Monthly Archives: April 2015

Building Peer Support Networks for Gifted Kids

gtchat Peer Support April 24 2015

There is no doubt that building peer support networks for gifted kids is important to their well-being and development. True peers – those with whom a child can identify with intellectually without regard to age – can help a child build healthy self-esteem, social skills, and a positive attitude toward school. They can help a gifted kid reduce stress and anxiety; feelings of loneliness; and build resiliency. (Neihart)

Certain characteristics of gifted children make it difficult for some (not all) of them to find peers that they can relate to and build positive relationships. Gifted children often seek older friends or other gifted children. Due to asynchronicity, gifted kids expect different things from friends. They display moral integrity and seek intimacy at earlier ages. (Neihart) Gifted children can be conflicted between high achievement and fitting in with age-related social groups. Profoundly/Exceptionally gifted children pass through development stages more quickly; making it harder to find friends, leading to social isolation. (Gross)

Parents often find themselves the facilitators of finding peers for their gifted children. Dr. Dan Peters of the Summit Center suggests that parents try to find other children who share their child’s interests and passions regardless of age (older or younger). Parents can also seek out enrichment opportunities that may be of interest and a source of other kids with similar likes. They can engage in role-playing with their child to improve and teach social skills as well as encourage active listening.

Due to age differences, some guidelines may need to be established when dealing with older friends. Parents should set clear limits on appropriate entertainment use for such things as television, movies, and video games. They need to establish appropriate curfews depending on the age of their child. Parents should encourage open two-way conversation with their children and talk to them about how to deal with drugs, alcohol, and interpersonal relations at a much younger age than expected for any particular age group.

Poor peer relations can affect a gifted child’s self-esteem. Younger gifted children may not fully understand why they feel so different from age-mates. They may see themselves or their own feelings as the problem for not having friends. A full story may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Finding True Peers from Duke TIP

Peer Support – Is it Time for a “Think Group” Phenomenon?

Navigating in a Social World: Strategies for Motivating Gifted Children (pdf)

Understanding Resilience in Diverse, Talented Students in an Urban High School (pdf)

Highly Gifted Children & Peer Relationships from Davidson Gifted

Interview with Jim Delisle on Gifted Students and Peer Relations

Peer Relations & Your Gifted Child

“Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”? Why Gifted Children Prefer Older Friends via Hoagies Gifted

Friendship Factors in Gifted Children

The Social & Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? (Amazon)

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

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy & Successful Gifted Children (Amazon)

What the Experts Tell Us about Gifted Students (pdf)

Peer Relationships (pdf)

Academically Gifted Students’ Perceived Interpersonal Competence and Peer Relationships (pdf)

Social-Emotional Adjustment & Peer Relations from Coppell Gifted Association

The Legend of the Pink Monkey via Hoagies Gifted

 

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

“Gifted Unschooling” with Guest, Amy Harrington

gtchat April 17 Amy Harrington

 

Amy Harrington, Esq. is a SENG board member and SENG Model Parent Group facilitator, homeschooling advocate, and an eclectic unschooler of two profoundly gifted children. She is an attorney, writer, and blogger (Gifted Unschooling) who is passionate about the future of self-directed education. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Atypical Minds, which provides coaching and guidance to gifted families in their quest for alternative education and school accommodations.

Most people are familiar with homeschooling, but the idea of ‘unschooling’ remains a mystery to most. As Amy explained, “Unschooling is a philosophy that entrusts children to find their own passions. It is child-led, passion-led, and interest-led learning. Unschooling generally rejects a traditional schooling mindset and the tools that go along with it – curriculum. The child is in the driver’s seat of their own education. Children are autonomous learners SUPPORTED by parents.”

The discussion then turned to ‘deschooling”. According to Amy, “deschooling is letting go of a traditional schooling mindset and learning to trust the process of getting to unschooling philosophy. It let’s everyone relax, detox and figure out what they are interested in learning. We shed our old mindset and embrace freedom.”

What is the role of a mentor in unschooling? Mona Chicks explained, “Mentors play a huge role, as they help the child learn about the real stuff in their chosen field.  They provide outside input, too.” Amy told us that “Not everyone has mentors while unschooling but my kid has enjoyed working with many professors and entrepreneurs.”

When it was suggested that a compromise or blended learning scenario could be used to ensure comparable results such as regular education and outside-of-school enrichment, most unschoolers disagreed. They believed that for profoundly gifted students and prodigies, school was actually detrimental. Many referred to a ‘healing’ process that their children went through after withdrawing from a traditional school environment.

A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify Page.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

A Daily Guide to Radically Unschooling Outliers

6 Ways Unschooling Can Inform Practice for Innovative Educators

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing Instinct to Play Will Make Children Happier, More Self-Reliant (Amazon)

How Do Unschoolers Cope with College & 21 Questions on Learning without School & Living Joyfully

We Don’t Need No Education

Unshackled & Unschooled: Free-Range Learning Movement Grows

How to Opt Out of School: Guide for Teens for Self-Directed Education

Freedom of Unschooling: Raising Liberated Black Children Without Restrictions of School

Raising a Profoundly Gifted Child

How do Unschoolers Turn Out?

Unschooling: What is It & How One Family Does It

Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, & Reconnecting (Amazon)

“Unschooled” Kids Do Just Fine in College

Unschooling Allowing Students A New Approach At Education (Video 2:55)

Deschooling: Shift Your Mind

Why I Choose to Unschool My Gifted Children

Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will (Amazon)

John Holt Growing Without Schooling FAQs

Unleashing Genius: Self-Directed Learning

EXPERT: 85% Of College Students Are Wasting Their Time And Money

Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age

Blake Boles Website

TED Talk with Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

TED Talk with Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education

Maximalist Manifesto: Creating a Prepared Environment

Giftedness Across the Lifespan: Do Gifted Children = Gifted Adults?

Giftedness Across the Lifespan

Our chat started with these sage words of advice from Jerry Blumengarten, “Giftedness does not disappear when one becomes an adult. You have to come to terms with yourself and the abilities you possess.”

In recent years, the criteria for defining giftedness has been rather contentious. However, for our discussion, it was soon realized that how giftedness is defined impacts how people view its continuance across the lifespan and whether or not it fades upon entry into adulthood. When society sees giftedness only as achievement, only those who continually achieve are recognized as gifted. Giftedness as a different way of thinking and viewing the world was more often seen as developing over one’s lifetime.

Most felt that it was important to recognize that giftedness was an ongoing process for many different reasons. Lack of awareness makes it difficult for gifted individuals to understand why they don’t “fit in”. Understanding the characteristics of giftedness helps one find peers and find satisfaction in the workplace. Many valuable contributions of gifted individuals may be lost to society due to impostor syndrome. Sensitivities may be misdiagnosed as mental health issues. Lisa Lauffer also pointed out, “It comes into play when becoming a parent. Understanding yourself as a person and parent [helps you to] understand your kids.”

Unresolved childhood issues can affect responses to social interactions for gifted adults. They can lead to troubled peer relations with friends, co-workers, spouses. Children who are never identified as gifted, but are … may be unaware of how intensities affect their lives.

What personality traits affect giftedness across the lifespan? Persistence, ambition, and intellectual energy are all personality traits that can affect giftedness. Adult giftedness is seen in complex analytical thinking, advanced empathy, quirky sense of humor, and perfectionism. (Prober) Gifted adults have multiple sensitivities, meticulous attention to detail and precision, and divergent thinking. (Webb, et al 2005) Krissy Venosdale expressed it this way, ” [It’s] being different than the norm … If you’re lucky, you learn to embrace that.” A transcript of our chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Life-span Giftedness

Change Your Story, Change Your Life by Stephanie Tolan (Free download)

Giftedness Across a Lifespan

Optimum Intelligence: My Experience as a Too Gifted Adult via Hoagies Gifted

Gifted Children: What Happens When They Grow Up? (Part 1)

Gifted Lives: What Happens When Gifted Children Grow Up? (Part 2)

Gifted Children: Nurturing Genius

Can I Just be Not Gifted for a Little Bit?

I Really Can See You Finding Hidden Giftedness in Middle School Kids Who Otherwise Could Be Lost

Coming Out Gifted (pdf) by Lisa Erickson, MS, LMHC

The Gifted Identity Formation Model by Andrew Mahoney

Counseling Gifted Adults – A Case Study by Paula Prober via SENG

Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Amazon)

Life with Intensity: Gifted Kids become Gifted Adults by Mona Chicks

How Do We Begin to Talk about the “Gifted Lifetime?” by Pamela Price

The ‘Other’ Gifted Adult

Yes, but Where’s the Tree

Gifted for Life by Amy Harrington

Making the Choice to Manage Intensity

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Grown Ups by Jo Freitag

Embracing Gifted Me

Dealing with the Disads The Reality of Being a Gifted Adult

Gifted Grown Ups Blog Hop Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Gifted is not a label…it’s a Lifestyle

Albert Einstein Hero of Giftedness (pdf)

Appreciate Eccentricities & Embrace Quirks

Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging Across the Lifespan (Upcoming book from Great Potential Press)

 

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay. CC0 Public Domain

Guest: Christine Fonseca, Author of ‘Raising the Shy Child’

gtchat Fonseca Shy Child

This week, #gtchat welcomed back our friend, Christine Fonseca, Prufrock Press Author, to discuss her latest book Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety. You can check out her website and blog, follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, and visit her on Goodreads. You can also preview her book at Google Books.

According to Christine, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) can be recognized by physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Physical symptoms may include headaches, nausea, palpitations, or choking. Paralyzing fear of humiliation, embarrassment by peers, excessive worry, negation, and avoidance are possible cognitive symptoms. Behavioral symptoms of SAD can include avoiding eye contact, avoiding being in the spotlight, avoiding social events, or school phobia.

Social Anxiety Disorder is more than being anxious for a moment. It can be a lifelong struggle if not dealt with early on. Kids who use excuses – constantly going to the nurse’s office, for example – to avoid certain tasks may be experiencing SAD. Because it may mimic other conditions, adults need to be responsible when dealing with a child’s anxiety!

Not all children with underdeveloped social skills will develop social anxiety. However, lacking social skills can set the stage for social anxiety. Christine told us, “SAD happens when a combination of things occur. This combo is different for everyone. Behavior inhibition, parenting style, and a traumatic event can all contribute to the development of SAD, as well as poor social skills.”

Practicing particular social skills can help any child. It sometimes helps lessen some anxiety. Acting out behaviors seem to follow anxiety. Parents and teachers need to stop and think before reprimanding a child. Kids who may be afraid of an activity may exhibit a behavior they believe will help them avoid the situation altogether. However, Christine reminded as that it is important to support giftedness before assuming SAD.

The conversation then turned to the role of perfectionism, sometimes associated with giftedness, in potential Social Anxiety Disorder. Christine believes that “perfectionism has a bad reputation.” [She] sees this as “task commitment – something that is ultimately good and necessary, but when perfectionism turns to paralysis and avoidance; THEN it is a problem. And yes, this can lead to SAD in some cases. With a mild case, you can teach social skills, work with the school to provide in class strategies, and employ CBT approaches.”

“For students experiencing SAD, support can include increased sensitivity [to the] anxiety, teaching calming techniques (deep breathing, etc) and developing safe zones at school,” Christine explained. “It’s Very important to NOT allow child to develop a habit of skipping or avoiding school or social events. This doesn’t help. [For] severe cases, use a counselor or therapist to assist. CBT and exposure methods are highly effective.”

Some behaviors come out of no where. Learning calming strategies beforehand; even practicing can be valuable. earning the triggers to anxiety can prove invaluable in the classroom as well as at home. For a more extensive review of the chat, a transcript may be found at Storify.

Raising the Shy Child Cover

Congratulations to Mr. Gelston, educator in his Virtual One Room Schoolhouse in Lexington, MA, who was the winner of a copy of Raising the Shy Child courtesy of the author!

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

How to Raise Shy Kids with Confidence

Publisher’s Weekly Select 2015 Parenting Titles

Shy Kids: Do We Really Need to Change Them?

Social Phobia at Medscape

Infant-Parent Attachment: Definition, Types, Antecedents, Measurement & Outcome 

Social Anxiety Disorder Fact Sheet DSM-V (pdf)

Social Anxiety in Children: Social Skills Deficit, or Cognitive Distortion? (pdf)

Use of Differential Reinforcement & Fading with Separation Anxiety Disorder

Promoting Adolescents’ Prosocial Behavior (pdf)

When Your Child’s Exceptionality is Emotional: Looking Beyond Psychiatric Diagnosis via SENG

What is Social Anxiety?

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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