Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
They are called the "Conundrum Kids"...the students with exceptionally high ability who perform poorly in school. As the title suggests, these students are a puzzle for both parents and educators. One such student will have a high conceptual ability, but poor writing and spelling skills; another will be highly skilled in language arts with below average math skills; another student may demonstrate amazing artistic ability but face extreme difficulty with traditional academic subjects. "The discrepancies between the highs and lows are uncomfortable, even painful, for the student. The greater the degree of discrepancy, the more intense the discomfort: unexercised talents itch, unsupported weaknesses ache," say the authors.
Smart Kids With School Problems: Things to Know and Ways to Help by Priscilla L. Vail and Patricia Vail offers valuable insight and practical advice to teachers and parents regarding how to recognize and support the education of twice-exceptional students. The authors present ways to locate the roots of academic problems and provide methods to compensate or surmount them. Specific "dos and don'ts" for supporting learning disabled gifted students in school as well as at home are also spelled out. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles are examined as well as and the twice-exceptional student's psychological capacity for schoolwork. The book also includes positive personal accounts of twice-exceptional students who have become highly successful learners in school.
Parents and teachers will find Smart Kids With School Problems a highly useful tool for understanding the "Conundrum Kids." And even more important, they will learn how to help these students break out of the cycle of anger and frustration many experience when their academic performance fails to match their intellectual capabilities.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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