Monthly Archives: July 2015

Twice-Exceptional Kids with Guests from the Bright Not Broken Lorna Wing Institute

gtchat 07232915 BNB Institute

 

BNB Marianne Russo

Marianne Russo

BNB Diane M Kennedy

Diane M. Kennedy

BNB Rebecca Banks

Rebecca Banks

This was an exciting week as #gtchat was LIVE from the Soar With SENG 2015 Conference in Denver, Colorado! Our guests included Marianne Russo, Director of Development and Communications at the Bright Not Broken Lorna Wing Institute of America and President of The Coffee Klatch; and Diane Kennedy and Rebecca Banks, authors of Bright Not Broken. The BNB Institute exists to bridge the gap between the disability and gifted communities. Our topic was Twice-Exceptional Kids.

BNB Book Cover

We first considered the definition of ‘twice-exceptional’ and why it’s important to recognize its existence. According to the BNB Institute, “the term 2E refers to individuals who are both gifted and have a learning, emotional, behavioral, or social issue. 2E fall into the exceptional range for cognitive, academic, or creative abilities but fall in the lower end in their deficit area. Common 2E diagnosis include: Aspergers, ADHD, OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder] , Dyslexia, SPD [Sensory Processing Disorder], Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression; to name a few. ” Many educators who understand the term, do not recognize its existence. This becomes problematic for 2E children. Without recognition of twice-exceptionality, it becomes difficult to gain access to appropriate services.

BNB Institute told us, “2E individuals are found within every socioeconomic, cultural, racial, ethnic population and are present in most school classrooms. It is commonly reported that 6%, or over three million of the student population is identified as academically gifted. The diagnoses that 2E children receive include a significant number of the most common childhood disorders in mental health.”

Why are twice-exceptional children stuck in regards to both education and mental health services? “Lets start With the focus on proficiency brought about by No Child Left Behind and Response to Intervention,” said BNB Institute. “Current policies governing a student’s eligibility for services contribute to the under-identification leading to remaining invisible. In the wake of NCLB and budgetary considerations, the emphasis is on helping the lowest performing students achieve proficiency. Giftedness and disability mask one another, 2E students are likely to remain unidentified as either gifted or disabled or average.” This makes it difficult to receive an accurate determination/diagnosis. Diane and Rebecca reminded us that “proficiency often equates to low expectations for gifted and also means 2e is often missed.”

Marianne told us, “under IDEA 2004, many states have moved to RtI [Response to Intervention], a universal screening process to identify students with learning and behavior needs. RtI is questionable in its ability to identify either gifted or twice-exceptional learners; especially in the general classroom. Teacher education programs provide little to no training in 2E; making teachers ill equipped to identify or instruct these kids. Common behaviors exhibited by 2E kids lead teachers to see them as lazy, unmotivated, defiant, and behaviorally disordered.” Diane and Rebecca added, “these are our highest population of dropouts.”

How do recent changes to the DSM5 affect provision of services to the twice-exceptional population? The DSM5 is the 5th Ed of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is the bible for psychologists and psychiatrists. Marianne explained, “the DSM system traps 2E kids in misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis because the DSM descriptions of disorders and checklists of symptoms do not account for the presence of high IQ and how this affects presentation of symptoms and behaviors. This system is causing frustration for clinicians and those served because the diagnostic tools used in the U.S. derive from the DSM. Our focus at the BNB Institute is to bring an alternative tool DISCO to the U.S. DISCO is developmental and dimensional and leads to a portrait of the child’s abilities and challenges. It is a road map for therapies.”

“DSM leads to an alphabet soup of labels that emphasizes challenges not strengths,” according to Diane and Rebecca. A major recent change in the DSM5 was the elimination of Asperger’s as a descriptive category. Rebecca McMillan of The Brain Cafe and The Creativity Post pointed out, “Collapsing major diagnostic categories is not likely to net more accurate diagnoses, improve targeting or quality of services to twice-exceptional.”

What should parents do if they feel their child has received a medical misdiagnosis? “Finding a clinician that takes a dimensional approach to evaluating your child is key,” said Marianne. “They must be fierce advocates for the gifted or 2E child with strength based strategies. Parents with children with differences need to be able to parent those children differently without judgement. Listing a child’s strengths is mandatory at an IEP; focus on strengths, foster deficits.”

Diane and Rebecca stated that parents should, “get someone on board who understands gifted and strengths. Also make sure to seek comprehensive testing for discrepancies in ability and functioning.” Psychologist, Gail Post of Gifted Challenges, recommended, “Ask the evaluator why disability issues may not have been included in the evaluation or why sub-tests were not prorated.” Rebecca McMillan added, “Become a crack observer of your child and her needs. Keep notes of how she responds in different environments. Don’t be afraid to share doubts, concerns, and countervailing evidence with the experts. Ask probing questions.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, implored parents to:

“Learn to trust yourself, and to find allies – which may be anywhere!”

A full transcript including how clinicians and educators can help the twice-exceptional child and where parents can turn if they suspect their gifted child may be twice-exceptional may be found at Storify. Also see, Joys and Challenges of Twice-Exceptional Kids.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P 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 Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

Bright Not Broken-Lorna Wing Institute of America (website)

What Do Twice-Exceptional and Gifted Children Look Like

The Faces of Giftedness and Twice-Exceptionality

Twice-exceptional/Gifted How to Help Them

Bright Not Broken (Amazon)

Twice-exceptional/Gifted Why They Are Stuck – Education

Child and Adolescent Mental Illness and Related Disorders

SENG (website)

SENG Professional Members Listing

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative

Dr. Temple Grandin: Bright Not Broken (YouTube)

The Bright Not Broken Talk Radio Program

APA DSM-5 Implementation and Support

When Parenting Twice-Exceptional Kids, Not Everything Needs to be Fixed

Smart-Shaming: Sorry But Your Child is Too Bright to Qualify for Help

The Search for Shangri-La: Finding the Appropriate Educational Environment for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Children, A Parents’ Guide

2E Is from Sprite’s Site

Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e) from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Gifted Cubed from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Cybraryman’s Body Language

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Children

Madeline’s Musings Communication Complications

Guest, Pamela Price, Author of “Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families “

 

gtchat 07172015 Gifted Bullied Resilient

This week on #gtchat we welcomed Pamela Price, author of Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families.  This marks the 7th book in the Perspectives in Gifted Homeschooling Series from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and Pamela’s second book in the series. Her first book was the very popular, How to Work and Homeschool: Practical Advice, Tips and Strategies from Parents. Other titles in the GHF Press series may be found here. Pamela’s blog, “Red, White and Grew with Pamela Price” can be found here.

howtoworkandhomeschool

We first examined ‘why’ gifted kids are bullied. It was a general consensus that gifted kids are seen as ‘different’ and misunderstood. Pamela told us that the “reasons are as varied as individuals, but gifted kids are bullied for “difference” including social and intellectual variance.” Lisa Lauffer of Artisan of Creative Miracles pointed out that “If they’ve skipped a grade, they’re younger and smaller than others, making them easy targets.” Tracy Fisher, TAGT Board Member and Coppell ISD School Board member, added that often “they aren’t as socially savvy” and this, too, leads to bullying. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia also mentioned that “gifted kids often have different

Tracy Fisher Coppell School Board

Tracy Fisher, Coppell School Board

interests, mannerisms, vocabulary and sensitivities – prime targets for bullies.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, made the astute observation that we must not forget that the bully is often the victim of bullying and needs help as well.

Next, we discussed how adults can help gifted kids rise above bullying to become emotionally stronger and more self-assured. Pamela emphasized that “ALL adult stakeholders (parents, educators) must 1st become more aware of and articulate about social skills. They must think proactively about and teach social skills development. Adults also need to ‘rip off the Bandaid’ and discuss OUR experiences (past and present) with interpersonal aggression.” Mary Lovell said that “educators must differentiate for these kids…help them find their own “social place!” Madeline Goodwin told us that adults need to “give tools [to gifted kids] to handle situations – including an exit strategy for circumstances e.g. class and playgroups.”

How can parents model self-care and resilience; and why is this important? Pamela point out that “we need to stop dismissing our own pain. We need to open up, articulate things, and show the path forward. Parental self-care is essential for family well-being; especially with gifted kids and adults. We must first redefine self-care; not manicures and pedicures, but self-compassion, nurturing intellect, mind-body, etc. Kids and teens look to parents FIRST for social skills models. Self-compassion and care IS part of that. Without true self-compassion, we lack empathy and caring. Risks for negative behaviors then RISE and we lack fuel to manage outcomes. Parents must see themselves as deserving of care and capable of rebound and boundary setting; kids are watching, learning, and absorbing.”

Then, we turned our attention to the role mindfulness plays in supporting a child’s emotional growth. Pamela told us we need to “contrast poised ‘mindful’ with erratic ‘mindless.’ The first is CRITICAL for optimal life experiences. The second will lead to self sabotage. Mindfulness is critical to managing emotions and positive social interaction; especially with overexcitabilities or most social skills deficits. Mindfulness practice nurtures self-acceptance and compassion. It avoids positive/negative hyperbolic self talk.”

At what point is it time to call a therapist? From Pamela:

  • If there are signs of PTSD or other trauma
  • If a child or family needs help nurturing positive social skills, a competent therapist can be a great help
  • Extra consideration for a good therapist should be given if bullying is adult to child. Help build bridge to other adults

Finally, we discussed what steps parents should take in dealing with school bullying and why haven’t zero-tolerance policies worked. “In the school setting, approach is step-wise and up the hierarchy,” said Pamela. She went on to say, “this can work for or against a parent’s confidence. Parental composure is VITAL. No slamming the school or other kids publicly on social media. [If there is] illegal activity, call the police. There is a sample in the book of an email template for dealing with schools. Zero tolerance is a hammer. Real change comes via patience, practice, social change; Learn the difference between “meanness” and “bullying.” A transcript of this week’s chat can be found at Storify.

PLEASE NOTE: Next week’s #gtchat will be at a special day but same time, on Thursday, July 23rd at 7E/6C/5M/4P. We will be LIVE from this year’s Annual SENG Conference in Denver, CO. Our guests will be from the Bright Not Broken Lorna Wing Institute of America and we’ll be chatting about twice-exceptional kids.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P 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 Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

Gifted Kids, Cyberbullying & Dig Citizenship: Resources for Parents via @jadeannrivera

Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: Parents’ Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy & Resilience (Amazon)

The Bully, the Bullied & the Bystander: From Preschool to High School (Amazon)

Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher & Kid Needs to Know about Ending Cycle of Fear (Amazon)

Social Thinking

Inside the Bullied Brain: The Alarming Neuroscience of Taunting

Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain

Gifted & Homeschool Friendly Professionals

Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families via @GiftedHF

Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families (Amazon)

Gifted Bullied Resilient Front Cover

Pamela Price Author’s Page at Amazon

Study: Gifted Children Especially Vulnerable to Effects of Bullying

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? (Amazon) via @laughingatchaos

If This is a Gift

{Book review} Gifted, Bullied, Resilient

Cybraryman’s Bullying Page

Report: Professional Development Related to Anti-Bullying Policies Lacking in American Schools 

Relationships Require Work

Title graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

When the Gifted Child Hides Their Giftedness

gtchat 07102015 When Gifted Child Hides Giftedness

 

Most people are not aware that many gifted children at times hide their giftedness for various reasons. Although it can just be a phase as these kids enter the teen years and yearn to ‘fit in’ with age-peers, it often goes much deeper than that. It can become a life-long struggle. Sometimes gifted kids face ridicule about their abilities by classmates and it’s just easier to go into stealth mode. Lack of confidence and self-esteem can cause some gifted children to not believe they are gifted.

Early research focused on gifted girls as the ones who primarily hide their giftedness beginning in the pre-teen years. (Silverman, 2009). Further studies revealed that boys, too, will hide the fact that they are gifted in response to pressure from peers to excel in sports rather than academically. This happens most often in high school. (Betts/Neihart, 2010)

There are specific behaviors to look for if you suspect a gifted child may be hiding their gifts and talents. Adults should look for children who deny or discount obvious talent; often early dropping out of gifted programs or later from AP programs. They do not want to confront challenge. A child who is trying to hide their giftedness may suddenly change peer groups or appear to lack direction. (Betts/Neihart) They may disconnect from adults in their lives – teachers and parents.

Helping a gifted child to understand what being gifted is all about can help to counter their desire to fly under the radar and hide their giftedness. Adults need to talk to children that being gifted is not about being better than others, but simply different. They can be given opportunities to research what giftedness is on their own. Gifted children often respond to meeting and being mentored by gifted adults in their areas of interest.

Educators need to learn why a child might be hiding their giftedness and try to be understanding. They need to recognize ability and consider appropriate placement in advanced-level classes. School personnel need to provide counseling, diagnostic testing and propose alternative learning opportunities. Teachers can provide direct instruction on social skills for gifted students struggling in this area. School counselors can arrange support groups to discuss giftedness with students.

How can parents help their child when they hide their giftedness? Parents need to normalize the gifted experience; moderate praise; allow freedom to make life choices. They can encourage self-understanding and self-acceptance (Betts/Neihart) and provide opportunities for enrichment without offering extrinsic rewards or punishments. (Rivera) Parents need to learn about asynchronous development as social skills often lag behind academic achievement. They can teach social skills, but need to realize that the timing may not coincide with age-peers. A full transcript may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P 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 Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About 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:

Stealth Giftedness

What We Have Learned About Gifted Children (8)

Nurturing Giftedness in Young Children

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness

Profiles of the Gifted & Talented (1988)

Revised Profiles of the Gifted & Talented (pdf) (2010)

The Six Types of Gifted Child: The Underground

Ten Days of Stealth Giftedness: A Crash Course on Incognito Intelligence

The Tres Columnae Project

Gifted, Talented and Still Hiding Out

Felicity the Underground Gifted

Cybraryman’s Introverted Children Page

I Forgot to Socialize My Kids

Defining Underachievement

Is It a Cheetah?

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Under Achievers

Parenting Strategies to Motivate Underachieving Gifted Students

Five Relationships Any Gifted Kid Needs

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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