Category Archives: gifted

The Purple Goldfish Theory: What Your Child Already Knows about Being Gifted

gtchat 08232018 Goldfish

Jamie Uphold, Gifted Youth Programs Manager for American Mensa, joined us at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT to chat about her “The Purple Goldfish Theory: What Your Child Already Knows about Being Gifted.” She described her role at American Mensa, “I’m a (recovering) educator with a passion for gifted youth. Now, I create programs, curate resources, and perform outreach for gifted youth.”

Jamie wrote an excellent follow-up blog post describing the theory on Mensa’s blog. In the post, Jaime writes, “Gifted kids are like purple goldfish. They spend all day swimming along in school with all the other goldfish. But unlike the other fish, they are purple — and they swim backward! They know they’re different from the other kids. No one has to tell them; they realize it on their own. And while purple goldfish know they are different, they don’t necessarily know they are gifted.”

Gifted children learn what it means to be gifted in many different ways. Many do not question the concept until they are identified at school and enter their school’s gifted program. They know they are different from other students around them. How knowledgeable their parent is about what it means to be ‘gifted’ and how they share what they know can have a powerful impact on their child.

Parents sometimes wonder if they should even tell their child they are gifted. Dr. Gail Post, Clinical Psychologist, stated emphatically, “Yes – it validates, provides clarity and perspective on what they already suspect and don’t understand. [Parents] need to explain it carefully, ensuring they [the child] don’t assume they are better than others, or take on undue burdens.” Jamie explained, “The value is in understanding how their brain is wired differently; not in an assessment received from a test. Information, for them, is received and perceived differently than their peers.” Telling a child they are gifted and/or talented should be accompanied by the ‘perspective’ as related by Dr. Jim Delisle that they at ‘better at’ rather than ‘better than’ their age-peers . Jamie believes that “early and honest communication about giftedness can mean the difference between arrogance and understanding.”

How should information about a child’s giftedness be shared with their educational team? If a gifted IEP is mandated, a formal process for sharing information through formal regular meetings with the team and a general understanding of who to contact will already be in place. The sharing of information is highly dependent on the personnel with whom you were sharing the information. Some teachers are more receptive and knowledgeable; making the whole process smoother. Jamie implored parents, “Don’t assume that teachers know what your child needs. They often don’t get the information necessary to make those assessments until later in the year. Simple outreach sparks dialogue.There’s no one-size-fits all approach. Every gifted child is different and has different needs. Giftedness doesn’t fit into neat check-boxes.”

What are the challenges of being ‘purple’ (gifted)? Jamie stated, “It’s hard to be the smartest kid in the room. Kids want to fit in, and GT kids often don’t — they think deeper, react stronger, and don’t transition as quickly. None of these traits are preferable in traditional school settings.” Being gifted is too often about simply being viewed as ‘smart’ when it’s usually much more complicated;  it’s a ‘marching to the beat of a different drummer’ scenario. GT kids can be teased and bullied by other kids and adults to the point of wanting to hide their abilities or ignore them. This can lead to emotional challenges as they get older.

Justine Hughes, educator in Auckland, New Zealand,  warned, “the quote that “All kids are gifted they just unwrap their gifts at different times” has become a dangerous mantra leading to needs not being met. Jamie added, “How many of those kids would return that gift if they could, just to be ‘normal’?”

There are many resources to help children learn about being gifted and for parents on raising a gifted child. Great organizations include American Mensa, Mensa for Kids, Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT), NAGC, SENG, Davidson Gifted, Hoagies Gifted, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, the Institute for Educational Advancement, the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education, and WCGTC.

Gifted children need to associate with intellectual peers whether at school or socially regardless of what anyone else says. This doesn’t mean exclusively; but it must be a major consideration. They need to be challenged in the early years academically. Without it; they will have difficulty later on and it can result in innumerable problems.

“Purple goldfish have extra challenges. Often people assume that a gifted kid, and by extension their parents, have it easy when it’s often the exact opposite. Gifted children can struggle with social norming and are sometimes in stages of development and emotional maturity that make it harder to bond with their peers. Statistically, gifted individuals are 1 out of 100; this means that 99 percent of their peers are different from them. And this is before we add any additional diagnoses. It’s hard to be a purple goldfish! And these kids nevertheless want to find other purple goldfish – their people.” ~ Jamie Uphold, American Mensa 

Check out the transcript of this chat at Wakelet to see what else chat participants said parents need to remember most about having a purple goldfish. Then, refer to the resources below which were shared during the chat!

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.

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

Resources:

Mensa for Kids (website)

American Mensa (website)

Inspiring Self-Efficacy in Gifted Kids

Coloring Outside the Lines – Growing Up Gifted

Jim Delisle Presentation – Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Children

Identity Development in Intellectually Gifted Students

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

Unexpected Challenges of Being a Gifted Kid

Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

Growing Resilient Gifted Kids

Cybraryman’s Growth Mindset Page

Should we tell them they’re gifted? Should we tell them how gifted?

Resources from Jamie’s blog post:

Pros and Cons of Telling Children They Are Gifted

Is My Child Gifted?

What to say to your gifted child…about being gifted 

Is your kid really gifted? Probably not

Should we tell them they’re gifted? Should we tell them how gifted?

Talking about Giftedness: The Elephant in the Room

Your Kids Are Gifted. Should You Tell Them?

Image and graphics courtesy of American Mensa.

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Creating a Culture of Kindness for Gifted Kids

gtchat 01182018 Kindness

Kindness is treating others as you would like to be treated; making someone else want to associate with you because they feel better about themselves when they are around you. It is taking into consideration everything you say and do as to bring out the best in others; always asking yourself how will your actions affect other people’s feelings.

It is important to promote kindness in the lives of gifted kids. Gifted children do not always experience kindness in their lives; it can be a forgotten soft-skill deemed unimportant in their striving for academic success. They too often experience bullying or thoughtless comments about the expectations of the gifted label. They may ignore this at first, but eventually respond in negative or unkind ways.

What strategies can teachers use to encourage students to demonstrate kindness? Being kind – modeling kindness in the classroom – considering it before speaking or taking action in any situation is a good way to encourage students to be kind to fellow classmates. Creating opportunities for students to be kind to others is an important strategy all teachers can use in their classrooms.

We can prevent negative behaviors such as peer cruelty in schools and classrooms.  Classroom teachers can create a culture within their classrooms which is responsive to student voice; having students be responsible for setting personal goals and plans to follow through to meet those goals. Teaching empathy and using character-based discipline will go a long way to creating an atmosphere in which peer cruelty is not acceptable.

There are some characteristics of gifted kids which affect their ability to display kindness in all situations. They are no different than other kids in that they each have unique personalities; some may embrace expressing kindness in their interactions with age mates/peers and others may not. Gifted children who are twice-exceptional can sometimes struggle with understanding what kindness is or how to express it. It is important to recognize this and take steps to teach/model kindness in their daily lives.

What role can parents play in creating a culture of kindness? Parents are a child’s first and foremost role model. Gifted children can be difficult to parent. Patience and kindness should be exhibited from the very beginning. Just like teachers, parents can create opportunities for gifted kids to express kindness to others at home starting with family members and even family pets. By extension, encourage them to show kindness to their friends as well. A transcript of this 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 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:

Cybraryman’s Character Education Random Acts of Kindness Page

Cybraryman’s Gratitude Page

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

4 Ways to Nurture Kindness

Preventing Peer Cruelty and Promoting Kindness (pdf)

An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students (Amazon)

Coping Skills for Anxious Times

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (Amazon)

100 Fun Ways to Help Kids Practice Kindness

Helping Strangers Tied to Higher Self-Esteem in Teens

Empathy: How Families Lead with Gratitude and Kindness

Teaching Guides for Good Character

Empathy’s Importance in the Curriculum (pdf – pg. 13)

How a Bad Mood Affects Empathy in Your Brain

Cybraryman’s Kindness Page

How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men

How this Mom Turned her Late Husband’s Birthday into her Favorite Day of the Year

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

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

When Gifted Kids Don’t Fit In

gtchat 10032017 Fit

Explaining giftedness to a child is often overlooked; assuming they understand all the intricacies of being identified gifted. It’s important for children to understand; otherwise, they may accept myths perpetuated by society. Being gifted is more than simply academic achievement or excellence in everything. It’s knowing that it is ok to fail or be less than expected.

Anxiety can play a role in a gifted child’s need to ‘fit in’. Adults may place unfair expectations on children based on their perception of ‘gifted’ and that is hard to live up to at times. Just because a child may not ‘fit it’ doesn’t mean they don’t want to and experience anxiety trying to be something they’re not.

Asynchronous development can also affect a gifted kid’s ability to ‘fit in’. For some gifted kids, asynchronous development can severely affect their ability to engage with age-peers. It can affect how adults interact with gifted kids and perceive how they should act.

How can teachers assist gifted students with fitting in at school? It’s helpful if teachers take time to learn about giftedness; increase their understanding of these kids. Teachers’ expectations should not include using students as teacher aides which can be source of bullying for gifted child.

Parents can help to ensure a good fit in the family as well. Like teachers, parents too must take time to learn about and understand what giftedness is and isn’t. They should guard against favoritism; delegation of tasks; and resource allocation of family funds. Parents can also try to provide opportunities for positive interaction with intellectual peers beyond school walls.

Learning the difference between ‘better at’ and ‘better than’ will go a long way in getting accepted by age-peers. Gifted kids should work to understand their abilities. Positive self-image ultimately benefits in how they relate to others. Developing a sense who what’s important to them; gifted kids may decide not to go along with the crowd to fit in.

An important take-away from the chat was that although it’s natural for kids to want to fit in with age-peers; conversely, gifted kids should also learn that it’s also okay not to ‘fit in’ if they don’t want to do so. 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 Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 1 PM NZST/11 AM 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 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 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:

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social & Emotional Needs (Amazon)

The Gifted Kids’ Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under (Amazon)

Gifted Children Need a Place to Belong Gifted Children Need a Place to Belong

Gifted Students Often Struggle Socially

10 Facts You May Not Know about Gifted Children But Should

Friendship 101

How to Find Friends

Young, Gifted & Likely to Suffer for It

Gifted Children & Friendships – Why Don’t I Fit In?

How to Help your Gifted Kid Thrive

The Curse of the Gifted & Talented Child

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

Should We Tell Them They’re Gifted?

Is Your Child Anxious Because They’re Gifted?

Guess What? Gifted Kids Can Have Problems Too

10 Lessons from Gifted Education 

How to Help Your Overthinking Gifted Child

Sprite’s Site: Discovering the Depth and Breadth of Giftedness

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

What to Say to Your Gifted Child…about Being Gifted

Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals

Hoagies’ Blog Hop May 2014: The “G” Word “Gifted”

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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