A New Publication about Giftedness!
We are pleased to announce the publication of The Essential Guidebook for Parents of Gifted Children by Jennifer Ault. This book is designed to offer a concise yet thorough introduction to giftedness for parents new to the subject; however, it will also be a valuable resource to those knowledgeable about the topic, in part because it presents some concepts and ideas in ways that have never been explored and explained before. Although the book is primarily for parents, it will be of great interest to teachers, administrators, counselors, and gifted experts because of the new ground it breaks.
The book originated from our desire to have a guidebook for parents to go with a few of our recent publications directed toward gifted children to help them understand themselves and the characteristics that can make them different from their peers. That meant a discussion of Dabrowski and the five overexcitabilities, which the author does in the first chapter, although through a slightly different lens than what is typically used by other authors. But when the author went on to explain sensitivity (the topic of the second chapter), the book took a far more complex turn. The literature about gifted children has failed to look closely at the difference between intensity and sensitivity in gifted children, and also failed to differentiate between sensitivity as an attribute of children versus its manifestation as an overexcitability. This book explains these crucial distinctions and how they result in very different (and often difficult) behaviors.
The third chapter in the book explores the importance of asynchrony in gifted children, again using a slightly different take than what has been commonly accepted among experts, due to a close examination of expressions of asynchrony across gifted children’s lifespans. The author also devotes a chapter to “The Sneakily Gifted,” by which she means people whose giftedness is often hidden by other traits or whose giftedness is not readily apparent, often even to the individual him- or herself, as can be the case for those who are twice-exceptional. In the final chapter, the author explores some educational practices that help gifted children and many that are detrimental to them, and it advocates for more education for adults on this important subject.
What is not in The Essential Guidebook for Parents of Gifted Children is a long list of what gifted children are like. These lists of attributes seem to us to be unhelpful. What we need to look at is each individual child and what lies behind his or her behavior, and this book brilliantly offers insight into the reasons behind why children act as they do—often in ways that seem unproductive to others.
The publications for children that The Essential Guidebook were initially designed to support—The Intenso Family Goes to a New School and the five books that make up the Cheetah Stories—are intended to help young gifted children develop an awareness of themselves, specifically their particular intensities, sensitivities, and asynchronous development. The Intenso Family follows five siblings as they prepare for their first day in a new school; each one of the siblings exhibits a different overexcitability. The Cheetah Stories is a collection of stories about five young cheetahs, each with a different overexcitability, as he or she interacts with the other four in ways that help young children understand their own tendencies and interactions, as well as the behaviors of their peers.
All of these books are designed to produce a more empathetic framework for gifted children, to help them, their parents, and the other adults around them understand their peculiarities and accept them for who they are.