Monthly Archives: December 2017

Challenging Myths about Gifted Children

gtchat 12212017 Myths

During our last Twitter chat of the year, #gtchat tackled the subject of myths about gifted children and what can be done to challenge them. Myths can have wide-ranging effects on these children; some of which can last a lifetime.

Exactly what are some of these damaging effects? Myths can prevent children from receiving the services they require at school and this can leave them vulnerable, feeling neglected and discouraged, or worse. Myths can also cause unrealistic expectations. Gifted children are usually not gifted in all areas. When adults repeat the myths, young gifted children can believe them and begin to question their own abilities.

Myths can affect teacher’ perception of students labeled ‘gifted’ in the regular classroom. Due to little or no undergraduate classes in gifted education, many teachers lack knowledge about gifted students. Myths too often become perception and this influences interactions with these students. A gifted student may not always be a ‘straight A’ student. Asynchronous development – many ages at once – can complicate their academic life as well. As Justin Sulsky, GT teacher in New York, pointed out, “Myths cause teachers to think that the “wrong” kids are in GT programs and that the “right” kids are not being served. ”

Why does the ‘all children are gifted’ myth still persist? It is particularly disturbing and misleading. Failure to adequately define what ‘gifted’ is and is not perpetuates this myth. The ‘all children are gifted’ myth is often used as an excuse to deny services to this special population of students. A misunderstanding of gifted as meaning ‘better than’ rather than ‘better at’ cause some to view gifted children as elitist. Lisa Aguilar, special education teacher, explained, “I think we want to see the best in all children, that we overdo it and confuse giftedness with strengths. All students have strengths that can be built on, but giftedness is a different way of thinking.”

“The myth that all children are gifted is an attempt to justify whole group instruction. All children may be blessed, unique, and valuable, but their academic, social and emotional needs vary by their ability.” ~ Ellen Williams, Ed.D, consultant and author

Many educators are resistant to accelerating students – what myths cloud their thinking? Not all children will successfully accelerate – many times for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the child’s abilities; but one misstep should not obscure the benefits for students who need it. Acceleration is one of the most researched strategies used for challenging gifted students. Myths persist when decision makers fail to read the research.

“Educators don’t accelerate because: 1. “it’s just not done that way”; 2. It will complicate a child’s trajectory down the road. (e.g. What will they do in 11th grade of HS if they already took the whole math sequences?); and 3. They wrongly worry about student’s social development.” ~ Justin Sulsky

The myth that twice-exceptional students’ disability be addressed before their giftedness is a myth often faced by parents of 2E kids who are required to ‘prove’ their child be seen as gifted first. Currently, researchers are providing exceptional research reported in papers and books. Parents need to share this information with their child’s teachers. (Please see links below.) They need to be vigilant in documenting their child’s progress when challenged and then share it with school officials.

Finally, we discussed the myth that AP classes constitute a gifted program for secondary gifted students. Recently, a few states in the U.S. have recognized that AP classes can be ‘part’ of a rigorous program, but simply do not address all the needs of gifted students and are attempting to change direction. AP classes may address academic needs, but gifted students are a diverse population expressing many different abilities and talents.

For more information, a transcript of this 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 Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 Storify. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

 

Links:

TAGT: 5 Myths about Giftedness (pdf – p. 25)

10 Myths about Gifted Students (YouTube 5:13)

Myths about Gifted Students

Gifted Isn’t Good

The Unique Challenges of Raising a Highly Gifted Child

The Value of Challenging Gifted Students in Elementary School

Differences, Disregarded (Michael Clay Thompson) *response to “all children are gifted”

(AUS) Gifted Education: What is it? Do We Even Need it?

10 Facts You May Not Know about Gifted Children, But Should

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter: What Is Gifted and Why Does It Matter? 

7 Myths about Twice-Exceptional (2E) Students

Gifted Children: Myths and Realities (Amazon)

Gifted Children – So Intelligent, But They Struggle

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 2

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Is it a cheetah? (Stephanie Tolan)

Top Ten Myths if Gifted Education (YouTube 8:10)

Personas, Profiles and Portraits: Facebook 52 Illustrations Challenge July

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum: Are All Children Gifted?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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The Inconvenient Student

gtchat 12142017 Inconvenient

The twice-exceptional student has long been seen as the ‘inconvenient’ student by many educators since the term was first introduced into our educational vernacular. But who exactly is the twice-exceptional … sometimes referred to as 2E … student? This week’s guest on #gtchat, Dr. Mike Postma, recently wrote a book addressing this often misunderstood population. The Inconvenient Student (sample pages here as pdf) provides parents and educators with a unique perspective rarely seen in 2E literature … a view from the educator.

Dr. Postma is an educator, parent of 2E children and the Executive Director of SENG. His credentials lend an insight into twice-exceptionality that has been missing, but sorely needed by those touched by the lives of these extraordinary kids. We appreciate Mike taking time out from his busy schedule to chat with us.

So, how should we define twice-exceptionality in educational terms and should we even try? Within the same child can reside high intellectual ability and mental health challenges. Either may mask the other. “Twice-exceptional (2e) individuals evidence exceptional ability and disability which results in a unique set of circumstances.” (K. Dickson in The Inconvenient Student, p. 20) According to Dr. Postma, “There are a number of definitions but the essence is that 2e persons have dual exceptionalities.” Carol Raymond, M.Ed., of EA Young Academy in Texas, reminded us of the importance of the ADA and its implications for the twice-exceptional student; specifically, “The ultimate outcome of an individual’s efforts should not undermine a claim of disability.”

There are characteristics teachers should look for if they suspect a student may be twice-exceptional. 2E students often exhibit a ‘disconnect’ between performance and ability. Look for discrepancies. Asynchronous development will make assessment more challenging; all avenues should be pursued because there may be multiple disabilities and abilities.

“Teachers should be looking for a number of things: flashes of brilliance, high intensities, evidence of creative thinking and problem solving, discrepancy data on formalized assessments, inconsistent performance…to name just a few.  I have yet to meet a 2e child that is exactly similar to another … all present unique profiles and thus require unique accommodations…however, there are patterns that can be detected by the astute teacher.” ~ Dr. Mike Postma

What are some successful strategies for teaching 2E students in the classroom? Always seek first to nurture strengths before accommodating disabilities. An effort should be made to identify the exact abilities and disabilities before determining specific interventions.   Use a combination of simultaneous supports – gifted intervention with OT or support personnel.

“In hiring staff I always look for empathy first; an understanding of what it is to be a 2e student. Basic strategies include flexible teaching, teaching to strengths; first to assist in remediating areas of weakness, sensory awareness, use of depth, breadth, and complexity. 2E kids need extra time for tests and assignments … they tend to be slow processors.” ~ Dr. Mike Postma

Strengths and weaknesses can present differently in 2E kids. Children with intellectual disabilities will not present the same as gifted children who also have intellectual challenges. Intellectual ability can sometimes compensate for the weaknesses and make identification harder.

“Adults need to understand the differences between misbehavior and brain function. In most cases, when a 2e child is acting out, the issue is a function of limbic delay or the limbic system being overwhelmed. At that point the child needs to reset in a safe environment. In addition, due to limbic delay, skills such as executive functioning, language development, emotional regulation are not present ‘in the moment’. Adults need to work on building these skills in 2e kids rather than punishing them for ‘overreacting’.” ~ Dr. Mike Postma

Finally, we explored the difference between underachievement and non-production. Mike explained, “There is a big difference. Underachievement is a psychological disorder that needs to be addressed by professionals while non-production (fairly common with g/t kids is a conscious decision not to do the work for a host of reasons: boring, busy work, low level. If a student can articulate why he or she will not due the work, that would be non-production whereas an underachiever will not be able to explain the issue.” A transcript of this 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 Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 Storify. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

The Inconvenient Student Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students (Amazon)

Critical Issues in the Identification of Gifted Students with Co-Existing Disabilities: The Twice-Exceptional (pdf)

Fundamentals of Gifted Education: Considering Multiple Perspectives (Amazon)

Identification of Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities in a Response-to-Intervention Era (pdf)

Identification and Assessment of Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities (pdf)

Supporting Twice-Exceptional Students in the Classroom (pdf)

Gifted and Dyslexic: How the Talent-centered Model Works

Introduction Supporting Twice Exceptional African American Students: Implications for Classroom Teaching (pdf)

Empirical Investigation of Twice Exceptionality: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going? (pdf)

The Goldilocks Question: How to Support your 2e Child and Get it “Just Right” 

Is Executive Functioning the Missing Link for Many Gifted Students?

The Six Types of Gifted Child: The Twice-exceptional

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Under Achievers

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

Sprite’s Site: New Shoes

Sprite’s Site: 2E Is

Sprite’s Site: What Makes Them 2E?

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Children Page

U.S. Department of Education: Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (pdf)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

What to Do When Friends & Family Don’t Get Gifted

gtchat 12072017 Friends

Any parent of a gifted child will tell you friends and family can unfortunately make a difficult situation worse with insensitive comments. There are strategies available to mitigate negative comments and actions.

Varying abilities can play a role in family dynamics. When talking about abilities, all family members should be considered; parents as well as siblings. It’s fairly common to have a range of abilities within the same family. Issues may arise between gifted and highly gifted or twice-exceptional siblings. If parents present as 2E or highly gifted, it can also make a difference.

There are times when a child’s giftedness will become more of an issue than normal. These can include the first day of school, school transitions, or graduation when a child has been accelerated and age differences are accentuated. Holidays involving extended family also make for tense situations at a time when sensitivities are already on overload.

Insensitive comments can come from both friends and strangers. Hopefully, very young children do not hear them because most often they will understand the intent. It helps to talk about what it means to be gifted with the child; not ‘better than’, but ‘better at.’ (Delisle)

There are strategies parents can use to respond to envious comments from other adults. They can attempt to educate others about what giftedness is and isn’t. There were many resources shared during this chat and included in the links below. In the end, it may be in everyone’s best interest to ignore comments not made in the presence of the child.

Where can parents find support in resolving issues with friends and family? Initially, parents should look for support locally; either in the form of existing groups of gifted parents or by forming such a group. Most kids know who is in the gifted program at their school. Also, state and national gifted organizations have parent divisions. Well known groups supporting parents include SENG and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. A transcript of this 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 Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 Storify. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

My Child is Gifted and I Can’t Talk about Him

The Truth about ‘Gifted’ Versus High-Achieving Students

Why You Still Don’t Believe That You’re Gifted

What Does Gifted Look Like? Clearing Up Your Confusion

Family Life with Gifted Children

Tips for Parents: How Gifted Children Impact the Family

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (Amazon)

What I Want You to Know about my Gifted Son

10 Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should

What to Say (and What Not to Say) When You Meet the Parents of a Gifted Child

I’m Not Bragging When I Say My Child is Gifted

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

Envy and Your Gifted Child

Envy and Giftedness: Are We Underestimating the Effects of Envy?

My Child is Gifted: Do You Think I’m Bragging Now?

GHF Brochures

Sprite’s Site: Surviving the Holidays

Sprite’s Site: Surviving the Christmas Season

Sprite’s Site: I Love Christmas But …

Living with Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: When Extended Family Don’t Get Giftedness

Are All Children Gifted?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay and Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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