Support for the Type II - The Challenging Gifted
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
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
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
Do you have any recommendations, books to read, support
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
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
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.
Overall, show him acceptance, understanding, and advocacy
and trust his abilities. Work on his strength but donít
forget his challenges. Best of luck!