Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities—Twice Exceptional
Yes, it is possible to be gifted and have learning disabilities—be a smart kid with school problems. This is known as being GT/LD or twice-exceptional. It can take on several different forms.
A student may be identified as gifted yet exhibit difficulties in school and may be considered an underachiever. Because he may be working at grade level, he may be overlooked by the screening procedures that are necessary to identify subtle learning disabilities. Underachievement is often attributed to poor self-concept, lack of motivation, or laziness. It is often not until school becomes more rigorous that academic difficulties increase to the point where the student falls considerably behind peers. Only then does someone consider the possibility of a disability.
A young person, who has been identified as having learning disabilities, may not be recognized for her strengths. Inadequate assessments and/or a depressed IQ score often leads to an underestimation of intellectual abilities. This student is noticed for what she cannot do instead of the strengths that she has.
A child may not be considered for services provided for students who are gifted or who have learning disabilities. This student may appear to be average because his abilities and disabilities mask one other. While the student typically performs at grade level, in reality, he is performing well below his potential.
Being twice-exceptional can be very frustrating for parents, teachers, and students—especially if there is a lack of understanding of the subject. Arming oneself with knowledge about the topic will enlighten and, hopefully, lead to coping strategies or modifications in learning techniques.
Prufrock's New Gifted Education Catalog
If it hasn't already arrived, Prufrock Press' gifted education catalog will be in your mailbox soon. My staff has been working long hours getting this season's newest releases ready. Prufrock is offering 14 new titles in our Fall 2006 Catalog!
If you aren't already on our catalog mailing list, simply fill out our online catalog request form
and receive a free catalog.
Exciting, New Gifted Education Books
From innovative teaching materials like Philosophy for Teens
and Super Smart Math
, to great professional resources like Best Practices in Gifted Education
and Strategies for Differentiating Instruction
, I believe that this is one of Prufrock strongest seasons for quality, research-based books supporting the education of gifted children.
I'll be blogging about these exciting new books in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can check out all of Prufrock's most recent releases in the "New Releases" section of our Web site
How many times have you heard stories about gifted students who either don’t get along socially or become frustrated and quit working on a project? There is much more our children/students need to learn than just academics. Reasoning, resilience, and responsibility (the other three R's) are among the important skills that are vital to our young people.
Many students are getting ready to start the new school year and many have already started. As we go forth with this new year, I’d like both teachers and parents to strongly consider incorporating the other three R's into their daily contact with kids.
The Other 3Rs Project
was created as a partnership between the American Psychological Association, Montgomery County Public Schools, and Vanderbilt University. It examined not only whether teaching the skills of reasoning, resilience, and responsibility had an impact on student learning, but on the effectiveness of teachers as well.
Experts have identified the other three R's as key problem solving skills that, when learned, can benefit student achievement and general life success strategies. The Other 3Rs Project developed a program for teaching teachers how to implement these skills into their academic curriculum. Parents should also realize that they can teach the skills at home through their family interactions.
Reasoning is defined as thinking that utilizes rules, whether they are implicit and/or explicit. What strategies would help me solve this problem?
Resilience is the ability to surmount challenges, both inside and outside of school. By teaching about resilience, we help young people to realize that:
- Challenges and difficulties are a normal part of life.
- Persistence/determination is needed. If at first I don't succeed I will try again.
- Obstacles are challenges to be overcome. Keep things in perspective. Think of challenges as opportunities for learning.
Responsibility causes one to be accountable for his own actions and inactions and the resulting consequences. By teaching responsibility, we help students see their:
Academic responsibility—Good grades result from my efforts. If I want to learn it's up to me.
Personal responsibility—It's up to me to make it happen. How I act matters.
Social responsibility—I care about what is good for all of us, not just for me.
Ability to give and seek help—Let’s help one another.
By teaching these skills, we will help our young people to do well academically, use good judgment, conduct themselves with appropriate behavior, get along with people, bounce back from the bumps of life, and be good citizens.
Gifted Young Artists
How can we as adults judge the artistic ability of young people—or should we be judging it at all? Does the rendering of realistic artwork when a child is young indicate that she has an artistic bent or is she just copying what she sees in her environment? What does it mean to be a gifted artist?
A very interesting exhibition, titled When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child
is on display at Washington’s prestigious Phillips Collection through September 10. The exhibition will also run from October 20 through December 31 at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
is the curator of this exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and other famous artists that were created when they were very young. Fineberg hung their works alongside dozens of richly imagined drawings and paintings by modern kids, ages 4 and up. In the article Artwork by Kids, Some Later Famous, Rates a Show of Its Own
, Fineberg offers some interesting insights on the misconceptions of many adults about young artists and also the development of artistic talent in kids. Among other things, he suggests that
- The demonstration or non-demonstration of artistic ability at a young age is not necessarily a predictor of one’s abilities as an adult.
- Those with real talent are often obsessed with drawing. It’s difficult for them to stop and do something else.
- Art can help a child express and examine things that they can’t put into words. In a sense, it helps them to gain control over their environment.
- Adults need to be careful not to impose their values and aspirations on a child and her artwork.
- Some feel that by the time a child is 10 or 11, he often loses his gift for drawing imaginatively. By then, he has figured out the rules and standards of the larger world and is trying to please others.
- Instructions should not be given a child in the realm of her fantasy.
- Kids who are four and five often are so unrepressed. They reveal inner feelings in their art that we try to deny ourselves.
- Adults can get very wrapped up in their own kids. Parents must be careful not to push a child into a place that the child doesn’t want to be, such as showing off or exhibiting his work or selling it. It is easy to do this because the parent has put too much of his own ambition into the child.
- Buy lots of cheap paper so you don’t feel like your kid is wasting it.
- If a child’s perfectionism is too great, they may be trying to please you or themselves too much. If that is the case, you need to talk with them about that.
Scholarships for Gifted Students on the Rise
In its August 21, 2006, issue, Time magazine ran a story titled, "Free Tuition for Smart Kids," addressing recent increases in merit based scholarships to universities nationwide. In just 10 years, the percentage of state-college grants awarded on the basis of merit have risen from just 10% to more than 25% (the remaining 75% going to needs-based grants).
According to the article, "The schools are simply following the times: these days even public colleges are obsessed with improving their rankings, which can be done in part by attracting high-scoring students with offers of an all-expenses-paid education."
Increased Opportunities for Gifted Kids From Lower-Income Communities
The article suggests that the trend will have a positive impact on gifted students from lower-income communities. Given both merit and need, such students will have many new opportunities open to them at the nations' best schools such as Harvard (where tuition is now more than $30,000 a year). The article explains, "lower-income communities are finding that their gifted kids can gain entry to the most expensive schools, perhaps helping pry open the austere gates of Harvard Yard a little wider in the process."
Giftedness and Sibling Rivalry
All families have the potential for sibling rivalry and jealousy. In families where one student is gifted and others are not, there is an even greater chance for friction. It is easy for one child to be left feeling more or less valued than another. Parents can help prevent this.
In Giftedness & Family Dynamics,
Deborah L. Ruf suggests that it is very helpful for parents to learn as much as they can about where each of their children fits on the intellectual continuum. It is not about being better or worse, or more or less valuable than a brother or sister. It is about each child's individual needs. These needs include finding one's own path and purpose, friendships, and sense of worth.
She believes that children will feel valued when parents get to know them well, work to make available what they need in order to thrive, and show them that they are valued for the very people that they are. We each want to be loved for our essence—not for what we do, not for our looks, not for how clever we are. All of these qualities can fade or disappear. If you can get the message across to your children that you love them for their essence, you have accomplished a great deal.
Bring to the attention of each of your children his strengths, whether they are academic strengths, personality traits, thinking ability, musical talent, etc. It is very likely that they will each have different strengths and it’s actually quite exciting that they are different. While your son may be very good at math, your daughter may be a great friend. While your son may keep his room very tidy, your daughter may love the piano.
In The Do's and Don'ts for Raising Gifted Kids
, again by Deborah L. Ruf, it is suggested that parents not hold a child up as an example for siblings or other children to emulate, compete with, or follow. Each person is unique and abilities affect interests and goals as much and often more than effort. Comparisons might make you child tone down her abilities so as not to feel freakish or disliked. Comparisons can put other children in an untenable, unfair position.
In Tips for Reducing Sibling Rivalry
, Sylvia Rimm says not to appoint your achiever to the role of tutor for your underachiever. It will serve only as a daily put-down for the other. The underachiever may not understand or be able to express those feelings. Children often say they appreciate the help, but "it makes me feel dumb."
Inexpensive SAT and ACT Test Preparation
Guest Post by: Lacy Elwood
About This Blog Entry's Guest Author
Lacy Elwood is one of Prufrock Press' editors. Lacy is the editor of Creative Kids Magazine and acts at the primary editor for many of Prufrock's parenting and education related books.
Preparing for College Entrance Exams
With the start of the fall semester swiftly approaching, college-bound students across the nation are gearing up to take the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. In 2005, 1.47 million students took the SAT. Another 2.1 million ACT tests were administered that year. Preparing for these exams has become the norm in the lives of many gifted high school students.
Reflecting these trends, several companies have popped up to offer preparatory programs for the tests. Whether students go to a local learning center, take the prep courses via the Internet, or simply opt to purchase a study guide from a local bookstore, preparing for the SAT or ACT test has become a must. However, choosing and selecting the right preparatory program is mostly a matter of taste and expense.
One option is to take a specific test prep course at a local learning center, college, or even through a school district. Kaplan and the Princeton Review are reputable companies for this type of service. Kaplan’s SAT Classroom Courses and the Princeton Review’s ACT Classroom Courses and SAT Classroom Courses are good options to check out. Courses can be costly, but the classroom atmosphere often helps some students concentrate on the task at hand.
Inexpensive Test Preparation Materials
Students and parents looking to save some money on preparatory programs should check out the Victory Sports Group Agency’s collaboration with eKnowledge LLC. In this program, NFL, NFL Europe, AFL, and CFL athletes have donated several million dollars worth of SAT and ACT preparatory programs. Students can receive the $200 DVD or CD-ROM courses free, by checking out http://sat.eknowledge.com/nation.asp (click "Order" on the left side of the Web site and enter sponsorship code "31585F21A6"). Parents must pay the cost of shipping and handling ($9.95), but it’s a cost that pales in comparison to some of the other programs available.
A great option for the busy student is to consider taking online courses or utilizing the various companies Web sites for review. Both the College Board and American College Testing, Inc. offer resources via their Web sites for students. The College Board’s SAT Preparation Center provides students with practice questions, test-taking tips, and a free tour of its online courses, and the ACT’s ACT Student Web page gives students test tips, sample tests, and links to its preparatory programs.
The Princeton Review’s Web site also offers a great resource: a checklist for figuring out which type of test prep course is best for each individual student. Whatever your students’ preferences, there’s an option out there ready to help them prepare for the college entrance exam.
Resources for Parents and Teachers of Gifted Children
I want to remind both parents and teachers that there are additional free resources on this Web site that are very helpful. In addition to this blog and the Gifted Education Blog
, Joel McIntosh, the publisher at Prufrock Press, has made available a number of articles, book excerpts, links, and upcoming events on this Web site.
- articles detailing gifted characteristics, definitions, and information about placement and programming;
- a glossary of terms;
- practical advice on parenting gifted children;
- book excerpts on understanding gifted children and smart kids with learning difficulties;
- information on perfectionism;
- articles on developing math, science, and writing talent;
- advice for college planning for gifted students;
- information on upcoming conferences; and
- links to state and national associations.
- information for teachers new to gifted child education;
- curriculum and teaching strategies for educating gifted children;
- articles on such topics as gifted students with disabilities and gifted girls;
- teaching strategies for language arts, science, and math;
- information on upcoming conferences; and
- links to state and national associations.
Also, if you want to find back entries about specific topics on this blog, enter your search terms in the box in the upper right-hand corner under "Search."
Please take time to check out these resources. Knowledge is power.