Highly Gifted Young People: Development from Childhood to Adulthood
by Miraca U.M. Gross
Highly gifted children and adolescents are students at risk because they differ so significantly from their age-peers in many aspects of their cognitive and affective development. The cognitive strategies they employ are not readily understood by classmates or, often, by teachers. In the elementary school years, their strong intrinsic motivational orientation is at variance with the “reward” philosophy of many classrooms. Their conceptions and expectations of friendship differ strongly from those of age-peers and more closely resemble those of older students. Their moral reasoning tends to be more akin to that of students some years older. Longitudinal studies which have traced these young people’s development through adolescence and adulthood have identified strongly positive academic and social outcomes of various forms of academic acceleration, including, for exceptionally and profoundly gifted students, thoughtfully monitored programs of radical acceleration which allow graduation from high school three or more years earlier than usual.
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