Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids Understanding and Guiding Their Development by Dr. Tracy L. Cross is a helpful and easy read that brings up issues many individuals inquire about in regards to guiding highly capable children. This book discusses some of the most argued upon myths in regards to gifted children and educational options; such as highly advanced students should be with their same aged peers at school, being highly capable is something they are just born with and last, but not least all kids are gifted, and not kids are gifted.
Described in this book, is the one myth in particular that is often most debated over: Is acceleration detrimental? Research indicates that only in rare instances are gifted children negatively affected socially or emotionally when they are accelerated. Many individuals support keeping highly capable students with their same age peers. While yes, professionals will publish their opinions, there is actually no research to support it.
One of the many valuable sections of this book is the research regarding highly capable adolescents and suicide. Professionals have questioned the relationship between highly gifted individuals and suicide for years now. Finally a resource is available that demonstrates that not enough research has been done and the research that is available demonstrates that there is not enough research to make any conclusions. This book does suggest that suicide among highly capable children has increased over the last decade; however, there is an increase of suicide among all young adults. “Given the limited data available, we can not ascertain whether the incidence of suicide among gifted adolescents is different from the incidence among the general population of adolescents.”
While raising any child can be exhausting, this book provides some helpful strategies that families may find helpful for guiding a highly capable child. Dr. Cross suggests that “despite a parents best efforts you can not prevent struggles and emotional turmoil form occurring in a child’s life.” However, there are some strategies that may be fruitful while guiding a highly gifted child in and outside of the home. Dr. Cross provides many different topics for discussion throughout each chapter that would be interesting topics of interests for families and parent groups. There are also over thirty-five pages of resources including gifted publications, state associations, and advocacy groups all over the world.
This book is not only a good resource for parents, but also a helpful tool for educators, counselors and anyone who is looking to recognize and respect the relationships between students' emotional, social and academic needs.
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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