Social-Emotional Needs of the Gifted

 The very intelligent child, perceiving the illogical and unjust conduct of elders in charge of affairs, may learn to hate all authority, and become incapable of taking a cooperative attitude towards commands. The great problem of learning to suffer fools gladly is one which many gifted persons never solve, as long as they live.

Leta Stetter Hollingworth

Looking at the social-emotional needs of the gifted it is worth remembering that despite their above average abilities in one or more domain they are foremost human beings, sharing the same needs everybody does. But there are also some special needs the gifted develop because of their giftedness.

The social-emotional needs of the gifted can be put into two categories: The needs everybody has got and special needs. Research dating back to Lewis M. Terman's long-term study and the writings of Leta Stetter Hollingworth suggest, that gifted children and teenagers face on average less problems than their age-peers. However, this doesn't mean they don't have any problems.

Like anybody else, they can suffer from depression, mobbing in school, inadequate reactions to their own feelings, and many other problems. But, if they are less prone to those ailments, there are quite a few problems they face, exactly because they are gifted. The most common ones are:

Because the gifted have special needs as a result of their giftedness, they sometimes need special attention. If society manages to educate the gifted into adults who can make a positive contribution, everybody is to gain from it.

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Matthias Giger, April 2006 (Update: 26-04-2006)