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The gifted/dyslexic child: Characterizing and addressing strengths and weaknesses

Abstract

The student who qualifies as both gifted and dyslexic often has low self-esteem and poor motivation. Although creative thinking, essential for complex problem solving, improves feelings of self-esteem, research has been sparse on creative thinking characteristics in these gifted/dyslexic students. The major part of this paper describes a study from Ontario regarding how gifted/dyslexic students compare to age-matched youngsters who are either dyslexic or gifted, but not both. Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses, cognitive and creative thinking differences are analyzed in children aged 9 to 14 years. Results of this study contribute information to the literature in four areas: intellectual, academic, socioemotional and creative thinking. The WISC-R profiles differ in these three groups of students. Although academic difficulties are similar in students who are dyslexic and gifted/dyslexic, the latter exhibit strength in expressing humor, problem solving, capturing the essence of an idea, and in synthesizing dissimilar concepts. This group too, in their writing, express feelings of being in control, and in their drawings, other positive and negative feelings. Like dyslexics, gifted/dyslexics express intuitive aspects of creative thinking but are somewhat stronger in gaining information through their physical senses. In all cognitive and physical sensing aspects of creative thinking, the gifted group is strongest.

This study is followed by a description of two different curriculum approaches that address the needs of youngsters who are both gifted and dyslexic. The first approach examines inclusive classrooms in Texas where meeting the needs of learning disabled or dyslexic students is mandated by law. A consultative service is available through the Scottish Rite Hospital which helps teachers to create a relaxed, democratic, and creative atmosphere in which students who are both gifted and dyslexic may reach their potential. The second approach describes a private school for children who are gifted, dyslexic, or gifted/dyslexic, the Assets School in Honolulu, where perceptive teachers, mindful of creative thinking differences, use a thematic, multisensory approach to teach all three kinds of students.

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LaFrance, E.(.B. The gifted/dyslexic child: Characterizing and addressing strengths and weaknesses. Ann. of Dyslexia 47, 163–182 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-997-0025-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11881-997-0025-7

Keywords

  • Creative Thinking
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyslexic Child
  • Gifted Student
  • 47th Annual Conference