In some gifted children, their complex and sometimes asynchronous development may be erroneously labeled with a mental health diagnosis. In other children, giftedness may be missed in a child with significant learning and/or mental health issues. Some gifted children may be able to over-compensate in the short-term for a learning disability or mental health disorder, thus possibly hiding both the disability and the giftedness. Without significant improvements in medical knowledge of giftedness and twice exceptionality, gifted children will inappropriately continue to be both over-diagnosed and under-diagnosed with mental health and learning issues, while their giftedness may be at risk of being entirely overlooked.
The SENG Research Committee launched the SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative to help educate parents and health care professionals of the risks of misdiagnosis and how to avoid them. The committee has developed two helpful educational items: a two-sided gifted resource bookmark and a brochure aimed at lowering medical misdiagnosis in gifted children. Both of these print materials are available in bulk from SENG at no cost. The brochure may also be downloaded in a printer-friendly PDF. (Samples and details)
Please take advantage of these free materials to educate health care professionals and parents. Watch for new materials as they are added. SENG now has published a Spanish version of the “Decreasing Medical Misdiagnosis in Gifted Children” brochure which can be downloaded [scroll to the bottom of the page for the link].
Suzana Zirbes-Domke is a psychologist working in her own private practice in Northern Germany since 1999. She specializes in assessment and counselling of gifted children and adults. She also offers parent and Kindergarten teacher trainings and assists schools and other institutions regarding questions about giftedness.
Inga Liebert-Cop is a psychologist in the International Center for Study of Giftedness of University of Münster Germany. She leads intelligence diagnostics and advises students, parents, and teachers in gifted education. Inga teaches in the ECHA courses (European Council for High Ability) for teachers, educators, and volunteer advisors and is a licensed psychotherapist.
Suzana Zirbes-Domke and Inga Liebert-Cop both edited and translated A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Webb, James T. / Gore, Janet / Amend, Edward / DeVries, Arlene) into German and introduced the Misdiagnosis Initiative in the German speaking countries in Europe.
Suzana Zirbes-Domke and Inga Liebert-Cop will present the Misdiagnosis Initiative in Vienna at the ECHA-Conference to be held on March 2-5, 2016.