Monthly Archives: February 2016

Nurturing Self-Advocacy

gtchat 02232016 Self Advocacy

 

“Today many gifted learners are starving for the equal opportunity to develop their unique potential.   We need to put the power for change-making where it has always belonged  – in the hands of the gifted individuals themselves.  No one knows better than they what is going on in their heads and hearts as they sit in class, walk the halls, complete assignments, interact with their peers and teachers. When given the information they need students themselves are best able to decide when, where and how they want their education to be differentiated. Our role must be to create and sustain a partnership with them.  We must find ways to tell them, “There is something you can do right now to change tomorrow or next week or next month or next semester. You can advocate for yourself, ask for what you need.”GT Carpe Diem

Self-advocacy plays an important role in the development of gifted students. It enables students to become self-reliant; to be cognizant of their own needs; to advocate effectively while remaining respectful; often in a classroom setting.

It is important to develop self-advocacy in children. Every facet of a gifted student’s life is affected when they don’t receive an education that maximizes their potential. Self-advocacy is a life-skill; a tool that a gifted child needs to achieve goals and become self-sufficient. As Dr. Jennifer Marten, GT teacher and coordinator in Wisconsin, stated, “We, as parents or teachers, can’t be there for them 24/7. They need skills to help them navigate school and life.”

Most people in attendance believed that it’s never too soon to start teaching self-advocacy skills. Maturity and the ability to verbalize their own needs are important factors, but simple steps can be taken to develop the necessary skills before this both at home and in the classroom.

Parental involvement is sometimes necessary to ensure that what is being advocated for is actually getting done. Parents should take time to talk to their child; outline what they feel is necessary. Then practice communication skills. On occasion, parents may need to step in if school personnel fail to treat their child respectfully or refuse to work with them.

Self-advocacy is a life-long process that can lead to success as an adult; a person who takes responsibility and can speak up for themselves. Adults who have learned how to self-advocate know when and where to seek help. It can lead to self-respect and the ability to listen to others with differing opinions; and work together. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. 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:

The Question My Parents Asked That Helped Me Become a Self-Advocate

In Defense of Being “That Parent”

Four Simple Steps to Self-Advocacy

The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp & Ready for (Almost) Anything (Amazon)

Self-advocacy: How to Help Gifted Teens Take Control of Their Classroom Experience

Case for Affective Education: Addressing Social/Emotional Needs of Gifted Students in Classroom

GT Carpe Diem: Self-Advocacy

Cybraryman’s Gifted & Talented Page (Scroll to Advocacy)

Teaching Self-Advocacy to Students with Learning Exceptionalities (Prezi)

Trust + Self-Determined Children = Self-Advocacy (pdf)

Les Links Gifted Advocacy (LiveBinders)

Self-Advocacy: The Power of Speaking Up!!! (pdf)

Self‐Advocacy: Encouraging Students to Become Partners in Differentiation (Abstract)

Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children: A Parent’s Complete Guide (Amazon)

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter: 2E Resources

Stress and Anxiety: Helping Gifted Kids Cope (Section 7) (pdf)

Best Practices in Self-Advocacy Skill Building

Advocating for Your Gifted Child with Autism

Wright’s Law – Twice Exceptional Children (2E)

Sprite’s Site: Asking for Help – A Guest Expert Panel Q&A Session

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs (Amazon)

Hoagies’ Blog Hop October 2014: Advocacy

Sprite’s Site: Advocacy – Just Ask Sprite and Co.

The Gifted Kids’ Survival Guide (Amazon)

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Photo courtesy of morgueFile.

Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Guest, Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

gtchat 02162016 Healthcare Providers

 

This week, #gtchat provided an insider’s look at Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Marianne Kuzujanakis, M.D. M.P.H . Dr. Kuzujanakis, a pediatrician with a masters degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health and a homeschooler, is a former director of SENG and currently the Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for SENG.

Dr. Kuzujanakis explained why it is important for healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about ‘gifted’ issues, “Most kids see MDs more than 12 times before age 6. MDs are the first regular professionals to follow a child’s development. This need not be a missed opportunity. Some MDs are GT and are well versed in complexities of being gifted and talented. Others, however, are unaware of gifted issues and  miss chances to help; many harm kids in the process. The overall prevalence of GT (5-10%) rivals learning disabilities, asthma, and ADHD – topics discussed frequently in medical school; yet giftedness is rarely mentioned. Why? Many MDs and society believe in giftedness myths. She went on to say, “GT affects the whole child and lack of knowledge leads to misdiagnosis (under-diagnosis/over-diagnosis) or other medical diagnosis.”

What type of general information should a patient or parent be prepared to provide to MD/MH providers? Marianne explained, “It’s awkward for many parents to discuss GT with their doctor. They often feel like they’re boasting. Other parents feel MDs should care only for body; not mind. But science shows the importance of a mind-body connection in disease. GT involves all aspects of mind-body and it is important in diagnosis.  Unfortunately since medical doctors primarily address deficits and delays, parents need to be assertive about GT. This can be difficult for introverts.” She emphasized the importance to be specific. She told us, “Don’t say, “My child is gifted.” Say HOW he or she is gifted; matter-of-factly. Take care to first learn about GT yourself. Be collaborative. Take the team-player route. Confrontation rarely gets best response. Your goal should be to get the best support for your child.”

“Trust helps the parent/MD relationship to go a long way to identify real needs in your gifted child and prevent over-medicalization of childhood.”~ Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

Dr. Kuzujanakis suggested that parents “bring printed brochures and documents to appointments. Be a grassroots educator for GT. If your doctor isn’t open to discussion; find another doctor.  Many doctors are open to information provided by patients/parents in this media-driven world. Take advantage, but be cognizant of your MD’s time constraints.” She pointed out, “Doctors are trained to make a diagnosis to be reimbursed. Don’t rush to accept a diagnosis if you disagree. Parent often knows best. If necessary, seek a second opinion. Trust helps the parent/MD relationship to go a long way to identify real needs in your gifted child and prevent over-medicalization of childhood.”

Our discussion then turned to SENG’s Misdiagnosis Initiative. Dr. Kuzujanakis explained, “[The initiative] began after the AAP (American Academy of Pediatricians) approved ADHD medications for 4-yr-olds. Stimulates are now used even in toddlers. There is no medical school education on overexcitabilities or asynchrony. GT misdiagnosis is a global issue.” SENG has produced a brochure (see below) which is now available in 3 languages. In 2016, the SENG team will be presenting at the AAP’s National Conference and Dr. Dan Peters will be our team’s speaker. They will also be finishing up an article based on their Parent Survey research which involved over 3,500 parents. Marianne also announced that Great Potential Press plans to  publish the 2nd edition of Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis (book) late this year. Look for it by Christmas.

For more from this chat, check out the transcript found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. 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:

Health Care Providers Know Little About Gifted Children

Where Does a Pediatric Doctor Fit in the Care of Gifted Children? By Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

Gifted Children and Adults: Neglected Areas of Practice (pdf)

The Role of Physicians in the Lives of Gifted Children

Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (Free Download)

Psychological Misdiagnosis of Gifted and Talented Children

Seeking Professional Help for Your Gifted Child

Professionals Specializing in Gifted

Developmental and Cognitive Characteristics of “High-Level Potentialities” (Highly Gifted) Children

Accurate Assessment? ADHD, Asperger’s Disorder & Other Misdiagnosis/Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children (pdf)

The Psychological Well-Being of Early Identified Gifted Children

Giftedness Myths

SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

Homeschooling: Not the Last Resort

Reducing Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis

SENG Decreasing Medical Misdiagnosis in Gifted Children (pdf) Free Brochure

Why Should I Have My Child Tested?

Tests, Tests, Tests

Psychologists Familiar with Testing the Gifted and Exceptionally Gifted

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative Webpage

Four GT-related Articles from Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

SENG Liaisons

SENG Professionals Listing

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Photo courtesy of Flickr   CC BY 2.0

 

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

gtchat 02092016 Parent Support Groups

Forming a gifted parents group is one of the first steps in forming a community within a school district; one of support as well as advocacy. The needs of the students in the community will determine the type of group formed. Parent groups are a great way of networking and sharing information about the local school environment for gifted. They can lend support to other parents  or even teachers who may need help in finding resources. Parenting gifted children can be a lonely and challenging experience without this type of support.

Parent groups who choose to act as a support for parents can provide resources such as speakers, book studies, and educational resources. They may decide to offer enrichment for students outside of school such as sponsoring academic competitions or activities like Super Saturdays, family weekend retreats, or clubs for chess or robotics. Advocacy groups are needed when a school does not provide adequate services for gifted students; if any at all.

There are organizations who seek to support parents in various ways. Many state gifted organizations have local affiliates for parents. The NAGC (U.S.) provides online resources in the form of information on starting parent groups. SENG is perhaps best well known for supporting parents with their SENG Model Parent Groups. Links to these organizations have been provided below.

How can parents find other parents who might be interested in joining a group? Your child can be a great resource; they will know who is in the gifted program at school. Many school districts will send home flyers (provided by parents) or mass emails to parents of their gifted students. As a reminder, Psychologist Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges pointed out, “Either type of group needs to have goals – otherwise [they] can turn into social group. Goals also help with group dynamics and reduce potential for conflict.” Social media is another way to meet parents and even form online groups.

In order to be recognized as a formal group by the local school district, parents need to know who and how to approach school officials. School administrators should be contacted first; then, gifted coordinators, principals, and special education directors depending on how gifted education is organized in the district or state. Having the support of an organization such as SENG can validate the existence of parent groups in some schools. It was also mentioned that PTA groups on occasion will form committees to serve the gifted population within a school. As with any communications between parents and schools, the conversation needs to be respectful and helpful to both parties. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. 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:

Starting and Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf)

SENG Model Parent Groups 

SENG Online Parent Support Groups

Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model (book)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups (pdf)

Parent Support Groups at Vanderbilt

Starting a Gifted Parent Group

How Parents Can Support Gifted Children

The Nuts and Bolts of Forming a Parent Group

How Parent Advocacy Groups Can Make a Difference

AUS: Gifted Families Support Group Inc.

The Oxygen Mask: Gifted and 2e Parenting

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education: Parent Support Groups

TAGT Family Nights

Katy Parents of Gifted & Talented Students Wins Award

AUS: Support Groups Victoria

What Makes a Parent Group Successful?

MAGC: Starting & Sustaining a Parent Advocacy Group

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People (pdf)

Supporting Gifted Education through Advocacy

Cybraryman’s Gifted Parenting Resources

“Lazy” is a Four Letter Word. Don’t Use It in Front of Children

The Tres Columnae Project

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Image courtesy of MorgueFile.

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Micro-Schools with Guest, Jade Ann Rivera

gtchat 02022016 Microschools

 

This week at #gtchat we welcomed Jade Rivera, author of the latest in a series of books from GHF Press, “Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget”. Micro-schools are a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. and have their roots in Texas and California. A hallmark of these schools is personalized learning in a relatively intimate setting; an ideal situation for gifted and twice-exceptional students who often fail to thrive in other school settings.

We asked Jade why she thought to start a school specifically for this student population. She told us that, “The small, personalized, intentional nature of Micro-Schools offers a balance of connection, flexible structure and freedom. They provide a chance to bring gifted and twice-exceptional issues out into the light. When you start a Micro-School, you’re not only educating students in your school, you’re educating the whole community.”

“A hallmark of these schools is personalized learning in a relatively intimate setting; an ideal situation for gifted and twice-exceptional students who often fail to thrive in other school settings.”

Individualized instruction is achieved in micro schools through the use of technology, project-based learning and restructuring how students are taught. Gifted students have an urgent need for depth and flexibility and micro schools deliver on both counts. It is imperative that the student, parents and teacher work closely together to develop a flexible plan to meet the specific needs of the student and then be diligent in the follow-through.

Student engagement is imperative in ensuring that the micro school model is working for every student. Jade explained her philosophy on engagement, “First and foremost, a student’s passion is personal. All a person can really do is make space for a passion to evolve. It cannot be forced into existence through independent projects and the like. Montessori as well as my chemistry education taught me how to observe in the classroom. By prioritizing connection and observing where your students are at; you can extrapolate where they want to go. Then it’s my job to provide a space where that can happen.”

“Desks in a row with a big teacher’s desk at the front of the room will not work. It connotes an authoritarian culture; the nemesis of the connection, flexible structure and freedom found in Micro-Schools.” ~ Jade Rivera

How are classrooms in Micro-Schools different from traditional classrooms? Jade explained, “My classrooms are more a co-working space. Sometimes students do their own thing together. Sometimes we come together for group learning. Comfort in the classroom is key. Overexcitabilities and sensory needs must be taken into account. There must be access to creative and technological tools in a Micro-School classroom. Desks in a row with a big teacher’s desk at the front of the room will not work. It connotes an authoritarian culture; the nemesis of the connection, flexible structure and freedom found in Micro-Schools. Our students tend to have paradoxical natures. It’s a delicate dance and it takes some time to get right.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. 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:

What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized Learning’?

About Jade

Jade Rivera’s Website

Jade Rivera’s Facebook Page

Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget

The Mislabeled Child: Looking Beyond Behavior to Find Solutions for Children’s Learning Challenges (Amazon)

Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

Twice Exceptional – Smart Kids with Learning Differences

“Gifted, Poor and Sassy”

Big Minds Unschool

Preview: Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget

‘Micro-Schools’ Network That Fuses Technology and Instruction Expands to Chicago

‘Micro Schools’ Could Be New Competition for Private K-12

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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