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ERIC Number: EJ875268
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0016-9862
Cognitive and Psychosocial Characteristics of Gifted Students with Written Language Disability
Assouline, Susan G.; Nicpon, Megan Foley; Whiteman, Claire
Gifted Child Quarterly, v54 n2 p102-115 2010
Gifted and talented students who also have a specific learning disability (SLD) are typically referred to as twice-exceptional and are among the most underserved students in our schools. Previous special education laws promoted a wait-to-fail approach; therefore, gifted students with SLD often were overlooked because their average academic performance was not "failure" enough. The flip side to this was the fact that students' giftedness, as measured by general ability tests, often was masked by average, yet relatively weak, academic achievement. They were not only waiting to fail, they were failing to flourish. The authors present the data gathered from 14 gifted students with SLD, specifically a disorder of written expression. Students were determined to be gifted if they earned a score of 120 (Superior) on the Verbal Scale of a cognitive ability test. They were considered to have a written language disability through an evaluation of their written language skills. The average Verbal IQ for the group was close to a standard score of 130, whereas the average Written Language Score was close to a standard score of 99. In addition to the cognitive profile for these students, the authors obtained measures of their psychosocial functioning. On average, parents, teachers, and students reported typical adaptive behavior, yet group elevations also were present on several clinical scales. The authors' main conclusion is that a comprehensive assessment plays a critical role in (a) determining whether a student is twice-exceptional, (b) identifying the possibility of psychosocial concerns, and (c) developing educational recommendations. Putting the Research to Use: The results from our empirical study suggest that only through a comprehensive evaluation, which includes both individualized achievement and ability tests and allows for an analysis of the performance discrepancy between the two, is it possible to discover cognitively gifted students with a disorder of written expression. Diagnostic/identification procedures that do not include a comprehensive evaluation place gifted students at serious risk for "missed" diagnosis and ultimately, missed opportunity for intervention. The missed diagnosis arises from the observation that their written work is average relative to that of their peers. Equally important is the concern that some very capable students may be over-looked for screening for gifted programming because their achievement is average. Educators of students who appear to have high verbal ability while simultaneously demonstrating difficulty completing written assignments--and may even appear to be lazy or unmotivated--have a responsibility to further investigate the students' difficulties and strengths. (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A