Addressing the Affective Needs of Gifted Children
Educational and counseling programs must provide all children with opportunities to develop understanding of themselves and their role in society. Because, by definition, gifted children differ significantly from others, these programs should be responding to the social emotional or affective characteristics that distinguish gifted students from others. Furthermore, since significant differences also exist within the gifted population, appropriate services need to be designed and implemented to respond to individual differences.
Characteristics such as emotional and moral intensity, sensitivity to expectations and feelings, perfectionism, lofty goals and standards for themselves and others, and deep concerns about societal problems at an early age are found in a proportionally higher incidence among gifted and talented children. Those who have disabilities or differ in other ways, including culturally, linguistically, or socioeconomically may have additional affective needs.
NAGC believes that gifted children also require appropriate affective services including gifted focused counseling interventions and career-development guidance programs if they are to develop their potential. NAGC recommends that these services be designed to:
Provide orientation to gifted programming, including information about the selection process and the social, emotional, and academic implications of the giftedness
Enhance relationships with others, including both those who are identified as gifted and those who are not
Assist with long term life planning, including opportunities to deal with issues related to multi potentiality
Provide counseling that addresses the increased incidence of perfectionism, unrealistic goals, emotional intensity, moral concerns, and the resultant stress and lower achievement in the gifted population
Some gifted and talented children, because of heightened intellectual and social emotional needs, may experience difficulties that require professional intervention. NAGC believes that it is imperative that those who provide services at such times have expertise in understanding the impact of giftedness on a child's development.
Mile Marker Series
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for Gifted Children. ©2008 National Association for Gifted Children.
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