A crisis of ignorance? The need for change


The author examines issues associated with what he believes to be a crisis of ignorance in the life of times gifted and talented children and young people. He defines crisis as a time of difficulty when important decisions need to be made. Ignorance he considers the lack of knowing and understanding. His specific concerns revolve around the nuanced social emotional and other psychological needs associated with giftedness. Support providers, e.g., school psychologists, while responsible for providing “effective services to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally” rarely possess a full understanding as to how their lack of knowledge and understanding can powerfully and negatively influence the healthy development of gifted and talented children. The paper presents the foundations of this belief borne of long experience as an educator and educational psychologist working holistically with gifted and talented children, their parents and teachers in schools and in the community, fellow clinicians, colleagues worldwide and, not least, observation of four grandchildren. Real-world observations and case studies, evidence from past and present research, a deeper realization of the importance of holistic assessment, consideration of historical and globally relevant perspectives, review of theoretical notions by leaders in the field of gifted education, and recent conversations with experts in the field of gifted education who share his belief, persuade him – and hopefully the reader - that this crisis of ignorance creates the imperative for change.