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Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind Paperback – July, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is a must for those who deal with bright and gifted persons." -- South Carolina Psychological Association Newsletter, Spring, 2005

Finally, a book that thoroughly describes gifted young people and what they need to thrive! -- Colleen Harsin, Director of Family Services, Davidson Institute for Talent Development

About the Author

Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D., is principal consultant with Educational Options in Minneapolis, where she works with families of highly gifted children. Holding a Ph.D. in Psychological Foundations of Education from the University of Minnesota, she has taught post- baccalaureate classes in gifted education for St. Mary’s and St. Thomas Universities in the Minneapolis area, undergraduate education courses for North Dakota State University and Moorhead State University, and has supervised elementary student teachers. She served as Superintendent of Schools in Cass County North Dakota. Dr. Ruf is the national Gifted Children Program coordinator for American Mensa

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Great Potential Press (July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0910707707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910707701
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Avallone on September 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
"We need to close the learning gaps that exist within each student - not focus on the composite gaps between groups." (p. 232) Although this book is primarily addressed to parents with an eye to helping them identify their child's level of giftedness, the unique challenges that comes with various levels of giftedness, and seeking out appropriate educational solutions; when they make me Queen of the Universe, I will decree that every single solitary teacher and administrator in every institutional school pass an examination on the contents of this book at least once every five years.

Written in three parts, the first part of this book covers identifying characteristics of giftedness, the process of discovering and measuring giftedness, and why the child's school is not likely to be helpful in this process. The reality is that most parents of gifted children, especially those whose children are profoundly gifted, will be entirely on their own with respect to ensuring that their children receive an appropriate level of academic and emotional support. An educated parent will obviously make better decisions and in an ideal world perhaps they could be blessed by forming a partnership with appropriately educated educational professionals that might help to close the learning gap that exists within so many gifted children. However, having completed a course on "different children" in the educational process that led to my own teaching credential, the 15 minutes spent that semester on giftedness issues does not instill much hope. While this book should be in the hands of all educational professionals, it is the parents of gifted children who must have this book (or one like it) as a means of appropriately directing the development of their special children.

In the second part, Dr.
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"Losing Our Minds" by Dr. Deborah L. Ruf is a great introduction to the problems of parenting, educating, and nurturing the best and brightest of the society. Dr. Ruf does a great job at shooting down the most common myths about gifted children and their education, such as the idea that average children will "catch up" or that gifted children should be kept with their age-mates to develop social skills. The disaster of the modern middle school and the absurd nature of grouping children according to age are demonstrated adequately and consistently.

The book details the case histories of 78 gifted children. Although very descriptive and helpful for parents in classifying their children in one of 5 gifted categories, taken as a whole the case histories are overly long--138 pages (with occasional helpful, although minimal commentary). Basically, giving detailed stories from the lives of EVERY child she studied was very unnecessary on Dr. Ruf's part and makes the book lag.

Also unexplicable is Dr. Ruf's preference for ratio IQ tests. The psychological community almost unanimously recognizes the statistical inaccuracy and poor psychometric properties of ratio IQ tests (as opposed to modern deviation IQ tests). Although the old ratio IQ tests allow for more distinctions among the highly intelligent, that seems irrelevant because the differences between the higher levels of giftedness seems to be based upon their behaviors and not on brute intelligence.

However, this book is superb in its concise suggestions and explanations of potential education plans for gifted children. Parents are given 15 different possibilities and told the appropriate circumstances under which each could be implemented.
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Format: Paperback
Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind gives me the support and validation I desperately need as a parent advocating for the needs of my gifted child. Due to the myths about gifted children that permeate the educational community today, I am often labeled by schools as a pushy, unreasonable parent who is crazy instead of credible.

But this book turns my intuition into fact and my emotions into evidence. For example, I know it's out of the ordinary for my kindergartener to be reading chapter books, and I feel that appropriate reading instruction in school is essential. In Dr. Ruf`s extensive study of 78 gifted children, I can see real examples of other kids who do exactly what mine does, and in the results of the study, I find documented proof of just what these children need in school, how their needs can be met, and how damaging it is when those needs go unmet. I can even get a clear, objective idea about my child's specific level of giftedness (Dr. Ruf outlines 5 levels) and how it is manifested in each stage of my child's development. So, what I simply know and feel becomes documented truth supported by extensive research. This lends credibility and objectivity to my arguments - and it's easy to share with schools (just give them a copy of this book!).

The experiences of the families revealed in Dr. Ruf's anecdotes reassure me that I am not just the stereotypical pushy parent, and that my concerns are valid and important. I see my gifted child and my family everywhere in these stories. This offers me the kind of support that is not easily found in neighborhoods and at PTA meetings.

If you parent a gifted child, educate a gifted child, or think your child might be gifted, you should really read this book. It will answer your questions regarding your child's specific needs and arm you with documented research and support in your advocacy efforts.
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