Category Archives: Psychology

Empathy and the GT Child

 

Empathy is an expression of emotional well-being which speaks to the social-emotional needs of gifted children. The definition of empathy has evolved over centuries from ‘feeling another’s emotions’ to being viewed as a ‘complex construct’. In “The Caring Child”, Christine shares 4 distinct processes – emotional sharing, emotional mimicry, mental imagining of another’s emotions and differentiating self and others.

Who is iGen and how do they differ from previous generations? The ‘iGen’ is the generation after Millennials – kids who began graduating from high school in 2013. They are the first ones to grow up with Smartphones. They are more vulnerable; isolated and lacking in social skills; and vastly unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. The iGen is super connected but unable to engage in ‘irl’ (in real life) experiences. It is the premise for a real-life dystopian future.

For gifted children, the very early years provide an opportunity to nurture empathy by teaching mindfulness and developing an ‘emotional vocabulary’. Young gifted children can be encouraged to become self-aware with an understanding of how they ‘fit’ in the world through stories and play experiences with others. They should have opportunities to express kindness in social settings as reflected in the actions of adults around them.

Empathy is a social skill that is developed through human interaction. When young gifted children experience positive relationships based on their ability to express empathy, their ability to face adversity, trauma, and pain (aka resilience) is enhanced.

The educational needs of iGen have radically changed the way schools look at how to teach this generation. Past pedagogical approaches do not suffice today. Teachers (educators, parents, adults) must be flexible, responsive to student voice, and be willing to embed SEL (social-emotional learning) into the curriculum. Education for the iGen needs to be individualized and involve the measured use of technology that empowers learning.

What are some strategies parents can use to build social-emotional learning skills? In ‘The Caring Child’, Christine delineates social-emotional learning skills as cognitive, social/relational, emotional, character and mindsets. Building social-emotional learning skills involve simple strategies sometimes overlooked by parents of gifted children as being ‘too simple’. Cognitive skills can be built through the use of puzzles, language-based games, or word searches. Bibliotherapy and cinematherapy help develop emotional skills. Role playing/improv improve social skills. 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:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children (Prufrock)

Teaching Empathy and Embracing Intensity

15 Ways to Help Kids Develop Empathy

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion (Amazon)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy & Completely Unprepared for Adulthood & What That Means for the Rest of Us (Amazon)

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pdf)

Empathy and Compassion

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Prufrock)

I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children (Prufrock)

The Neural Pathways, Development and Functions of Empathy (pdf)

Developing Compassionate Empathy in Gifted Children

“I feel your pain”: Empathy and the Gifted Child (.docx)

Teaching Empathy: Strategies for Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Students (Prufrock October 2019)

Try Something New With Your Kids: Focus on the 3 C’s

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 36: Empathy with Intensity – Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Disclaimer: Some resources include affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime (Free photo 85156667 ©creativecommonsstockphotos (CC0))

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Living With and Managing Intensity

Intense gifted behaviors are expressed in many ways and often misinterpreted by professionals who lack training in recognizing them as related to giftedness. Intense behaviors for gifted individuals may include emotional outbursts, preferring to be alone, excessive talking, stubbornness, being ‘bossy’, or even appearing conceited.

Why shouldn’t these intense behaviors be pathologized in gifted children? Giftedness is not an illness. It should be understood; not diagnosed. Pathologizing gifted behavior can lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate responses can harm the child. Pathologizing typical behavior for a gifted child can make the child feel there is something wrong with them; that they are somehow abnormal.

Asynchronous development, many ages at once, can exacerbate feelings associated with the maturing process. It’s essential that adults … parents, teachers, professionals … respect the child’s feelings regardless of chronological age.

Teachers can seek professional development about giftedness and how it relates to academics and SEL independently. They can develop a plan in advance (GIEP/IEP); watch for escalation patterns or signs of impending situation; and be prepared to take action such as removing student to a neutral setting. Teachers can advocate for modifications to the student’s learning experience and respect student voice.

Parents should actively build strong parent-child relationship based on respect, authentic conversation on intense emotions, empathy, and time spent together. They should refrain from threatening language keeping own emotions in check, learn to listen and anticipate intense situations, and practice their responses in advance.

What are some important factors when choosing a mental health professional? When looking for a mental health professional for assessment or counseling, parents should meet alone with them before introducing their child. They need to feel comfortable talking to them. It’s essential that mental health professionals self-identify as having worked with gifted individuals and have specific training in understanding giftedness.

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 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:

Where’s the Off Switch?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

The Intensity of Giftedness

Best Tips for Parents of a GT Child

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

Why Can’t They Loosen Up? Intensities of Gifted Youth

The Intrinsic Intensity of the Gifted Child

Living with Intensity Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (GPP)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (2nd ed.)

Parenting Gifted Kids is an Emotional Rollercoaster Here’s How to Find Great Peace

Befriending Anxiety to Reach Potential: Strategies to Empower Our Gifted Youth

Supporting Students with Gifted-Talented Potential In High Need Schools: A Portraiture Study (pdf)

The Bright Side of Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Giftedness and Intensity

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children (pdf)

Helping Gifted Children Cope with Intense Emotions

Giftedness and Intensity/Complexity

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

Coping with Emotional Intensity (pdf)

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society (Silverman)

Talented and Gifted Presentation by Jim Delisle (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: GT Chat Labels: Good, Bad or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities and Theory of Positive Disintegration

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Overexcitabilities (OEs)

The Columbus Group

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright (website)

Living & Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Parenting Emotionally Intense Gifted Children

 

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Photo #2 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #3 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #4 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #5 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Role of Executive Function in Gifted Children

 

Executive function is in charge of making sure things get done from the planning stages of the job to the final deadline. (A. Morin) “EF involves self-regulating attention, mood, and behavior, in order to get complex tasks done well. We can think of EF as being like the little CEO in the frontal lobe.” (Davidson Gifted)

A child struggling with EF deficits may have difficulty starting or completing tasks, switching tasks, or following directions. Children struggling with EF deficits may be unorganized (including workspaces and backpacks), display an inability to manage their time or keep track of assignments, or become easily frustrated by routine changes.

It’s not “uncommon for high-ability learners to struggle with executive functions.” Asynchronous development, twice-exceptionality, or even lack of early challenge can be related to EF deficits. “Some gifted kids may have very fast processing speed, leading their brains to rapidly move from one topic to another, and leaving basic skills in their dust.” Gifted children whose processing speed shows a great lag behind their other cognitive processes may struggle to show task initiation skills that look like lack of motivation. (Kaleel and Kircher-Morris)

What are some of the consequences when EF deficits exist in a gifted child? 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 GT 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 they reach their mid-twenties.

Strategies for developing EF skills can be employed in the classroom. Teachers can choose specific skills such as organization and work with the student to understand the nature of the executive function deficit. Students who display EF deficits need a patient teacher willing to work with them over time and provide positive encouragement to build skills incrementally. Oftentimes, small, simple steps have the most success.

Parents can make a difference when it comes to EF skills deficits in their children. Parents can engage in sincere and purposeful praise, encourage effort, and being sensitive to needs expressed by their child. Parents need to provide rules that are applied consistently, opportunities for enrichment, and encourage independence when helping their children develop EF skills over time. (Willingham)

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:

Procrastination and Gifted Students

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf) https://bit.ly/2YUzfRh

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

The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home (Amazon)

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Gifted Learners and Executive Functioning

How to Engage Strong Executive Skills in Gifted Learners

Executive Function Skills and Gifted Students

Improving Executive Function Skills in Gifted Kids (YouTube 1:05:28)

The Best Books for Teaching About Executive Functions Skills

Closing the Door and Other Executive Difficulties

Executive Skills and How They Translate to Professional Strengths

Executive Function Disorder: What It Is & How to Overcome It

Why is the Milk in the Back of the Supermarket? thinkLaw’s New Asset-Based Critical Thinking Class for Parents

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Personal Goal Setting and Self-Regulation for Gifted Children

 

The first and most important step in setting goals is to identify the goals. Strategies to help gifted students should consider timing, time management, pacing and ways to accomplish their goals. Students can identify personal strengths and weaknesses; begin record keeping of progress or portfolios; and take charge of their own learning goals as they mature.

GT students need to learn the art of forethought – thinking ahead with purpose. They should consider a well thought out plan, a starting point and realistic expectations. Once the process begins, GT students can develop specific strategies to monitor personal progress and be aware of any issues preventing them from accomplishing their goals. They need a basic understanding of what ‘self-reflection’ means and its role in evaluating success or failure.

Good self-regulation involves progress monitoring by keeping good records, looking at one’s own performance, and considering if things could have been done better. GT students who master self-regulation skills are known to have specific learning goals and strategies to achieve them, self-monitor more often, and are good at adapting strategies when necessary.

Self-regulating of motivation, its control, and the changing of attitude about it can impact student achievement.  Students who gain self-regulation of emotions can improve their learning. Controlling cognitive strategies through self-regulation can improve learning and performance.

Effective instructional practices when teaching self-regulation include helping students see new information in a positive light, promote ‘thinking aloud’, and ‘self-talk’. Additional effective self-regulation instructional strategies include helping students identify relevant information and materials, and utilize prior learning to inform experiential learning.

Parents can model persistence in the face of challenge and good learning strategies. They can talk to their children about potential distractions, the best possible environment to accomplish goals, and time management. Parents are their child’s biggest supporter – they can be there when it is time to assess how they did in meeting their goals and what could have been done differently if necessary. 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 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 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:

SMART Goals for Gifted Students

Self-Regulated Learning and Academically Talented Students

Promoting a Positive Achievement Attitude with Gifted and Talented Students

Using Self-Regulated Learning to Reverse Underachievement in Talented Students

Can Personal Goal Setting Tap the Potential of the Gifted Underachiever?

A Comparison of Gifted and Non-Gifted Students` Self-regulation Skills for Science Learning

Social-Emotional Learning and the Gifted Child

The Role of Self-regulated Learning in Enhancing Learning Performance (pdf)

Assessing Self-Regulation as a Cyclical, Context-Specific Phenomenon: Overview and Analysis of SRL Microanalytic Protocols

On the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Children

The Influence of Instrumentality Beliefs on Achievement Motivation: A Study of High Achieving Adolescents (pdf)

Emotional Experience during Participation in a Program of Self-Regulated Learning

Self-Regulation in the Classroom Helping Students Learn How to Learn (book)

The Relation of Self-Efficacy and Grade Goals to Academic Performance

Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning: Theory, Research, and Applications (book)

Cybraryman’s Goals Page

Cybraryman’s Resolutions and Reflection Page

Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Manage Your Emotions and Balance Your Life (Amazon)

The Inner Game for Twice-Exceptional Kids (Class)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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