Understanding Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

There are many reasons why teaching gifted children can be exciting as well as challenging. This lesson focuses on their tendency toward emotional intensity and how you can make sense of it.

Gifted Children and Emotion

Lately, Callie just does not want to go to school. She knows that what she will be working on in class is easy, and she is on top of her homework and prepared for tests. Still, every morning, she upsets her parents with her tantrums, anger, and despair about facing her day. At school, she often gets into sad funks, but sometimes the polar opposite happens and Callie's teachers see her practically exploding with excitement. None of the adults in Callie's life is sure what is going on with her.

Ever since she was much younger, Callie has been identified as a gifted child, or one with special talents or skills in one or more areas. As a fourth grader, Callie is beginning to exhibit the emotional intensity often thought to be characteristic of gifted children. Emotional intensity refers to extreme reactions to and enactments of emotion, whether positive or negative. The various adults in Callie's life come together to try to understand more about what is happening to Callie.

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