Giftedness & Creativity
Specialist Assessment, Psychotherapy and Counselling Services in Perth
“Every gift contains a danger. Whatever gift we have we are compelled to express. And if the expression of that gift is blocked, distorted, or merely allowed to languish, then the gift turns against us, and we suffer.”
– L. Johnson
Gifted children can have unique social and emotional needs. Often, the more gifted the child the more extreme these needs can be. Misconceptions surrounding giftedness equate gifted children as high-achievers. However, this is often not the case. Many gifted children’s strengths can mean they may struggle in other areas. As a result, some gifted children may exhibit behaviours and experience mental health concerns. Such children often suffer from asynchronous development:
‘Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.’ (The Columbus Group, 1991).
This asynchronicity, or being many ages at once, may cause a gifted child problems. Therefore, the suggestions of regular parenting books often do not work for gifted children. Their asynchronicity renders typical age-appropriate parenting methods useless! It can also lead to difficulties in deciphering whether or not a gifted child has autism, adhd or any other disorder, or if their difficulties are simply due to giftedness. Gifted children can be at risk for being incorrectly diagnosed with such conditions, or even having diagnoses missed due to their giftedness. Kate is based in Perth and specialises in helping parents understand the social, emotional and academic needs of gifted children. Issues relating to giftedness are explored and accommodated, and children are referred to relevant clinicians for further assessment, diagnoses and/or medication as required. Kate provides support in the areas of anxiety, depression, perfectionism, issues with peer relationships, school refusal and imposter syndrome, and can also liaise with schools to determine the best way to help at-risk students. Support also extends to discussing whether acceleration may be a viable option for your child. For older gifted children, help with exam stress, career counselling and identity formation issues is also available.
Alchemy is located at ‘On Anzac’ in Mount Hawthorn, Perth and sessions provide a safe and non-judgemental space where you can ask any questions about how to best help your child. You will also be able to gain a better understanding of the needs of your gifted child, and what you can do to help accommodate their often extreme emotional responses. Together we can work to find out what makes your child happy, and look for the jigsaw pieces that when placed together help your child reach their potential, not just academically, but from a holistic perspective.
Of course, sometimes adults need support with coming to terms and understanding their own giftedness too, and counselling and psychotherapy is also available in this area. Kate has a particular interest in working with gifted adults who are experiencing issues relating to friendship and relationships, work problems, self-esteem, eating disorders and imposter syndrome.
Assessment for giftedness is available. Kate specialises in working with gifted children and adolescents. She understands that your child may need gentle handling in order to demonstrate their potential, particularly if they are anxious and/or perfectionistic. Assessment utilises a combination of IQ and achievement testing, in addition to a developmental and psychosocial questionnaire to ensure a holistic approach. Assessment of giftedness may consist of the WJ-IV Test of Cognitive Abilities (Woodcock Johnson), the WIAT-III (Wechsler Individual Achievement Test) and/or the WJ-IV Test of Achievement and/or Oral Language. Assessments can also be administered individually should this be your preference. Kate works alongside a psychologist who specialises in educational assessment. It is possible that you will be offered an appointment with this colleague, especially if time is a factor that needs to be considered, or a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder is a possibility. The WISC-V (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children) assessment amongst other batteries may be utilised in this instance, depending on your child’s individual presentation. Following assessment, a detailed report is provided, including referrals to other professionals as necessary, as well as practical parenting strategies and recommended reading specific to your child’s profile.