Children's real need is for potential to be realised

4th October 1996 at 01:00
Reading about gifted children who kick and fight, who contemplate suicide at the age of six because of their frustration in school, is shocking. But, having reviewed the international research on the very able for the forthcoming Office for Standards in Education report, it is clear that this behaviour is not at all typical of the gifted.

There is no evidence, other than reports from parent organisations for the gifted, to suggest that a higher proportion of these children are emotionally disturbed. Indeed, one has only to look at the 166,380 British children in the top 2 per cent of IQ to see that they behave much like other children.

It's time to drop the mythology. The gifted do not need psychologists to soothe their fevered brows because they are too delicate to cope with normal school life.

Their real need is for an education which enables them to realise their potential, offered by teachers in all subjects who are trained to provide it.

PROFESSOR JOAN FREEMAN

21 Montagu Square

London W1

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