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Helping Gifted Children Soar – Book Review

Book Review – Helping Gifted Children Soar

by Ruth Richards

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers
Helping Gifted Children Soar : A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers
by Carol Strip, with Gretchen Hirsch
Gifted Psychology Press, 2002

Very readable, well-organized, practical, on everything from dealing with pros and cons of special talents in the kids to responses that aren’t always supportive in the teachers, to advocating for one’s child. Actual suggestions of what to say and do are excellent.

However, my main problem with this book ­ speaking as someone who has done research on “everyday creativity” for over 25 years ­ is that, on the one hand, the list of gifted and talented qualities speak very much to self-motivated and highly creative, innovative, youth. This is an underidentified and often frustrated group in our mainstream public schools. However, the usual school means of identifying the gifted involves IQ and standardized testing. Creativity research shows only small correlations between these tests (past a threshold) and degree of notable creative accomplishment.

It is worth being up front about some of the limitations of this testing, and what in fact is often done by the schools (our district talks about the “talented” but is so far just going by the testing). This misidentification of talent, and miscasting of creativity, is a critical reality that needs addressing!

Otherwise, a terrific book!
Best, Ruth

Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Saybrook Graduate School
Associate Clinical Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry
University of California, San Francisco

Research Affiliate, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA
Lecturer, Dept. of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

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