I once specialized in counseling talented and gifted children. Before that, I taught these students in my high school English classes for many years, and they taught me about themselves through their writings and discussions. Motivated by what I had learned from my most memorably talented students, I began discussion groups for them when I became a "gifted education teacher" in the 1980s. I knew there was a need for affective support. I also knew that educators, coaches, and even parents sometimes forgot that these bright and complex students were more than just potential fulfillers of adults' dreams, more than award-winners, more than "stars." They were certainly more than their intellect, their talents, or their stardom. They were kids, working through the same developmental stages as their same-age peers. Some of them, of course, did not manage their development smoothly, did not compete and achieve well, did not meet expectations. Some had neglectful parents and came from violent homes. Some were never noticed as being "bright." I had all of them in mind when I organized the groups.


Originally published as:

Peterson, J. S. (1998). The Burdens of Capability [Abstract]. Reclaiming Children and Youth: Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Problems, 6(4), 194-198.

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