When Gifted Kiddos Can’t Seem to Get It Together: Executive Function, Behavioral Issues and Cognitive Deficits that Interfere with Learning ~ Dawn Kinard, M.S. and Beth Palmer, MEd, MS, LSSP, PhD

Understand the hurdles that many gifted children experience during learning and some strategies for aiding in academic achievement. What is executive function? What are the primary cognitive abilities contributing to learning? What kinds of behavioral issues interfere with learning? And what kinds of supports, accommodations and learning strategies can teachers offer to enhance student learning?


DawnKDawn Kinard, M.S., Nationally Certified Educational Diagnostician, an affiliate with the Gifted Development Center and a private evaluator, holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce, national certification as an Educational Diagnostician, as well as ESL and Special Education certificates.

Dawn lived in Denver, where she was a vital part of the GDC team, testing complex cases and interacting effectively with schools on the children’s behalf. After her return to Texas, Dawn began offering assessment for GDC clients in the Texas area. Earlier in her career, Dawn spent three years teaching the gifted. In addition, she chaired the G/T admissions committee, screening and identifying students for the gifted program. As a Special Educator and Diagnostician in public schools, she has been a strong advocate for including twice-exceptional (2e) learners in the gifted program.

As a private evaluator, she specializes in assessing students for giftedness and learning disabilities, including high-functioning autism and other twice-exceptionalities. She works with parents and schools to develop appropriate learning plans. Additionally, she is a field researcher for Pearson, assessing those gifted and autistic-identified individuals for test standardization. Most importantly, she is the mother of a 2e, Davidson Young Scholar.

IMG_1924Beth Palmer, MEd,  MS, 
PhD; is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology with a degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M. She is the also the mother of a 2e Davidson Young  Scholar. Currently, Beth works in an urban district as an evaluation specialist for high-functioning autism, Specific Learning Disabilities, and emotional disorders. In private practice, she provides social skills instruction for autistic children, crafts functional developmental plans for students with behavioral and executive function issues, and is an advocate for all students with disabilities, including twice exceptional students. Ms. Palmer wrote her dissertation on Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration, which is often used in educational fields to address various aspects of gifted students’ emotional and behavioral functioning.