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Gifted children : do we deserve them?

Neil Reid

During the early part of the 20th century the term 'gifted' was a label given to those of superior ability, and it has continued to be used in this general way ever since. However, when used in this manner it is not really a definition, for it defines neither the type of ability nor the degree of superiority. Moreover, while it has always been possible to identify the child prodigies, the Mozarts, the Galtons and the John Stuart Mills, many gifted children are overlooked, their potential unrecognized. For example, the talents of such notables as Darwin, Einstein, Pasteur and Jung, among others (Illingworth and Illingworth, 1966) went undetected, apparently by parents and teachers alike, during their childhood.

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