Finished book: High IQ Kids!

A UPS truck pulled up at the curb in front of the house early this morning and delivered an author’s (in this case, editor’s) copy of High IQ Kids! This is an "advance" copy, although not an "advance reader’s copy" or ARC, because it’s the real book, freshly unpacked from the printer’s shipment before the official publication date (which is, I think, September 1 although the publisher lists a ship date of August 31, or tomorrow). The books were about four days late from the printer, which seems to be a recurring theme right now. . . . Maybe all the printers are currently overloaded with fall titles. . . .

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The volume’s 416 pages contain 30 essays and technical papers on raising and educating high-IQ kids.

What’s a "high IQ kid"?

Good question. If you want to get precise, which I don’t and some of the people involved with this book may disagree with the following statement, it’s a kid who tests above 145 on a standard instrument. HOWEVER:

IQ testing is imprecise (several articles in the book go into this in detail). Different sources set up different categories. There’s a technical testing definition of IQ scores and giftedness (it’s on pages 7 and, with slight variations, 60).

But pigeonholes are only useful in a few contexts, like research. The current arbitrary levels being used by the researchers we included in the book are mildly gifted, moderately gifted, highly gifted, exceptionally gifted, and profoundly gifted. These categories align with standard deviations above the norm.

A rule-of-thumb that I came across years ago that has been helpful to me in a practical sense suggested that kids in the mildly and moderately gifted ranges can do anything they want in life (i.e., they’re smart enough to do whatever they choose) and can still cope well with the prevailing environments (e.g., school, home, and regular social interactions). Those at the other above-average levels (highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted) are "wired" differently in enough ways that they will not be able to cope comfortably with the prevailing environments. They don’t think "better," they think differently, which means they just don’t operate on the same wavelength. They don’t care about the same topics of conversation and they may come up with questions and ideas that don’t make sense to other people.

That’s neither better nor worse. People with those levels of intelligence, though, are the ones for whom High IQ Kids offers guidance . . . along with anyone else who fits a similar enough profile that the information might help.

I have a personal theory that everyone comes into life with a package of strengths and weaknesses that’s about equivalent to everyone else’s. Intelligence, as we measure it in the industrialized Western world of the twenty-first century, is just one component of everyone’s package. Because each of us has a unique combination of attributes, the trick is in figuring out how best to use the pluses without being tripped up by the minuses. Or, for parents and other responsible adults, in raising children to enjoy and develop their strengths and to compensate for, instead of being limited by, their weaknesses.

The information in the book will help anyone who is trying to parent, teach, counsel, or befriend a kid who sometimes seems "too smart," whether the child also has learning differences or not (many high-IQ kids do).

It will also help adults who are guiding children who don’t seem "too smart"—who appear to be quite average or are putting out so little effort they seem below average—but are having unexplained and serious difficulties in standard classrooms (or in "standard" gifted-and-talented programs, if they’ve shown some of their potential).

I’m really pleased that Free Spirit Publishing is the press releasing this book. Not only is it independent, it’s the publisher of several books that helped me out through all those years. They’ve got even more great stuff now.

High IQ Kids contains all the best information that I needed in one place while I was working on getting one of these kids raised to adulthood alive and with only average requirements for additional psychotherapy.

Giftedness is generally not an "okay" topic of conversation in our society. Several of the contributors to this book have asked to be identified by pseudonyms. It has not been easy for my daughter and me to go public on this topic, either. However, we agreed long ago that we’d do anything we could do to keep even one other kid or parent from going through what we had to handle. An overview of our school saga, titled "Red Zone," is on pages 246 to 259.

The same impetus that motivates my daughter and me—to help others—brought together the three editors of this book to do the looooooong, complicated work of gathering the pieces, editing them, eliminating some (the book could have been twice as long; trimming was the hardest part), and finding the right publisher.

Between us, we’ve parented four of these kids, and over the decades we’ve been in touch with many other parents and children in similar situations. They’re everywhere: in all geographic, social, economic, racial, and other environments. And all of them are similarly challenged to just facilitate an appropriately happy (and appropriately unhappy) childhood and an effective education.

The book’s full title is High IQ Kids: Collected Insights, Information, and Personal Stories from the Experts. Some of the essays in it were written by young adults about their experiences when they were younger. They’re probably the truest experts.

The sections include:

  1. What’s in a Number?
  2. Take a Number
  3. More Than a Number

And
    Resources and more information.

Here’s a full list of the contents:

Part 1: What’s in a Number?

  • 1 Defining the Few: What Educators and Parents Need to Know about Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Children, by Annette Revel Sheely and Linda Kreger Silverman
  • 2 Normal Kids Don’t Quack, by Cathy Marciniak (we editors wanted to lead with this essay, but the publisher preferred to define terms before launching right into the puzzled parents’ world)
  • 3 Young Gifted Children as Natural Philosophers, by Deirdre Lovecky
  • 4 Calculus, Pooh, and Tigger Too, by Courtney James
  • 5 Intellectual Assessment of Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Children, by John D. Wasserman
  • 6 Recommendations for Identifying and Serving Black Youth in Gifted Programs, by Tarek C. Grantham and Linda A. Long
  • 7 Twice Exceptionality: Life in the Asynchronous Lane, by Lee Singer
  • 8 An Anomaly: Parenting a Twice-Exceptional Girl, by Kiesa Kay

Part 2: Take a Number

  • 9 "So You’re the Teacher of a Profoundly Gifted Child" (And Then There Was Bill), by Laura Freese
  • 10 What Makes the Highly Gifted Child Qualitatively Different? Implications for Schooling, by Karen B. Rogers
  • 11 Too Smart for School? A Lesson about Teaching and Learning, by Marilyn Walker
  • 12 Becoming an Educational Advocate: Dolphin’s Story, by Carolyn Kottmeyer
  • 13 The Underachievement of Gifted Students: Multiple Frustrations and Few Solutions, by Sally M. Reis
  • 14 Surviving in Spite of It All, by Shaun Hately
  • 15 Curriculum Issues for the Profoundly Gifted, by Joyce VanTassel Baska
  • 16 Of Importance, Meaning, and Success: Application for Highly and Profoundly Gifted Students, by Christine S. (Tee) Neville
  • 17 Homeschooling with Profoundly Gifted Children, by Kathryn Finn
  • 18 Unfettered Innovation: The Promise of Charter Schools, by Amanda P. Avallone
  • 19 An Early Entrance Program: A Well-Rounded College Experience for Young Students, by Trindel Maine (more) and Richard S. Maddox
  • 20 A Longitudinal Study of Radical Acceleration with Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Children, by Miraca U. M. Gross

Part 3: More Than a Number

Appendix: Resources and More Information

  • 30 Strength in Numbers: An Introduction to the Resources, by Judy Fort Brenneman

Here’s the back cover.

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The first reaction of all three editors at seeing the cover photos was that we wished our children had been able to experience that kind of joy-in-learning and comfortable confidence.

Our deepest hope is that because of this book more children in the future will look more often like the kids in the pictures.

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3 Responses

  1. I am so glad that you (and all others) took the time to put this book together. I myself was considered a “gifted” child, however, my parents did not have resources like this to work with and still sometimes have difficulty understanding how my mind works. Luckily, my teachers at the time recognized my abilities and sent me off to special classes. As a side note, I have recently been in touch with a few people that were also in those classes (ahh, the power of the internet to find people), they also have gone far in their own endeavors. I would greatly encourage you to continue to write about your expiriences with parenting the exeptional, there are so many lives that can be bettered by simply knowing that someone else has gone through it and found the road to be successful and well adjusted. My prayers are with you all and may God bless all that you do. Thank you.

    And as reply to Douglas’ comment, you are quite on the mark. You ladies are a Godsend in a time when I have been completely frustrated with my inability to cope with things that are considered “normal”. At times I feel like I couldn’t possiby be THAT gifted if I can’t do simple things…thank you for reminding me that it’s OK to be different (so simple yet so easy to forget).

  2. I just wanted to thank you and your fellow editors for putting this book together. I ordered it on Amazon after reading this post several weeks ago and finally received it in the post today (I am in the UK). I have already finished reading it. I have read most books available on this topic, but found the format and content of this one moving and enlightening. The terminology of ‘giftedness’ (let alone any distinction among degrees of it) is still quite taboo over here, at least in my experience (we speak self-deprecatingly of “quite bright” children). I just thought I was a freak! Congratulations again on an excellent resource.

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