Addressing counseling needs of gifted students.Counseling concerns of highly able students may reflect characteristics associated with giftedness. Yet school counselor A school counselor is a counselor and educator who works in schools, and have historically been referred to as "guidance counselors" or "educational counselors," although "Professional School Counselor" is now the preferred term. training programs give scant attention to this phenomenon and to the social and emotional development of these students. School counselors therefore may be unaware of and unequipped Adj. 1. unequipped - without necessary physical or intellectual equipment; "guerrillas unequipped for a pitched battle"; "unequipped for jobs in a modern technological society" to respond to these concerns. Referencing scholarly literature related to giftedness as both asset and burden, the author explores school counselors' potential roles in responding to the needs of gifted students.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a recent unpublished study (Peterson, 2005) of school counseling graduate programs (53% response rate) accredited accredited
recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g. by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, preparatory curricula give little or no attention to the unique developmental concerns and counseling issues related to high ability. Only 62% of programs gave any attention at all in their entire preparatory program, and 47% devoted three or fewer contact hours. Such little emphasis on the overlay (1) A preprinted, precut form placed over a screen, key or tablet for identification purposes. See keyboard template.
(2) A program segment called into memory when required. of characteristics associated with giftedness on social and emotional development, on both assets and burdens of high capability, and on the need for differential counseling responses suggests that school counselors may not understand or respond appropriately to counseling concerns of those students. Furthermore, like other educators who may be unaware of complex affective affective /af·fec·tive/ (ah-fek´tiv) pertaining to affect.
1. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions; emotional.
2. concerns of gifted students, school counselors may have attitudes and biases that preclude trusting relationships, and therefore effective work, with them (Peterson, 2006b).
Positive media stereotypes and school images of intellectually gifted students usually do not make a compelling argument that there are, in fact, a multitude of social and emotional concerns in this population. Associating the words disability or risk or needs with the idea of giftedness simply may not resonate res·o·nate
v. res·o·nat·ed, res·o·nat·ing, res·o·nates
1. To exhibit or produce resonance or resonant effects.
2. with educators, including school counselors. Yet pertinent research and clinical evidence support the idea that counseling approaches, when working with gifted children and adolescents, should be adjusted to accommodate their abilities and needs, both the proactive, developmentally oriented guidance and the responsive services related to personal crises, as advocated by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA ASCA American School Counselor Association
ASCA Australian Shepherd Club of America
ASCA Arab Society of Certified Accountants
ASCA American Swimming Coaches Association
ASCA American Society of Consulting Arborists
ASCA Association of State Correctional Administrators , 2005) for all students. Unfortunately, and perhaps most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially , highly able students' serious concerns may be invisible, certainly not easily demonstrated when arguing for services (Jackson & Peterson, 2003; Lovecky, 1994; Peterson, 2002). In general, their counseling needs may be outside of the awareness of teachers and school counselors until one of the well endowed en·dow
tr.v. en·dowed, en·dow·ing, en·dows
1. To provide with property, income, or a source of income.
a. suddenly underachieves in middle school, drops out of college, develops an eating disorder eat·ing disorder
Any of several patterns of severely disturbed eating behavior, especially anorexia nervosa and bulimia, seen mainly in female teenagers and young women. , or commits suicide. Even then, those individuals may be viewed simply as aberrations in a population perceived to be mentally healthy, self-directed, and basically self-sufficient.
This article will offer pertinent information from scholarly literature about social and emotional concerns related to giftedness. Underachievement, a common presenting issue, will be discussed at length. Finally, this discussion will focus on pertinent counseling approaches presented in scholarly literature and other recommendations for school counselors.
HOW DIFFERENT ARE GIFTED STUDENTS?
Regardless of the level of their actual academic achievement, and regardless of cutoff scores for identification in their particular school, gifted students are at the upper end of the bell curve of school abilities. Important for teachers and counselors to understand is that students so identified are as different from their average-ability peers in intellectual processing as are the students in the same small percent at the opposite end of the continuum. At the upper end, the "tail" can continue for a long distance, representing increasingly extreme difference. A profoundly gifted child gifted child
Child naturally endowed with a high degree of general mental ability or extraordinary ability in a specific domain. Although the designation of giftedness is largely a matter of administrative convenience, the best indications of giftedness are often those is not likely to have intellectual peers at school--and may have few in the entire nation (see Gross, 1993).
At both ends of the school-ability continuum, students have a difficult time connecting to interaction and instruction in a heterogeneous classroom unless a high level of differentiated curricula is in place (Tomlinson, 2004). Tempo, content, vocabulary level, level of abstraction The level of complexity by which a system is viewed. The higher the level, the less detail. The lower the level, the more detail. The highest level of abstraction is the single system itself. , encouragement of critical thinking--these are among many aspects of classroom interaction that may be frustrating frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: and uncomfortable for students with high ability, particularly at grade levels where honors, accelerated, or college-preparatory classes are not yet available. Even in kindergarten, bright, capable children may find school unreceptive and unresponsive unresponsive Neurology adjective Referring to a total lack of response to neurologic stimuli to their knowledge and talents (Rimm, 2003). Discomfort related to poor fit may continue throughout the school years. Consequent social and emotional difficulties may arise.
Curricula, conceptions of intelligence, measurement, and characteristics of giftedness have received considerable focus in research related to education of gifted students. Neihart, Reis, Robinson, and Moon's (2002) compilation of research related to social and emotional development of gifted individuals attended to acceleration, attributions, gender differences, cultural differences, creativity, learning disabilities, deficits in attention, motivation, career development, underachievement, and asynchronous Refers to events that are not synchronized, or coordinated, in time. The following are considered asynchronous operations. The interval between transmitting A and B is not the same as between B and C. The ability to initiate a transmission at either end. development (e.g., cognitive development outpacing social and emotional development, Silverman, 1997). Findings in these areas have implications for social and emotional development, of course.
However, Moon (2003) noted the heavy emphasis in the field on achievement outcomes, to the neglect of "other important outcomes, such as happiness, well-being, and life satisfaction" and "helping students develop self-awareness and skills in decision making and self-regulation" (p. 16). Actually, school counselors, gifted-education and classroom teachers (Peterson, 2003), and university-based counseling centers serving gifted youth (Colangelo & Assouline, 2000) can provide appropriate services, and parent groups (Webb & DeVries, 1993) can indirectly offer support. Private and agency counselors (Mahoney, 1997; Mendaglio, 2005) also can provide services for gifted individuals that are as tailored to individual needs and developmental levels as are services for others. In this case, approaches are selected with exceptional ability and related characteristics and concerns in mind. Yet counseling issues and approaches generally have received little attention in the scholarly literature related to giftedness (Reis & Moon, 2002). Characteristics associated with high capability may contribute to counseling needs regardless of culture or socioeconomic status socioeconomic status,
n the position of an individual on a socio-economic scale that measures such factors as education, income, type of occupation, place of residence, and in some populations, ethnicity and religion. .
Among several issues related to educating and counseling gifted students, it is important for school counselors to be aware of identification practices, because problems inherent in these may be related to counseling concerns. Large numbers of bright, sensitive, creative, and insightful children and adolescents, representing the full range of cultural and socioeconomic contexts, may not be identified for programs for gifted and talented students (Birely & Genshaft, 1991; Ford, 1996). Yet these students might especially benefit from having their gifts affirmed and nurtured through participation in a program (Peterson, 1997).
A standardized test A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a standard manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent"  often serves as the gateway to participation (Coleman, Gallagher, & Foster, 1994). However, classroom teachers may be asked to refer students for evaluation whose scores on the standardized tests used for initial screening did not qualify them. When teachers consider potential nominees, cultural factors may then play a role, because cultural values have an impact on classroom behavior, teacher-student relationships, students' fit in the school environment, and identification of students for special programs (Peterson, 1999). In one ethnographic eth·nog·ra·phy
The branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures.
eth·nog study (Peterson & Margolin, 1997), themes in the language of dominant-culture teachers, as they explained nominations of children in their classrooms for a hypothetical gifted program, reflected dominant-culture values. Their ad hoc For this purpose. Meaning "to this" in Latin, it refers to dealing with special situations as they occur rather than functions that are repeated on a regular basis. See ad hoc query and ad hoc mode. criteria (as reflected in the themes of good behavior Orderly and lawful action; conduct that is deemed proper for a peaceful and law-abiding individual.
The definition of good behavior depends upon how the phrase is used. , verbal assertiveness assertiveness /as·ser·tive·ness/ (ah-ser´tiv-nes) the quality or state of bold or confident self-expression, neither aggressive nor submissive. , perceived work ethic work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
a belief in the moral value of work , social status, and social skills) might preclude identification of children from cultures that do not value verbal assertiveness and "standing out," as well as students with low English proficiency, behavior problems, low socioeconomic status, and poor social skills.
Limiting participation to students who achieve well on group tests and in the classroom also leaves out highly able students whose difficult life circumstances, skeptical attitudes about school, lack of parental support (Peterson, 1997), learning and physical disabilities (Olenchak & Reis, 2002), depression (Jackson, 1998), behavior problems (Neihart, 2002a), and even temporary or chronic illness might preclude optimal test performance. Regardless of whether their circumstances may change during or after the school years, opportunities for crucial affirmation and support are lost. Teachers and even school counselors may not recognize their ability, even if behavior problems and emotional distress emotional distress n. an increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsuits for injury due to the negligence or intentional acts of another. Originally damages for emotional distress were only awardable in conjunction with damages for actual physical harm. bring these students to their attention.
Sensitivity, intensity, drivenness (Lovecky, 1992), and developmental asynchrony asynchrony /asyn·chro·ny/
1. lack of synchronism; disturbance of coordination.
2. occurrence at distinct times of events normally synchronous; disturbance of coordination.asyn´chronous (Silverman, 1997), rather than disability or pathology or a "bad attitude," may actually be at the root of behavior problems. In general, school counselors and other mental health professionals may not recognize that these may be related to giftedness (Webb et al., 2005). Such misinterpretation of behaviors can lead to emotional distress (Moon, 2003), and stress can contribute to depression and anxiety. Some troubled gifted students may self-medicate with substances (Peterson, 1998).
In summary, school counselors should be aware that intellectually gifted and otherwise highly talented nonmainstream students may not be identified either by standardized tests or by teacher nominations. It is important that school counselors be alert to abilities that become evident through guidance-related contact or examination of school records over time. Gifted students may be at risk for poor outcomes for a variety of reasons (Peterson, 1997, 2002), and giftedness in itself can be a risk factor. Lack of affirmation from self and others regarding high capability may actually be a presenting issue and can be addressed in counseling.
Educators, including school counselors, may not have considered that highly able students have concerns related to social and emotional development, and that collectively they may experience development in a qualitatively different way than do others their age. Important for school counselors to understand is that even during unsettling un·set·tle
v. un·set·tled, un·set·tling, un·set·tles
1. To displace from a settled condition; disrupt.
2. To make uneasy; disturb.
v.intr. developmental experiences, these students may not feel permission or inclination to express concerns (Peterson, 2002, 2003). Students who excel academically and in cocurricular co·cur·ric·u·lar
Complementing but not part of the regular curriculum: The civics class sponsored a voter registration drive as a cocurricular activity. activities, who appear socially and emotionally well balanced, and whose families are educated and economically comfortable may need no less counseling attention than those who do not have socioeconomic advantages or who perform less well in school. After all, gifted achievers are not exempt from issues often associated with the school years: family conflict, parental separation and divorce, blending and reblending of families, relocation, altered economic circumstances, parental substance abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect, for example. In addition, stressful life events such as the death of someone close, friends moving away, accidents, illnesses, and difficulties with peer relationships may occur. Characteristics associated with giftedness, such as psychic overexcitabilities (Piechowski, 1999), may in fact make these significant circumstances especially difficult to cope with (Piechowski, 1997). However, academic pressures and heavy commitment to activities may have equal or even greater impact on well-being (Peterson, Duncan, & Canady, 2006).
A broad clinical population of gifted school-age youth is difficult to access for research, because counseling centers serving exclusively high-ability clientele appear to be in short supply, according to a former chair of the Counseling and Guidance Division of the National Association for Gifted Children The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an association in the United Kingdom for gifted and talented children, and their parents. They offer training and courses, and publish academic research in relevant areas of education. (E. Amend, personal communication, December 10, 2005). Thus, it is difficult to ascertain what are common concerns of school-age gifted individuals and what counseling approaches are effective. Not only have counseling needs and approaches not been studied extensively, but, given the continuing problems with identification, it is possible that research samples have not been inclusive enough to attest To solemnly declare verbally or in writing that a particular document or testimony about an event is a true and accurate representation of the facts; to bear witness to. To formally certify by a signature that the signer has been present at the execution of a particular writing so as to the breadth of counseling concerns.
There is a general lack of research consensus regarding whether giftedness is related to greater or fewer counseling needs than those who are not identified as gifted (Neihart, 1999). However, whether these differences exist, counselors should consider the salience sa·li·ence also sa·li·en·cy
n. pl. sa·li·en·ces also sa·li·en·cies
1. The quality or condition of being salient.
2. A pronounced feature or part; a highlight.
Noun 1. of giftedness to interpersonal difficulties, stress, depression, and career indecision Indecision
ass unable to decide between two haystacks, he would starve to death. [Fr. Philos.: Brewer Dictionary, 154]
his irresolution usually leads to catatonia. [Am. Lit. , for example. Moon and Hall (1998) noted that "gifted children, especially the most highly talented, often need specialized counseling services to deal with psychological problems related to their giftedness and actualize their potential" (p. 59). Moon, Kelly, and Feldhusen (1997) found that parents, educators, and counseling professionals all believed that gifted and talented youth need differentiated counseling services--that is, attuned at·tune
tr.v. at·tuned, at·tun·ing, at·tunes
1. To bring into a harmonious or responsive relationship: an industry that is not attuned to market demands.
2. to concerns related to giftedness.
Giftedness as Both Asset and Burden
As asset. Several studies have supported the perception that giftedness is an asset socially and emotionally. Baker (1995) and Scholwinski and Reynolds (1985) are among those who have found positive associations between high intellect and ability to cope with stressors. Researchers routinely note that intelligence is a factor of resilience (e.g., Higgins, 1994), and Neihart's (2002b) review of research noted that other characteristics associated with giftedness also mitigate the negative effects of adversity ad·ver·si·ty
n. pl. ad·ver·si·ties
1. A state of hardship or affliction; misfortune.
2. A calamitous event. : problem-solving abilities, a sense of humor Noun 1. sense of humor - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humour, humor, humour , moral regard, and involvement with a talent or hobby, for example. Others have found positive associations in regard to self-confidence (Ablard, 1997), behavior problems (Ludwig & Cullinan, 1984), cooperative play patterns (Lupkowski, 1989), anxiety (Scholwinski & Reynolds), and self-awareness (Jacobs, 1971).
Other studies have found no differences between gifted children and those not identified as gifted--for example, in self-concept (Tong tong 1
tr.v. tonged, tong·ing, tongs
To seize, hold, or manipulate with tongs.
[Back-formation from tongs. & Yewchuck, 1996), distress and maladjustment maladjustment /mal·ad·just·ment/ (mal?ah-just´ment) in psychiatry, defective adaptation to the environment.
1. Faulty or inadequate adjustment.
2. (LoCicero & Ashby, 2000), and coping with stressors, although gifted individuals used problem-solving strategies more often (Preuss & Dubow, 2003). Neihart (1999) reviewed studies of depression among gifted children (e.g., Baker, 1993) and concluded that they exhibited similar or lower levels of depression and similar levels of suicidal ideation suicidal ideation Suicidality Psychiatry Mental thoughts and images which hinge around committing suicide. See Suicide. when compared with children not identified as gifted. A study of gifted victims and perpetrators of bullying (Peterson & Ray, 2006a, 2006b) found that prevalence was similar to that in studies of the general population. Most important, these conclusions warn educators and counselors that gifted students are probably as likely to need assistance in these areas as other students are, certainly an important consideration that counters common assumptions. However, gifted individuals may be reluctant to ask for help when they need it (Peterson, 2002; Peterson & Rischar, 2000).
As burden. Until recently, the burdens of giftedness received little attention (Yoo & Moon, 2006), although numerous research studies have illuminated non-asset aspects of giftedness. Comparative studies have found higher levels of anxiety (Tong & Yewchuk, 1996) and perfectionism per·fec·tion·ism
A tendency to set rigid high standards of personal performance.
per·fection·ist adj. & n. (Schuler, 1997). Noncomparative studies have noted heightened sensitivity (Hebert, 2000), loneliness (Kaiser & Berndt, 1985), social isolation (Gross, 1993), suicide (Cross, Gust-Brey, & Ball, 2002), distress related to sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. (Peterson & Rischar, 2000), vulnerability related to creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996), and depression in profoundly gifted youth (Jackson & Peterson, 2003). In addition, a study of gifted college students with learning disabilities (Reis, Neu, & McGuire, 1997) revealed histories of painful school experiences, including punishment for slow work, grade retention, placement in special education classes with students identified as mentally retarded Noun 1. mentally retarded - people collectively who are mentally retarded; "he started a school for the retarded"
developmentally challenged, retarded , and negative responses by teachers and peers.
Clinical reports have discussed a number of additional concerns for gifted students, many related to development. Feelings of loss associated with family changes (e.g., structure, location), altered friendships, and even moving to a new developmental stage may be exacerbated by sensitivities (see Piechowski, 1997). Some gifted adolescents also may feel no permission to differentiate from family as they struggle with identity, (Peterson, 2002). High achievers may experience high levels of stress related to expectations of self and others, high levels of involvement in activities, heavy academic loads, and decisions and anticipations related to entering postsecondary education (Peterson et al., 2006).
Because they are able to perceive the complexity of situations, anticipate difficulties, and imagine the ideal, cognitively precocious pre·co·cious
Showing unusually early development or maturity.
pre·cocity , pre·co young children may struggle with existential ex·is·ten·tial
1. Of, relating to, or dealing with existence.
2. Based on experience; empirical.
3. Of or as conceived by existentialism or existentialists: questions and theological concerns and may feel overwhelmed o·ver·whelm
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.
a. and depressed as they contemplate present and future (Peterson, 2000b; Piechowski, 1997). High ability also has been associated with active identity exploration (Erikson, 1968), and the latter has been linked to conflict with parents and others in authority (Kidwell, Dunham, Bacho, Pastorino, & Portes, 1995). Behaviors reflecting characteristics of giftedness that are not understood by parents, educators, and counselors may be pathologized inappropriately (Webb et al., 2005). Because of asynchronous development (Silverman, 1993), social justice issues, natural disasters, and war may be particularly unsettling, just as great expectations from self and others may be. When puberty puberty (py`bərtē), period during which the onset of sexual maturity occurs. arrives, or perhaps long before that, gifted students may struggle with strange thoughts and feelings but fear that mentioning their concerns to someone would be "too much." Emotions may feel frighteningly fright·en
v. fright·ened, fright·en·ing, fright·ens
1. To fill with fear; alarm.
2. uncontrollable, challenging the sense of environmental control that high verbal ability and intellect normally afford (Peterson, 1998). Gifted youth may not have opportunities for normalizing these thoughts and feelings (Delisle, 1992), and they may perceive, accurately, that significant adults' attention is riveted on their performance (Peterson, 2003).
If many gifted youth are not inclined to ask for help, perhaps it is because they are concerned with protecting an image of excellence, do not want to disappoint dis·ap·point
v. dis·ap·point·ed, dis·ap·point·ing, dis·ap·points
1. To fail to satisfy the hope, desire, or expectation of.
2. those who are highly invested in them, or simply believe that they should be able to "figure it out"--even when experiencing significant depression (Peterson, 1998). Findings in Peterson and Rischar's (2000) qualitative study of gifted young adults who were gay, lesbian, bisexual bisexual /bi·sex·u·al/ (-sek´shoo-al)
1. pertaining to or characterized by bisexuality.
2. an individual exhibiting bisexuality.
3. pertaining to or characterized by hermaphroditism.
4. , or transgendered transgendered adjective Relating to a person who has undergone genital/sexual reassignment surgery Transgender health issues Hormonal therapy, cosmetic surgery, fertility options–eg, egg and sperm banking. See Sexual reassignment. Cf Transsexual. raised awareness that distress can be masked--even by hyperachievement. Also pertinent here is the finding in that study that only one-third of the 83% of the subjects who had experienced significant depression told their parents about their distress, and none confided in teachers. Of the 72% who had been suicidal su·i·cid·al
1. Of or relating to suicide.
2. Likely to attempt suicide. , only 31% told their parents, and none told teachers. However, of the 78% who had experienced counseling, 79% perceived counselors as helpful, a finding especially important for school counselors to consider.
A complex population. Low academic achievement is understandably a more common concern than is high achievement. In fact, underachievement was the most common presenting issue at a university-based clinic geared to gifted youth and their families (Colangelo, 2003). In schools where strong academic performance is required to be eligible for participation in programs for gifted students, gifted underachiever might even be seen as an oxymoron. In addition, contradictions and inconsistencies regarding what characterizes gifted underachievers create confusion about the complex phenomenon. In some studies, for example, underachievement has been associated with low self-concept (Van Boxtel & Monks, 1992), but others have found that underachievers do not have lower self-concepts than do achievers. McCoach and Siegle (2003) found achiever-underachiever differences in motivation, self-regulation, goal valuation, and attitudes toward school and teachers, but not in academic self-concept. Family environment and parental style (e.g., Baker, Bridger, & Evans, 1998; Rimm, 2003) have been discussed as contributing to underachievement, but one study (Green, Fine, & Tollefson, 1988) found that families of underachievers were not classified as dysfunctional any more often than were those with achievers.
What is it? According to Reis and McCoach (2000), labeling someone as an underachiever implies a value judgment as to the value of various goals, priorities, and accomplishments. Underachievement is most commonly defined as discrepancy between potential and performance, although simply failure to self-actualize also has been offered as a definition.
Delisle (1992) differentiated between underachieving and nonproductive non·pro·duc·tive
1. Not yielding or producing: nonproductive land.
2. Not engaged in the direct production of goods: nonproductive personnel.
n. , noting that nonproducers have confidence in their abilities, whereas underachievers have low self-esteem and a dependent style of learning, with underachievers being at more psychological risk than nonproducers. Mandel and Marcus (1995) discussed six typical underachiever styles, based on their clinical work: Coasters, Anxious Underachievers, Identity Searchers, Wheeler-Dealers, Sad Underachievers, and Defiant de·fi·ant
Marked by defiance; boldly resisting.
Adj. 1. Underachievers. Rimm (2003) differentiated between dependent and dominant underachievers. Reis and McCoach (2000) presented descriptive findings in a summary of underachievement research, including personality characteristics such as alienation, withdrawal, distrust, pessimism pessimism, philosophical opinion or doctrine that evil predominates over good; the opposite of optimism. Systematic forms of pessimism may be found in philosophy and religion. , anxiety, impulsivity, inattention in·at·ten·tion
Lack of attention, notice, or regard.
Noun 1. inattention - lack of attention
basic cognitive process - cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge , hyperactivity hyperactivity, excessive physical activity of emotional or physiological origin, usually seen in young children; one of the components of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. , distractibility distractibility Psychiatry The inability to maintain attention; shifting from one area or topic to another with minimal provocation Significance Sign of organic impairment, or a part of a functional disorder–eg, anxiety states, mania, or schizophrenia , aggression, hostility, resentment, passive-aggression, a social orientation, and social immaturity. Internal mediators included fear of failure, negative attitudes toward school, antisocial antisocial /an·ti·so·cial/ (-so´sh'l)
1. denoting behavior that violates the rights of others, societal mores, or the law.
2. denoting the specific personality traits seen in antisocial personality disorder. attitudes, fear of success, an external locus of control locus of control
A theoretical construct designed to assess a person's perceived control over his or her own behavior. The classification internal locus indicates that the person feels in control of events; external locus , perfectionism, and differential thinking skills and styles. Maladaptive Maladaptive
Unsuitable or counterproductive; for example, maladaptive behavior is behavior that is inappropriate to a given situation.
Mentioned in: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy strategies included a lack of goal-directed behavior; poor coping skills A coping skill is a behavioral tool which may be used by individuals to offset or overcome adversity, disadvantage, or disability without correcting or eliminating the underlying condition. Virtually all living beings routinely utilize coping skills in daily life. , including focusing on reducing short-term stress at the expense of long-term success; poor self-regulation; and defense mechanisms.
Numerous factors have been associated with underachievement, with implications especially for the middle school years. For example, Baum, Owen, and Dixon (1991) suggested that strong oral verbal skills may contribute to carelessness and a lack of organization in written work, especially when assignments become longer in the middle school years. In addition, the reality that gifted children usually bring prior knowledge into most academic work may mean that in foreign language and high-level math and science classes, for example, where symbol systems and sounds are new, gifted children and adolescents may initially doubt their ability (see Dweck, 1986). Exceptional verbal ability in elementary school elementary school: see school. also may set the stage for later underachievement, because the ability to engage a teacher during the early school years may diminish in the context of departmentalized instruction at the secondary level. Then, subjective attributes are likely to have less impact (Saunders, in press).
In important contrast are positive attributes that have been associated with underachievement (Reis & McCoach, 2000). Intense outside interests and commitment to self-selected work (Baum, Renzulli, & Hebert, 1995), creativity (Ford, 1996), and integrity related to rejecting unchallenging work (Reis, 1998) are all aspects that can help school counselors reframe Re`frame´
v. t. 1. To frame again or anew. what is otherwise seen as negative.
Prognosis. Adults who are highly invested in underachievers may despair that doors to a productive future will be closed for underachievers. Several studies have explored whether that is the case. McCall, Evahn, and Kratzer (1992) studied more than 6,000 achievers and underachievers for 13 years after high school and found comparatively poor outcomes in postsecondary education and in the work world for underachievers, particularly those who lacked high educational and occupational expectancies and whose families were not highly educated. However, Peterson (2001b) found that some extreme underachievers made significant positive changes late in their 20s and even in their mid-30s. Studying high school underachievers, Peterson and Colangelo (1996) found both episodic episodic
sporadic; occurring in episodes. e. falling a paroxymal disorder described in Cavalier King Charles spaniels in which affected dogs, starting at an early age, experience episodes of extensor rigidity, possibly brought on by stress. e. and chronic underachievement in a study of the school files of gifted achievers and underachievers, with 20% of underachievers reversing academic underachievement before graduation. A follow-up study 4 years later (Peterson, 2000a) found that 87% of the underachievers had indeed attended college, 52% had attended for 4 years, and 41% had improved academically after high school. However, school counselors should be aware that, though these findings offer hope to underachievers and those who are concerned about them, the phenomenon of underachievement remains perplexing per·plex
tr.v. per·plexed, per·plex·ing, per·plex·es
1. To confuse or trouble with uncertainty or doubt. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. To make confusedly intricate; complicate. . The above studies also suggest that complex developmental and contextual factors might be involved in reversal.
A few studies of underachievers represent movement toward "linkages and flow of causality causality, in philosophy, the relationship between cause and effect. A distinction is often made between a cause that produces something new (e.g., a moth from a caterpillar) and one that produces a change in an existing substance (e.g. among these different characteristics and student achievement" (Reis & McCoach, 2000, p. 205). Several developmental studies call attention to issues and supportive factors that school counselors can be alert to when working with gifted underachievers. For instance, out-of-school interests, personal changes, and being able to pursue topics of interest were among factors associated with reversing underachievement in one retrospective study retrospective study,
a study in which a search is made for a relationship between one phenomenon or condition and another that occurred in the past (e.g. of underachievement (Emerick, 1992). In another retrospective study (Peterson, 2001b), which focused on professionally successful adults who once were adolescent underachievers, having achieving mentors and models was important, "feistiness" in response to difficult family circumstances was an asset for females, and an achievement-oriented peer milieu mi·lieu
n. pl. mi·lieus or mi·lieux
1. The totality of one's surroundings; an environment.
2. The social setting of a mental patient.
[Fr.] surroundings, environment. also predicted later success. Counselors might keep these findings in mind when working with gifted underachievers, offer them as reason for optimism about the possibility of positive change, and offer support for underachievers during personally challenging periods of development.
Peterson's follow-up study (2000a) and two qualitative 4-year longitudinal studies longitudinal studies,
n.pl the epidemiologic studies that record data from a respresentative sample at repeated intervals over an extended span of time rather than at a single or limited number over a short period. (2001a, 2002) explored underachievement in terms of developmental task accomplishments. In the longitudinal studies, convergence of developmental task accomplishments was associated with motivation for academic achievement. Resolving family conflict, probably a common counseling issue in general, was always one of the accomplishments when developmental successes converged. Peterson's (2006a) 12-year longitudinal study longitudinal study
a chronological study in epidemiology which attempts to establish a relationship between an antecedent cause and a subsequent effect. See also cohort study. of a gifted survivor of multiple traumas multiple trauma,
n a number of injuries sustained during the same accident or assault. found impact on both social and emotional development and academic performance, but the subject's intelligence and ability to engage support from others, including counselors, were factors of resilience. Grobman's (in press) recent study of extraordinarily talented psychiatric patients who presented with significant depression and self-sabotaging behavior also underscores that developmental tasks related to identity and relationships may be related to underachievement. Asynchronous development also might play a role, because socially and emotionally the subjects may not be prepared to cope with either intense adulation ad·u·la·tion
Excessive flattery or admiration.
[Middle English adulacioun, from Old French, from Latin ad or their own sense of power (J. Grobman, personal communication, November 12, 2005).
RESPONDING TO CONCERNS
There is little in the research literature, in terms of approach, to guide the process of counseling for gifted students, although advocates have argued for differential counseling approaches (Colangelo, 2003; Moon et al., 1997; Silverman, 1993), including considering the overlay of giftedness in the areas of academic planning, life and career planning, and psychosocial psychosocial /psy·cho·so·cial/ (si?ko-so´shul) pertaining to or involving both psychic and social aspects.
Involving aspects of both social and psychological behavior. counseling (Van Tassel-Baska, 1998). Probably most critical is that school counselors be part of a continuing process of discovery about the social and emotional development of gifted youth and about approaches to counseling them, including across cultures and socioeconomic levels. Researchers who study giftedness generally have not explored the prevalence of; factors associated with, and the subjective experience of, for example, eating disorders eating disorders, in psychology, disorders in eating patterns that comprise four categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, rumination disorder, and pica. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity. , self-mutilation, substance abuse, sexual abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder obsessive-compulsive disorder
Mental disorder in which an individual experiences obsessions or compulsions, either singly or together. An obsession is a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an unreasonable idea or feeling (such as of being contaminated through shaking , parent-child conflict, arrested development, physical disability, and response to life events (e.g., loss and grief, divorce, serious illness, accident, relocation). However, school counselors should be alert to these phenomena when working with gifted students, even when focused on academic, life, and career planning. In general, highly able students, though able to compensate for or disguise many concerns, and though often wanting to solve their problems independently, can be responsive clients (Thompson & Rudolph, 1996).
Rather than focusing on specific traditional counseling approaches, the following suggests that gifted children and adolescents are well served when school counselors, perhaps collaboratively with gifted-education personnel, acknowledge potential concerns and provide opportunities to relate with peers noncompetitively, normalize normalize
to convert a set of data by, for example, converting them to logarithms or reciprocals so that their previous non-normal distribution is converted to a normal one. developmental challenges, and gain communication skills. In that regard, a developmental template is an important framework for school counselors when conceptualizing concerns of gifted students. Significant adults in their lives may focus largely on academic or talent performance, but the students also face normal developmental challenges that deserve and warrant attention.
Thus, the proactive approaches promoted by ASCA (2005) are warranted and appropriate, including large- and small-group guidance. When group membership is homogeneous in ability, gifted students at any age may be more inclined than otherwise to relax, remove a facade of invulnerability in·vul·ner·a·ble
1. Immune to attack; impregnable.
2. Impossible to damage, injure, or wound.
[French invulnérable, from Old French, from Latin , find developmental commonalities, make connections with others who can relate to their feelings and experiences, and gain skills and language related to expression of feelings and concerns. School counselors might facilitate or cofacilitate such group-oriented guidance with gifted-education personnel (Peterson, 2003). In addition, calling attention to factors of resilience (see Higgins, 1994) may appeal cognitively, affirm strengths in gifted children and adolescents, and contribute to feelings of hope in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of difficult personal situations. School counselors can help gifted students normalize and make sense of feelings, thoughts, and struggles and can encourage nonproducer underachievers to "be selfish"--getting what they need from the school system, rather than sacrificing themselves to it.
School counselors also can collaboratively engage other adults in non-school activities. Hebert and Olenchak (2000) and Ford (1996) found support for male mentors for gifted males across cultural groups, and Hebert (1999) found that sensitive young men appreciated meaningful community service opportunities. Bibliotherapy bibliotherapy /bib·lio·ther·a·py/ (bib?le-o-ther´ah-pe) the reading of selected books as part of the treatment of mental disorders or for mental health.
n. (Hebert, 1991, 2000), biography (Hebert, 1995), and guided viewing of films (Hebert & Neumeister, 2001) also have been effective in generating discussion of social and emotional concerns.
Several proactive, school-based, affective-curriculum approaches to developmental guidance have been developed for gifted students, though without empirical support. Two dimensions of the Autonomous Learner Model (Betts & Kercher, 1999) attend to affective concerns of gifted adolescents. In Bucscher's (1987) two-tier model for counseling gifted adolescents, key developmental issues form a proactive curriculum for adolescents and their parents, teachers, and counselors. This model purposefully pur·pose·ful
1. Having a purpose; intentional: a purposeful musician.
2. Having or manifesting purpose; determined: entered the room with a purposeful look. increases knowledge about self-development, social realities, and the interaction of conflict and intimacy. Peterson (2003) presented a multifaceted mul·ti·fac·et·ed
Having many facets or aspects. See Synonyms at versatile.
Adj. 1. multifaceted - having many aspects; "a many-sided subject"; "a multifaceted undertaking"; "multifarious interests"; "the multifarious affective curriculum for gifted adolescents, including weekly small-group discussion focusing on developmental tasks, guest lectures by community professionals on developmental concerns, and regularly encouraging self-reflection after special program and academic activities. In Silverman's (1993) Developmental Model for Counseling the Gifted, career development, skills for conflict resolution, and realizing talent potential are potential areas of focus.
Counseling should be part of interventions to reverse underachievement (Reis & McCoach, 2000), although such counseling treatments have received scant research attention. Based on extensive clinical work, Mandel and Marcus's (1995) conception of underachievement, as mentioned earlier, offers a helpful framework. Pirozzo (1982) viewed underachievement as potentially related to personal adjustment difficulties as well as to limited academic programming in school and recommended that both sets of variables be considered in remediation. Rimm's (2003) trifocal trifocal /tri·fo·cal/ (tri-fo´-) (tri´fo-k'l)
1. having three foci.
2. containing one part for near vision, one for intermediate, and a third for distant vision, as a trifocal lens. method for addressing underachievement, with collaboration between teachers and parents, has some empirical support.
According to scholars, highly able students potentially have social and emotional concerns that may be related to characteristics associated with giftedness, and which are best addressed with counseling responses that consider the impact of giftedness. Lack of, or inappropriate, attention to affective concerns may contribute to gifted students' discomfort in the school environment, and their distress may not be apparent, because gifted students may be reluctant to ask for help. Not only can school counselors reflect on their own attitudes about giftedness, be open to the possibility of somewhat unique concerns, and address related concerns appropriately, but they also might become part of much-needed scholarly exploration of the affective concerns of gifted school-age individuals and of effective counseling strategies. Group work, intentional focus on developmental challenges, and focus on developing expressive language related to social and emotional development can help school counselors and gifted students themselves access an inner world that parents, teachers, school counselors, and even the field of gifted education Gifted education is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented. Programs providing such education are sometimes called Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) or may know little about. The references at the end of this article offer pertinent literature to build a knowledge base about social and emotional concerns of this special-needs population.
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Baker, J. A. (1995). Depression and suicidal ideation among academically gifted adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 39, 218-223.
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New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Teachers College Press.
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Coleman, M. R., Gallagher, J., & Foster, A. (1994). Updated report on state policies related to the identification of gifted students. Chapel Hill, NC: Gifted Education Policy Studies Program.
Cross, T. L., Gust-Brey, K., & Ball, P. B. (2002). A psychological autopsy psychological autopsy Psychiatry An autopsy that analyzes the cause(s) of death, examining the body and the circumstances–natural or unnatural that led to death; in the 'usual' death, a person suffers from a known set of morbid condition(s) and of the suicide of an academically gifted student: Researchers' and parents' perspectives. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46, 247-264.
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Ford, D.Y. (1996). Reversing underachievement among gifted Black students. New York: Teachers College Press.
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Grobman, J. (in press).The psychodynamics psychodynamics /psy·cho·dy·nam·ics/ (-di-nam´iks) the interplay of motivational forces that gives rise to the expression of mental processes, as in attitudes, behavior, or symptoms. of underachievement and self-destructive behavior in a group of exceptionally gifted adolescents and young adults: A psychiatrist's view. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education.
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Hebert, T. P. (2000). Helping high ability students overcome math anxiety through bibliotherapy. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 8, 164-178.
Hebert, T. P., & Neumeister, K. L. S. (2001). Guided viewing of film: A strategy for counseling gifted teenagers. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 14, 224-235.
Hebert, T. P., & Olenchak, F. R. (2000). Mentors for gifted underachieving males: Developing potential and realizing promise. Gifted Child Quarterly, 44, 196-207.
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Jackson, S. M., & Peterson, J. S. (2003). Depressive disorder depressive disorder Psychiatry Any of a number of conditions characterized by one or more depressive episodes–major DD, depressed mood–dysthymic disorder and adjustment disorder with depressed mood, and those that do not fit the criteria of other in highly gifted adolescents. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 14, 175-186.
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Of, relating to, or having several dimensions.
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Lupkowski, A. E. (1989). Social behaviors In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social. of gifted and typical preschool children in laboratory school programs. Roeper Review, 11, 124-127.
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Existing or occurring within the individual self or mind.
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n. pl. mis·di·ag·no·ses
An incorrect diagnosis.
mis·diag·nose and dual diagnosis of gifted children and adults: ADHD Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Definition
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder characterized by distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, and the inability to remain focused on tasks or , bipolar (1) See bipolar transmission.
(2) One of two major categories of transistor; the other is "field effect transistor" (FET). Although the first transistors and first silicon chips were bipolar, most chips today are field effect transistors wired as CMOS logic, which , OCD OCD obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) , Asperger's, depression, and other disorders. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.
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Jean Sunde Peterson, Ph.D., is an associate professor with the Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University Purdue University (pərdy`, -d`), main campus at West Lafayette, Ind. , West Lafayette West Lafayette, city (1990 pop. 25,907), Tippecanoe co., W Ind., a suburb of Lafayette, on the Wabash River; inc. 1924. A primarily residential city, it is the seat of Purdue Univ. , IN. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org