Talent Development: Accommodating the Social and Emotional Needs of Secondary Gifted/Learning Disabled Students
The population of students in secondary schools who are concomitantly gifted and learning disabled is especially at risk for poor academic performance. Often, their sense of self has been damaged by schools’ overemphasis on their disabilities at the expense of efforts aimed at enhancing their strengths. Using student cases and a review of literature as a foundation, this exploration advocates the development of individual student talent as a philosophical theme for schools to accommodate the social and emotional needs among gifted/learning disabled youth. Descriptions of several educational innovations and reform components, likely to enhance talent development, are included as additional means for examining the critical relationship between self esteem and academic success.
Children, whose talents and gifts exist in those domains distinct from the intellectual, academic, and athletic realms should still be considered gifted. They are especially talented in one or more areas of human pursuit although their talent is reflected in domains unique from those customarily served by schools; and their social and emotional development appears to be unique. Such young people are in particular danger for generalized school failure, for the manifestation of a variety of social and emotional problems, and are at risk for underdevelopment and occasionally even denial of their talent. Case study data are used to examine this conundrum and its potentially negative effects on individual student’s emotional self-development. Included are explorations of several interventions for enhancing affective growth among a group of students that is triply different from their peers.
Starting from an early age, many gifted children show evidence of moral sensitivity. These children tend to care about others, want to relieve pain and suffering or show advanced ability to think about such abstract ideas as justice and fairness. The beginnings of moral sensitivity are found in the development of empathy between child and care-taking parent. This is also the basis of identity formation and development of the self. This article also includes a discussion of how the phenomenon of asynchrony manifests in moral development of gifted children and the paradigms these children develop to give form to their moral concerns.