Category Archives: Twice-exceptional
Parents of GT/2E (twice exceptional: gifted with learning differences) kids constantly face a barrage of misinformation about their children from friends, family and those responsible for making decisions about their child’s education. Parenting GT/2E can be physically and emotionally draining; often accompanied by feelings of loneliness. Our guests on Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT this week were Kate Arms and Jen Merrill who guided us through this difficult topic.
“Social expectations are problematic because our kids don’t fit. We have to grieve unmet expectations we didn’t realize we had absorbed from the culture.” ~ Kate Arms
Whereas self-care, in general, seems to focus solely on the individual/adult; GT/2E parents must weigh the needs of their children with their own needs. Mainstream self-care devotes strategies targeting the ‘self’ with little recognition that care for others may actually impact care of oneself.
“Our kids often have sensory issues that can be quite extreme and may not make sense to others. Unfortunately, a lot of teacher prep programs do little or nothing to prepare teachers for having our 2ekids in their classrooms. That, then, becomes a challenge for US. Schools frequently only want to talk about servicing our 2ekids in terms of mitigating their DISability. Rarely will they deign to even recognize their ABILITIES.” ~ Jeffrey Farley, #gtchat Advisor
Parents of GT/2E kids should listen to the ‘little voice inside their heads’ when they notice a change in their own mood or behavior; seek help sooner rather than later. Proactive self-care may involve being cognizant of one’s diet, engaging relaxation techniques, and increasing physical activity. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re just too exhausted to have a healthy lifestyle.
“Gifted/2e parents need lots of self-compassion. Their kids are more challenging than most, so the parents are likely to “fail” to meet many of their own parenting expectations.” ~ Jen Merrill
Parenting any kid is not an easy job and most of the manuals are out-of-date by the time your child is born. GT/2E kids take extra effort and know-how. Education is the best solution … learn about self-care. Self-regulation must be anticipated in times of crisis and prepared for through learning to recognize a crisis situation;then, practice what to do ahead of time. Furthermore, model cooperation and attentive behavior for your child.
In the aftermath of a crisis, a quick emotional recovery can happen if a parent has a plan in place and learns to anticipate when to activate it. One should consider learning emergency calming techniques in the event of a parenting crisis.
There are many great books, blogs and websites that are devoted to self-care and further resources dedicated to GT/2E parenting. Our guests, Kate and Jen offer parenting classes specifically concerning these issues. Follow them on Twitter for more information! If you are the parent or teacher of a twice-exceptional child, we urge you to view the transcript of this chat found at Wakelet and then check out the resources below.
Laughing@Chaos (Jen’s Blog)
Breathe2Relax App (iTunes)
Mindfulness Meditation for Kids (audio)
Photos courtesy of Kate Arms and Jen Merrill.
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Minority students including African Americans and Hispanics; ELL (English Language Learners); as well as low SES (socio-economic status) students are often left out of gifted programs. Today, we also need to be aware of bias against LGBTQ students, children of military personnel, homeless, and most twice-exceptional students.
Barriers to gifted education include school district policies that fail to recognize and value cultural diversity. Presumptions about low-income and minority students are given too much credence by decision-makers. Twice/thrice-exceptional students may not be achieving at acceptable levels and thus barred from participation in gifted programs. Schools tend to focus on disabilities which may be masking abilities.
The identification process can affect equity. Identification of giftedness is too often based on outdated information or research that doesn’t take into account cultural diversity and the needs of ELL students. Parents and students need to be better informed by school districts about the benefits and opportunities afforded by participation in gifted programs.
There are laws already in place to change this situation. Gifted education has been successfully argued under civil rights legislation. Also, twice-exceptional students are often covered by special education regulations. The legality of participation in gifted education programs is often dependent on state laws and regulation. Parents and teachers should check with state or national gifted organizations for laws applying to their particular state or country.
Parents can make a difference in their school district. They are passionate about the education of their children. Parents of gifted children should learn the lessons provided by parents of special needs children who took their battles to the courts. Parenting a gifted child is hard work – parents should become knowledgeable about state regulations regarding gifted education and who their state congressional representatives are as well as their child’s school’s written gifted policies. Parents also need to learn the ‘chain of command’ in their school district. Start with the child’s teacher, then administrator; and if necessary, school board.
There are practical steps can educators and policy makers can take to increase equity in gifted programs. These include seeing possibilities rather than limitations, seeking solutions rather than dwelling on obstacles, emphasizing student’s strengths over weaknesses, and improving communications with parents. Policy makers and administrators need to provide cultural sensitivity training for all educators, high quality course offerings that are culturally sensitive and ELL compliant, and expand access to rigorous curriculum. Administrators should provide PD in gifted education which would aid in achieving accurate identification, increase out of school opportunities for most at-risk students and engage community support for expanded opportunities. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.
Building Diversity in Gifted Programs (TEDxABQED 6:41)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Before we began the chat, we thanked the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented for 6 years of incredible support for #gtchat!
AND … Congratulated TAGT on their 40th Anniversary of serving the gifted and talented of Texas!
Today, there are many critical issues facing gifted education and this week at #gtchat we focused on six issues. These issues covered a wide-range including where the emphasis should be placed in educating gifted children – whole child or strictly academics; teacher certification; identification; funding; equity; and best practices.
Should teachers of gifted students be required to be certified in gifted education? Any profession benefits from certification. Gifted education is rarely covered at the undergraduate level. Educators often lack the knowledge to recognize giftedness or the know how to respond to gifted students. Certification enhances a teacher’s ability to fairly and competently provide the best possible education for gifted students.
There are ways of identifying students for participation in gifted programs that respect equity regarding race, gender, economic status, 2E, and more. Identification needs to be universally done in the early elementary years. If a child shows strong signs of giftedness, earlier assessment should be considered. Lack of challenge can lead to many behavior and academic issues later. Specific assessments that reduce bias are available and should be used when appropriate.
Gifted education has a place even in tight school budgets. Denying students services claiming there is no money is just an excuse. School districts always ‘find’ the money when they need to do so. All students deserve a free and appropriate education. Full stop. Gifted education does not have to be expensive. An open mind to its ‘appropriateness’ can lead to many low-cost interventions such as acceleration, genius hour, and PBL.
Should greater emphasis be placed on the whole gifted child or academic achievement? Gifted education should meet the unique needs of each individual student. High achievers are not necessarily gifted and vice versa. Gifted students have many needs beyond academics; dealing with myths about being gifted, bullying, social-emotional needs, and finding intellectual peers.
Many options for gifted programming can be considered best practice. It begins with acknowledging the need for gifted services, early assessment and intervention, and providing a long-term individualized plan. Differentiation and acceleration are widely accepted as exceptional gifted programming; however, they don’t provide for students who exhibit an increased rate of acquisition. This leads to GT students relegated to the back of the room reading.
Why is it important to define what it means to be ‘gifted’? What are the consequences for failing to do so for educators, counselors and associated professionals? When teachers equate the ‘gifted’ label solely as high achievers, the gifted student will rarely receive appropriate intervention or adequate instruction and challenge in the classroom. Professionals who lack knowledge about what it means to be gifted cause a ripple effect throughout the system; such as referring students for inappropriate services, misdiagnosis of gifted characteristic traits, and misunderstanding 2E kids. 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 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/Midnight 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.
Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.