Profoundly gifted (PG) children have early and prolific use of language (before 9 mos.), unusual alertness in infancy, early abstract reasoning, and early reading (before age 4)(Hollingworth; Gross; Rogers; Silverman.) They may “literally be able to comprehend intellectually what they are not ready to deal with emotionally.” (Robinson, N.M.) Their abilities cause adults to have unrealistic expectations about their behavior. It is important to make a clear distinction between PG and HG or gifted as they run the risk of psychological issues such as isolation or existential depression if their needs are not understood.
PG students are among the most challenging to educate in traditional programs. They have significantly greater needs than those identified as gifted or highly gifted. Most schools rarely encounter a PG child; if ever. Differentiation or enrichment is rarely sufficient to meet the intellectual needs of profoundly gifted children. Radical acceleration, mentoring, self-paced and independent programming, and out-of-school enrichment may be necessary.
Parenting a profoundly gifted child can be expensive and far beyond what a parent is able to provide. Parents may need to be creative in finding appropriate opportunities and early on explore all avenues of financial assistance available. Planning for enrichment must first and foremost be directed by the PG child taking into consideration their passions and personal goals.
Twice-exceptional (2E) individuals are both gifted and experience emotional, behavioral or social issues. They can be cognitively, academically or creatively gifted, but fall in the lower end in their deficit area (Russo.) 2E children are found in every socioeconomic, cultural, racial and ethnic population. They are present in most school classrooms today. Common behaviors of 2E kids lead teachers and adults to see them as lazy, unmotivated, defiant and behaviorally disordered (Banks.) Because the DSM5 (diagnostic manual) doesn’t address twice-exceptionality, 2E children are trapped in a system of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis (Russo.)
What can parents do to help their 2E kids be successful? Take care of yourself first. Understand that you face challenges as a parent that other parents do not face and may not understand. Take time to experience relief and acknowledge that you do, in fact, know your child best. You may not have all the answers, but you are your child’s first advocate. Once your child is identified; educate yourself about twice-exceptionality. Seek out other parents and organizations which can support you and your child.
Most K12 educators have not been made aware of or given the tools to provide interventions for twice-exceptionality either at the undergraduate level or through PD. Advocacy most often falls on the parent. Because both conditions … giftedness and learning challenges … may mask each other, it is important to understand twice-exceptionality at a very deep level. Advocacy by parents for 2E students is vital and these kids see the utmost benefit from caring and appropriate accommodations. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: email@example.com
Rated PG: Profoundly Gifted (Audio 47:07)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.