- Giftedness: Infancy to
Adolescence- A Developmental Perspective by Heidi J. Dalzell
- A history is provided on
the development of the study of giftedness. Binet felt genius was equal to
madness. Galton found genius to be inherited and contested the
genius=madness link. Terman painted gifted children as superior in all ways.
- Infant IQ tests have not
proven to be reliable indicators of IQ. Forty eight months is the earliest
age at which a more accurate reading can be ascertained. Those children in
the 130-140 IQ range will begin to show giftedness in some area from birth
(i.e. verbal or mathematical). "The mother-infant dyad is seen as the
primary instigator of the child's intellectual growth" (Dalzell, 1997,
p.260). Many gifted children have early language development. Some will have
trouble in preschool.
- Childhood brings emotional
adjustment as the child begins to understand the world and separate from
parents. The child, according to Erikson, must gain a sense of industry or
risks feeling inferior. Gifted children tend to be "highly motivated,
extremely independent, and tend to be more introverted and introspective"
(Dalzell, 1998, p. 261). They often prefer to be with older children and
strive for academic and social achievement. In order to get along better
with others, gifted children should focus on the similarities between
themselves and other children rather than the differences. Gifted children
tend to be perfectionist. The most well-adjusted gifted children are often
the first-born or only children from child-centered families.
Underachievement is sometimes seen in these children and is a form of
rebellion against the parents.
- Adolescence is described
as "intrapsychic separation from primary love objects, changes in ego
functioning due to puberty and sexuality, and developing an identity and
ego-ideal" (Dalzell, 1998, p.262). The gifted adolescent is forced to choose
from his/her desire for academic excellence and the desires of the peer
group, which are often non-academic in nature. Some may deny their gifts or
try to minimize them in the eyes of their peers.
- Gifted females have a more
difficult time than their male counterparts. " 'Feelings of hopefulness and
encouragement' increased as gifted males reached adolescence. For gifted
female adolescents, self-confidence decreased" (Dalzell, 1998, p.263). The
girls' desire to be connected to others will often take precedence over
The Reflexive Self: A Sociological Perspective by R.F. Falk and N.B.
- Robert Mead's
theoretical framework of symbolic interaction is used to explain how
gifted children develop a reflexive self. First, the basic nature of the
self is reflexive and is defined by interaction with others. Asking
one's self a question is being reflexive. Second, one evaluates one's
self based on the reactions of others. Gifted children will naturally
pass through the stages of development of a reflexive self more quickly
than other children.
- Self-perception: The
ability to transfer sensory experiences into memory to determine their
- Self-recognition: The
ability to recognize one's self in a mirror and to use words
These first two stages help
children realize the result of their actions and allow them to realize they
are separate beings from their parents.
- Self-Efficacy: The
child who is given the opportunity to try new things and succeed at them
will develop properly in this stage. Self-efficacy increases as new
tasks are accomplished.
- Self-Image: Self-Image
changes as a person's role changes (i.e. from daughter to mother to spouse).
Self-image can change through social interactions which also brings about a
change in future behavior, which, in turn, brings about a change in
self-image. Perceived responses of others and self-appraisals has more of an
effect than actual evaluations of others and self-appraisals.
- Self-Concept: Self-Concept
is more stable and less changeable and is formed in the early years of life.
- Self-Esteem: The person
imagines how others feel about him/her and then feels positively or
negatively about him or herself based on that imagined evaluation.
Adolescents begin to experience views of others that conflict with their own
views of themselves, which can be stressful and depressing.
- Self-Deception: Children
use self-deception to protect their self-concept. They choose to only accept
the views of others that are positive and validating.
- Self-Discrepancy: This is
the difference between the ideal and actual self, the difference between
having goals and attaining them, or between the actual self and the moral