Coping or counseling: families of intellectually gifted students.Although a considerable body of extant literature Extant literature refers to texts that have survived from the past to the present time. Extant literature can be divided into extant original manuscripts, copies of original manuscripts, quotations and paraphrases of passages of non-extant texts contained in other works, advises that parents of intellectually able children should be supported by counseling, research evidence is lacking. This study represents data collected from 42 families of 47 children (mean age 6.9 years: mean IQ 150) and reports their experiences across the contexts of family/friendship networks, community resources and school. The findings indicate that parents of able children are subjected to negative experiences in all three settings which would confirm their need for support. Further, the ecological-systems paradigm is unlikely to be appropriate where home-school home·school or home-school
v. home·schooled, home·school·ing, home·schools
To instruct (a pupil, for example) in an educational program outside of established schools, especially in the home. perceptions diverge diverge - If a series of approximations to some value get progressively further from it then the series is said to diverge.
The reduction of some term under some evaluation strategy diverges if it does not reach a normal form after a finite number of reductions. .
It is the context that fixes the meaning, wrote Gregory Bateson Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was a British anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. (1979, p. 10). An early pioneer of family therapy, Bateson's conceptualisation (artificial intelligence) conceptualisation - The collection of objects, concepts and other entities that are assumed to exist in some area of interest and the relationships that hold among them. was drawn primarily from biology and the processes of communication. To comprehend behavior he argued, one had to comprehend the setting for that behavior.
The theoretical representation of the work of Bateson and his colleagues was that of systems, essentially the notion that the individual develops in response to a wider context of relationships (Bronfenbrenner, 1986; Nichols & Schwartz, 1991). In Bateson's terms context gives meaning to experience and a systems interpretation orders that meaning.
In as much as the identification of intellectual giftedness “Gifted” redirects here. For other uses, see Gift (disambiguation).
Intellectual giftedness is an intellectual ability significantly higher than average. bestows differentness, its meaning will have significance for a family's value system. Inevitably the family also must make adaptive responses The adaptive response is a form of direct DNA repair in E. coli that is initiated against alkylation, particularly methylation, of guanine or thymine nucleotides or phosphate groups on the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA. to a wider community context, its morals and norms. The systems and sub-systems within the social setting are intrinsic to how parents respond to and cope with the needs of an exceptional potential to learn.
It has been observed that there is little reluctance on the part of either children or their parents to be associated with enhanced athletic skills. The same cannot be said for enhanced intellectual skills (Tannenbaum, 1983; Colangelo, 1988; Start, 1991). Common to both American and Australian parents is widespread reluctance to use the term gifted with their children (Commonwealth of Australia Commonwealth of Australia: see Australia. , 1988; Cornell, 1984; 1989; Hackney Hackney, inner borough (1991 pop. 164,200) of Greater London, SE England, on the Lea River. Clothing manufacture (in Hackney) and printing and furniture making (in Shoreditch) are the borough's chief industries. London's first theater was built in Shoreditch (c.1575). , 1981). Problematic family adaptation to intellectual giftedness is cited frequently in the literature and is given as a rationale of their need for counseling (Colangelo & Dettmann, 1983; Sebring, 1983; Silverman, 1991; 1993; Silverman & Kearney 1989; Webb, 1993; Webb Meckstroth & Tolan, 1982).
However, in their seminal seminal /sem·i·nal/ (sem´i-n'l) pertaining to semen or to a seed.
Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed. study of research-supported practices in the field of gifted and talented, Shore, Cornell, Robinson and Ward (1991) concluded that no empirical evidence existed to validate the contention that parents of such children actually did require counseling support. Overall Shore et al (1991) found a richly-embroidered tapestry tapestry, hand-woven fabric of plain weave made without shuttle or drawboy, the design of weft threads being threaded into the warp with fingers or a bobbin. of assumptions and assertions. Some of these were contradictory, including as they did accounts of very successful parenting of the gifted, achieved without recourse A phrase used by an endorser (a signer other than the original maker) of a negotiable instrument (for example, a check or promissory note) to mean that if payment of the instrument is refused, the endorser will not be responsible. to counseling. What was needed, they concluded, was at least basic information concerned with the frequency and continuity of family experiences.
Families in context
The external environments, or systems, within which families respond to the exceptionality of giftedness have received little by way of exploration apart from that associated with home-school inter-actions: Colangelo and Dettmann (1982) contributing a model of relationships, Jenkins-Friedman (1991) and Moon (1995) an analysis of counseling practice. Communication with extended family, social networks and reference to community-based services is regarded, however, as being intrinsic to parental competence (Guidubaldi & Cleminshaw, 1989), and the viability of such relationships is included among variables consistent with healthy family function (Herbert, 1986; Schaffer & Collis, 1986).
What is understood about the experiences of the families of intellectually gifted children tends to be embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. in a broader clinical and anecdotal anecdotal /an·ec·do·tal/ (an?ek-do´t'l) based on case histories rather than on controlled clinical trials.
anecdotal adjective Unsubstantiated; occurring as single or isolated event. literature.
Parents and support networks Although acknowledged to be early (Kaufmann & Sexton sex·ton
An employee or officer of a church who is responsible for the care and upkeep of church property and sometimes for ringing bells and digging graves. , 1983; Gogul, McCumsey & Hewett, 1985) and accurate (Jacobs, 1971; Lewis & Louis, 1991; Silverman, 1986) identifiers of their children' s precocity precocity /pre·coc·i·ty/ (-kos´it-e) unusually early development of mental or physical traits.preco´cious
sexual precocity precocious puberty. , parents of gifted children are nonetheless vulnerable to the stigma stigma: see pistil.
mark of Cain
God’s mark on Cain, a sign of his shame for fratricide. [O. T.: Genesis 4:15]
scarlet letter which differentness holds. This becomes apparent even before schooling commences. Well-intentioned friends and relatives offer advice meant to minimize differences which parents, especially mothers, observe in daily interactions between their child[ren] and those of the neighborhood, the Health Center, the Playgroup playgroup
a regular meeting of infants for supervised creative play
playgroup n → jardín m de infancia
playgroup play n and the Pre-school (Silverman, 1993). At times the counsel against differentness extends to professionals such as Health Centre personnel, and even to pediatricians (Silverman, 1993).
Families and the community What actually constitutes a community resource can depend on how parents perceive their needs. One view is that these constitute facilities such as museums and libraries, access to which is an expressed priority for families of intellectually gifted children (Benbow, 1986; Cornell, 1984).
A somewhat different perspective is that articulated by Hackney (1980) following his interviews with a cohort of parents of children taking part in a Saturday program for gifted children. He reported the goal of parents to be that of living in a neighborhood - community - where their children would meet others of like interest and ability. Sensitive to rejection and isolation, Hackney's sample considered finding the right sort of neighborhood to be a social-emotional buffer for their children (Hackney, 1980). In the general literature of exceptionality, community resources are consistently identified as pertaining per·tain
intr.v. per·tained, per·tain·ing, per·tains
1. To have reference; relate: evidence that pertains to the accident.
2. to specialized services: legally protected rights of access, medical and therapeutic services. This in itself is a significant departure from perceptions of resources which are associated with museums and neighborhoods. The differences are not confined con·fine
v. con·fined, con·fin·ing, con·fines
1. To keep within bounds; restrict: Please confine your remarks to the issues at hand. See Synonyms at limit. to a right of access or resource. Emerick and Zirpoli (1990) examined services received by parents of handicapped children and those accessed by parents of gifted children. They found that parents of the latter - intellectually gifted - reported their experiences to be unsatisfactory compared with what was reported by parents of the handicapped. This was the finding despite higher educational and socio-economic status of the former parents, and therefore arguably ar·gu·a·ble
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.
2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law. in possession of better advocacy skills.
Families and educators. From a parent's viewpoint, interaction with the education professionals becomes one of the most difficult relationships with which they have to contend. At the root of the difficulty in Tannenbaum's view is an attitudinal imbalance inherent in parent-school relationships: There is in our society a deeply ingrained in·grained
1. Firmly established; deep-seated: ingrained prejudice; the ingrained habits of a lifetime.
2. timidity Timidity
See also Cowardice.
(c. 1599–1687) too timid to ask for Priscilla’s hand in marriage. [Am. Lit.: “The Courtship of Miles Standish” in Benét, 230]
Bergson, Emil before the authority of educators (1980, p.14).
Where the educator-parent relationship is a productive one both family and child benefit. Two recent analyses in the ecological-systemic tradition affirm the significance of viable home-school relationships (systems) both for optimal family function and academic achievement (Jenkins-Friedman, 1992; Moon, 1995) Overall, however, these findings are at variance with a pervasive trend in the literature which points to difficulty in home-school communication.
The dilemma for parents is firstly how to enlist en·list
v. en·list·ed, en·list·ing, en·lists
1. To engage (persons or a person) for service in the armed forces.
2. To engage the support or cooperation of.
v. educators' acceptance of their involvement in a formal process of identification (Colangelo & Dettmann, 1983; Roedell, 1989). Silverman has categorized cat·e·go·rize
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.
cat the desire for formal assessment of a child's abilities as one of a dozen unique concerns which impel im·pel
tr.v. im·pelled, im·pel·ling, im·pels
1. To urge to action through moral pressure; drive: I was impelled by events to take a stand.
2. To drive forward; propel. families of gifted children to search out psychological services (1991, p.307). Problems arise where school protocols are not established for the identification of cognitive enhancement, or where the perception of the child has become a point at issue between parent and teacher (Alsop, 1995b).
The second difficulty then is how to enlist the educators in providing the special education they believe their children require (Callahan, 1982; Colangelo & Dettmann, 1983; Creel & Karnes, 1988; Kitano & LeVine, 1989; Roedell, 1989; Roeper, 1992). Even where parents assume they can compensate for a shortfall in classroom challenges by providing extracurricular activities - often at the behest be·hest
1. An authoritative command.
2. An urgent request: I called the office at the behest of my assistant. of a teacher - the result can be counter-productive. Participation in such programs can exacerbate further the gap between in-school and out-of-school learning experiences (Ehrlich, 1982).
It has been found that few educators actually take seriously the formal assessments parents obtain of a child s enhanced cognitive potential (Roedell, 1989; Silverman, 1991). Parents are more often than not met with patronizing re-assurances about the school's capabilities, misleading statements about children's developmental characteristics, or untrue un·true
adj. un·tru·er, un·tru·est
1. Contrary to fact; false.
2. Deviating from a standard; not straight, even, level, or exact.
3. Disloyal; unfaithful. statements concerning parental belief systems about their children (Roedell, 1989; Silverman, 1991, 1993). Some find themselves having to accept blame for a child's behaviors, such as perfectionism per·fec·tion·ism
A tendency to set rigid high standards of personal performance.
per·fection·ist adj. & n. or under-achievement (Silverman, 1986). Silverman has alluded to the impact of these experiences on parents of CHIP as the stress of being discounted, adding that Parents of disabled children do not receive this kind of treatment (1993, p. 151).
Families and counseling services. Another of the criteria of family functionality is an ability to recognize the need for outside help and support at times of particular difficulty (Hampson, Hulgus, Beavers and Beavers, 1988; Stinnet and De Frain, 1989).
There is considerable anecdotal evidence anecdotal evidence,
n information obtained from personal accounts, examples, and observations. Usually not considered scientifically valid but may indicate areas for further investigation and research. to indicate that the identification of a child as intellectually gifted does not predict a positive response from parents. Confusion is commonly reported (Dirks Dirks, as a person, may refer to:
thin plus obvious diminution in abdominal size, indicative of reduced feed intake leading to reduced gut fill. , 1989; Silverman, 1986).
Frey and Wendorf's (1985) study of 24 families of intellectually gifted children is from the clinical literature. They found that even within the group of families in therapy labeled nonclinical (n=13), the parent-school-child system was not regarded as consistently satisfactory. Dissatisfaction with the school had produced a significant amount of conflict (p.798). The authors also noted that even where families had praise for their children's school, it appeared predicated on a sense of relief that the pressure had been removed from the family, rather than on how effectively the school was working with the child.
In his invitational in·vi·ta·tion·al
Restricted to invited participants: an invitational golf tournament.
An event, especially a sports tournament, restricted to invited participants.
Adj. 1. review of literature on families of gifted children for the ten-year anniversary of the publication of Roeper Review, Colangelo (1988) drew attention to what he saw as the widespread failure of professionals in the counseling and therapy services to acknowledge the needs of parents of the intellectually gifted. Although the literature would suggest that the area is not being ignored, it is equally evident that, as Shore et al (1991) found, the special needs of families of the intellectually gifted for access to counseling services have yet to receive consistent exploration, and exposition.
The focus of the study to be reported to be spoken of; to be mentioned, whether favorably or unfavorably.
See also: Report here draws on Bateson's contention that embedded in context lies the meaning of experience. For parents of intellectually gifted children then the question becomes simply: what is the reality of their experiences in context, and are these experiences such that counseling services would mediate MEDIATE, POWERS. Those incident to primary powers, given by a principal to his agent. For example, the general authority given to collect, receive and pay debts due by or to the principal is a primary power. the difficulties they encounter?
In view of the findings of Shore et al (1991) that there is no empirical evidence to substantiate To establish the existence or truth of a particular fact through the use of competent evidence; to verify.
For example, an Eyewitness might be called by a party to a lawsuit to substantiate that party's testimony. the claim that parents of intellectually gifted require access to counseling, this study set out to establish:
* the experience of parents in three contexts:
- support groups: family and friendship networks Friendship networks colloquially describes interconnected networks of people who are connected through friendship, often described as overlapping circles of friends.
- the general community: resources and access to agencies
- the educational community.
* whether parents felt their experiences were indicative of a need for counseling.
Data was collected by a survey questionnaire which was developed specifically for the project, and was known as the Parents of CHIP Experiences Questionnaire (PCEQ): CHIP being the acronym acronym: see abbreviation.
A word typically made up of the first letters of two or more words; for example, BASIC stands for "Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. for Children of High Intellectual Potential (CHIP), a term used in Victoria. The CHIP Foundation is a registered charitable foundation dedicated to the special needs of these children based in Melbourne, Australia, and the CHIP Unit is a specialist teaching unit at the University of Melbourne
In 2006, Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the University of Melbourne 22nd in the world. Because of the drop in ranking, University of Melbourne is currently behind four Asian universities - Beijing University, .
The answering format for most of the questionnaire was the same. Using a five-point Likert Scale Likert scale A subjective scoring system that allows a person being surveyed to quantify likes and preferences on a 5-point scale, with 1 being the least important, relevant, interesting, most ho-hum, or other, and 5 being most excellent, yeehah important, etc respondents were asked to rate from between two to nine options given within each question. In addition, a discretionary open-ended category of `Other' and `What' was offered.
The survey was not based on a normative nor·ma·tive
Of, relating to, or prescribing a norm or standard: normative grammar.
nor sample(1). Extracted from the files of a part-time consultancy were the names of 51 families whose children had achieved a score of 130+ on the Stanford-Binet Form L-M. These comprised the study' s sample.
A letter of invitation to join the study was sent to 51 families. A total of 42 positive responses (80.4%) was returned. The PCEQ was then mailed to respondents. Where two children within the same family were identified as CHIP, two questionnaires were sent to take into account the possibility of differentiated experiences between children. In all cases the parents took up this option. Of the questionnaires sent (n=47: from 42 families), 100% were returned.
The PCEQ is divided into four sections and collects the following data:
Background: largely demographic information such as age,
birth order, siblings siblings npl (formal) → frères et sœurs mpl (de mêmes parents) , general ability score, age of child when
Experiences Prior to Identification: 13 questions recalling
assumptions and experiences in relation to professional services (job) professional services - A department of a supplier providing consultancy and programming manpower for the supplier's products. :
medical and psychological, infant welfare, social welfare.
They were also asked about the support they had
expected, and received from, family and friends, and their
own perceptions of their child[ren] as developmentally different
(or "not average").
Experiences Since Identification: 13 questions explored
parent experiences with specific education personnel, as well
as with their interface with community resources.
As an experimental instrument in data collection the survey questionnaire was piloted (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh, 1990; Borg & Gall, 1983). None of the pilot families became involved in the subsequent data collection.
Data was analyzed to be reported in frequency counts: "what happened, and to how many did it happen." Essentially the simplistic sim·plism
The tendency to oversimplify an issue or a problem by ignoring complexities or complications.
[French simplisme, from simple, simple, from Old French; see simple approach complied with what Shore, et al advocated as being a necessary first step in parent-counseling research which
... might begin with surveying the incidence of various
complaints and emotional difficulties parents experience
in raising high ability children .... Are there common constellations Constellations
Constellation English name Position
Andromeda Andromeda (Chained Lady) 1 +43
Antlia Air Pump 10 −33
Apus Bird of Paradise 16 −75
of problems....? (1991, p. 175).
As regards the characteristics of the sample, and hence how reliably results can be generalized, the gender balance, family size and socio-economic status tends to resemble other cohorts which have been the focus of research (see for example, Gross, 1991; Silverman, 1994). The mean IQ of 150 is relatively high, as is the mean age of parents at time of the birth of the identified child, 33 years, and at the time of testing of the child, 40 years. The circumstances surrounding assessment may account for this level of maturity, as well as the high mean IQ (see Discussion below indicating that 13 of the children had measured IQ which exceeded 160). Mean age of the children at the time of testing was 6.9 years. With a school-age entry of 5 years (into a Prep year, followed by G1, G2 etc) this places the class level at time of testing at G2.
Parents, the Community and Support Networks Having to adapt to lack of support was one of the most distressing experiences reported by the parents taking part in this study. Prior to the formal identification of their child[ren] as a child of high intellectual potential (CHIP), the expectation of a significant proportion of parents was that they could indeed discuss these matters with their families (74.4%), and with their friends (63.8%). Only a very small minority of parents had assumed a negative response from either family members or from friends.
The responses they actually did receive were unexpected. Gaining any practical advice from either family or friends appears to have been problematic for parents. In only 25.5% of cases was assistance from family classified as `Useful,' with one `Very Useful,' and with friends, 34.0% and 10.6% respectively (ie `Useful' and `Very Useful'). Close to one-fifth of parents had been in receipt of advice from their families which they found to be `Unhelpful.'
Over fifty percent (54.8%) of parents indicated in their PCEQ responses that they had not consulted community resources. Primarily they believed none to be available, or for a variety of reasons did not regard them as appropriate. Parents did appear to harbor a belief that some form of advisory service would be available. Few parents in this study consulted professionals outside the educational field, 8% referring to a physician (3), psychiatrist (1), social worker (2), childcare worker, (9).
Parents and the Education Profession No study has been reported which describes parent expectations of educators and compares these against their actual experiences. A substantial majority of parents had definite views about how the education profession would respond to the special needs of their children, perceptions entirely at odds with reality. One half of the sample expected to be able to access counseling. Parent beliefs are reflected in Table 1.
Table 1 Parent Expectations of Educational Provision for Children of High Intellectual Potential (CHIP) (%) Not Probably Not Probably Consider Have Certain Not Have Expected Provision Special school 23.4 31.9 2.1 42.5 Special classes 19.1 51.1 8.5 21.3 Special curriculum 19.1 46.0 28.5 6.4 Achievement group 17.0 55.4 19.1 8.5 Special teacher 14.9 61.7 10.6 14.9 Counselling 23.4 51.0 10.6 14.9
That the gap between reality and expectation was so marked is also indicated in the referral situation. Table 2 shows how few parents sought general ability assessment in response to advice from educators.
Table 2 Reasons Parents Report for Seeking General Ability Assessment (%) Not Not Not Relevant Applicable Relevant Certain Reason Confirm parent view 10.6 6.4 2.1 80.8 Pre-school teacher(*) 67.7 21.3 4.3 6.4 School Teacher(*) 57.4 25.5 0.0 17.1 Child's behaviour 29.8 27.6 0.0 42.5 Learning problem 38.3 46.8 2.1 12.7 Trivial classwork 27.2 14.9 4.3 53.2 Negative attitude 27.7 14.9 2.1 55.4
(*) In response to recommendation
What is demonstrated most clearly in this result is that although parents pursued a general ability assessment for reasons associated largely with the educational context, for only eight children (17.1%) out of a total of forty-seven was testing sought in response to recommendation by a school teacher.
What parents have heard or know about enhanced cognitive potential (or giftedness) might be said to shape their approach when seeking resources to understand the differences they observe in their child[ren]. Parent attitudes toward these labels may also influence how they react to identification.
Parents in this study appeared to have an accurate comprehension of the target child[ren] as intellectually very bright. They also demonstrated a moderate susceptibility susceptibility
the state of being susceptible. Refers usually to infectious disease but may be to physical factors such as wetting or to psychological factors such as harassment. to the negative stereotypes which Cox (1981) suggested to be most common in the community. Although mental instability had not been heard, the possibility of a 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 being a social misfit mis·fit
1. Something of the wrong size or shape for its purpose.
2. One who is unable to adjust to one's environment or circumstances or is considered to be disturbingly different from others. resonated with one-fifth of the sample, and left around the same proportion none too certain. Of interest, is the connection between giftedness and genius which Silverman (1991) has emphasized as being so damaging to the adjustment of a child.
In the educational setting, the findings suggest that parents of CHIP are extraordinarily susceptible to negative myth-making about their children.
For each of the suggested negative expressions about especially intelligent children, 60%-80% of the respondents agreed that they had heard these (stereotypes). When asked to consider the same list after their child[ren] had been identified as CHIP, responses did not vary significantly, with the exception of a slightly higher percentage for the item related to pushy push·y
adj. push·i·er, push·i·est
Disagreeably aggressive or forward.
pushi·ly adv. parents.
One of the most enduring problems parents of the intellectually gifted children confront is how others interpret the behavior of their children, especially those acting in an advisory or professional capacity. Playgroups, pre-schools and primary schools are contexts especially sensitive to unorthodox or unusual behavior, which in many cases becomes labeled as social-emotional immaturity im·ma·ture
1. Not fully grown or developed. See Synonyms at young.
2. Marked by or suggesting a lack of normal maturity: silly, immature behavior. . For parents in this study, 27.7% had been advised that their child[ren] were socially immature immature /im·ma·ture/ (im?ah-chldbomacr´) unripe or not fully developed.
Not fully grown or developed.
unripe or not fully developed. due to their failure to play with their peers. For a further twenty-five families (53.2%) their children had incurred the label of immaturity for other reasons ranging from dominance (5 children), withdrawn behavior and emotional intensity (4 children respectively) poor learning behavior (3 children), reluctance to attend school (3 children), inappropriate classroom behavior (5 children) as well as individual children who had low self-esteem, did not socialize so·cial·ize
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable. well and selected inappropriate peers.
A significant aspect of the present study's findings is how infrequently in·fre·quent
1. Not occurring regularly; occasional or rare: an infrequent guest.
2. parents reported consultation with educators about their child[ren]'s assessment. In almost one-third of cases the child's classroom teacher was not consulted, nor in one-quarter of cases, the child's principal. Despite a high expectation that trained special education teachers constituted a resource available to their children, in 70.2% of cases parents reported that they did not consult with special education personnel. In evaluating this consultative process, only one-quarter of the sample had found their child[ren]'s classroom teacher supportive, a slightly lower figure than that associated with the response from the school principal (29.8%). When meeting with teachers, thirty-nine (83%) affirmed af·firm
v. af·firmed, af·firm·ing, af·firms
1. To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true.
2. To support or uphold the validity of; confirm.
v.intr. that they had felt pushy.
Whether or not parents found a sympathetic and supportive response to the identification of their child[ren] represents one aspect of the parent-school interaction. The more substantive issues are those associated with the implementation of an educational response to the special needs of the children.
The most frequently cited response of schools to the formal identification of this population of intellectually gifted was an offer of opportunities for extending their learning in the normal classroom (57.4%). This was evaluated positively by the parents of only nine of the children. The second most frequent response was that of acceleration (grade skipping Grade skipping is a form of academic acceleration, often used for gifted/talented students, that involves the student entirely skipping the curriculum of one year of school. ), which was implemented for 31% of the children. Acceleration of one grade was carried out effectively for 12 of the children (25.6%). In two of the three cases (6.4%) in which acceleration of more than one grade had occurred, the strategy was seen as ineffective, attributed to lack of understanding by the receiving teacher as well as general indifference exhibited by staff throughout the school. One child was also subject-accelerated more than one grade, with again poor results due largely to the infrequency of attendance at the higher grade level eroding any chance of effective learning.
The third response by schools was that of withdrawal classes (or "pullout pull·out
1. A withdrawal, especially of troops.
2. Change from a dive to level flight. Used of an aircraft.
3. An object designed to be pulled out.
Noun 1. "). These were offered in 25.5% of cases, and were considered effective for only two (4.2%) of the children. In only one case did the withdrawal occur for more than one session per week.
Further responses that individual parents were prepared to classify as supportive were: having extra work sent home, being provided with the opportunity to self-teach, early entry into school, and in one school, the creation of a specialist position to oversee the area. (The position was abolished within 18 months).
As a result of assessment fully 26 (55.3%) of the children were transferred from the school in which they were enrolled at the time of the assessment.(2) Of the 20 remaining in the same setting, seven (14.9%) did so even though their parents recognized that the child[ren] continued in an unhelpful school environment. Only 13 children (27.7%) were in an educational context their parents regarded as responding adequately to their needs (one child was in kindergarten kindergarten [Ger.,=garden of children], system of preschool education. Friedrich Froebel designed (1837) the kindergarten to provide an educational situation less formal than that of the elementary school but one in which children's creative play instincts would be ). In one family the older child stayed, the younger transferred out.
To establish the significance of school movement for the sample cohort, comparable data was sought from the Victorian Ministry of Education. The last data collection of pupil movement was undertaken in 1988 and indicated an overall movement within primary schools (Years 1-6) between July 1987 and July 1988 as being 12.3%. If family transfer to other states is excluded the figure falls to 10.0% (Ministry of Education, 1988). The findings associated with the movement of children of high intellectual potential exceed these figures by more than a factor of five.
Parents in this Victorian study indicated that moving to another school produced overall more positive results. Acceleration in the second school was reported as having occurred effectively in all but one of the fifteen cases, the exception being classified as `Uncertain': a child of extreme exceptionality for whom, his family found, one grade achieved little other than social ostracism ostracism (ŏs`trəsĭz'əm), ancient Athenian method of banishing a public figure. It was introduced after the fall of the family of Pisistratus. . The fourteen accelerations were of one grade level, with one child accelerated more than one grade - successfully at the time of the data collection, 1991-1992.
Thirteen (27.7%) children were moved to a third school. In five of these cases the change came about as a result of family re-location (including two families of two identified children). For the other eight children the decision to move a second time was taken as the result of an unsatisfactory educational setting - essentially the parents believed that what they had been promised in the second school was not offered in reality.
It was from a situation of not having the educational needs of their children met that parents sought advice from outside the education context. This is a significant finding as it sets the foundation for subsequent home-school interactions.
Although a large percentage of parents (80.8%) were aware of their children as intellectually able or different at the time of assessment (identification), few fully comprehended the implications of this enhancement. The results of the survey suggest that parents were not well prepared for the difficulties confronting them. Their belief systems may have reflected a poor understanding of education in general, or represented an extrapolation (mathematics, algorithm) extrapolation - A mathematical procedure which estimates values of a function for certain desired inputs given values for known inputs.
If the desired input is outside the range of the known values this is called extrapolation, if it is inside then from what was known about - or perceived - from the resourcing of special education as applied to children with disabilities. It would not be unreasonable for parents to make an assumption that once a child had been identified as exceptional - albeit that of enhanced intellectual potential - professional services would be available to them.
Another significant aspect for parents is how well-integrated into the broader community knowledge base and into the education system is an understanding of the special needs of the intellectually gifted. Advice they received from family and friendship networks was largely unreliable, and for over one-fifth of respondents, hurtful hurt·ful
Causing injury or suffering; damaging.
hurt . Where the education system has been so silent about intellectual giftedness, or has emphasized other priorities in its programs and resources, what evolves within the general community is stereotypical misinformation mis·in·form
tr.v. mis·in·formed, mis·in·form·ing, mis·in·forms
To provide with incorrect information.
mis and disinformation dis·in·for·ma·tion
1. Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion or the government in another nation: .
Over one-half of this sample of parents took decisive action in response to what they perceived to be in the best interests of their child[ren]. More often than not this was done in the face of contrary counsel - if not from educators then from what was proffered by family and/or friendship networks. An antipathetic context implies the need for alternative coping mechanisms coping mechanism Psychiatry Any conscious or unconscious mechanism of adjusting to environmental stress without altering personal goals or purposes .
The removal of intellectually able children from unsatisfactory school settings by their parents represents a scenario only rarely confronted in the literature. It would appear that whatever else is assumed about home-school relationships they are represented as being amenable AMENABLE. Responsible; subject to answer in a court of justice liable to punishment. to mediation. Some recent exceptions are found in the work of Karnes and Marquardt, joint authors of two companion books on due process and the (United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ) law associated with gifted (1991a, 1991b). Arguably a decision to homeschool home·school or home-school
v. home·schooled, home·school·ing, home·schools
To instruct (a pupil, for example) in an educational program outside of established schools, especially in the home. (Feldman, 1986; Silverman & Kearney, 1988) has more to do with unsympathetic educational settings than with educational philosophy.
In systemic terms the findings of this study have particular relevance for how parents of intellectually gifted children view their relationships with educators. It is difficult to conclude that anything other than fractured communication could result from interactions between parents whose perceptions of their child[ren]'s needs and entitlements are not protected either by regulation (law) or by practice (social ideology versus pedagogy).
The potential for adverse experiences, however, is not confined to the education context. Layered throughout settings recognized as significant in the broader field of family functionality and therapy are negative and unsupportive behaviors toward parents of children of high intellectual potential. With few exceptions parents in this study were subjected to a repertoire of characteristically negative responses across socially important contexts.
For the clinician clinician /cli·ni·cian/ (kli-nish´in) an expert clinical physician and teacher.
n. therefore, the assumption that the Home-school system can be satisfactorily mediated me·di·ate
v. me·di·at·ed, me·di·at·ing, me·di·ates
1. To resolve or settle (differences) by working with all the conflicting parties: must rely on as close an examination of the school sub-system as that of the home. The same is true of relationships in the wider community where in Bateson's terms the meanings parents may come to attach to their interactions are essentially negative. The mediation of behaviors within relationships - or systems - cannot be simply a one-sided exercise. Seeking homeostasis homeostasis
Any self-regulating process by which a biological or mechanical system maintains stability while adjusting to changing conditions. Systems in dynamic equilibrium reach a balance in which internal change continuously compensates for external change in a feedback for a family in a setting perceived as indifferent or hostile to its needs implies a special form of compensatory support.
The experiences of this sample of parents of intellectually gifted children are such that access to counseling support is warranted. They themselves assumed as much. As a group they experienced a pattern of consistent and problematic encounters with environmental influences, in addition to common constellations of problems. This is congruent con·gru·ent
1. Corresponding; congruous.
a. Coinciding exactly when superimposed: congruent triangles.
b. with the criteria laid down by Shore, et al (1991) as offering empirical evidence of a need for counseling support.
The findings of this Australian-based study support Silverman's (1991, 1993) contention that parents of the intellectually gifted are largely discounted by educators, and that they experience considerable difficulties in the educational context, as observed in a clinical setting by Frey and Wendorf (1985). In Bateson's terms their exposure to unsympathetic social and educational contexts strains their 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. . As a function of their defense of their child[ren]'s special needs parents would benefit from access to counseling. The global relevance of the study is determined by degrees of commonality com·mon·al·i·ty
n. pl. com·mon·al·i·ties
a. The possession, along with another or others, of a certain attribute or set of attributes: a political movement's commonality of purpose. with all or some features of the Victorian context. In 1995 a policy was announced at state government level which changes the context in Victoria to some degree. Two major limitations remain, however. These have implications for both compliance with the policy and its actual implementation. The first is that the policy is not mandatory, and carries no designated funding component which schools must allocate to the needs of the intellectually gifted. The second is the current climate in teacher education in regard to differentiated needs is largely unchanged (Alsop, 1995a; Start, 1995;). Victoria has experienced over a generation of inclusive (mainstreamed) education. At the same time its schools have an entrenched en·trench also in·trench
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.
2. tradition of anti-standardized assessment which has in effect masked the differentiated abilities of the student body from the awareness of even conscientious con·sci·en·tious
1. Guided by or in accordance with the dictates of conscience; principled: a conscientious decision to speak out about injustice.
2. teachers. This is a necessary by-product by·prod·uct or by-prod·uct
1. Something produced in the making of something else.
2. A secondary result; a side effect.
1. of a dogmatic dog·mat·ic
1. Relating to, characteristic of, or resulting from dogma.
2. Characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles. See Synonyms at dictatorial. inclusive ideology which ultimately cannot tolerate too broad a span of individual differences (Start, 1995). Where social and educational contexts are defined by these values securing an appropriate response to the cognitive and affective affective /af·fec·tive/ (ah-fek´tiv) pertaining to affect.
1. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions; emotional.
2. needs of intellectually gifted children is problematic.
It is an extreme position, and one which will take considerable time to break down. Without specific regulatory practices the culture of schools is likely to remain resistant to proactive responses to the intellectually gifted. What prevails instead is an environment in which their parents are disenfranchised by an inability to access information and the mechanisms for coping support. This last point has relevance to settings which lack an official and enforcable policy. In the US for example 50% of states do not have mandated provision for gifted (Jenkins-Friedman, 1992) and others are in process of dismantling dis·man·tle
tr.v. dis·man·tled, dis·man·tling, dis·man·tles
a. To take apart; disassemble; tear down.
b. programs (Purcell, 1992; 1993). Historically the needs of the exceptionality of intellectual giftedness have ebbed and flowed (Tannenbaum, 1983; 1986). From contemporary evidence it can only be concluded that currently the US is experiencing an ebb (Benbow, 1993; Purcell, 1992, 1993; Tolan, 1994; Sternberg, 1996).
The study reported here is a methodologically simplistic representation of frequency and type of experiences in a setting where provisions and programs are not mandatory. Further research could be undertaken along several lines. One suggested direction is to collect similar data in other communities quantifying how contextual variables impact upon families in other educational and community settings. Comparisons of developmental and adjustment profiles associated with supportive, neutral and antipathetic environments would further clarify family functionality. Also of significance for clinicians is the nature of the commitment made by parents to secure what they feel is at the very least an adequate education for their children. What has been studied to date has been limited to an external environment sensitive to mediation. Family adaptation may be congruent with a potential for dysfunction dysfunction /dys·func·tion/ (dis-funk´shun) disturbance, impairment, or abnormality of functioning of an organ.dysfunc´tional
erectile dysfunction impotence (2). as observed by Cornell (1984). It may also represent a positive coping response by parents in support of their child[ren]'s needs based on professional advice and consistent with healthy family function.
A final comment addresses the diversification of the term gifted and how this may impact upon the families of intellectually gifted children. It makes good political sense to reframe Re`frame´
v. t. 1. To frame again or anew. the semantics semantics [Gr.,=significant] in general, the study of the relationship between words and meanings. The empirical study of word meanings and sentence meanings in existing languages is a branch of linguistics; the abstract study of meaning in relation to language or associated with giftedness so that a broader population can be drawn into the pool (Sternberg, 1986; 1996; Gardner, 1985). However this process should not so exclude addressing the very well-documented needs of a statistically relevant proportion of the school population whose potential we are able to measure (Jensen, 1981).
Table 3 Percentages of Parents Reporting What They Have Heard About Children of High Intellectual Potential (Intellectually Gifted) Not Heard Not Not Applicable Certain Heard Gifted Children Genius 6.4 42.6 8.5 42.6 Rare Intellect 6.4 63.9 4.3 25.5 Social Misfit 6.4 19.1 21.3 53.2 Mentally Unstable 8.5 4.3 14.9 72.3 Most Able 1-5% 10.6 76.6 8.5 4.3 High Intellectual 4.3 83.0 12.8 0.0 Potential Table 4 Percentages of Parents Reporting What They Have Heard About Children of High Intellectual Potential in School Settings Not Heard Not Not Applicable Certain Heard Gifted Children in Schools Burn out 4.3 89.4 0.0 6.4 Plateau at school 12.8 80.9 4.3 2.1 Problems(*) 4.3 91.5 2.1 2.1 Have pushy parents 0.0 91.4 4.3 4.3 Learn anyway 4.3 91.5 2.1 2.1 Advance curricula 4.3 87.2 2.1 6.4 deprives childhood
(*) Differentiated treatment in school setting will lead to social-emotional problems
(1) It is important to note that Victorian schools are mainstreamed (inclusive) and standardized standardized
pertaining to data that have been submitted to standardization procedures.
standardized morbidity rate
see morbidity rate.
standardized mortality rate
see mortality rate. assessment of achievement is not a requirement until Year 12. The existence of a sample such as that to which the researcher gained access could only have been established by a private testing service. None existed on a large scale in Victoria for the identification of enhanced intellectual potential.
(2) Within six months of the data collection, a further four children had moved. Three moved schools for the first time, and one for the second.
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UMI United States Minor Outlying Islands (ISO Country code)
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A lengthy, formal treatise, especially one written by a candidate for the doctoral degree at a university; a thesis.
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1. Often Offensive Affected with mental retardation.
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Ratel ratel (rāt`əl): see honey badger.
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1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources. nor egalitarianism e·gal·i·tar·i·an
Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. : Gifted education as a third force in American education. Roeper Review 18, 4, 261-263.
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Glenison Alsop is a private consultant in the area of Children of High Intellectual Potential (CHIP) at Melbourne, Australia and a sessional lecturer at the University of Melbourne's CHIP unit.
Manuscript submitted November, 1995. Revision accepted December, 1996.