Problems of Gifted Children

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THE need for early identification of gifted children in our school systems is recognized but is not being met adequately. Children whose intelligence quotients are above 140 are considered gifted and they comprise approximately 1.33 per cent of all children. Gifted children often profit significantly from the challenge of additional special work. Failure to recognize their superior abilities early in their school careers and to challenge them may cause gifted children to become bored, frustrated and even to fail in school.

Emotional maladjustments may interfere with the performance of a gifted child, thus the anomalous situation of a genius who fails in school is not uncommon. The physician sometimes sees a child who has multiple complaints but in whom the findings on physical examination are normal. In such a child, psychological study may reveal the basis of the problem: the child may be gifted, his superior abilities may have gone unchallenged and unchanneled and the physical symptoms may have resulted from conversion. When the underlying problem has been thus defined, treatment must cover broad areas focusing primarily on the home and the school.

The following three case reports are presented to illustrate some of the problems of the gifted child.


Case 1. A 7 ½-year-old boy was seen initially in the Department of Pediatrics because of multiple complaints including dizziness, pain in the wrists and knees, cough, and headache. The mother noted that he had been “nervous,” crying easily because of seemingly minor frustrations. His school work had. . .



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