NDAGC Webinar Newsletter

October 2020

NDAGC Webinar Library

If you missed our webinar, you can find it archived in our NDAGC Webinar Library. Just visit the Membership Portal. You can now earn 1 Professional Developmental Credit for attending these webinars: NDAGC Homepage. Contact Yee Han Chu at yhc.ndagc@gmail.com for more information.

Understanding The Gifted Child: Exploring the Social-Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Gifted children have unique social-emotional needs, and quality programs and services for gifted individuals provide proper support for these needs. The presentation provided information on asynchronous development, emotional intensity, and the misdiagnosis of gifted children. The presentation also provided information on how to support a student's social-emotional needs.

October Webinar Hosts

Beth Ustanko

Beth Ustanko has been an elementary educator for twenty years and is the current Gifted Service teacher with Fargo Public Schools.

Emily Jones

Emily Jones established Creative Spirt Counseling in Fargo, ND. She also provides mental health services to both children and adults.

Webinar Highlights

Webinar Overview

Gifted children have unique social/emotional needs. Often the gifted children face social/emotional challenges:

1. asynchronous development

2. emotional intensity

3. misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis

Asynchronous Development

  • “Asynchrony is the term used to describe the mismatch between cognitive, emotional, and physical development of gifted individuals.”


How parents/educators can help
  • Find a mental age match instead of a chronological age match
  • Bibliotherapy
  • Help children understand giftedness
  • Connect with other parents

  • Keep educators/parents informed about the child

Emotional Intensity

“Giftedness is more than a student’s score on an IQ test or his or her performance on a series of academic tests. It involves every aspect of the person, including cognition, personality, and social-emotional development.”

-Fonseca p. 2

How parents/educators can help:

  • Build a solid foundation by setting clear expectations and consequences
  • Establish appropriate boundaries
  • Opportunites for contribution in the household/classroom
  • Develop a common emotional language

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis

"Some of our brightest, most creative children and adults are misdiagnosed as having behavioral or emotional disorders such as ADD/ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or Asperger's Disorder. Many receive unneeded medications and/or inappropriate counseling as a result.” (2005)

It is often difficult to diagnosis gifted children because giftedness shares many characteristics as ADD/ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, etc.


What are the similarities between giftedness and ADHD/Autism/Anxiety/Trauma?

  • concentration impairment
  • sensory input/output challenges
  • poor social skills
  • emotional regulation impairment
  • memory recall

How to Support Gifted Students

How to Treat the Whole Child

There are many ways to treat the whole child

  • Psychosocial Investigation​
  • Psychological Testing​
  • Individualized Interventions​
  • Treating Symptoms not Diagnosis​
  • Parental Involvement


  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy​

  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy​

  • Occupational Therapy​

  • Physical Therapy​

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy​

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy​

  • Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing​

  • Group Therapy

Caregiver/Education Support

  • Provide Stimulation​

  • Boundaries, Expectations, and Limits​

  • Choices​

  • Validation​

  • Modeling of Emotional Regulation​

  • Meet Needs with Accountability

When to Seek Help

Parents/Educators should seek help if they notice any of these signs:

  • School Work is Impacted Negatively​
  • Behavior Causes Caregiver Distress​
  • Negative Impact to All Areas of Functioning​
  • Aggression​
  • Self-Harm/Suicidal Ideation​
  • Withdrawal/Decrease in Pleasurable Activity

Webinar Feedback

"Knowing the name of the counselor is a helpful resource to refer parents to who may inquire outside help when dealing with the social-emotional need of their child."

-Stacy Anderson Gifted and Talented Teacher

Lewis and Clark Elementary