Gifted Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

April 2006

This is the book that we needed when our children were younger. Our babies were not born with labels on their foreheads, "Gifted - Handle With Care". We were often not even sure that our children were gifted; afraid to admit they might be; struggling to believe that we really knew them better than anyone else. What we did know was that our children seemed different from most others, and that this made us feel different too. In our isolation we had no idea that our experiences were quite normal for the families of gifted children: that we were part of a scattered community of people-like-us. It is the companionship of this community which our book hopes to provide: the reassurance that the parents, grandparents and other carers of gifted children are not on their own; that they do know their own children best; that it is possible to find a comfortable place for giftedness in their family lives.

Our subject matter is inevitably biased towards the problems that gifted children can face. Of course this should not be taken to imply that all gifted children will face all, or even any, of these problems. It is simply that their needs are brought mostly sharply into focus by the difficulties that some do encounter. There is also plenty here about the joys and advantages of being gifted or of having a gifted child, but the brutal fact is that there would be no book if that were the only side of the story. The positives are genuine and numerous, but the negatives are what provided the impetus for writing a book to support the families of gifted children.

Our aims in writing it are to help gifted children, their families and carers (including grown-up gifted children) to learn more about what is typical or normal for gifted and talented children; to shatter some of the myths about these children and their parents; to enhance their awareness of the emotional impact of giftedness; and thus to enable gifted children and their families to live more comfortably with their giftedness, shifting their focus from its challenges to its rewards and possibilities.

We hope very much that our book might act as a primer, not only as an introduction to the subject of gifted children, but also in detonating a great explosion of confidence in parents to ask for their gifted children's needs to be met, to live more comfortably with giftedness in their family lives and to resist the pressure to deny that part of themselves or their children.

"We must be open to the amazing insights and ideas of gifted children. We must listen to them and bravely enter into their world, and give them confidence in it. Then they will feel trusting enough to become a part of ours." (Michal Hambourg)

Contents

Introduction

Part 1: Gifted Children and their Families

1. What is Normal for a Gifted Child?

2. Giftedness in the Family

3. Beyond the Family

4. Giftedness and Schools

5. Gifted Children and Home Education

Part 2: Special Talents and Special Needs

6. Gifted Children with Special Needs

7. Gifted Children with Asperger Syndrome

8. Gifted Adolescents

9. What is it Like to be a Gifted Linguist?

10. Managing the Multi-talented Child

11. Giftedness and Creativity: Some Pointers

12. Musically Gifted Children

13. Effective Communication: The Way We Say It

Part 3: Conclusions

14. Living with Giftedness

References

Index

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