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Support for the Type II - The Challenging Gifted

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a six and half year old boy. He has recently been assessed by the school system. They have determined him to be a child who is gifted but, might have a learning disability.

I am at a loss of how to support him, I believe he may fit in to the Type 2 challenging. He definitely challenges things and does not accept because I said so as a reason.

He is very creative and curious. He struggles with maintaining focus and concentration. He also seems to have difficulty learning to read or master basic lessons in school.

Do you have any recommendations, books to read, support groups etc. Thank you Desperate Mom.

A: According to Betts & Neihart (1988), The Challenging Gifted (Type II) are the divergently gifted. Many school systems fail to identify Type II gifted children for programs unless the programs have been in place at least five years and substantial in servicing has been done with teachers. This personality type includes very creative, but often frustrated or bored, gifted children. They question the systems around them and are often rebellious because their abilities are unrecognized. Impatient, direct, and competitive, such children have low self-esteem.

Their interactions at school and at home often involve conflict. Some Type II's also challenge their peers, and therefore are often not included or welcomed in activities or group projects; on the other hand, some Type II's have a sense of humor and creativity that is very appealing to peers. In spite of their creativity, Type II's often possess negative self-concepts. This is the group of gifted students who are at risk of dropping out of schools for unhealthy activities, like getting involved in drugs or exhibiting delinquent behavior.

For more information on the different types of giftedness, go to the following sites:

Your son does display some of these characteristics but it is hard to place a gifted child perfectly in these groups. The profile is a mere guide to create awareness that there are different types of gifted children.

For a start, you need to know what learning ability your son may have as determined by the school. It is important to work on both his gifts and disabilities. That would also place him between Type II (as you suggested) and Type V Ė the double-labeled (as determined by the school). He would require some individualized attention in learning and you may need to work with the school for this. At home, allow him to pursue his interests. He would also need to model appropriate and positive examples of behaviors at home. Depending on the extent of the disruptive behavior, a professional may be required here. In school, his teachers need to be aware of his condition in order not to misinterpret his behavior and punish him. He would also require cognitive and social skill development. Building self esteem is important so he would need help there.

Check out these reading sites that may help.

  • Gifted Children with Learnign Disabilities

  • Twice Exceptional

  • Twice Exceptional (Gifted with Special Needs)

Overall, show him acceptance, understanding, and advocacy and trust his abilities. Work on his strength but donít forget his challenges. Best of luck!


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