T. L. (Sept-Oct, 1998). Developing relationships, communication, and identity. Gifted Child Today, 21(5), 28-29. EJ575347.
The fourth in a series of articles on meeting the social and emotional needs of gifted students, this article provides ideas that teachers, parents, and counselors can consider as they work on behalf of gifted students. Suggestions focus on improving communication, building relationships, developing identity, and adult coping.
Cross, T. (1998). Practical advice for guiding the gifted. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 21(1), 26-27. EJ563958.
Among 11 ideas for guiding gifted students are to: recognize and respect the relationship between social/emotional needs and academic needs; teach pro-social skill development; teach ways to manage stress; model the behavior desired in students; embrace diversity; expose students to knowledgeable counseling; and provide opportunities for down time.
Cross, T. (Sep-Oct 1997). Social/emotional needs: Guiding and supporting their development, Part I. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 20(5), 46-47,49. EJ555536.
Presents strategies to help parents, teachers, and counselors support the social and emotional needs of gifted children. Strategies include fostering communication between the school and parents, understanding the child's personality and social goals, making counseling for gifted students available, and providing opportunities for gifted children to be together.
Ford, D. Y. (1995). Counseling gifted African American students: Promoting achievement, identity, and social and emotional well-being. Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. ED388015.
This monograph attempts to bridge the fields of education and counseling, focusing on the academic, social and emotional, and psychological concerns of gifted African American students. Nine guidelines for working with gifted African American students are recommended.
Freeman, J. (1994). Some emotional aspects of being gifted. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 17(2), 180-97. EJ479463.
This study comparing 70 gifted children (ages 5-14) with two control groups revealed that emotional problems were not due to gifted ability per se, but to other disturbing matters such as others' expectations or family conflict. Academic underachievement was related to self-concept; gifted children's greater sensitivity was usually successfully coped with.
Galbraith, J., & Delisle, J. (1996). The gifted kids' survival guide: A teen handbook. Revised edition. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit. www.freespirit.com
This guide provides information on a range of educational and social issues affecting gifted adolescents. Chapter 1 addresses definitions of giftedness, the burden or blessing of the gifted label, and myths about what it means to be gifted. Chapter 2 describes different intelligence theories and includes the answers to 10 frequently asked questions on intelligence and giftedness. Chapter 3 provides information on IQ, achievement tests, and test-taking tips. Chapter 4 discusses great expectations, perfectionism, and self-esteem. Chapter 5 provides information on student's educational rights, dealing with teachers, choosing a college, and alternatives to college. Relationships are discussed in chapter 6. Chapter 7 addresses teen angst, drugs, lying, and suicide among gifted adolescents. Most chapters include personal narratives from gifted teens.
Gust, K. L., (May-Jun 1997). Is the literature on social and emotional needs empirically based- Gifted Child Today Magazine, 20(3), 12-13. EJ549135.
A study of 270 abstracts of articles published from 1952 to 1996 investigated the literature on social and emotional needs of gifted students and found most articles were not research based. Half of the articles were overviews of programs, models, or guides and did not include adequate information on their outcomes.
Halsted, J. W. (1994). Some of my best friends are books: Guiding gifted readers from preschool to high school. Scottsdale, AZ: Gifted Psychology Press. www.GiftedBooks.com/
This guide for people who work with children and young people who are different from the norm by reason of giftedness or intense interests in intellectual, artistic, or musical areas examines the importance of books to capable students. It proposes that by reading and discussing books with children, parents and educators can meet two needs in one pleasurable activity: books can provide a focus for nonthreatening discussions and books can improve the education of children. Indexes to the annotated bibliography include author, title, and category (such as identity, moral concerns, relationships with others, and perfectionism) indexes.
Hebert, T. P. (1995). Using biography to counsel gifted young men. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 6(3), 208-19. EJ508304.
The use of biographies in counseling young men who are gifted is recommended, to assist them in dealing with such issues as underachievement, self-inflicted pressure in athletics, cultural alienation, and father-son relationships. Biographical works that may be used and strategies for using this counseling approach are examined, including case examples.
Hebert, T. P., & Kent, R. (2000). Nurturing social and emotional development in gifted teenagers through young adult literature. Roeper Review, 22(3), 167-71. EJ606610.
This article examines how developmental bibliotherapy featuring young adult literature can be an effective strategy to address emotional issues of gifted teenagers. It describes how one high school English lass responded to the novel, The Mosquito Test, in a bibliotherapeutic fashion. Also provided is an annotated bibliography of current young adult literature appropriate for bibliotherapy use.
Katz E. (1994). Affective education: Self concept & the gifted student. Boulder, CO: Open Space Communications, Inc. www.openspacecomm.com
This book provides a short introduction to research and methods for supporting affective growth and self-concept in gifted and talented students. The first two chapters discuss a variety of different theoretical models of self-concept. Models of intelligence are then examined and related to the affective domain. Giftedness is then introduced, including the related issues of motivation and academic achievement (or underachievement). Several recommended practices for supporting achievement from the home are provided.
Kennedy, D. M. (1995). Plain talk about creating a gifted-friendly classroom. Roeper Review, 17(4), 232-34. EJ506640.
Optimum conditions for gifted students in regular classrooms are discussed, including the advantages of cluster grouping and curriculum compacting. The importance of providing positive teacher attitudes toward gifted students and promoting psychological safety for the student who is gifted are emphasized. Seven cognitive and affective classoom strategies are recommended.
Knopper, D. (1994). Parent education: Parents as partners. Boulder, CO: Open Space Communications, Inc. www.openspacecomm.com
This guide to understanding giftedness and parenting gifted children provides support and resources for parents as they facilitate the development of their children, including the nurturing of academic and creative gifts and talents in achieving and underachieving young people. The guide describes general characteristics of giftedness and examines characteristics that cry for help, such as sensitivity, intensity, and perfectionism. It discusses love, laughter, and listening as the key elements in parenting. Techniques for working with schools are offered, emphasizing the importance of being involved with the child's school, developing a cooperative relationship with teachers, and communicating the child's needs in a positive manner.
Lovecky, D. V. (1994). Exceptionally gifted children: Different minds. Roeper Review, 17(2), 116-20. Special issue: Affective dimensions of being gifted. EJ497617.
This study delineates modes of thinking that differentiate exceptionally gifted children from more moderately gifted peers. Cognitive differences include: viewing the simple as complex, a need for precision, viewing the complex as simple, abstract reasoning ability, early grasp of essential elements of an issue, high capacity for empathy, exceptional memory, and inclination towards immersion.
Milne, H. J. & Reis, S. M. (2000). Using video therapy to address the social and emotional needs of gifted children. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 23(1), 24-29. EJ603388.
This article reviews the use of video therapy as a strategy to address social and emotional needs of gifted children and suggests sources and activities. A list of films is included that address behavior problems, disability, African American issues, social/emotional issues, gifted females, performing arts, and the process of talent development.
Noble, K. D., Arndt, T., Nicholson, T., Sletten, T., & Zamora, A. (1998-99). Different strokes: Perceptions of social and emotional development among early college entrants. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 10(2), 77-84. EJ581787.
Thirty-one early entrance students at the University of Washington discussed their social and emotional development in focus groups. All believed themselves to be well socialized and more mature than they would have been had they gone to high school. Advantages of the early entrance program included acceptance of individual differences and encouragement of excellence and personal responsibility.
Olenchak, F. R. (1994). Talent development: Accommodating the social and emotional needs of secondary gifted/learning disabled students. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 5(3), 40-52. EJ494761.
This discussion uses student cases and a review of the literature to advocate for the development of individual student talent as a philosophical basis for accommodating the social and emotional needs of gifted secondary students with learning disabilities. Descriptions of several educational innovations and reform efforts likely to enhance talent development are included.
Olenchak, F. R. (1999). Affective development of gifted students with nontraditional talents. Roeper Review, 21(4) 293-97. EJ589526.
Discusses the social and emotional problems of unrecognized gifted children whose talents exist in domains distinct from the intellectual, academic, and athletic realms. Two case studies are presented of two gifted elementary students, along with interventions for enhancing effective growth among such students.
Plucker, J. A. (1996). Gifted Asian-American students: Identification, curricular, and counseling concerns. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 19(3), 315-43. EJ527612.
This article reviews the literature on identification, curriculum, and counseling of gifted Asian-American students. It finds that suggestions for teaching and counseling this population are rare, and most literature addresses only identification concerns. The paper also analyzes factors influencing the intellectual, social, and emotional development of gifted Asian Americans and makes suggestions for working with parents.
Plucker, J. A., & McIntire, J. (1996). Academic survivability in high-potential, middle school students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 40(1), 7-14. EJ527594.
Qualitative methodology examined behaviors and strategies used by 12 high-potential middle school students when they did not feel challenged in school. Data analysis found students engaged in the following behaviors: selective attention, focused curricular involvement, involvement with others, humor, participation in extracurricular activities, and lack of effort/selected effort. Few teachers associated these behaviors with lack of challenge.
Reid, B. D., & McGuire, M. D. (1995). Square pegs in round holes-these kids don't fit: High ability students with behavioral problems. Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. ED402701. www.sp.uconn.edu/~nrcgt/
This report investigates the lack of services provided to gifted students with attention and/or behavior problems. Issues addressed include: characterizations of gifted children and the resulting prejudice against gifted children who do not meet a certain profile; the similarities among characteristics of high ability/creative children and students identified with emotional/behavioral disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the dissonance between the gifted individual and the attitudinal environment of the school; elements in the school environment that are possible contributors to students' behavioral and learning challenges; the underachievement of gifted students; the lack of identification of gifted students who have disabilities; the tendency of educators and others to rely on distinctions among populations of children and youth, and to ignore the similarities that may exist; and the tendency of teachers to be predisposed to view negative characteristics of children and youth as indicators of behavioral disabilities, rather than as potential signs of creativity or advanced learning ability.
Robinson, N. M. (1996). Counseling agendas for gifted young people: A commentary. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 20(2),128-37. Special issue: The distinctiveness of gifted education. EJ545951.
This article explores special issues in counseling highly gifted students, including feelings of isolation, fear and guilt for being different, irritation with the pace of school, and other concerns. Guidelines for introducing such children to the subculture of intellectual achievement and how they can be effective self-advocates within the educational bureaucracy are offered.
Schlichter, C. L., & Burke, M. (1994). Using books to nurture the social and emotional development of gifted students. Roeper Review, 16(4), 280-83. EJ486467.
This article defines bibliotherapy, offers guidelines for selecting appropriate materials to use to assist gifted students to grow emotionally and socially, notes the crucial nature of teacher-led discussion in helping students interact with the literature, and provides discussion questions and suggested activities for each of six books.
Silverman, L. K. (1994). The moral sensitivity of gifted children and the evolution of society. Roeper Review, 17(2), 110-16. Special issue: Affective dimensions of being gifted. EJ497616.
This article demonstrates that the cognitive complexity and personality traits of gifted children create unique experiences and awarenesses that separate them from others. A central feature of children's gifted experience is their moral sensitivity and the asynchronous development of their inner world, which need to be understood and nurtured.
Tolan, S. (1994). Discovering the gifted ex-child. Roeper Review, 17(2), 134-38. Special issue: Affective dimensions of being gifted. EJ497621.
Gifted adults are recognized by society solely by their achievements, though the unusual developmental trajectory of the gifted creates an extraordinary experience of life at any age. The achievement orientation is now taking over gifted education and makes it difficult for the gifted to understand and honor the qualities of mind that make them different.
Tucker, B., & Hafenstein, N. L. (1997). Psychological intensities in young gifted children. Gifted Child Quarterly, 41(3), 66-75. EJ553957.
Dabrowski's theory that sensitivity and intensity are characteristic of the psychological makeup of young gifted children was investigated in a qualitative study with five gifted children (ages 4 through 6). The study found the five overexcitabilities postulated by Dabrowski were manifested in the children's classroom and home behaviors.
VanTassel-Baska, J. (1997). Counseling talented teachers. Counseling and Human Development, 29(9), 1-12. EJ552086.
Discussion of counseling needs of gifted learners reviews the literature on affective and self-concept issues and discusses strategies for addressing students' psychosocial, academic counseling, and career counseling needs. Counselor, parent, and teacher roles are addressed. Tables link: (1) student characteristics to counseling approaches; (2) counseling needs to intervention strategies; and (3) Scholastic Assessment Test performance and program options.
Webb, J. T., and others (1982). Guiding the gifted child: A practical source for parents and teachers. Scottsdale, AZ: Gifted Psychology Press.
Note: An ERIC Digest on this topic, Nurturing social emotional development of gifted children, is also available.
This classic book addresses common concerns of parents regarding the emotional needs of gifted children. Chapter I gives an overview of giftedness along with underlying myths and stereotypes that exist about gifted children. Chapters II through XII focus on specific characteristics, frequently occurring problems, and particular suggestions for modifying behaviors. Topics covered include identification and testing, motivation, discipline, stress management, communication of feelings, peer relationships, tradition breaking, depression, and parent relationships.
ERIC Digests are in the public domain and may be freely
reproduced and disseminated, but please acknowledge your source. This publication was
prepared with funding from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S.
Department of Education, under Contract No. RR93002005. The opinions expressed in this report
do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI or the Department of