Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Guest, Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis
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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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where Does a Pediatric Doctor Fit in the Care of Gifted Children? By Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis
Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (Free Download)
SENG Decreasing Medical Misdiagnosis in Gifted Children (pdf) Free Brochure
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Posted on February 21, 2016, in family, gifted, healthcare, Misdiagnosis, Psychology, Social Emotional, Twice-exceptional, Underachievement and tagged gifted and talented, giftedness, gtchat, Healthcare Providers, TAGT, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.