Brian D. Reid
Michele D. McGuire
The legacy of Terman may be the creation of a new myth about the gifted. Terman reported that the students identified as gifted for his study (IQ>140) were superior in most areas of functioning to those who did not qualify. Terman claimed that gifted students were appreciably superior to unselected children in physique, health, social adjustment, and moral attitudes; a perspective that has become the predominant thinking in the field. This widely held view may be one of the major, underpinning reasons that students with disabilities are routinely overlooked for gifted services.
The present paper proposes that students with attention and/or behavioral problems, in particular, are not considered for gifted services due to overt negative behaviors and conduct problems which conflict with the “Terman perspective.” Emphasis is placed on an examination of the similarities among characteristics of high ability/creative children and students identified with emotional or behavioral disorders and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Credence can be given to the idea that many of the manifestations of these disorders are similar to, and perhaps are, indicators of creative and/or learning potential. A major premise is that students who appear to have behavioral problems may be, in fact, gifted. Further, it is proposed that students identified with emotional or behavioral disorder and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may be dually qualified for services; i.e., also eligible to be served in programs for the gifted.
Important implications for understanding the rationale to include students with behavioral challenges in gifted programs, as well as recommendations for inservice and preservice teacher education, and considerations regarding interventions, curricula, and adaptations in the general school environment are provided.
Square Pegs in Round Holes—These Kids Don’t Fit: High Ability Students With Behavioral Problems
Brian D. Reid
Michele D. McGuire
- Schools and universities need to devise inservice and preservice programs to provide information for educators that will broaden their views about the nature and needs of high ability students and students with behavioral difficulties to recognize the potential for students to concurrently possess both exceptionalities.
- School systems need to revise identification procedures to locate bright students with behavioral problems.
- The student evaluation should be comprehensive in nature; assessment must examine the full range of student strengths and weaknesses rather than the merely “testing” for the predetermined, a priori category.
- School systems need to implement practices that support educators in their efforts to serve bright students with behavioral problems.
- Curricula for high ability students with emotional or behavioral disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder need to be appropriate for each individual child and, thereby, designed to be challenging, creative, and motivating.
- Instructional practices for high ability students with emotional or behavioral disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder need to be diverse and determined for each child on an individual basis.
- The learning environment designed for high ability students with emotional or behavioral disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder needs to be conducive to creative pursuits and risk-taking, and to invite learning challenges.
- Methods to develop autonomy, intrinsic motivation and self-regulation for high ability students with emotional or behavioral disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in place of extrinsic contingencies need to be explored and employed.