Special Populationson the young gifted child books

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Gifted Lives is a book which includes extensive research on twenty outstandingly gifted people in Britain that the author has followed for 35 years since they were children, variously aged five to 14 when she started, possessing a range in areas of giftedness. The author is Joan Freeman, a distinguished and lifetime award winning British psychologist working for the development of human abilities to their highest levels. This book investigates why some of the young gifted children succeeded and others did not. Freeman shows how their individual reactions to even very early experiences-including their parent's attitudes and actions toward them-continue to affect their lives as they enter middle-age. Their stories illustrate how seemingly harmless events could have devastating life-long effects. Freeman's writing throughout is controlled and objective, and reviews show that she ultimately increases the intensity of her stories by letting you see cleanly into each character's life without narrative contamination. This resource seems to be a definitive up-to-date work on the special population of the very young gifted and gives great insight into what they will become.

Galbraith, J., & Espeland, P. (2000). You know your child is gifted when … a beginner's guide to life on the bright side. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

This book by Judy Galbraith (award winning author and publisher) uses humorous cartoons and commentaries on giftedness to provide parents with information on the characteristics, challenges, and the joys of parenting a young gifted child. The "good, bad, and ugly" about each of the different characteristics of gifted children are shared, along with ways to help encourage the development of the child. Information is also provided on the differences between bright children and gifted children, how to identify gifted, labeling, multiple intelligences, perfectionism, relationships, teasing, self-esteem, and advocating for the child. Throughout the book, first-person stories from parents of children with giftedness offer the reader reassurance and insights. A list of related organizations and helpful web sites is also included. This book is great for parents, but it's also recommended for teachers, childcare providers, counselors, and others who work with very young gifted children.

Olszewski-Kublius, P., Limburg-Weber, L., & Pfeiffer, S. (2003). Early gifts: Recognizing and nurturing children's talents. Waco, TX: Prufrock.

This book is a practical resource that offers guidance for parents of gifted preschool and elementary-age children. Discussed in each chapter are early behaviors indicative of potential talent and how parents can create a home environment that both elicits and develops their child's special abilities through activities, games, and play. The authors address offer solid advice and guidance for parents of gifted and talented children of preschool and elementary school age. The book shows parents and educators ways to identify a child's area of talent; support and nurture that talent both at home and at school; and strategies parents can use to ensure their gifted child grows to be a happy, healthy adult. The authors are all known to be leading experts in the field of gifted and talented education one of whom serves as the executive director of Duke's Talent Identification Program.

Smutny, J. F., Walker, S. Y., & Meckstroth, E. A.(1997). Teaching young gifted children in the regular classroom: identifying, nurturing, and challenging ages 4-9. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Press.

In their book, Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom, the writing team of Smutny, Walker, and Meckstroth offer sound theory and real-world usefulness for meeting the educational needs of gifted 4- to 9-year-olds in general education classrooms. This creative guide inspires and enables teachers (and parents) with ways to identify gifted children early and gives advice on how to create a learning environment that supports all students effectively and immediately. The book includes frequently asked questions (and common sense answers), and many reproducible forms for teachers. The book also discusses individual learning styles; finding the balance between structure and creativity; coping skills for stress, sensitivity, and perfectionism; gifted kids from ethnic minorities; cooperative learning vs. clusters; and including parents as colleagues in their child's education experience. From identifying to serving, this publication (albeit fourteen years old) is filled with many practical ideas that makes it invaluable for educators in the preschool and primary grades and therefore was very important to add to the bibliography.

Videos

DeVito, D. (Director). (1996). Matilda [Motion picture]. United States: Sony Pictures.

In this extravagant fictional comedy, an intelligent young girl constantly experiences annoyance with her anti-intellectual family who does not appreciate her love of learning and desire to read through an extensive collection of books. When Matilda finally begins school, she is intimidated by the dictatorial principal, but she is enthralled with the opportunity to socialize with other children and to begin learning with her classroom teacher, Miss Honey, who recognizes Matilda's advanced intellect, and together the two build a close relationship. As Matilda continues to experience frustration with her parents and the school principal, she discovers she has clairvoyant powers. Though the content of the movie is absurd, the film's message that young children's intellectual abilities should be appreciated and nurtured is an appropriate one for guided viewing. Additionally, this film would be useful in addressing gifted elementary school children's need to find friends who identify with their intellect.

Zaillian, S. (Director). (1993). Searching for Bobby Fischer [VHS] [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount.

This movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer, tells the story of a world champion chess player. The story serves as a backdrop for an excellent movie focusing on talent development in young prodigies. The central character is a seven-year-old named Josh Waitzman who becomes intrigued with men playing chess in New York City's Washington Square. When his parents discover his fascination with the game and his natural gift for chess, his father succeeds at finding a chess teacher for his son. This video is a great resource for both teachers of the gifted and gifted children because it focuses on the gifts and talents of a precocious child who excels in his area of interest.

Journal Articles

Diezmann, Carmel M. & Watters, James J. (2000) Challenging the Young Gifted Child in Science and Mathematics: An Enrichment Strategy. TalentEd, 18(1), pp. 2-8.

Gross, M. U. M. (1999). Small poppies: Highly gifted children in the early years. Roeper Review, 21 (3), 207-214.

This article by Miraca Gross (director of Gifted Education Research in Sydney, Australia) is a classic on the development and needs of profoundly gifted children in infancy, toddlerhood and the preschool years. It discusses some of the trademarks of extreme intelligence in the very young. Gross discusses the under-identification of young highly-gifted children and describes the developmental differences in highly-gifted children. The problem that is discussed is the fact that highly gifted children are frequently placed at risk in the early years of school through inappropriate grade-placement and a seriously inadequate curriculum. She concludes her article by pushing the reader to see that highly gifted children are at risk in schools because the majority of teachers have had no access to training that would make them aware of the curricular and programming implications of levels or degrees of giftedness. This article was important to include (even though it did not fall in the year 2000 or beyond category) because it goes beyond what other articles listed here have researched. It looks not only at the young gifted child, but the profoundly gifted child and awakens readers to this underserved population.

Harrison, C. (2004). Giftedness in Early Childhood and Young Gifted Children - Their Search for Complexity and Connection. Roeper Review, 26, (2) 78-84.

This article by Dr. Cathie Harrison, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at ACU National, documents the author's journey with gifted children and their families. It begins by exploring the first weeks and months in the life of gifted children and their families. It then takes the reader through various stages and aspects of the early childhood experience of being a young gifted child. It looks into the aspects of play, learning and development and the notion of the search for complexity and connection as it impinges on both the intellectual and emotional and social domains. It moves on to looking at how the children and families experience their links with early childhood and school settings, community. This is an important research-based reference for both parents and early childhood teachers.

Peterson, Jean, Duncan, Nancy, Canady, Kate (Jan 2009). A Longitudinal Study of Negative Life Events, Stress, and School Experiences of Gifted Youth. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 34-49

This article is about an eleven year mixed-methods, cross-sectional longitudinal study that began with a group of 121 gifted children, and followed them until high-school graduation. Each year, the child's parents identified any negative life events that may have occurred, and, at graduation, students completed an open-ended questionnaire, focusing on events, impact of events, supports, and interferences during their school years. It was found that the students had experienced many negative events and situations during the school years but they usually cited academic challenges, school transitions, friendships, and overcommitment as their most challenging experiences, not life events. It was interesting to see that almost without exception the students maintained their high achievement. This study shows that gifted students may not communicate their worry to adults who are invested in their achievement or non-achievement. Adults that play an important role in this child's life should keep the findings in this study in mind as they interact with them. This study is similar to the book previously mentioned - Gifted Lives - because it shows the effect that giftedness can have on students from a young age until later on in life.

Pfeiffer, Steven I., Petscher, Yaacov (Jan 2008). Identifying Young Gifted Children Using the Gifted Rating Scales Preschool/ Kindergarten Form. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52, 19-29

This article reports on an analysis of a new teacher rating scale that was created to assist in the identification of gifted preschool and kindergarten students. This has proved in the past to be a difficult group to identify due to their young age. The Gifted Rating Scales--Preschool/Kindergarten Form (GRS-P) is "based on a multidimensional model of giftedness." The scale was found to be very effective as an instrument in identifying intellectual giftedness, regardless of whether an IQ cutoff score is used to define intellectual giftedness. The author is a professor at FSU and sits on the board of SENG (Serving the Emotional Needs of Gifted). This was an article that was important to include because the first step in serving the very young gifted is being able to accurately and efficiently identify them. Early recognition increases the probability of future extraordinary achievement and this article thoroughly explains one possible way of identifying them.

Rotigel, J. V. (2003). Understanding the young gifted child: Guidelines for parents, families, and educators. Early Childhood Education Journal, 30(4), 209-214

This article by Indiana University at Pennsylvania Professor, Jennifer Rotigel, looks into young gifted and talented children and how they learn and develop. The article is helpful as it includes suggestions and resources for teachers and parents on how to understand the child's unique needs when planning for their education and how to make sure the child is not developing unevenly. Adults must first define giftedness for themselves and recognize what kind of impact that it has on curriculum and instruction. Rotigel reminds readers that they (most likely as the teachers and parents) need to consider the unique needs of each child as they plan ways to nurture and educate these youngsters. The author provides suggestions for teachers and parents along with a variety of resources. This resource is effective because it puts parents and teachers on the same page together and encourages them to work together for the benefit of the young gifted child.

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