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Aisling Carbery-Shaha

EDLE 5005
Book Review

Fonseca, C. (2016). Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students:


Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Second
ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students


What does it take to raise a child deemed gifted? Many are unable to answer this
question. Many believe that dealing with gifted learners is a walk in the park, but little do
they know the dynamics it takes to not only meet their educational needs, but their
emotional needs as well. Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With
Explosive Feelings by Christine Fonseca can help both parents and teachers learn to
support these advanced learners. This book is a brilliant resource that gives examples of
strategies to teach these students how to cope with their emotions. It is a must-read for
anyone who wants to make a positive impact that lasts in the lives of gifted students. Not
only is it helpful for parents and gifted teachers, but can also help regular education
teachers understand these intelligent students in their class on a better level.

To first understand whether or not this book could help anyone dealing with a
gifted learner, we must first look at how the author became so knowledgeable about the
topic. Thankfully, this text contains an About the Author section to help explain. For
more than a decade, Christine Fonseca taught parenting classes and also worked directly
with educators to explain the emotional and social needs for gifted learners. Fonseca also
worked as a school psychologist from elementary to high school for more than seventeen
years.
This book is written in a conversational style. It uses real-world examples to
demonstrate to parents and teachers how to interact in a way where the students can
identify and fine-tune their behavior. The book is over 211 pages, which contain thirteen
chapters, is split into three specific parts, and also contains the authors final thoughts,
recommended resources, as well as references.
Part one explains, What it really means to be gifted. Many dont realize that
being gifted isnt just about a childs IQ test score or their scores on multitudes of tests. It
breaks down this ideal into different assumptions about the gifted, talent versus trouble,
temperament and how it relates to gender, and the overall basics. This section outlines the
first step in understanding the full nature of giftedness including but not limited to social,
emotional, and cognitive support in addition to potential problems related to these
attributes.
Part two goes into the next aspect and is entitled, Great information, but now
what? After part one many should have a basic insight of what it takes to be considered
gifted. Now that the reader has the basic knowledge of the gifted, now its time to

discuss how to build a solid foundation, working with explosions, unique personality
details, etc. This segment shows how these attributes manifest into intense problems
within school, peer interactions, and overall emotional wellbeing. The purpose of this
portion is to address these problems and help the child manage them.
Part three is called, Being your childs coach-specific strategies. Up until this
point, the book has simply focused on the understanding of the unique nature of the
gifted, but now this area deals with the actual coaching and strategies used to handle and
improve the emotional health of the gifted child. It states what a good coach is,
relationship issues, performance issues, and behavioral issues. According to John
Gottman, the author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, the most critical role of
parenting lies in emotional coaching. He stated that by focusing on building emotional
strength within the child, parents can improve resiliency and emotional health. (Gottman,
DeClaire, & Goleman, 1998)
The resources section is an extreme asset to this book. Many other books
discussing gifted lack the amount as well as quality of resources. For example, Failing
Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students by Chester
E. Finn doesnt give examples on how to best serve the gifted. This text simply explains
how we are failing to provide for these exceptional learners as opposed to actual
solutions. This section contains many subheadings where the parents or teachers can look
for specific problems a child may face and can look into a resource that could directly
relate to it. For example, if a parent would like to set up a support group, they could look
for a subheading of forming parent groups where they will find resources to help with

this. Another example is if a child is dealing with racial or gender issues in the gifted
environment, the parent or teacher could look under the heading ofother miscellaneous
topics where theres a handful of books dealing with boy giftedness, girl giftedness, and
even African American giftedness.
Additional advantages of this book are the different worksheets, checklists, tip
sheets, and dialogue analysis the author provides. The worksheets allow parents and
teachers to check and make sure all the emotional needs of the child are met. The
questions are generally simple yes or no answers, but it is an eye opener for the
parents. Like the worksheets, the checklists and tip sheets help outline what exactly needs
to be set forth for the success of the gifted child. The dialogue is probably one of the best
aspects within this manuscript. It gives examples of transactions between teachers and a
gifted child, or a parent and the gifted child. Not only does it show the dialogue, but it
analyzes how this either helps or hinders the child. In both examples, it explains how it
helps and vice versa. If it impedes the child, then the author discusses how to change the
dialogue in order to change the outcome.
To conclude, this book would be a great benefit to anyone wanting to help
emotionally intense gifted students. It not only explains how being gifted does have an
effect on the student, but also how the parents or teachers can help. It outlines where
problems may arise and possible solutions. It is useful for those directly dealing with
gifted learners and also those who deal with them on a secondhand basis. All in all, it is a
book that comes with high recommendations.

Works Cited
Fonseca, C. (2016). Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with
Explosive Feelings (Second ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
Gottman, J. M., & DeClaire, J. (1998). The Heart of Parenting: How to Raise an
Emotionally Intelligent Child. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Finn, C. E., & Wright, B. L. (2015). Failing our brightest kids: The global challenge of
educating high-ability students. September: Harvard Education Press.