Parent Support Groups – Meeting Needs
It is undeniable that great parent support groups precede quality education and gifted programming is no different. When parents get involved, schools respond. Parenting gifted children is fraught with frustration at trying to get an appropriate education for their atypical child … something that should be available to all children. Professionals to whom parents for turn lack knowledge and information about gifted children which leads to inappropriate directions, misdiagnosis and a general lack of empathy to the situation parents find themselves.
When beginning an affiliate group, welcome parents, teachers and administrators, homeschooling parents into your group. You can achieve things like additional teachers and programs never seen before in your district. Parent Support Groups should think ‘big tent’ … there is strength in numbers. Bring all parties to the table; consider all viewpoints and work for consensus making sure you’re always going forward.
Many state and national gifted organizations can provide info and support to parents on starting a local support group. Working with schools to find other parents is best. If not, talk to your child; they know who’s in the gifted program. Parents can also connect at school events and in online groups. Remember that everything you do is for gifted children; to provide advocacy for appropriate educational programming and to support their parents.
What resources are available to parents to start a group? A simple online search can identify your state’s gifted organization. If you state doesn’t have one, check out websites outside your area for general information. Some great states include TX, CA, CT, IL, CO, GA, OH, MD and FL. Other organizations to check out include: SENG, NAGC, IEA Gifted, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Potential Plus UK, and European Council for High Ability.
Gifted parent groups organize first for educational goals, but soon look to meet the social-emotional needs of GT kids through peer networking and providing access to out of school opportunities. They need to keep the needs of their parents in mind by working together toward common goals and supporting the social-emotional needs of parent members as well.
What steps can be taken to ensure the continuation of the group over time? The average time commitment of parents usually only lasts 7 to 8 years – from identification to the early years of high school. No one wants to spend time building a group only to see gifted services fade over time. Parent support group should be constantly looking to recruit new members; those with younger children. Groups should provide leadership mentoring to ensure the continuation of the group. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
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 Noon NZST/10 AM 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 Wakelet. 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.
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
SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPG)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad