Category Archives: Emotional intensity

Trauma Informed Approaches to Educating GT Students

This week, #gtchat welcomed Alessa Giampaolo Keener as our guest to chat about Trauma Informed Approaches to educating GT Students in the era of COVID19 and the effects of physical distancing when quarantined. Alessa holds a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University; a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Lehigh University, and a Certificate in Special Education Advocacy from the William & Mary Law School. She homeschooled her two children from Kindergarten into college. Throughout her years of homeschooling, she embraced a child-led learning approach, with an emphasis on social-emotional development and community-based learning.

Responses to the pandemic by GT students are as unique as the students themselves. They may share the experiences of other students, but many will do so on a deeper level. Parents and teachers of GT students have reported challenging behaviors based on students’ depth and breadth of knowledge about #COVID19. Many parents are now seeing behaviors first hand – boredom with busy work; and prior because of mastery of material being assigned by schools, refusal to complete assignments.

What is a Trauma Informed Approach for crisis ‘at-home’ schooling? The idea of a Trauma Informed Approach to crisis has been used in the past, but for many different reasons. In general, a Trauma Informed Approach takes into consideration safety; trustworthiness & transparency; peer support; collaboration & mutuality; empowerment & choice; and cultural, historical and gender issues. (CDC)

A GT child’s intensity can be overwhelming under normal circumstances; both at home and in the classroom. When you combine these two environments, it is imperative to set healthy boundaries. Parents and GT teachers want to provide the best education they can for these kids. It’s important for kids to feel safe; first & foremost.

What strategies can be used to help twice-exceptional kids succeed with online classes? Twice-exceptional students need to be recognized and understood that accommodations must go well beyond the traditional classroom walls. If IEPs or 504 plans are in place, they should be followed even now. Parents should seek advice from available school staff if they are having difficulty at home. It is a stressful time for everyone and not a time to shy away from asking for help when needed.

It is important to watch for signs of trauma now and in the days ahead. It should be expected that we are in for a long disruption of our children’s education. Parents need to be vigilant in monitoring their children’s mental health. The signs of trauma may manifest in different ways as we all adjust to life in these extraordinary times. Children may display aggressive behavior or be verbally abusive toward adults and authority figures. Parents should watch for physical ailments, sleeping difficulty, or even nightmares.

The message can be straight forward for younger students, but more nuanced for older ones. Different ages will respond in different ways and this is especially true when taking asynchronous development into account. It’s important to reinforce the message that a person can grow from struggle and it need not result in lower expectations. There are assets to be gained when overcoming adversity. In the era of COVID19, we should embrace a mindset of promoting resiliency and the value of beating the odds. Lessons learned today will be invaluable throughout the remainder of our children’s lives. A transcript of this chat is available 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.

Lisa Conrad 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

Resources:

DIY Ways to Meet a Child’s Sensory Needs at Home

SENGinar: Gifted School-At-Home During COVID19 – Using a Trauma Informed Approach to Support the Social-Emotional Needs of Your Children

NAGC TIP Sheet: Supporting Your Gifted Child During COVID-19 (pdf)

Center for Healthy Minds: COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit and Resources

NAGC: COVID-19 & Anxiety in Gifted Children

Healing the Heart: Helping Children Manage Toxic Stress and Trauma (Vimeo)

Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm

Childhood Trauma, Psychotherapy, Courage, and Your Gifted Self

The Trauma of the Gifted Child (Dissertation)

Understanding Children’s Reactions to Trauma (2002)

Resilience and Gifted Children (Kerr)

Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events? (2004)

Trauma: A Call for Collaboration (Bachtel)

Helping Your Child Manage Stress through Mindfulness (pdf Kane)

Infographic: 6 Guiding Principles to a Trauma-Informed Approach

Hand in Hand Homeschool: #COVID19 Resources

Texas Gifted Education Family Network: GT in the Time of #COVID19

Mind Matters Podcast: The Stresses of Sheltering in Place (Audio 34:20)

Fringy Bit: Trauma Interventions

The 10 Best Apps to Help You Focus and Block Distractions

Sprite’s Site: Traditions Old and New

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo courtesy of Alessa Giampaolo Keener.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Staying Socially Connected while Physically Distancing with Guest, Heather Vaughn, EdS

The terms social and physical distancing as well as social connecting have become a part of daily conversation as we all are learning to cope with the consequences of our current situation. It is not too soon, however, to consider the long-term consequences physical distancing. It will affect personal (one-to-one) relationships, families, and businesses. It will fundamentally change the meaning of ‘society’. Physical distancing will realign interpersonal priorities and how we engage with each other. It’s vital to frame these changes in a positive light. It should be viewed as an opportunity to improve our lives. An inability to cope with physical distancing can lead to profound loneliness, neglecting daily self-care, increased substance abuse, and attention issues.

What are the risks to our mental health from social isolation? Social isolation can pose a major risk to our mental health leading to increased anxiety and depression. The very thought of not knowing when it will end, increases these risks. It can affect different age groups differently. Parents need to watch for warning signs in their children as well as themselves (and their own parents). Social isolation can increase the rate of cognitive decline in the elderly; including those in the gifted community. No one is immune.

Staying connected is necessary for the continuance of society. Few have lived experiences to understand the scope of this crisis. Empathetic leadership is crucial. Connecting by personally checking on friends and family, leveraging technology to connect, and making time for informal connections are all important. Practical steps to staying in touch can include a simple phone call to a friend or family member, video chatting, engaging in activities together yet remotely.

What strategies can teachers use to help students stay socially connected? Teachers can encourage and facilitate virtual performances by their GT students as well as provide authentic audiences when it is time to perform and assess. They can serve as virtual mentors and share time with students to practice their skills. Teachers who are working from home can offer resources to students and their families that ensure a continuity of learning such as virtual experiences (field trips/explorations), book clubs, tutorials, or online study groups.

How can parents facilitate social connections for their kids? Parents are among the greatest facilitators in this time of crisis. Children are more vulnerable now to the effects of misinformation, neglect, and isolation from their friends and family. They can seek to connect their children through technology being mindful that interpersonal relationships within the family are paramount. Finding a balance between tech and time together is the goal.

It may be hard to realize at the moment, but benefits can be realized from our current situation. Most people are coming to the realization just how important the work of teachers, medical professionals, and service workers are to the continuity of society. It’s an important lesson learned that can’t be forgotten. Everyone can seek to use this time to do those activities that they seemed to never have time to do in the past. View webinars for personal and professional development, take online classes, and of course – join in Twitter chats!

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.

Lisa Conrad 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

Resources:

Social Revisioning at a Distance

It’s Possible to Find Happiness in Times of Social Isolation

How to Talk to Teens & Young Adults about Social Distancing

Sprite’s Site: Social Distancing

We’re All In This Together How to Engage in Social Connection While Socially Distancing

MIT: In a Time of Physical Distancing, Connecting Socially across Generations is More Important than Ever

How to Stay Socially Connected while Social Distancing

How to Stay Socially Connected while Physically Apart

Why You Need to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

CAN: Staying Connected while Practicing Social and Physical Distancing

CAN: Immersive technologies to address social isolation: Is a technological solution feasible and desirable?

AUS: Staying Connected while Being Physically Apart: Wellbeing in the Time of Social Distancing

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Connection During Times of Social Distancing

Forget ‘Social Distancing.’ The WHO Prefers We call it ‘Physical Distancing’ because Social Connections are More Important than Ever

Univ. of Chicago: How to Connect with Others in the Age of Social Distancing

Physical vs. Social Distancing: Ways to Make Social Contact

Stay Connected in Your Communities

Allen, TX HS Students Create Group to Help People’s Physical and Mental Health During Coronavirus Pandemic

Duke: How to be Productive under Quarantine

How Duke Students are Staying Connected during Quarantine

How to Maintain Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Pandemic without Feeling Depressed

Social Distancing while Staying Connected for Better Mental Health

APA: Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe

Psych Central: The Importance of Staying Connected While Practicing Social Distancing

Harvard Medical: Apps to Keep Us Connected in a Time of Social Distancing

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Pages

Cybraryman’s Zoom Pages

Cybraryman’s Google Meet Pages

Cybraryman’s Skype Pages

Civic Action Opportunities: Community Resource Guide (Google Doc)

Connectivity for Gifted Students in the Age of Social Distancing

Image courtesy of Heather Vaughn and Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Self-Care in the Era of Covid19

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Jen Merrill and Kate Arms to discuss the need to remember the importance of self-care during the current coronavirus Pandemic. It was a much need topic for all those who participated.

Our first question dealt with how we can handle isolation well. First and foremost, we need to remember that we are all in this together; albeit, not necessarily in the same boat, but in the same ocean. Even the introverts among us have rarely experienced this level of isolation. Isolating oneself in an attempt to be alone is quite different from self-preservation and survival. In the past, isolation was an individual coping mechanism. Today, its significance is much more communal. It is important to remember that our current situation is indeed temporary and necessary. We must depend on others’ behavior and good judgement. In lieu of that, we must take our isolation seriously.

What should you say to kids about #COVID19/pandemics/social isolation? Parents and teachers of gifted children should be cognizant of a few things that may not apply to all children. As in any situation, each child may display a ‘unique’ response to our new reality. Special consideration should be given to asynchronous development. Chronological age may or may not be a factor in understanding daily events. Do not suppose that intellectual maturity is in sync with their emotional state. Adults should temper their language when discussing #COVID19 with children, but not condescend to them. These kids may well know more than you about the virus, but still need your emotional support.

First step in teaching the importance of self-care to children is to model the behavior you wish to see in your children. Look forward, not backward; you can’t change the past. Self-care is a journey. Take time to learn about self-care and understand what it means for your child’s future. When you realize its importance, it can become a part of your life-style and children become the beneficiaries. As parents and teachers, we know that you must first ‘learn the lesson’ before you can teach it. Be diligent in the learning process.

What can parents/teachers do to begin self-care? Reach for the proverbial ‘oxygen mask’ first before attending to those around you. You are the starting point. You will inevitably be called to be a care-giver at some point. Self-care begins with self-assessment. What do you already do to take care of yourself, what needs to change, and how do you get to the point where you need to be? Honesty and objectivity are key.

We are living in unprecedented times. Few of us ever conceived of needing to plan our lives to respond to a pandemic of this magnitude. In designing a plan to balance work, home and school, we’ll need to be creative. Life plans do not need to be perfect all at once. It is a balancing act. Effective plans evolve over time. Be kind to yourself. The old adage, ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ comes to mind.

Are there special considerations for GT/2E kids that parents should know? Parents can realize the need to be especially attentive to their child’s emotional state at any given time and consider how to respond to their needs in advance. Kindness, compassion, empathy, self-control … are all important. We are living in a new reality. Physical distancing doesn’t need to be social distancing. Be prepared for the ‘highs and lows’ of emotions. And as Jen Merrill often reminds us, ‘Don’t forget to laugh’! It may be difficult at times, but we are all in this together. Stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy.

A transcript of this chat can 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 1PM NZDT/11AM AEDT/1AM 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.

Lisa Conrad 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

Resources:

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

R10 Counselor Conversations: Self Care

How Do You Laugh at This Magnitude of Chaos?

It’s Not Just in Your Head: Self-Care for Moms of Gifted Children

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth (book)

Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope (book)

Gifted Adult Self-Care Strategies

Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm

Chicago Gifted Community Center: Parental Self-Care

Hoagies’ Blog Hop November 2014: Gifted Self-Care

Finding Structure in Times of Chaos

Stress Management Toolbox: Nine Tips for Parents of Gifted Children

If I’m So Smart, Why Am I So Stressed Out?

Mindful Self-Care

Self-care and YOU

The Life Organizer and Self-Care

Kate’s Nuggets: How to Feel a Sense of Control when the World Feels Chaotic (Audio 16:33)

2e Tuesday: Six Steps to Parental Self-Care

Social Revisioning at a Distance

It’s Possible to Find Happiness in Times of Social Isolation

Reassuring Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Breathe for Change: Resources (free – sign up required)

Cybraryman’s Nutrition Pages

Cybraryman’s Exercise/Fitness Pages

Cybraryman’s Yoga Pages

Cybraryman’s The Brain and Brain Games Pages

Cultivez Votre Bouffe (Farm Your Food)

Kate’s Nuggets: Self-Care: It’s Not What You Think it Is (Audio 18:00)

Sprite’s Site: Social Distancing

NAGC TIP Sheet: Supporting Your Gifted Child During COVID-19 (pdf)

Photos courtesy of Jen Merrill and Kate Arms.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Teaching Life Skills to Gifted Children at School and at Home

Life skills are those skills which enable us to deal effectively with the challenges faced every day and are needed to succeed in life. They involve the ability to be flexible when problem solving, display imitative, interact positively with others, be productive, and to be a leader. Qualities associated with successful life skills include self-awareness, empathy, effective communication, strong interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and self-control.

Why is it important to teach GT students life skills? The stakes are so high. Many GT students represent our future leaders and life skills are essential for great leaders. Success in life is not dependent alone on how intelligent a person is or becomes. Personal satisfaction with accomplishments plays an overall role in happiness; both personally and socially.

How is society inhibiting the acquisition of necessary life skills? Students have fewer face-to-face interactions with peers and instructors reducing their ability to acquire and hone life skills they need to meet the challenges of life. More often, students interact via social media, video conferencing, and text messages rather than in real life situations.

Twice-exceptional children who deal with executive function deficits can benefit from skills-based education from the earliest years as soon as it’s diagnosed. Many of them struggle with social interactions that impeded their academic success. Skills-based education can close this gap. Learning life-skills can help twice-exceptional children handle stressful situations, feel more confident, and learn how to cope with challenges in a more positive way.

What are best practices for educators to embed life skills education in their curriculum? Time management skills education can begin in early elementary by reviewing daily schedules, using a student planner, and discussing with students ways to complete unfinished assignments in a timely manner. Creating opportunities for collaboration on assignments and providing students with leadership strategies that pre-empt one student from doing all the work can be invaluable for gifted students. Occasionally, teachers can switch-up or change the schedule so that students need to learn the importance of being flexible … a much sought after skill by employers. Suggest coping strategies for students to meet the challenge. Teachers can provide opportunities for students to engage in conversations with classmates and then in active and reflexive listening in the classroom. They can promote student choice and voice to allow them control over their learning which provides a gateway to self-motivation; a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives.

How can parents help their gifted children gain the necessary life skills to be successful? Parents must first ensure they possess the life skills necessary for living a successful and rewarding life; even if they must seek out training. They can help their gifted children by modeling necessary life skills in their everyday life. Parents cannot assume that life skills will be taught at school or by associating with successful peers. By observing their child’s behavior, they can determine which skills their child needs. A transcript of this chat can 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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/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.

Lisa Conrad 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

Resources:

The 7 Essential Life Skills

Life Skills and Soft Skills Make You Smart Life

What are Life Skills?

5 Important Types of Life Skills All Adults Need

Life Skills vs. Soft Skills vs. Career Skills vs. Employability Skills — What Are the Differences?

3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You

Life Skills for Gifted Students

Someone Taught Steve Jobs How to Use a Hammer

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (book)

Smart but Scattered Kids (website)

Helping Kids Who Are “Late, Lost, and Unprepared”

That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week

11 Life Skills You Should Teach Your Kids

The Practical Life Skills Kids Should Learn at Every Age

Social Life Skills – Characteristics of the Gifted Child (YouTube 4:23)

Teaching Strategies for Important Life Skills

Cybraryman’s Soft Skills Page

Cybraryman’s Financial Education Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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