Millions of gifted children are failing to reach their potential something Dr. Sylvia Rimm calls underachievement syndrome. Drawing on both clinical research and years of experience counseling families, Dr. Rimm has developed a Trifocal Model to help parents and teachers work together to get students back on track. It is effective for a wide range of students, from preschool through college. Dr. Rimm s practical, six-step program provides everything you need to know to turn your child or student s underachievement into success.
"...Down-to-earth advice parents desperately seek when struggling to motivate their underachievers." --The Washington Post Education Review (In reference to previous edition)
Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D., is a best-selling author who was a contributing correspondent for nine years on NBC s Today Show and who hosts a nationally broadcast radio program Family Talk with Sylvia Rimm. Dr. Rimm is a psychologist who specializes in working with gifted children and is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. She also writes a syndicated newspaper column on parenting.
She has authored hundreds of articles and more than 20 books, including See Jane Win, which described her research on the childhoods of successful women. This book hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was also featured on the Oprah Winfrey and Today Shows, and in People magazine. Another book she wrote, Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children, was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award. Katie Couric, former long-time host of NBC s Today Show, says, Dr. Rimm is a welcome voice of calm and reason someone who offers practical advice, with almost immediate results. She s a guardian angel for families who need a little or a lot of guidance.
Dr. Rimm has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Children, and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences. A mother of four, and grandmother of nine, she lives in Cleveland with her husband.
Chapter 1: What Is Underachievement?
Our nation continually searches for better ways to educate its children. National and international studies routinely report depressing statistics about U.S. children''s lack of basic skills, inadequate knowledge of science, below-average skills in mathematics, inept critical thinking, and poor problem-solving abilities, as well as their lack of readiness for post-high school education and the workforce. The U.S. Department of Education conducted a study, ending in 2001, which reported that only 53% of students who enter a four-year institution actually earn a bachelor''s degree.
These problems have been blamed on such villains as television, movies, violent computer and video games, the economy, the breakdown of the family, large classes, the Internet, not enough class time, shortages of funds, and poor discipline. Education professionals complicate the discussion by use of such inside jargon as "cultural deprivation," "learning disabilities," "tracking," "test bias," "no child left behind," "Title One," and "inclusion." Children are diagnosed with disorders such as Learning Disability, Executive Dysfunction difficulties, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Asperger''s Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Overanxious Disorder, and Depressive Reaction. The endless controversy can be bewildering to most parents who may not also be educators, as well as for educators who truly want to teach children.
All of these debates about why American children don''t learn as well as they should ignore a very basic issue. Even if we add time to the school day, give new titles to federal funding, increase teacher salaries, reduce class size, fund education for children with special needs, and change tests to reflect differences in cultural environments and learning styles,we are still not facing a central problem in our schools.
Millions of children who have no actual diagnosable disorder that would affect learning--children with average, above-average, and even gifted intellectual abilities, including those from homes where education is valued--are simply not performing up to their capabilities. These children may be very creative or verbally or mathematically precocious, yet despite their abilities, they do not perform well in school. Social and emotional factors are the culprits, and psychological strategies must be used to prevent and reverse their underachievement.
Underachievers sit in virtually every classroom and live in many families. They waste educational resources, try the patience of even the best teachers, manipulate their families toward chaos, and destroy their own confidence and sense of personal control.
The problem is disconcertingly widespread. When I appeared for a five-minute interview on NBC''s Today show covering the topic of bright, underachieving children, that one segment attracted more than 20,000 phone calls and thousands of letters from distressed parents from all over the country (see Figure 1.1). It seems that I had hit a raw nerve for tens of thousands of families who recognized the symptoms of Underachievement Syndrome in their children...