Joanna Haase, Ph.D., MFT, Dee Dee Kates, MEd.
6.3 million people in the United States risk not receiving necessary services from the medical,
psychological and educational communities due to the lack of understanding and recognition
that there are differences in individuals across the intelligence spectrum. Preliminary research
has shown that the physical and psychological development of gifted individuals is as different
from the norm as the physical and psychological development of individuals possessing
Giftedness can best be described as asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive
abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are
qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual
capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires
modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop
optimally. (The Columbus Group, 1991)
By limiting the understanding and discussion of giftedness to high performance in education
settings, mental health professionals and school psychologists often misunderstand, misdiagnosis
and cannot apply effective treatment strategies and services for these individuals.
This session will provide attendees with accurate working definitions of giftedness and a
“whole person” understanding of what it means to be gifted. Research based information on
the unique physiological, characteristics across all levels of giftedness, the social/emotional
impact of twice exceptionality (2E), and asynchronous development will assist the participants
in conceptualizing the subjective experience of gifted individuals and clear up myths and
misperceptions regarding this population.
An overview of Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) and how it applies to the
gifted population will be discussed.
Throughout this session, attendees will learn how misunderstanding giftedness and 2E in
underserved, disadvantaged and English Language Learners (ELL) adversely impacts services,
diagnosis and support for gifted and twice exceptional youth.