Category Archives: Misdiagnosis

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

gtchat 09202018 Distracted

Understanding the nature of giftedness when complicated by distractibility is a complex issue and the discussions between participants at this week’s #gtchat were no exception. We were fortunate to have several psychologists well-versed in working with gifted individuals as well as education professionals to sort it out.

How do you know if distractibility is  just a characteristic of giftedness or ADD/ADHD? You may not know! ADD/ADHD must be diagnosed by a professional. If you are concerned about a child’s behavior, seek professional help. Both giftedness and ADD/ADHD share characteristics, but it’s important to avoid misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Gifted students may have ADD/ADHD but be able to compensate for it.

According to Dr. Gail Post, “ADHD causes more global problem with distraction and concentration, not just related to boredom, intensities, overexcitabilities. ADHD kids have little control over their distraction/poor concentration – not situation specific. They really suffer from it.” Dr. Scott Roseman explained, “Formal assessment of giftedness and ADHD differ in significant ways.  While assessment of giftedness focuses mainly on determination of higher level reasoning abilities, assessment of ADHD examines issues related to distractibility, impulsivity, and processing skills. While the gifted child may exhibit some of these qualities, as a function of their giftedness, it’s often when those qualities get in the way of learning & growth that further assessment should be considered to assess a dual diagnosis of Giftedness and ADHD.”

In response to a child’s distractibility, the response of  ‘over’ organizing by a concerned adult may prove to make matters worse. Over organization … such as separate folders for each subject … may overwhelm the distracted child causing even more issues or anxiety. Parents (and teachers) should try to find the ‘middle ground’ when attempting to organize a distracted child. Folders can be used but for more generalized subjects; such as, a completed homework folder, to do folder, and parent/teacher communications.

“The main disadvantage of “over” organization I see is when it is put in place by the parent and not the child. The child or adolescent has no “ownership” in the process and may grow too reliant on parental intervention and not develop effective organizational tools on their own.” ~ Scott Roseman, Ph.D.

Executive Functioning can play as intricate role in the life of a distracted yet gifted child. The lack of recognition by responsible adults that a GT child can have executive function deficits often exacerbates the situation. These are smart kids who struggle with behavior regulation and exercising cognitive flexibility. Although identified as GT, they may have trouble beginning tasks, maintaining attention, completing assignments, and unable to assess the feedback on their own behavior. Frustration levels can go through the roof. As the child progresses through school, academic requirements increase at the same time as social interactions take on greater significance. EF difficulties may not resolve themselves until the child reaches their mid-twenties.

What strategies can a teacher use to get a gifted student back on track? Teachers should consider authentic assessments to chart progress/regression through an ongoing process which takes into account the student’s abilities as well as challenges. Developing positive relationships is a good 1st step. They must ensure that the student is being sufficiently stimulated intellectually either within the classroom with differentiated instruction or through accelerative measures outlined in resources such as A Nation Empowered.

“I think you have to do lots of trial and error with strategies…visual prompts to get back on task or having a reward after a significant start to an assignment or discussing what the feedback means.” ~ Heather Vaughn, EdS, 

Once it is determined that the student is off track, any plan to bring them back on course must involve student input. Dr. Roseman suggested, “I suggest that the teacher start by asking the gifted student, in grade 3 and above to come up with their own plan to stay on task and then work together with them, examining the parts of the plan that work and the parts that don’t seem to work for them and revise. I believe that it helps the child to gain a better understanding of their  own dynamics and figure out strategies that work for them and those that don’t. The teacher can certainly suggest some strategies, but it is critical for the student to have input.”

“With my kids, what has worked is a combination of doing it for them if was really necessary until they could do it; letting them fail a little when stakes are low, and coaching them about the things not being organized has negative impact on.” ~ Kate Arms

Parents can help their highly distracted child get organized at home, too. They can make sure that the home environment limits distractions when their child is doing school work. This includes having a quiet workspace free from access to video games or television. If possible, provide study/work space solely for each child; not in a highly active part of the home such as the dining room table or shared spaces with siblings.  Parents need to model behavior which provides examples of how to stay organized in daily life.

“Pick your battles… But get them involved in devising a plan and incentives, prioritize, small goals to start with, make it fun!” ~ Gail Post, Ph.D.

Organization is a must-need skill and one that parents focus on much to the dismay of their distracted child. Involve the child in the organizing process. Be flexible; not all organizing tools or tips work for every child. Parents and teachers working together to implement strategies that take place at home and at school can be highly beneficial to the student in an effort to reduce distractions and get the student back on track. For more tips about organizing the highly distracted gifted child, check out the transcript of this week’s chat 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.

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:

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help

Gifted Students & Disorganization (Reg. required)

This Child is a Classic ‘Absent-Minded Professor’

How to Raise a Gifted Child without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind

Organization Skills

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf)

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

4 Smartphone Solutions to Keep Your Teen Organized

7 Ways to Teach Your Grade-Schooler Organization Skills

Exercise Is Surprisingly Effective At Boosting Executive Function

On Rainbows and Mantis Shrimp: A Layperson’s Perspective on ADHD & the Misdiagnosis of Gifted Brains

How to Help the Impulsive Disorganized Child

The Impulsive, Disorganized Child: Solutions for Parenting Kids with Executive Functioning Difficulties

Organizing the Gifted Learner

Organizing Einstein: Enhancing the Abilities of the Gifted Learner Part 1

Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner: An Overview (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Study Skills/Organization Page

Cybraryman’s ADHD/ADD Page

Sprite’s Site: Delta Dog

Sprite’s Site: Sprite on the Subject of Homework

Interruptions at Work Are Killing Your Productivity

ADDitude Magazine

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Are you ADD — or just gifted?

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

gtchat 04262018 Social Emotional

Gifted and talented students’ social-emotional needs are often exacerbated by asynchronous development which necessitates an awareness of each child’s needs. These include the ability to socialize, work with others, and to be self-aware. Their interpersonal needs include peer relations, relations with parents and gifted and non-gifted siblings.

Many gifted children frequently experience the negative consequences of stress and perfectionism as related to the social-emotional characteristics associated with giftedness. Overexcitabilities combined with high intellect and asynchronous development can result in emotional frustration, misbehavior when ability fails to match aspirations, and overall inability to cope with day-to-day functioning.

In today’s political and educational climate, advocacy by parents and educators is paramount to preserving and expanding services. In an era of changing mindsets over the need for provision of services for our most vulnerable students, education of the public and school administrators about the needs of GT students has garnered new importance. The role of professional development should be expanded to address the social-emotional needs of gifted and talented students as it relates to academic success.

The premise for the choice of a specific educational model should be based on the needs of GT students from year to year and be flexible. Check out a previous #gtchat here >>> with extensive resources. Many models exist and new ones are being developed. Educators should research models based on the overall needs of their classroom.

Supports should be based on an individualized plan – all gifted and talented children deserve to be supported as well as challenged in the classroom. Educators can take the first step by learning about the social emotional needs of their particular students.

How can GT educators and professionals support parents of GT and/or 2E students? GT/2E students are more intense intellectually and emotionally. Educators and professionals may need to provide parents with interventions that can be used at home. Parents need information about how the role of giftedness plays in a child’s overall well-being to mitigate their own fear of failing as a parent. 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.

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 Casper Assessment for Social Emotional Skills (CASES) for K-12 Students

Casper Assessment for Social Emotional Skills (CASES) Rubric (pdf)

Brains on Fire: The Multinodality of Gifted Thinkers

Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice (Amazon)

Characteristics and Problems of the Gifted: Neural Propagation Depth and Flow Motivation as a Model of Intelligence and Creativity (pdf)

Vulnerabilities of Highly Gifted Children (1984)

What is Social-emotional Learning? (APA)

Social / Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

Social-Emotional Learning and the Gifted Child

The Aspen Institute: National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Cultivating the Social–emotional Imagination in Gifted Education: Insights from Educational Neuroscience

Thesis: Social and Emotional Learning Needs of Gifted Students (pdf)

When Gifted Kids Get to Exhale

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted: 30 Essays on Giftedness, 30 Years of SENG (Amazon)

SENG

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends (Amazon)

Heightened Multifaceted Sensitivity of Gifted Students (pdf)

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT: Models of Gifted Education

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Over-Excitabilities A Layman’s Explanation

Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (Amazon)

Five Unexpected Intensities of Gifted Students

Gifted and Creative Services Australia: Articles and Handouts

“Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship

Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use (Revised & Updated Third Edition) (Amazon)

Teaching Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom: Practical Recommendations and Interventions (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Social and Emotional Learning #SEL Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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.

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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