Category Archives: Psychology

Myths about Gifted Kids

 

This week at #gtchat, we welcomed Kathleen Humble, GHF Press author of Gifted Myths: An Easy-to-Read Guide to Myths on the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional. Kathleen is a writer and homeschooling mum with ADHD in Australia to two wonderful twice-exceptional children. Previously, she was also a mathematician, computer programmer, and a children’s entertainer.

The first myth we discussed was – “All children are gifted” – How should we respond? The idea that ‘all children are gifted’ is tantamount to saying ‘everyone is the same’ and that is simply absurd. We wouldn’t say all children are athletic any more than all children are stupid. It’s wrong and consequential. As argued by Michael Clay Thompson, just substitute the word ‘gifted’ with any other descriptor; it becomes nonsensical. ‘All children are [fill in the blank] … No; no they are not. To say ‘all children are gifted’ is an effort to conflate educational and social meanings of the term ‘gifted’. Have a gift – such as being kind – is not the same as being gifted.

“High achievement = being gifted” – Does it? Motivation is a key aspect of achievement. Gifted children may be motivated, but others are not. Non-gifted students may respond to extrinsic motivation; whereas, gifted students may only be intrinsically motivated. High achievers can be identified as gifted and gifted students may not be high achievers. The terms are not synonymous. This poses a significant issue when providing services to those who need them. Underachievement – a discrepancy between ability and academic performance – is, in fact, a significant issue among gifted students which frustrates parents and is perplexing to educators.

“All children should have gifted education” – Should they? When critics of gifted education use this argument, how are they defining ‘gifted’ education? Most times, it is seen as providing ‘extras’ like field trips or extension opportunities not available to all students. This myth concludes that all children can ‘become’ gifted if they work hard enough or are exposed to higher level opportunities. Requiring students to attempt mastery of content they are unable to handle can have the opposite effect; increasing a feeling of failure and highlighting inabilities.

“Gifted education is elitist” – Why should schools be required to provide it? The charge of elitism in gifted education is usually an excuse used to deny services to GT students. It has no basis in reality. Stating that ‘gifted education is elitist’ is more often a response to a situation meant to evoke emotion; to elicit sympathy for all ‘other’ children. It sets up a false equivalence; an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mindset. Advocates for gifted education seek educational accommodations based on need; not some sense of superiority. Gifted education should be provided to children with demonstrable need just as special education is provided to children based on their individual needs. Without it, these children become disadvantaged.

“Ability grouping hurts some students feelings” – Why is it necessary? “Grouping gifted children is one of the foundations of exemplary gifted education practice.” In educational terms, it is the ‘least restrictive environment’ for GT students (NAGC Position Statement). Ability grouping is essential to meeting the needs of gifted students. It is the basis for successful differentiation of the curriculum. To imply that other children will be academically or emotionally disadvantaged because of ability grouping is simply not supported by research.

“2E students don’t exist” – Who are they and why do they need accommodated? This is a myth that needs to be eliminated now – that a student recognized as gifted cannot also experience learning difficulties. They can and they do. For generations, education systems have failed to understand or identify twice-exceptional students because ability and disabilities often mask each other. Best practice dictates that ability should be accommodated before disability, but usually the opposite occurs. This severely limits these kids from even considering the fact that they have greater potential than is recognized.

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:

Yellow Readis (Kathleen’s website)

Gifted Myths: An Easy-to-Read Guide to Myths on the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional (book)

GHF Press (website)

Twice-Exceptional Kids are Education’s Canary in the Coal Mine (pdf)

Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Mathematical Giftedness: A Literature Review (2016)

Optimized Gamma Synchronization Enhances Functional Binding of Fronto-parietal Cortices in Mathematically Gifted Adolescents during Deductive Reasoning

The Effects of Disability Labels on Special Education and General Education Teachers’ Referrals for Gifted Programs (pdf)

Worth the Effort Finding and Supporting Twice Exceptional Learners in Schools (YouTube 1:06)

Giftedness Is Not an Unwrapped Present

Differences Between Academic High Achievers and Gifted Students

The Truth about ‘Gifted’ Versus High-Achieving Students

Being Gifted is Often NOT the Same as Being High-Achieving

A Response to “Everyone is Gifted in Some Way”

How the Gifted Brain Learns: Chapter 1 – What is a Gifted Brain? (pdf)

NAGC Position Paper: Grouping (pdf)

Michael Clay Thompson: Is Everyone Gifted?

The Concept of Grouping in Gifted Education (Fiedler, Lange, & Winebrenner, 2002) (pdf)

Grouping and Acceleration Practices in Gifted Education (Essential Readings in Gifted Education Series) (book)

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 2

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

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 8

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 9

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Under Achievers

Sprite’s Site: 2E is

Sprite’s Site: What makes them 2E?

Grouping the Gifted and Talented: Questions and Answers

Meet the Female Entrepreneur who became an Artist Overnight after a Brain Injury

Graphic images courtesy of Kathleen Humble and GHF Learners.

Graphic created by Lisa Conrad.

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.

Counseling GT Students through Relationships

Building rapport with gifted students starts with a basic understanding of the term ‘gifted’ without prejudice. Teachers, staff, and admins should consider professional development in the specific area of gifted education. Most gifted students will bristle at any attempt by adults to be disingenuous in their feelings towards them. Building rapport begins with building relationships.

Gifted students are always the benefactors of positive relationships between their teachers and parents; hopefully from the beginning they meet. Too often, negative first impressions are hard to get passed. Positive relationships can make for happy classroom experiences for all involved.

What strategies can teach gifted students in improving their communication and connection with others? Emphasizing that being gifted is about being “better at something, not better than someone” (Delisle) can substantially improve how GT students connect with other students. Teachers can engage gifted students in conversation about gifted characteristics and how asynchronous development affects their relationships with both age-peers and intellectual peers.

Stress management is an often overlooked, but crucial area which GT students need to be counseled in when confronting academic anxiety related to test taking, performance, and competition. GT students face real and perceived pressure from others to achieve and be successful that other students may not experience. This can create higher levels of anxiety. Gifted students can benefit from being taught relaxation techniques such as meditation and positive self-talk; engage in expressive writing; as well as, bibliotherapy and cinematherapy.

When should a gifted student or their family seek counseling outside of school? When stress and anxiety begin to affect a student’s life beyond the classroom, parents may need to seek outside counseling. When warning signs begin to cause concern such as difficulty sleeping, expressing thoughts of despair or even attempts at self-harm; an outside counselor should be considered.

How can teachers balance the need for positive student relationships with the reality and obligations of being an educator? All relationships benefit from boundaries and teacher-student relationships are no different. Most school districts delineate expectations of these relationships. Most educators must work with students who exhibit a wide range of abilities. Providing a positive educational experience for each student is the most primary concern. Relationships should always foster learning. 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:

Counseling the Gifted and Talented (book)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Students (Neihart et al., 2002)

Counseling the Gifted

No Child Left Behind: Gifted Children and School Counselors (paywall)

How to Find the Right Counselor for Your Gifted Child

Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students: What School Counselors Need to Know to Most Effectively Serve This Diverse Student Population

The Whole Gifted Child

The Whole Gifted Child Task Force Report to the Board of Directors (pdf March 2018)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Children: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents (Creativity Research) (book)

Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience

The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? (2nd ed.)

Meeting the Guidance and Counseling Needs of Gifted Students in School Settings (pdf)

American School Counselor Association: The Professional School Counselor and Gifted and Talented School Programs (pdf p.25)

Being Gifted in School: An Introduction to Development, Guidance, and Teaching (2nd ed.)

Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

Addressing Counseling Needs of Gifted Students

Counseling Gifted Students: School-Based Considerations and Strategies (pdf)

Counselling Practices in Fostering Potentials among Gifted Students

The School Counselor and the Gifted Children Education

Psychological Issues and the Need for Counseling Services among Malaysian Gifted Students

Clinical and Mental Health Issues in Counseling the Gifted Individual (pdf)

Big Fish in Big Ponds: A Multilevel Analysis of Test Anxiety and Achievement in Special Gifted Classes

A Multicultural Competence Model for Counseling Gifted and Talented Children (pdf)

Performance Anxiety in Gifted Students

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (book)

Cybraryman’s Counseling Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Building Relationships with Students and Parents Page

Cybraryman’s Body Language Page

With Hundreds of Students, School Counselors Just Try to ‘Stay Afloat’

Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature (book)

Sprite’s Site: The Dabrowski Dogs Make New Year Resolutions

Disclaimer: Resources from Prufrock Press include affiliate links.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Vaughn.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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