Needs for information and concerns of parents of gifted children in four Canadian provinces

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(Thesis) Ph.D.
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The purpose of this study was to understand the needs for information and concerns of parents of gifted children. In order to do this, the survey Needs of Parents of Gifted Children (NPGC) was developed. Parents of gifted children (n = 525) from four Canadian provinces responded to the survey. Ten component subscales resulted from a Principal Components Analysis (PCA): Understanding Gifted Children, Creating Educational Opportunities, Choosing Between Educational Programs, Post-graduate Decisions, Lack of Time and Programs for Gifted Students, Emotional Concerns, Social Concerns, Pressure on Parents, Child in Conflict, and Child Underachievement. The component subscale scores were compared by province. Participants from British Columbia and Ontario reported significantly higher levels of concern related to the lack of time and programs for gifted children, social concerns, and pressure on parents when compared to parents from Alberta. Participants from Newfoundland were not included in this analysis due to small numbers (n = 2). Half (49%) of the parents commented on needs for information or concerns. A content analysis was used to derive 13 themes from these data. In order of frequency, they were: evaluation of current school program, understanding my gifted child, teaching my gifted child life skills, dealing with my gifted child’s issues, parent’s role in the school, school program choices, how to be a good parent of a gifted child, peer relationships, wanting support from the community, the effect of having a gifted child in our family, deciding to change school programs, and relationship with extended family. When seeking information, participants indicated they were most likely to turn to print materials or people who have more knowledge about gifted children than they do. Parents were most likely to turn to their spouse for support, followed by books, friends and a parent support group. When asked what form of materials or programs parents would like, participants were most interested in text-based materials, followed by one session with or a video produced by an expert.
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