Category Archives: parenting

Bullying and Gifted Students

 

Bullying is not an easy topic to discuss, but an important one when it comes to gifted children who are all too often the target of bullies. What signs should parents/educators look for if they suspect a child is being bullied? Parents of a child they suspect is being bullied should be concerned if their child suddenly does not want to go to school, shows signs of bodily injuries, or has trouble eating or sleeping. Children who are being bullied may avoid talking about it with parents, teachers of school staff fearing reprisals by the bully. Teachers who suspect a student is being bullied should look for changes in classroom behavior, expressed fears of being alone, or a change in grades and or academic performance.

What are the consequences of bullying/cyberbullying? Both can lead to increased school absences, low self-esteem, and underachievement. Bullying can also lead to more serious consequences such as anxiety, depression, and physical harm to the child. Unreported bullying can quickly escalate to criminal acts such as extortion, theft, and sexual harassment or assault.

To reduce bullying, schools should consider introducing Anti-bullying & Positive Behavior Programs at the elementary level. Providing students with information and strategies to counter bullying have proven effective in preventing it. Teachers and staff can watch for signs of bullying at school and initiate conversations with parents when necessary. Parents may not even know their child is being bullied at school.

Providing a safe and loving environment for your child throughout their life can increase the likelihood that they will confide in you should bullying occur. Parents should contact their child’s teacher and school personnel if they know or even suspect their child is being bullied; keep detailed written accounts of what occurred. When bullying takes place at school, parents should allow school personnel to contact and resolve the issues with the bully’s parents.

Parents may need to contact health professionals if their child sustains physical injury or shows signs of mental health issues. They should follow up with school personnel if they are not satisfied with actions taken by their child’s school to resolve any incidents of bullying or if there is continued bullying. Parents should report suspected criminal actions to law enforcement. Oftentimes, this may be the difference of one child or many children being bullied or worse.

What should parents look for and then do if their child is bullying others? Parents don’t like to admit their child may be the bully, but it can happen. Parents should be alert to increased aggression at home or reported by school and refusal to accept responsibility. They should monitor their child associating with a new group of friends, involvement in fights or altercations, disciplinary actions at school and lying about their actions or whereabouts.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Addendum: One Mother’s Story

“What signs should a parent look for if they suspect their child is being bullied? Changes in behaviour. With our son he started to withdraw very subtly and in hindsight the teachers were like “oh yea something must have been going on”.  Our son tried to tell the principal, but when she didn’t do anything he stopped trying to talk to her and assumed he was to manage on his own. He is in Jr High and verbally gifted.

What are the signs of bullying? Parents should look for poor health, grades, and impacts on mental health. Our son was in so much quiet pain that he was thinking suicidal thoughts, he stopped doing activities he loved, and stopped trying to participate in school. He became fearful and because the bullying escalated, he has been seeing a professional to heal from the trauma.  He started to disbelieve that adults would help or make things better, and assumed that it was because they didn’t really believe him or care.

How can teachers help? LISTEN. That is the BIGGEST thing.  A gifted student may not ask for help in tears or in a panic, but through conversation or asking for change. They may not wish to harm their abusers by ratting them out. They want to have the bullying stop. Our son tried for months to be heard. Years really. What hurt him wasn’t what the teachers or administrators thought was ‘really bullying’, but it was. And when it escalated, the damage also escalated. Don’t assume that only one type of bullying is happening or that you child isn’t trying to do things to protect themselves. Our son was pursued, harassed and even in class because the bullies were both aggressive and subtle. It took a chance turn around for a teacher to catch them in a horrible act IN CLASS and really step up the school’s response. Teachers should have a safety plan. Have an escape from danger, a safe person to talk to and safe place to go. Ideally once the bullying person is identified they are the ones who should leave the classroom. Being exiled from class because you are being hurt can add insult to injury for a gifted student who wants to learn more than anything else.  Let your administrators and your gifted child know that asking for help, and being safe is JOB #1. There is no shame or blame in walking away from a bad situation. Finally, teachers need to understand giftedness and asynchronous development. That intellectual conversation you are having may be with someone who is emotionally feeling things at a much younger place. Don’t assume that because they are having a rational discourse that inside they are not totally freaking out and in panic mode. Masking is an art form with some gifted and many neurodiverse people. They won’t want to be more vulnerable and risk being hurt more.

What can parents do to help their child who is being bullied? You are their champion at school, their advocate. Believe them, support them as they heal and recover. Try very hard to let them tell you what’s going on with an open mind. get them mental health supports as needed. Consider alternatives for schooling (we have moved to a blended classroom and homeschool option which is going great). BELIEVE THEM. Even if you think their perception is skewed or their reaction is excessive. They need to know they are heard and supported first and foremost. Sorting out the details can come later, with professional help if needed (and it does help A LOT).

When should parents take a stronger stance against bullying? Looking back because hindsight is 20/20, I would say from the beginning I was sucked into believing the school’s process would work. And it didn’t. Not for a gifted child who was highly sensitive, verbally gifted and very asynchronous. I will always carry some anger and some blame for how things went. Be assertive and try cooperative measures early one. Don’t take their pat answers and if your gut is saying something won’t work speak up.  The systems most schools have in place for addressing bullying are not meant for extremes in bullying or escalations. They are also very much designed for neurotypical students. These are not things that work for gifted folks. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.”

Special thanks to Shanyn for sharing her story with us!

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:

NAGC Parent TIP Sheet: Bullying (pdf)

NAGC Parent TIP Sheet: Cyberbullying and Gifted Children (pdf)

Covert Aggression and Gifted Adolescent Girls (pdf)

Bullying and Gifted Learners

Stopbullying.gov

Bullying Among the Gifted: The Subjective Experience

Bullies and Bullying

Gifted and Tormented

Teasing and Gifted Children

Cyberbullying and Sexting: Technology Abuses of the 21st Century

Bullying and the Gifted: Answers for Better Understanding

Why Gifted Students Are Targeted by Bullies

Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families (book)

Gifted Kids, Cyberbullying, and Digital Citizenship: Helpful Resources for Parents

Study: Gifted Children Especially Vulnerable to Effects of Bullying

Gifted and Bullied (pdf)

Bullying and the Gifted: Victims, Perpetrators, Prevalence, and Effects

Why Gifted Students Are Targeted by Bullies

Guest, Pamela Price, Author of “Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

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.

How Schools Can Support GT Parents

The best ways to communicate with parents are those that are regular in nature ~ text/email updates, newsletters, or personal invitations to school activities or events. Sometimes, spending a little extra time at regularly scheduled school meetings (parent-teacher conferences, welcome back to school night, etc.) may be all that is needed.

What information do parents of GT students need most from schools? Parents of GT students should be made aware of all the options available for their child; the entire range of academic programs K-12. Options including social-emotional interventions, enrichment opportunities through the school and out of school, and possible accommodations for twice-exceptional students. Parents should be given an opportunity to review all assessments/test scores relating to their child and be able to participate in planning sessions for IEPs or ALPs (when available). They should be given information on ways they can support their child at home.

Schools can engage and involve parents in their gifted learner’s education by inviting them to volunteer to organize or chaperone field trips, become a coach for academic competitions, or participate in classroom activities. They can provide information sessions for parents about gifted issues, gifted education, and resources available to them from state and national organizations. They can also list information on their websites for parents about online resources, local support or advocacy groups, and upcoming conferences.

Teachers can assist parents of newly identified GT students by sharing information on the criteria used to identify their child as gifted. They may periodically ask parents if they believe their child’s needs are being met and what more they’d like to see as part of their child’s education plan. Also, teachers can encourage parents to form or participate in a parent advocacy group. Oftentimes, parents can advocate for gifted programs in ways school personnel cannot.

What should teachers know about gifted education to best support parents? The best way to support parents is to become educated about gifted education and then share that information and resources with parents. Teachers may need to seek out PD at both the local level or online and consider attending gifted conferences to learn about the latest developments/research in gifted education.

How can tensions between parents and school personnel be minimized? Open channels of communication can go a long way in easing tensions between home and school. This can prevent unnecessary surprises for all involved. Teachers can reassure parents that they have their child’s best interest at heart; becoming a trusted ally can promote positive relationships between schools and parents.

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.

Resources:

How Do You Teach Parents to Advocate for their Child?

10 Steps to a Better Parent-School Partnership: Pre-action, not Re-action

The Teacher-Parent Connection: Tips for Working with the Parents of a Gifted Student

14 Things Gifted Students Want Teachers to Know

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K-12 (book preview with Teacher Survey template) (pdf )

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K–12 (book)

Teacher’s Survival Guide: Gifted Education (book)

Tips for Teaching Gifted Students

TEMPO Issue 1 2016: Advocating for Gifted Learners (pdf)

15 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Thrive in School (pdf)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: A Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers, and Parent Advocates (pdf)

Trying to Make School Better for Gifted Kids

Disclaimer: Some resources in our resources have affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

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 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.

Resources:

Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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