Author’s note: Due to issues with the publishing platform the underlined text referenced in the paragraph below, appears bold.
A Washington Post blog that seemingly serves as a conduit for reposting other blog posts, recently asserted that gifted and talented students don’t develop “socially and emotionally faster than other children their age.” Continuing, the blogger asserts, “Their social and emotional needs are the same as their peers, though because they are academically gifted, many adults make the mistake of thinking they are more emotionally mature than they are.” The underlining was in the original blog post.
Perhaps, someone should have informed SENG. According to the webpage dedicated to the history of SENG, “[i]n 1981, SENG was formed to bring attention to the unique emotional needs of gifted children. It provided adults with guidance, information, resources, and a forum to communicate about raising and educating these children.”
A pervasive myth about academically gifted and talented children, the population that NAGC estimates is approximately 3 millionin grades K-12 in the U.S – approximately 6% of the student population, is that their “social and emotional needs are the same as their peers.”
While the social and emotional needs of students who are not identified “as geniuses, but as ready to work above grade level,” maybe “the same as their peers.” This approximately 40% of second graders are, apparently not what is contemplated by the law as gifted and talented. The Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Dr. Joshua Starr has been forthright in insisting that “only 3 to 5% of the population actually is truly gifted and talented.” That is not to say, that these students, the most potent and obvious manifestation of the system’s curricular deficiencies, shouldn’t have their academic needs met. The needs of these students, apparently limited to above-grade performance in math and English, should be met in the classroom or through acceleration.
Meanwhile, let us be clear that the students Dr. Starr classified as “truly gifted and talented,” do have social and emotional needs that are different from their peers. SENG dedicates a webpage to this topic. The NAGC’s book “The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know?,“concurs, stating “There is no research evidence to suggest that gifted and talented children are any less emotionally hardy than their age peers. There are, however, aspects of their life experiences due to their differences from other children and the fact that most of them demonstrate greater maturity in some domains than others that may put them at risk for specific kinds of social and emotional difficulties if their needs are unmet, etc”