Category Archives: Existential Depression

Your Rainforest Mind with Guest, Paula Prober

gtchat 06282016 Rainforest

 

Do you long to drive a Ferrari at top speed on the open road, but find yourself always stuck on the freeway during rush hour? Do you wonder how you can feel like “not enough” and “too much” at the same time? Like the rain forest, are you sometimes intense, multilayered, colorful, creative, overwhelming, highly sensitive, complex, and/or idealistic? And, like the rain forest, have you met too many chainsaws? ~ Paula Prober, MS, MEd

For a change of pace, this week #gtchat discussed gifted adults – you know … the kids who grew up! Not surprisingly, many of the issues facing gifted youth are present long into adulthood. Author Paula Prober joined us to discuss her new book, Your Rainforest Mind, from GHF Press.

Your Rainforest Mind – also the name of Paula’s Blog – is a metaphor used to describe the gifted mind: complex, creative, sensitive, intense, lively, colorful and misunderstood. Paula finds that it helps people get what giftedness is without the stigma. She explained, “The rainforest is the most complex ecosystem. It has the ability to contribute in a big way. It is not better than others; just more complex.”

What strategies can be used to address heightened sensitivities; sometimes referred to as overexcitabilities? Paula suggested, “Self-acceptance, understanding, self-soothing, relaxation strategies, mindfulness and artistic expression” can all be used. Additional strategies mentioned by Paula included, “time in nature, spiritual practices, talking to a friend, or visualization of a container to hold emotions.” She also indicated that it is important to identify anxiety triggers such as noise, visuals, textures, criticism, empathy or family members. If necessary, you should attempt to reduce exposure to these things.

Positive outcomes are possible when Rainforest Mind adults learn to redirect their passion.  Paula pointed out first one must realize having lots of passions is not dysfunctional or shallow. Rather, it is more about multipotentiality. What this means for careers is that it’s okay to change paths over one’s lifetime; look for a job with variety depth  and challenge. Be creative in crafting a career that works for you. With regard to parenting, recognize that having a Rainforest Mind is a complex challenge on many levels. Paula also recommends keeping a journal of ideas so they don’t get lost, growing self-acceptance and prioritizing time for intellectual stimulation.

Perfectionism – a topic we’ve covered several times on chat – is a concern for Rainforest Minds. First and foremost, know the difference between healthy (intrinsic) and unhealthy (extrinsic) perfectionism. It is best to aim for harmony, balance, justice and precision; all associated with intrinsic perfectionism. A person needs to prioritize what’s worthy of striving for ‘perfect’ and what can just be excellent or even mediocre because it is not important. Extrinsic perfectionism comes from early pressure to achieve, please others, to not disappoint or from dysfunctional family behaviors.

Should adults consider being tested for giftedness if they were not identified as a child? In most cases, Paula told us that it is not necessary. Whether or not you possess a Rainforest Mind can generally be determined from traits. Also, tests are not always accurate. 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 Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/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:

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

Your Rainforest Mind (Paula’s Blog)

Your Rainforest Mind (Paula’s Website)

Understanding Your Rainforest Mind Counseling & Gifted Adults (pdf)

GHF Press

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

The “I” of the Beholder: A Guided Journey to the Essence of a Child Roeper (Amazon)

Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging across the Lifespan by Ellen Fiedler (Amazon)

Overexcitabilities — Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Quiet Revolution (Susan Cain – website)

It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change (Amazon)

Gifted Shmifted

Perfectionism’s Twin Sister

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Amazon)

Living with Intensity (Amazon)

“Perfectionism” with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams (Amazon)

Puttylike: A Home for Multipotentialites!

Rebels at Work

Beautiful Imperfections

The Motivation for Perfectionism

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius (Amazon)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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The Many Faces of Gifted

gtchat 01122016 Many Faces of Gifted

 

The many faces of giftedness often look quite different depending on the characteristics used and who is making the judgement. Early on in the discussion, Jen Merrill, author and blogger at Laughing at Chaos,  pointed out appropriately so that we shouldn’t be looking at ‘types’ of giftedness but rather differences in ‘wiring’ or ‘strengths’ among gifted children.

Although arguments have been made for and against labeling gifted children, we considered the consequences which occur when children are mislabeled or not identified at all. Gifted children often ‘feel different’ from their age-peers and when not identified or mislabeled, they can feel confused. They may be placed in an inappropriate educational setting, miss valuable opportunities, or receive a medical misdiagnosis. According to Gail Post, Clinical Psychologist, “At worst, [it] could result in depression, despair, isolation; always feeling there is something wrong with them,”

What do we risk by equating ‘gifted’ only with high academic achievement? Many gifted children never achieve academically as their areas of strength may lay elsewhere. Talents outside the academic realm may never be realized if only academic achievement is considered. As Jeremy Bond expressed, “We risk getting it spectacularly wrong. Our most gifted leaders weren’t correlated with school “achievement” (whatever that is).”

Intellectual giftedness can get overlooked as well when considering twice-exceptional students and those from culturally different or diverse populations. Disabilities can be more visible and obstruct the viewpoint of adults responsible for identification. Too many educational professionals lack the necessary expertise in cultural differences & diverse populations. As #gtchat adviser, Krissy Venosdale, told us, “I honestly can’t think of a field in education where there is more bias, preconceived notions, misunderstandings than gifted.”

Highly gifted children are at particular risk for medical misdiagnosis that fails to recognize giftedness. Many areas such as ADHD share characteristics with giftedness making diagnosis difficult. Most medical professionals have had little to no training about gifted characteristics. 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  1 AM (1.00) in the UK,  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT 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:

Many Faces of Giftedness: Lifting the Masks (Amazon)

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness via @MarianneKuz

Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts &Talents: Development, Relationships, School (Amazon)

Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children & Adults

Trading Beyond the Mark: Supporting the Genius of Disobedient Thought

The Faces of Gifted: A Resource for Educators & Parents

The Varied Faces of Gifted/Talented Students (pdf)

Many Faces of Gifted (PPT pdf) by Dr James T Webb

Revised Profiles of the Talented & Gifted 2010 (pdf) by Betts and Neihart

Changing Our View of Gifted Learners

GT Chat: Labels: Good, Bad, or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 3

Hoagies’ Gifted: Testing and Assessment

Cybraryman: Twice-Exceptional Children

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum: Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (downloadable guide)

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative: Reducing the Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop: Discovering the Depth and Breadth of Giftedness

Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop: Ages & Stages of Giftedness

 

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic Courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Holiday Survival Tactics for the Gifted Family

gtchat 12182015 Holiday Survival Tactics

 

The holidays are stressful for many people, but they can be especially difficult for the gifted family. It was explained in simplest terms during this week’s chat by Tracy Fisher, school board member and new grandmother,  “Everyone is INTENSE!”

As we were reminded by Jerry Blumengarten, aka Cybraryman, it is a season celebrated by many cultures.

Cybraryman Holiday 2015

The disruption in their daily routine and the high expectations of others can wreak havoc in gifted families. Marianne Kuzujanakis, pediatrician and homeschooler, also pointed out, “Stress points for GT families: Routines lost. OE’s. Anxiety. 2E issues. Developmental asynchrony. Introversion. Food allergies!!” Empathy for the less fortunate and concerns for world peace often contribute to anxiety in the way gifted children feel. Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, added, “I’d also note that this time of year can be incredibly stressful for gt folks who *don’t* celebrate Xmas.”

There are ways to reduce the stress that have proved successful. Pre-plan activities and remember to include ‘down time’ to reduce potentially stressful situations from occurring. Do not overextend yourself. It’s better to say “no” than to disappoint others. Schedules should be kept as normal as possible.

Dealing with relatives who don’t ‘get’ gifted can be an everyday struggle that becomes worse during the holidays. If possible, ignore behavior in the moment; but resolve the issue later in a more relaxed setting. Explanations, however, may need to be made if comments are made directly to your child.

How do differing abilities shape family dynamics; PG/2e/gifted? Parents need to understand that all gifted children do not react to stress in the same way. Many gifted kids had an affinity for one another at family gatherings; however, differences can influence behavior. Age plays a role, too; dynamics change as kids got older.

When unforeseen situations arise, a plan needs to be in place. Gifted children need to be given ‘space’ and ‘time’ to de-escalate when overwhelmed. Try to remove your child from frustrating situations if possible; understand that overexcitabilities are real. As hosts, we should also provide these ‘safe’ havens for our guests as well.

Finally, we asked the question, “How can we help our children thrive during the holidays?” Creating new family traditions can help. Answer any questions that arise openly and honestly. Share your beliefs, but value your children’s opinion as well. Exposure to holiday traditions of different cultures can help children to appreciate the season. A transcript of this week’s chat can be found at Storify.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT 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:

Parenting Gifted Children through the Holidays

Have a Happy [not exasperating] Holiday

Activities for Gifted Children during the Holidays

Holiday stress: What Parents of Gifted Children Need to Know

Holiday Stress & Gifted Families with Jade Rivera

Surviving the Holidays with a House Full of Gifted Folks

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Surviving the Holidays

How to Strip Your Holidays Naked

Surviving the Holidays

4 Ideas to Engage Your Child during Holidays

GHF Blog Hop: Surviving & Thriving at the Holidays with a Gifted/2E Kid

Dear Parents: Here’s How to Survive & Thrive at the Holidays via @redwhiteandgrew 

Sprite’s Site: Sprite’s 2010 Christmas List

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

Sprite’s Site: I love Christmas BUT…

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

When the Gifted Child Hides Their Giftedness

gtchat 07102015 When Gifted Child Hides Giftedness

 

Most people are not aware that many gifted children at times hide their giftedness for various reasons. Although it can just be a phase as these kids enter the teen years and yearn to ‘fit in’ with age-peers, it often goes much deeper than that. It can become a life-long struggle. Sometimes gifted kids face ridicule about their abilities by classmates and it’s just easier to go into stealth mode. Lack of confidence and self-esteem can cause some gifted children to not believe they are gifted.

Early research focused on gifted girls as the ones who primarily hide their giftedness beginning in the pre-teen years. (Silverman, 2009). Further studies revealed that boys, too, will hide the fact that they are gifted in response to pressure from peers to excel in sports rather than academically. This happens most often in high school. (Betts/Neihart, 2010)

There are specific behaviors to look for if you suspect a gifted child may be hiding their gifts and talents. Adults should look for children who deny or discount obvious talent; often early dropping out of gifted programs or later from AP programs. They do not want to confront challenge. A child who is trying to hide their giftedness may suddenly change peer groups or appear to lack direction. (Betts/Neihart) They may disconnect from adults in their lives – teachers and parents.

Helping a gifted child to understand what being gifted is all about can help to counter their desire to fly under the radar and hide their giftedness. Adults need to talk to children that being gifted is not about being better than others, but simply different. They can be given opportunities to research what giftedness is on their own. Gifted children often respond to meeting and being mentored by gifted adults in their areas of interest.

Educators need to learn why a child might be hiding their giftedness and try to be understanding. They need to recognize ability and consider appropriate placement in advanced-level classes. School personnel need to provide counseling, diagnostic testing and propose alternative learning opportunities. Teachers can provide direct instruction on social skills for gifted students struggling in this area. School counselors can arrange support groups to discuss giftedness with students.

How can parents help their child when they hide their giftedness? Parents need to normalize the gifted experience; moderate praise; allow freedom to make life choices. They can encourage self-understanding and self-acceptance (Betts/Neihart) and provide opportunities for enrichment without offering extrinsic rewards or punishments. (Rivera) Parents need to learn about asynchronous development as social skills often lag behind academic achievement. They can teach social skills, but need to realize that the timing may not coincide with age-peers. A full transcript may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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:

Stealth Giftedness

What We Have Learned About Gifted Children (8)

Nurturing Giftedness in Young Children

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness

Profiles of the Gifted & Talented (1988)

Revised Profiles of the Gifted & Talented (pdf) (2010)

The Six Types of Gifted Child: The Underground

Ten Days of Stealth Giftedness: A Crash Course on Incognito Intelligence

The Tres Columnae Project

Gifted, Talented and Still Hiding Out

Felicity the Underground Gifted

Cybraryman’s Introverted Children Page

I Forgot to Socialize My Kids

Defining Underachievement

Is It a Cheetah?

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Under Achievers

Parenting Strategies to Motivate Underachieving Gifted Students

Five Relationships Any Gifted Kid Needs

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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