First post to Session 4On page 258 the authors list fabulous reasons for getting accurate labels for gifted children:" A deficit that affects only one aspect of language can sabotage academic performance and result in a scenario that is puzzling to parents, teachers, and the child...a child may express ideas eloquently when asked a question but then write awkward, disorganized, and developmentally immature answers on the same topic." Whew! Haven't we all had students like this? I love the descriptions of immature and awkward.Later on the page: "Sometimes what appears to be a language problem may instead be a visual problem that disrupts perceiving and learning the design of words."It is vital to the health and education of the child to have proper understanding of the gifts and challenges of the brain.
In my experience, most people take what the book calls a "One label per customer approach", and they can't understand that gifted children may also have other conditions that need to be addressed in order for them to develop their capabilities and potential. I think that as teachers we need to maintain our eyes open and not assume that because a child is gifted they can't have any other condition which needs our attention and help.
I liked the Chinese proverb cited on the book (page 252) that says "The beginning of the wisdom is calling things by their right name". As the authors mention many children are given inaccurate labels "that obscure the underlying causes (of their behaviors) and actually hinder appropriate treatment"; in those cases we struggle or fail in our attempts to meet the needs of those children because we are wrong from the beginning with the diagnostic. Even more -and as the authors suggest on the same page, we attempt generic solutions without conscious evaluations on specific cases; therefore our interventions are not always the most appropriate for each case. That is why I believe is extremely important to be cautious in the labeling process of our gifted students, so we can target their needs with accuracy and diligence.
I agree with the book in saying that it's important to understand and label children so that we can know what interventions to put in place to help them succeed.Whether the label be a learning disabiltiy like dyslexia or a label of being gifted, we need to know who they are in order to teach them to cope with or overcome their weaknesses. On pg 270 it states that "Once a formal diagnosis of a disability is made, parents and teachers can identify and implement appropriate educational interventions to address the problem. A diagnosis can also help a gifted child better understand her strengths and weaknesses, thus enhancing self-understanding and self-esteem."
Response to Melanie: Yes, I think we all have had students like that... I actually have a kid with a marked uneven development among his verbal-intellectual capability and his capability to organize ideas on paper, and his motor skills that seems awkawrd.
PV: It is important to correctly diagnose a child, especially a gifted child, so that he/she can receive the appropriate interventions. As stated in p. 252, "A correct diagnoss is a starting point, not a solution or a treatment."
PV: I agree with Adriana N's comment concerning the "one label approach". It is disheartening to think of gifted kids who may have been inaccurately diagnosed and dismissed as just having a disorder thus neglecting their gifted potential.
We need to understand that labels are very meaningful to students; more so than they are to us as educators. Students use labels to identify with peers, figure out where they fit, and name their difficulties. We sometimes denigrate labels because we see students without labels behaving, for good or ill, the same way as students with labels. On the other hand, we sometimes dismiss students with labels by excusing poor performance or behavior as the fault of their label.
@Adrianna N: I think even the label "gifted" is a one-label-per-customer situation since students may be gifted in one area and not gifted in another.
I agree with JBrown: A diagnosis can also help a gifted child better understand her strengths and weaknesses, thus enhancing self-understanding and self-esteem (pg 270).We need to help all better understand his or her own strengths and weaknesses.
So hard labeling kids with disabilities. page 263 states how difficult it is in diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. Parents must go to a psychologist and not a 10 min. family doctor interview.
As a fifth grade teacher for over 22 years, I always find it interesting each year to meet the “Gifted” labeled students and discover for myself who I think really fits this category. Often those labeled “Gifted” were really just overachievers, bright students. Just as in sports, as time goes on the really gifted athletes/students begin to stand out in other ways. I found this chapter quite interesting as it addressed the other areas where gifted children fall into, ie., ADHD. Learning to seek out the strengths in each student is so important and capitalizes on these strengths to support the self esteem of the student. Often a teacher will not look for these strengths and the gifted child is not encouraged to grow. It is important to know the other issues that student is dealing with and work around addressing those needs as well, that often are masked. This makes me very sad.