Introduction: The Importance of Parents
Parents play an essential role, particularly in a gifted child's early education years. Being a gifted child can be joyful, but sometimes it is painful, too. Parents can help children know that other family members share their abilities, concerns, and ways of viewing the world. They can also help gifted children develop an appreciation for many ordinary things and everyday people, as well as a sense that they have a place in the world. Perhaps most importantly, parents can make their home a stimulating and safe harbor where gifted children know there are always people who love them, who understand their dilemmas, and who care.
Our experience and interpretation of the research leads us to believe that the most effective guidance and problem prevention lies with caring, knowledgeable, and supportive parents. Intellectual development and emotional reactions begin in infancy and preschool years, and many major behavioral patterns are set by the time the child reaches school age. In the early years, birth to ages four or five, it is the child's parents who provide virtually all of the support.
A solid home foundation is especially important when gifted children feel out of place with the surrounding world. Home can be a haven —a place to recharge one's batteries--where adults help the child to untangle and comprehend the many perplexing behaviors that exist in the world outside. When home is that kind of refuge, and when one or two other adults, such as teachers, neighbors, or others, emotionally support a gifted child's self-concept, these children usually survive, and even thrive, despite sometimes difficult or even traumatic events. Support and encouragement at home not only guide the gifted child, but also give the child models of inner strength that he can call on later.
Ideally, as a child gets older, parents and educators will work together. Certainly, teaching is a significant part of developing talent from year to year, but we believe that parents are particularly important in the long-term outcome of gifted children. Where there are insufficient educational opportunities, parents can provide enrichment and can negotiate with schools to help ensure that there is a match between the educational program and the child's interests, abilities, and motivation to learn. And good parenting--in which parents understand, nurture, guide, and advocate for their high potential child--can overcome a year or more of mediocre or even negative school experiences.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the expert authors, please contact Kristina Grant, Director of Marketing, Great Potential Press, Inc.PO Box 5057, Scottsdale, AZ 85261-5057. Toll Free: 877-954-4200. Fax: 602-954-0185. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger's, Depression, and Other Disorders
This book describes a modern tragedy. Many of our brightest, most creative, most independent thinking children and adults are being incorrectly diagnosed as having behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. They are then given medication and/or counseling to change their way of being so that they will be more acceptable within the school, the family, or the neighborhood, or so that they will be more content with themselves and their situation. The tragedy for these mistakenly diagnosed children and adults is that they receive needless stigmatizing labels that harm their sense of self and result in treatment that is both unnecessary and even harmful to them, their families, and society.
Other equally bright children and adults experience another misfortune. Their disorders are obscured because, with their intelligence, they are able to cover up or compensate for their problems, or people mistakenly think that they are simply quirkily gifted. And there is another group of intellectually gifted children and adults who suffer from very real disorders, but neither they nor the treating professionals are aware that their disorders are related in any way to their brightness or creativity.
We-the six authors of this book, all of whom are practicing clinical health care professionals-independently came to the alarming conclusion that many very bright people are suffering needlessly because of misdiagnosis and dual diagnoses. Each of us, during the past 20 or more years, became aware that in our clinical practices, we were seeing patients who were misdiagnosed by other practitioners-professionals who were well-trained and well-respected. Sometimes the characteristics of giftedness were misinterpreted. Other times the characteristics of gifted children and adults obscured the clinical disorders. And in still other situations, the diagnosis was accurate, but the giftedness component needed to be incorporated into treatment planning.
In 2003, after talking informally at several professional meetings about these issues, we decided-somewhat hesitatingly-to write this book. We hesitated because we knew that our ideas were not in the mainstream of either psychology or medicine. We knew also that our ideas would be controversial to some. But we also believed that our information was accurate and would be very helpful to children, parents, and professionals. We frankly hope that our ideas will soon be more widely accepted in the health care professions.
During the last 10 years or so, the authors-competent and very experienced professionals in psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics-all reported that they were seeing many patients who have been referred to them with diagnoses such as ADD/ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder. Upon examination, we discovered that many of these patients had been seriously misdiagnosed-that, in fact, they were gifted individuals who were in situations in which the people around them did not sufficiently understand or accept behaviors that are inherent to people who are intellectually or creatively gifted.
Our experiences have led us to the realization that misdiagnoses are being made by otherwise well-meaning and well-trained professionals. We are convinced that misdiagnosis of gifted children and adults is not only a very real phenomenon, but also one that is very widespread.
How is this possible? How could this happen? Don't physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals learn about the behavioral, emotional, and intellectual characteristics of gifted children and adults? The answer is no. In fact, these professionals receive extremely little, if any, training about the intellectual characteristics and diversity of gifted children and adults, and even less about their typical social, emotional, and behavioral characteristics and needs. That lack of information is the largest single reason for the frequent misdiagnoses-and the subsequent reason for this book.
For more information about this award-winning resource, or to schedule an interview with one of the expert authors, please contact Kristina Grant, Director of Marketing, Great Potential Press, Inc., PO Box 5057, Scottsdale, AZ 85261-5057. Toll Free: 877-954-4200. Fax: 602-954-0185. Email: email@example.com or visit www.giftedbooks.com