Category Archives: Twice-exceptional

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.

Tech Addiction – Regulating Screen Time

Tech addiction or digital addiction actually covers three broad areas involving social media addiction, video game addiction, and Internet addiction. According to Shaw & Black at the University of Iowa, tech or digital addiction is distinguished by impairment or distress resulting from “urges or behaviors regarding computer use and Internet access.” Children addicted to tech often express feeling profound loneliness, lack social skills, display executive functioning disorder, and have trouble regulating their emotions.

Should GT students excelling in tech have their screen time limited at all? Students who excel at tech may actually be even more at risk of addiction than other students. It becomes a matter of balance; balancing necessary time using tech and avoiding addiction. GT students may be tech savvy at younger ages than their age-peers. Screen time can intrude on much need social interactions and ultimately affect social growth.

How does unlimited screen time affect twice-exceptional and are there potential benefits to screen time? It depends on the nature of their twice-exceptionality. Some twice-exceptional kids are highly susceptible to types of tech that are repetitive in nature. They may not understand why adults are limiting access. Tech affords opportunities for GT and #2ekids to express their creativity and to explore their passions. It gives them access to more challenging content and coursework.

Moderating access to tech almost has to have different approaches at school and at home. So much of differentiation for gifted students involves technology; both in the classroom and for homework assignments. At home use of tech may deal with different forms of tech use; such as, social media and video gaming. As such, it may require criteria that differ significantly from using tech for school work and interaction with peers.

The upside to tech addiction involves consideration of quality time online versus quantity of time. Availability of tech can be motivating. Limiting access to tech can also motivate students to use their time more wisely. Teachers can structure tech time to involve time offline supporting activities initiated online. Students can interact online to discuss assignments, but do the majority of work offline.

In recent years, gifted education in many school districts has come to rely heavily on tech as both a way to differentiate instruction as well as give students time to interact with intellectual peers at off campus locations. Parents need to be diligent in monitoring and regulating screen time. They should give forethought to their discussions about boundaries regarding the use of tech. GT kids will be well prepared with counter arguments. 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:

Giftedness and Technology

Gifted and Addicted: Perils of the Cyber World

Technology and the Unseen World of Gifted Students

MRIs Show Screen Time Linked to Lower Brain Development in Preschoolers

Associations between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children

Media and Young Minds

Create Your Family Media Plan (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Change in the Brain’s White Matter: The role of the brain’s white matter in active learning and memory may be underestimated

What to Do If Your Kid becomes Addicted to Tech

Screen Time and the Gifted Student: Balance and Quality Are Key

What Educators Need to Know about Technology Addiction

Dealing with Digital Distraction in the Classroom

Technology Addiction

Are Gifted Children More Prone to Digital Addictions?

Screen Time = Scream Time

Autism and Screen Time: Special Brains, Special Risks

Balancing Technology and School: Is Technology Addiction a Problem?

Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents

Effects of Technology on Gifted Children

Cybraryman’s Screen Time Page

Is Too Much Screen Time Bad?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Alternatives to Traditional Education

Many families, not just those with gifted children, believe their children are not only unchallenged in school; but, unprepared for the challenges of life upon graduation whether they go on to college or the workforce. A recent study found that students are not given “grade-appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement, and teachers with high expectations.” Once students are in middle school and high school; they express lack of interest or belief that subject matter is relevant to them. This leads to lack of engagement in school work and ultimately motivation to complete work.

Many parents find a lack of available programs for their children and too often negative attitudes toward gifted education in public schools. Lack of funding and poor teacher preparation can inhibit intellectual stimulation and growth for gifted students.

Every student is different. Some gifted students thrive in an online environment especially when their interests align with areas of study enhanced by online activities, mentoring, and collaborating with other gifted students. A major issue with using online options is using it as a ‘substitute’ for teaching. Students still need their learning to be facilitated by a qualified teacher or subject expert.

What resources are available for twice-exceptional students outside traditional schooling? There are several new options for twice-exceptional students depending on the nature of their needs. Parents may opt to homeschool or use online schools for their children. Private schools such as Flex School specialize in twice-exceptional students. However, not all private schools are able to the needs of these students. Parents may also consider creating a micro-school with the help of an educational professional where several families join together to hire teachers for a small groups of students with particular needs.

In the past, the reason for homeschooling was not generally based solely on academic needs. Today, organizations based specifically on gifted homeschooling, such as GHF Learners, provide resources for families. Homeschool organizations can provide networking opportunities for students and families, educational materials, online classes, and information for both gifted and #2ekids.

Unschooling can be a viable option for GT students, but there are many factors that should be considered first including a firm understanding of what it is and is not. Unschooling requires a strong support system of dedicated adults and resources. When considering unschooling, parents should consider their commitment regarding time, resources, potential facilitators and mentors to guide students. A transcript of the 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 1PM NZDT/11 AM 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:

The Opportunity Myth: What Students Can Show Us about How School is Letting Them Down – and How to Fix It

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Reaching ‘School Skeptics’ Through High-Challenge Interventions

Using Virtual Learning for Gifted Children

How to Determine if Traditional Education Isn’t Working for Your Child

Smart Children Left Behind: 4 High School Alternatives for Gifted Students

Distance Education in Rural High Schools as a Solution to the Dropout Problem among Gifted Students

School for the Gifted: Looking for Extra Challenge

Gifted with Learning Issues

Networks – Special Schools & Programs

Gifted Children and Non-Traditional Educational Choices

An Unconventional Education

Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Your child is gifted … now what?

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling (book)

Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget (book)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Common Terminology in an Uncommon Field

With little experience with the concept of gifted education prior to their child being identified (unless they participated in a program themselves), most terminology is new to parents. Many teachers also have limited exposure to gifted education prior to beginning their teaching careers.

Unique terms such as overexcitabilities or the idea of perfectionism in very young children can be confusing at first. Also, terms such as cluster grouping, self-contained classrooms versus full-inclusion classrooms, and acceleration may be new to many.

Perhaps the term ‘gifted’ itself is the most controversial term in gifted education. Many educators and some parents would prefer not to use the term. Others have decidedly opposing ideas about the word’s definition. Unfortunately, this has at times slowed how the field of gifted education has responded to actually helping gifted children grow and develop their potential abilities.

What are some general education terms that are also useful in gifted education? Terms such as universal screening, pre-assessment, curriculum compacting, scaffolding, and differentiation are used universally in both fields. It’s important to understand general education terms to be a successful advocate. Educators appreciate a willingness by parents to learn the terminology and be able to engage in intelligent dialogue.

Learning the jargon or terminology aids in a parent’s understanding of what will be discussed in meetings with teachers and school personnel regarding their child’s education. Intelligently conversing with educators will gain their respect for parents and ultimately benefit the relationship for all stakeholders; especially the student.

What resources are available for learning the lingo of gifted education? Gifted organizations such as the NAGC and state websites generally provide a list or terms for both parents and educators. Resources and links to these organizations can be found below. 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:

CO: The Principal’s GT Handbook – A Consolidated Resource (pdf)

NAGC: Glossary of Terms

Frequently Used Terms in Gifted Education (pdf)

Gifted Education Glossary of Common Terms (pdf)

Understanding Your Gifted Child From the Inside Out: A Guide to the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids  (Prufrock – aff. link)

PAGE: A Glossary of Terms for Gifted Education

Acronyms, Terms, and Other Things We Need to Know

Davidson Gifted: A Glossary of Terms Used in Educational Assessment

Different Uses of the Term “Gifted”

Your Guide to Education Lingo

NAGC: Administrator Quick Guide to Gifted Education (pdf)

Dictionary of Educational Jargon

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Reforming Gifted Education (GPP)

Davidson Gifted: The Underachievement of Gifted Students: What do we know and where do we go? (2000)

Emotional Intelligence in Gifted Students

Sprite’s Site: The G Word

Acronyms, Terms, and Other Things We Need to Know

Image generated at Wordcloud.com by Lisa Conrad.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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