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This paper represents the first phase of a five-year study that will attempt to develop a culturally sensitive, comprehensive set of identification procedures to ensure that more gifted Deaf students are given opportunities to develop their potential. It discusses the overemphasis on language facility in the identification of giftedness and the resulting under-identification of gifted Deaf students. Deafness as a cultural difference is highlighted and case studies are presented that outline the educational and personal experiences of five individuals whose adult achievements would classify them as gifted people. The most significant theme that emerges from the case studies is a reluctance on the part of the participants to be double-labeled as gifted when many of them have struggled to attain a sense of identity as a Deaf person. They emphasize that giftedness is not simply an innate potential, instead, a result of the opportunities they have received compared to other Deaf people. Most of the individuals acknowledged the importance of a supportive home environment in helping them to attain their levels of performance. Identity with the Deaf community was also seen as a critical factor in their successes. (Contains 11 references.) (CR)

Descriptors: Ability Identification, Case Studies, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Differences, Deafness, Elementary Secondary Education, Family Influence, Gifted Disabled, Performance Factors, Talent Development

World Wide Web: pat.htm

Autor: Vialle, Wilma; Paterson, John


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