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Impact of Giftedness on Individuals, Families & Society

Instructor: Linda Winfree

Linda has taught English at grades 6-12 and holds graduate degrees in curriculum and teacher leadership.

In this lesson, you will learn about the impact of giftedness on individuals, families and society, including an overview of strategies to help families support their gifted learner.

Impact of Gifted Learners

Gifted learners bring much to the world around them, but being gifted and parenting a gifted child are not without challenges. As a gifted educator, you will want to be aware of these contributions and challenges while providing strategies to help the families of your gifted students.

The Gifted and Family

The impact of a gifted child on a family cannot be underestimated. If the parents are not gifted, the role of parenting an intellectually advanced child can be intimidating. Gifted children are often highly verbal and appear strong-willed, which can present a challenge for parents as they establish boundaries.

Parents must consider the educational needs and potential of the child, while not pushing a child too hard in an effort to ensure achievement. Finally, gifted children who are high achievers often face social struggles in school. Helping a child through these situations can be stressful for parents.

Sibling rivalry, in which siblings compete and often end up resenting one another, can arise when a gifted student has either gifted or non-gifted siblings. A gifted girl with a gifted sister may feel she doesn't measure up to her sister's achievements. An underachieving gifted brother may resent his achieving gifted brother's performance. Non-gifted siblings may resent the ease with which the gifted child learns or the perceived attention given to the gifted sibling.

The Gifted and Their World

Often, the impact of gifted students on their school, community and society is highly positive, although challenges certainly exist. In the school setting, the gifted bring a unique viewpoint to a learning community. Their passion for learning can be infectious, especially when they are placed with other advanced or high-achieving learners. One drawback of heterogeneous classrooms, in which gifted children are clustered with non-gifted learners, is that the ease with which gifted students master material may lower the motivation of students who don't learn as easily.

In their community and society, gifted children are often generous and committed to ideas of justice and fairness. They tend to seek activities and careers that allow them to give back to their world in some way. One argument for quality gifted education programs is to foster this trait as gifted children grow into gifted adults who benefit their society through their gifts and abilities. Gifted children may become scientists, doctors, lawyers, artists or pursue other professions with a positive impact.

Families: Strategies and Relationships

Realizing the possible stresses of gifted children on families, Hattie, who oversees gifted services for her district, meets with parents to introduce strategies that can help them understand and support their gifted learner. Once children have been identified for the system's gifted program, Hattie leads an orientation meeting, in which she provides an introduction to the world of giftedness. She reviews what it means to be gifted, services children can receive in the district, and the benefits and possible pitfalls of parenting a gifted child.

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