Leveling the Playing Field: Parent-Teacher Communication

Parents of gifted children can be intense when it comes to their child. These parents have great expectations of the schools and teachers who educate them. Teachers are too often expected to be all things to all children. This can be difficult when they receive so little exposure to gifted education in their undergraduate coursework and PD opportunities.

Gifted education begins at the local level. Parents should know and understand school policies and state guidelines before meeting their child’s teacher. They should be prepared to share insights concerning their child’s documented abilities, perceived needs and specific interests.

How can IEP/504 plans guide the parent-teacher relationship involving GT/2E students? G/IEPs and 504 plans can provide a framework for a productive parent-teacher conference and the basis for an individualized and meaningful education going forward. A well thought out plan can enhance the parent-teacher relationship and ensure the student’s needs are being met when followed. 504 plans can also provide a legal basis for ensuring that the needs of twice-exceptional students are being met. Templates for GIEP and 504 plans are available online if your school/state doesn’t currently use them.

What strategies can teachers use to increase positive engagement with parents? Teachers can take the time to seek professional development concerning gifted education and endorsements when working in a full-time gifted classroom. Positive engagement begins with good communication efforts. It’s important to take the time to get to know the student and appreciate their unique situation.

Parents of elementary students are generally seen as the most intense. Parents and teachers can see this as a learning experience; how to best meet the needs of the child. Although the ability to self-advocate is highly regarded in the gifted community, parents need to continue to nurture positive relationships with their child’s teachers even at the secondary level.

Keeping an open line of communication is the best defense against a contentious relationship. This can involve electronic communications (email, apps) as well as a simple written note or phone call. Without positive communication, it is the student who will suffer. It takes time and determination to build an effective relationship between parents and teachers.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

2019 – 2nd Annual Survey of US Primary School Teachers & Parents The State of Parent Engagement Because When Parents are Partners, Kids Do Better, Parents are Happier, & Teachers’ Job Is Easier

Report: Teachers Have Difficulty Engaging Families

Questions to Ask at Parent Teacher Conferences

Tips for Your Gifted Kid’s Parent-Teacher Conference

Talking With Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

15 Tips for Leading Productive Parent-Teacher Conferences

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

Effect of Students’ Behavioral Characteristics on Teachers’ Referral Decisions in Gifted Education (pdf)

Parents and Teachers: Finding Common Ground

The Teacher-Parent Connection: Tips for Working with the Parents of a Gifted Student

Six tips for communicating with your gifted child’s teacher

8 Sentence Starters to Use When Talking to Teachers

Tips for Parents: Forging Partnerships with Teachers, and Why They Often Don’t Work!

A Gifted Ed teacher’s Secrets to Success

Gifted Parenting Support: Teachers Partnering with Parents

Working with Parents to Improve High Ability Students’ Education

Why Don’t Teachers and Parents See Eye to Eye about Gifted Children?

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids (Amazon)

Parents of the Gifted Guide to Teachers/Teacher’s Guide to Parents of the Gifted (RFWP)

How to make parent-teacher conferences worthwhile and productive

The Positive Potential of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah Mythbuster

How to Talk to Your Child’s Teacher (or Coach, or Mentor) without Setting the School on Fire (Advice for Parents of Gifted Kids)

NAGC: Classroom Advocacy (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes 9: One Size Shoe Cover System

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Characteristics of Gifted Children

 

Characteristics need to go beyond simple checklists to determine the extent of a child’s giftedness. Observation is often the first step in deciding whether or not to begin the identification process. It’s important to know what you are looking for and why. Checklists aside, characteristics may include mastery of a particular discipline that begins much younger than in age-peers, more easily, and much faster. Gifted children may display ‘near obsessive’ interests which go well beyond those of age-mates. They may be drawn to others with similar approaches/interests.

Understanding what to look for when identifying a gifted child has implications for both teachers and parents. Teachers need to know how to modify learning environment and curriculum based on unique characteristics of their students. Parents need to understand characteristics of gifted children to inform parenting decisions that go beyond consideration of academic performance and also considers the importance of their child’s all around environment. They should understand that gifted children need to be nurtured with attention paid to their child’s gifted characteristics.

Incorrect diagnosis is often the result of professionals lacking information and experience about what it means to be gifted. It’s important for professionals to have foundational knowledge of gifted characteristics and parents should question anyone dealing with their child beforehand to determine if they are qualified to assess the child. Different abilities may mask each other making a diagnosis or determination more difficult; especially when identifying gifted children with learning differences.

How do Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities relate to characteristics of gifted children? Dąbrowski’s work did not originate in the area of giftedness, but has been subsequently recognized and applied to the study of gifted individuals. Although not originally posited for gifted individuals only, Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities were adopted by gifted advocates and academics as a way to explain many of the behaviors they saw in the gifted. Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities included Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. Creative and gifted individuals appear to express OEs to a greater degree through increased intensity, awareness and sensitivity.

As a field, gifted education is often criticized for its lack of diversity in gifted programs; especially in public schools. What characteristics of GT children should we look for in underrepresented populations? Intelligence tests are notoriously biased both in fairness to diverse populations and the scope of which they test; in areas, such as, math or verbal reasoning. Skills and characteristics that can be overlooked in diverse populations (ethnicity, low SES) include a child’s ability to make intellectual connections far beyond age-peers or possessing a voracious curiosity.

Defining what it means to be gifted has evolved over the past few decades. Has this been reflected in what we look for as being gifted in the 21st century? Do preferred educational outcomes influence what is thought to be gifted characteristics? What one looks for influences the questions asked; take into consideration how assessments have changed to look beyond how quickly content/knowledge is acquired or remembered. In-demand skills such as the ability to think critically, creativity, collaboration, learning from failure, problem solve … these require rethinking how we see who is gifted. High achievers do not always meet the definition of gifted individuals. Today we look for a child who is able to assess their own strengths and weakness, determine their own learning goals, create learning objectives, and communicate what they know in novel ways.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

What is Gifted and Talented?

Closing the Gifted Gap: Recognizing Characteristics of Giftedness in Underrepresented Populations (Vimeo 45:44)

Gifted Children: What to Look For? Why You Should Know? (YouTube 16:11)

Cognitive Characteristics of the Gifted – Reconceptualized in the Context of Inquiry Learning and Teaching

What is “Gifted” or “High Ability?”

Characteristics of High Ability Learners

Characteristics of Gifted Students: Age and Gender. Findings from Three Decades

The Curse of Genius

Giftedness 101 (Silverman)

Common Traits and Characteristics of Gifted Children

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals

50 Common Characteristics of Gifted Children (Slideshare)

Characteristics and Signs of Giftedness

Recognizing Gifted Students: A Practical Guide for Teachers (pdf)

New Zealand: Characteristics of the gifted – Ngā pūmanawa kia manawa tītī

Characteristics of Giftedness

How to Spot a Gifted Student

Giftedness and the Gifted: What’s It All About?

Kazimierz Dąbrowski Interview 5 – University of Alberta (YouTube 1:00)

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 30: Beneath the Surface of Giftedness

A New Window for Looking at Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 21: Opening Doors To Diversity In Gifted Education

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

 

Empathy and the GT Child

 

Empathy is an expression of emotional well-being which speaks to the social-emotional needs of gifted children. The definition of empathy has evolved over centuries from ‘feeling another’s emotions’ to being viewed as a ‘complex construct’. In “The Caring Child”, Christine shares 4 distinct processes – emotional sharing, emotional mimicry, mental imagining of another’s emotions and differentiating self and others.

Who is iGen and how do they differ from previous generations? The ‘iGen’ is the generation after Millennials – kids who began graduating from high school in 2013. They are the first ones to grow up with Smartphones. They are more vulnerable; isolated and lacking in social skills; and vastly unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. The iGen is super connected but unable to engage in ‘irl’ (in real life) experiences. It is the premise for a real-life dystopian future.

For gifted children, the very early years provide an opportunity to nurture empathy by teaching mindfulness and developing an ‘emotional vocabulary’. Young gifted children can be encouraged to become self-aware with an understanding of how they ‘fit’ in the world through stories and play experiences with others. They should have opportunities to express kindness in social settings as reflected in the actions of adults around them.

Empathy is a social skill that is developed through human interaction. When young gifted children experience positive relationships based on their ability to express empathy, their ability to face adversity, trauma, and pain (aka resilience) is enhanced.

The educational needs of iGen have radically changed the way schools look at how to teach this generation. Past pedagogical approaches do not suffice today. Teachers (educators, parents, adults) must be flexible, responsive to student voice, and be willing to embed SEL (social-emotional learning) into the curriculum. Education for the iGen needs to be individualized and involve the measured use of technology that empowers learning.

What are some strategies parents can use to build social-emotional learning skills? In ‘The Caring Child’, Christine delineates social-emotional learning skills as cognitive, social/relational, emotional, character and mindsets. Building social-emotional learning skills involve simple strategies sometimes overlooked by parents of gifted children as being ‘too simple’. Cognitive skills can be built through the use of puzzles, language-based games, or word searches. Bibliotherapy and cinematherapy help develop emotional skills. Role playing/improv improve social skills. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children (Prufrock)

Teaching Empathy and Embracing Intensity

15 Ways to Help Kids Develop Empathy

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion (Amazon)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy & Completely Unprepared for Adulthood & What That Means for the Rest of Us (Amazon)

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pdf)

Empathy and Compassion

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Prufrock)

I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children (Prufrock)

The Neural Pathways, Development and Functions of Empathy (pdf)

Developing Compassionate Empathy in Gifted Children

“I feel your pain”: Empathy and the Gifted Child (.docx)

Teaching Empathy: Strategies for Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Students (Prufrock October 2019)

Try Something New With Your Kids: Focus on the 3 C’s

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 36: Empathy with Intensity – Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Disclaimer: Some resources include affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime (Free photo 85156667 ©creativecommonsstockphotos (CC0))

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The More Child: PG and 2E Kids

 

Profoundly gifted (PG) children have early and prolific use of language (before 9 mos.), unusual alertness in infancy, early abstract reasoning, and early reading (before age 4)(Hollingworth; Gross; Rogers; Silverman.) They may “literally be able to comprehend intellectually what they are not ready to deal with emotionally.” (Robinson, N.M.) Their abilities cause adults to have unrealistic expectations about their behavior. It is important to make a clear distinction between PG and HG or gifted as they run the risk of psychological issues such as isolation or existential depression if their needs are not understood.

PG students are among the most challenging to educate in traditional programs. They have significantly greater needs than those identified as gifted or highly gifted. Most schools rarely encounter a PG child; if ever. Differentiation or enrichment is rarely sufficient to meet the intellectual needs of profoundly gifted children. Radical acceleration, mentoring, self-paced and independent programming, and out-of-school enrichment may be necessary.

Parenting a profoundly gifted child can be expensive and far beyond what a parent is able to provide. Parents may need to be creative in finding appropriate opportunities and early on explore all avenues of financial assistance available. Planning for enrichment must first and foremost be directed by the PG child taking into consideration their passions and personal goals.

Twice-exceptional (2E) individuals are both gifted and experience emotional, behavioral or social issues. They can be cognitively, academically or creatively gifted, but fall in the lower end in their deficit area (Russo.) 2E children are found in every socioeconomic, cultural, racial and ethnic population. They are present in most school classrooms today. Common behaviors of 2E kids lead teachers and adults to see them as lazy, unmotivated, defiant and behaviorally disordered (Banks.) Because the DSM5 (diagnostic manual) doesn’t address twice-exceptionality, 2E children are trapped in a system of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis (Russo.)

What can parents do to help their 2E kids be successful? Take care of yourself first. Understand that you face challenges as a parent that other parents do not face and may not understand. Take time to experience relief and acknowledge that you do, in fact, know your child best. You may not have all the answers, but you are your child’s first advocate. Once your child is identified; educate yourself about twice-exceptionality. Seek out other parents and organizations which can support you and your child.

Most K12 educators have not been made aware of or given the tools to provide interventions for twice-exceptionality either at the undergraduate level or through PD. Advocacy most often falls on the parent. Because both conditions … giftedness and learning challenges … may mask each other, it is important to understand twice-exceptionality at a very deep level. Advocacy by parents for 2E students is vital and these kids see the utmost benefit from caring and appropriate accommodations. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

The Challenges of Parenting a Profoundly Gifted Child (Medium)

Rated PG: Profoundly Gifted (Audio 47:07)

The Gifted Paradox | Understanding Giftedness in Children

Being Unusually ‘Gifted’ Can Take A Severe Psychological And Emotional Toll On Children

Profoundly Gifted, Just the Facts

Exceptionally Gifted Children: Long-Term Outcomes of Academic Acceleration and Nonacceleration (pdf)

The 10 Most Commonly Asked Questions about Highly Gifted Children

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People A Guidebook (pdf)

What is Highly Gifted?  Exceptionally Gifted?  Profoundly Gifted?  And What Does It Mean?

A Call for Understanding

Tips for Parents: Intellectual Assessment of Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Children

Profoundly Gifted Guilt

This Profoundly Gifted Child

Neuroscience of Asynchronous Development in Bright Minds

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional (Amazon)

Twice-Exceptional Kids with Guests from the Bright Not Broken

Joys and Challenges of Twice-Exceptional Kids

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children

What is Twice Exceptional?

Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism (Amazon)

Sprite’s Site: 2E Is

Sprite’s Site: What Makes Them 2E?

NAGC: Twice Exceptional

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Page

Cybraryman’s Twice Exceptional Children Page

Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Students: An Underserved Population

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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