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As an introduction, this article provides context for consideration of a special population of gifted children, the highly gifted. Justification for specialized service for this population, recommendations regarding various content area applications, and rationales for these students' need to find a place of belonging are examined and discussed. Special considerations are given to the interactions between cognitive levels and affective intensities. The core materials for this volume originated with selected presentations from "Greatest Potential, Greatest Need: Soaring Beyond Expectations- a Conference on Highly Gifted Children" hosted by the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver, on October 7 and 8, 2009.
Highly gifted children are as different from gifted children as gifted children are from typical learners. And, as a reflection of their difference from the norm, they are highly unique individuals as well. The concept underlying many of these articles is based on Annemarie Roeper's (1982) definition of giftedness: "Giftedness is a greater awareness, a greater sensitivity, and a greater ability to understand and transform perceptions into intellectual and emotional experiences" (as cited by Silverman, 2011, p. 20), and expanded upon by Linda Silverman: "The highly gifted have a different worldview" (p. 10). Recognition of these differences and subsequent needs is not only essential to serve this population, but also to create environments that allow them to thrive. Those of us working with these children have no greater opportunity to impact the future than to care for and cherish these unique individuals.
Institute for the Development of Gifted Education, Ricks Center for Gifted Children, University of Denver