Session 1

Gifted 101

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

developmental delays.

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.