Exceptional children (1956) Free PDF book by Florence Laura Goodenough

Exceptional children Free PDF book by Florence Laura Goodenough (1956)



Exceptional children Free PDF book


Florence Laura Goodenough was an American psychologist and professor at the University of Minnesota who studied child intelligence and various problems in the field of child development. She was president of the Society for Research in Child Development



For many years I have felt that the major difficulty faced by the exceptional child who differs markedly from others of his age and sex is not so much the fact of difference as it is the feeling of difference for which the objective facts are but partially responsible. Equally and in many cases more important for the child's general adjustment and happiness is the manner in which others react to his exceptional characteristics. Too much admiration and praise may cause the bright child to regard himself as so superior to his mates that he looks upon them with covert or openly expressed scorn. He withdraws from their companionship as they from his.

Thus his brilliance becomes more and more closely confined to the narrow range of abstract intelligence; it does not extend into the areas of social and emotional behavior. He does not become more tactful, more sympathetic, more self-controlled, or even more honest and trustworthy. Yet under other conditions, his superior ability might have been brought to bear upon all these and other desirable areas of conduct as well as upon academic matters.


In like manner, those who are defective in mind or body may be handicapped as much by their attitude toward their defect as by the defect itself. These attitudes are to a great extent determined by the behavior of those about them. Everyone, whether he is normal or defective, wishes to participate in the activities of others; he longs to be one of the crowd. Defective children have certain inescapable limitations, but most of them have further limitations imposed by their lack of confidence in their own ability to do things. Too much help, too much thoughtless sympathy forge chains for the handicapped child from which it is not easy for him to escape. Just as the social development of the intellectually superior child may be handicapped by a feeling that he is superior to others, so that of the defective child may be handicapped by the belief that he is inferior to his mates. In both cases, there is a tendency for this feeling to become generalized, to extend far beyond the area of actual deviation.


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