Category Archives: Underachievement

Rethinking Underachievement and Potential

 

What constitutes underachievement and who determines when a child is underachieving? Does the definition change over time based on what society values? A simple definition of underachievement is ‘performing below expectations.’ This begs the question … who determines what is expected? In education, it may mean meeting/exceeding the standards. In society, are accomplishments enough? Regardless of how it is defined, underachievement must be dealt with in some manner due to the consequences often faced by students in the situation. The effects can be devastating for some and have a lifelong impact.

Potential is equally a term whose definition is up for debate. Whether in the eye of the beholder or determined by others, the expectation is that it must be fulfilled if one is to be seen as accomplished; a success. When a person fails to live up to their potential, it is generally a reason for calls to ‘fix’ the situation; even if the person in question doesn’t want fixed.

Underachievement has real life consequences that can extend well into adulthood. Gifted underachievers may have very different reasons for finding themselves dealing with those consequences. Causes of underachievement range from learning difficulties to lack of study skills or motivation to teacher mismatch or school policy.

Once underachievement envelops a student’s life; it can develop into apathy, disrespect, or a desire to conform to peers in an attempt to be popular. It may eventually cause social-emotional issues when a student’s ‘gifted’ identity is challenged.

What can schools do to counteract underachievement in gifted students? Gifted underachievers can benefit from incorporating depth and complexity in their learning, accelerating the pace of learning, allowing the free expression of creativity, and grouping with intellectual peers. Schools can reduce boredom and increase engagement of gifted underachievers by allowing students to experience “control, choice, challenge, complexity and caring teachers” (Kanevsky & Keighley, 2003). Research suggests that engagement can be encouraged by “enlisting gifted students’ social-emotional imagination, creativity, sense of purpose & empathy for others.” (Gottlieb, Hyde, Immordino-Yang & Kaufman, 2016).

Parents must advocate for the determination of the cause of the underachievement first so that schools provide appropriate interventions and then be willing to work with school personnel to address the causes. They may need to consider additional testing and counseling with a licensed mental health professional. Parents can nurture a love of learning by providing opportunities outside traditional schooling that appeal to their child’s interests and abilities. 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 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/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 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:

Cleverness and Common Sense-Your True Potential: Human Gifts and Talents! (Podcast)

Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic (Amazon)

Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement (bn)

Gifted Underachievers (why it makes sense, and how to deal with it) (YouTube 8:32)

Solving the Riddle of Underachievement: Kenneth Christian at TEDxSacramento (YouTube 8:49)

In Defense of the High School Underachiever | Rachel Hawley | TEDxYouth@Wayland (YouTube 16:45)

Reversing Underachievement: Stories of Success

Who is the Gifted Underachiever? Four Types of Underachievement in Gifted Children

What causes gifted underachievement?

Factors That Differentiate Underachieving Gifted Students From High-Achieving Gifted Students

Underachievers Under-the-radar: How Seemingly Successful Gifted Students Fall Short of their Potential

How to Help your Underachieving Gifted Child

8 Ideas for Building Intrinsic Motivation to Learn in Students

Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View (pdf)

Gifted Underachievers: A Contrarian Position or Two

Beware of Underachievement in Successful Students

Underachievement: A Story in Process

When You Don’t Live up to Your Potential

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Advertisements

Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Guest, Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

gtchat 02162016 Healthcare Providers

 

This week, #gtchat provided an insider’s look at Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Marianne Kuzujanakis, M.D. M.P.H . Dr. Kuzujanakis, a pediatrician with a masters degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health and a homeschooler, is a former director of SENG and currently the Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for SENG.

Dr. Kuzujanakis explained why it is important for healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about ‘gifted’ issues, “Most kids see MDs more than 12 times before age 6. MDs are the first regular professionals to follow a child’s development. This need not be a missed opportunity. Some MDs are GT and are well versed in complexities of being gifted and talented. Others, however, are unaware of gifted issues and  miss chances to help; many harm kids in the process. The overall prevalence of GT (5-10%) rivals learning disabilities, asthma, and ADHD – topics discussed frequently in medical school; yet giftedness is rarely mentioned. Why? Many MDs and society believe in giftedness myths. She went on to say, “GT affects the whole child and lack of knowledge leads to misdiagnosis (under-diagnosis/over-diagnosis) or other medical diagnosis.”

What type of general information should a patient or parent be prepared to provide to MD/MH providers? Marianne explained, “It’s awkward for many parents to discuss GT with their doctor. They often feel like they’re boasting. Other parents feel MDs should care only for body; not mind. But science shows the importance of a mind-body connection in disease. GT involves all aspects of mind-body and it is important in diagnosis.  Unfortunately since medical doctors primarily address deficits and delays, parents need to be assertive about GT. This can be difficult for introverts.” She emphasized the importance to be specific. She told us, “Don’t say, “My child is gifted.” Say HOW he or she is gifted; matter-of-factly. Take care to first learn about GT yourself. Be collaborative. Take the team-player route. Confrontation rarely gets best response. Your goal should be to get the best support for your child.”

“Trust helps the parent/MD relationship to go a long way to identify real needs in your gifted child and prevent over-medicalization of childhood.”~ Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

Dr. Kuzujanakis suggested that parents “bring printed brochures and documents to appointments. Be a grassroots educator for GT. If your doctor isn’t open to discussion; find another doctor.  Many doctors are open to information provided by patients/parents in this media-driven world. Take advantage, but be cognizant of your MD’s time constraints.” She pointed out, “Doctors are trained to make a diagnosis to be reimbursed. Don’t rush to accept a diagnosis if you disagree. Parent often knows best. If necessary, seek a second opinion. Trust helps the parent/MD relationship to go a long way to identify real needs in your gifted child and prevent over-medicalization of childhood.”

Our discussion then turned to SENG’s Misdiagnosis Initiative. Dr. Kuzujanakis explained, “[The initiative] began after the AAP (American Academy of Pediatricians) approved ADHD medications for 4-yr-olds. Stimulates are now used even in toddlers. There is no medical school education on overexcitabilities or asynchrony. GT misdiagnosis is a global issue.” SENG has produced a brochure (see below) which is now available in 3 languages. In 2016, the SENG team will be presenting at the AAP’s National Conference and Dr. Dan Peters will be our team’s speaker. They will also be finishing up an article based on their Parent Survey research which involved over 3,500 parents. Marianne also announced that Great Potential Press plans to  publish the 2nd edition of Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis (book) late this year. Look for it by Christmas.

For more from this chat, check out the transcript found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14 About the author: Lisa 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

 

Links:

Health Care Providers Know Little About Gifted Children

Where Does a Pediatric Doctor Fit in the Care of Gifted Children? By Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

Gifted Children and Adults: Neglected Areas of Practice (pdf)

The Role of Physicians in the Lives of Gifted Children

Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (Free Download)

Psychological Misdiagnosis of Gifted and Talented Children

Seeking Professional Help for Your Gifted Child

Professionals Specializing in Gifted

Developmental and Cognitive Characteristics of “High-Level Potentialities” (Highly Gifted) Children

Accurate Assessment? ADHD, Asperger’s Disorder & Other Misdiagnosis/Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children (pdf)

The Psychological Well-Being of Early Identified Gifted Children

Giftedness Myths

SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

Homeschooling: Not the Last Resort

Reducing Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis

SENG Decreasing Medical Misdiagnosis in Gifted Children (pdf) Free Brochure

Why Should I Have My Child Tested?

Tests, Tests, Tests

Psychologists Familiar with Testing the Gifted and Exceptionally Gifted

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative Webpage

Four GT-related Articles from Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

SENG Liaisons

SENG Professionals Listing

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Photo courtesy of Flickr   CC BY 2.0

 

Should Participation in Gifted Programs Be Conditional?

gtchat 12112015 Participation Conditional

 

 

Participation in gifted programs is often conditional for a variety of reasons. Criteria is usually mandated at the state level and based on IQ scores or other standardized tests. In all too many cases, participation may also be a reward for good behavior or grades.

It was agreed, however, that multiple criteria must be used when identifying students for a gifted program. As Clinical Psychologist Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges stated, “Ideally the program is geared to fit the child, not the other way around. Too often, students are expected to conform to the gifted program in place – there is no flexibility.” Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources listed possible considerations including, “Results of psychologist’s or achievement testing, teachers’ observations, parents’ information, etc., showing need for placement.” Antonia Duncan, Elementary GT Specialist in Texas added, “We use multiple criteria assessment. Tests include NNAT, COGAT, Renzulli, etc. Then, depending on age, also portfolios and teacher recommendations.”

When considering what age children should be assessed for gifted programs, the general consensus was – the earlier the better. Reasons included that signs of giftedness can appear very early and the need for services are based on those assessments. When a child is placed in an inappropriate educational setting, they can become frustrated, succumb to underachievement or even become disruptive in the regular classroom.

The idea of reassessing a child who was previously identified for gifted services was met with a resounding “No”! However, this is a fairly common practice in several U.S. states. If a child fails to consistently achieve at a certain level, they are removed from the program. As Valerie Lewis pointed out, this begs the need for states to come to the table with a universal definition of ‘gifted’. Most felt that the only reason for reassessment should be to offer more services; not less. Also, many experts believe that re-testing students already identified profoundly affects the racial/ethnic makeup of programs.

Should gifted services be considered a reward for grades or behavior? Just as it would never be considered for special education students to loose services for these reasons; nor should it be for gifted students. One would think that this wouldn’t even be a consideration; unfortunately, it happens more often than we’d like. As Jeremy Bond stated, “Education is a right to all. It should never be a punishment or reward. And scores should certainly not be the basis for either.” Krissy Venosdale, #gtchat Advisor, added, “A gifted program that can be earned thru good behavior is not a gifted program.”

What advice would you give parents facing denial of gifted services after identification? Parents need to be aware of state laws and mandates regarding gifted education. They should contact and work with their state gifted organization who often can refer them to advocates. It’s imperative that they gather data (test scores; outside testing) and as much information as possible; be prepared for all meetings with school personnel. And in the end, Jim Katzaman offered this advice, “Keep the kid’s happiness in mind. I was sad when son was recommended not to skip to 1st grade. He, on other hand, was relieved.” A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Links:

Houston School Board Considering Changes to Gifted & Talented Program

How Schools Decide a Kid Is Gifted

Admitting Students to Selective Education Programs: Merit, Profiling & Affirmative Action (pdf)

Why Should I Have My Child Tested?

Dear Teacher, My Gifted Child is in Your Class

Poorest Students Often Miss Out on Gifted Classes

Is Gifted Education Elitist?

Finding a Good Fit: Evaluating Gifted Programs

How Stereotypes Affect Gifted Children

Achievement Versus Ability

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 5

Best Ways to Support the Gifted Teen

gtchat 06192015 Gifted Teen

 

“OK . . . let’s be honest: you cannot force a reluctant teenager to do anything, at least not for long. Whether it’s to do more homework (or to not obsess about its completion); to begin to become more social (or to cut back on the dating circuit); or to start planning for one’s college future (or to forget thinking of Harvard in 8th grade), teens have their own personal agendas, many of which tie into their newly found senses of power and independence.” ~ Dr. James Delisle

 

The teen years can be some of the most daunting years for gifted children as well as their parents and teachers. Gifted, profoundly gifted (PG) and twice-exceptional (2E) teens face many challenges not experienced by their age-peers. They often face unreasonable expectations and mixed messages about their abilities from adults. Gifted teens can have a different view of life and the world than do their classmates. They may prefer to be with intellectual peers rather than age-peers.

There was no shortage of acknowledging challenges for gifted kids:

  • There is nothing without challenge. Except learning, but he will never learn the way they want him to anyway. ~ Mona Chicks
  • For us, I think the social and emotional issues are the biggest hurdles. ~Celi Trépanier
  • My daughter is GT and basketball player. Was told she can’t be smart and a jock.Cliques can cause issues. She changed minds. ~Jodi Foreman
  • Where to start? All of them. Peers, asynchrony, divergent interests, feeling more, BEING more. ~ Jen Merrill

We next turned our attention to asynchronous development as it had been mentioned several times at this point. Asynchronous development – many ages at once – can have a profound impact on their social lives. Jonathan Bolding, middle school teacher of gifted and talented students in Nashville, told us that an “inability to connect with same-age peers may lead to social isolation.” Although intellectually ready to handle more challenging academics, they may not be able to navigate the social scene as easily.

Our third question considered sleep deprivation … how do you get a gifted teen to turn off the lights? For the homeschoolers present, this did not seem as much of a problem as it did for those with kids in public schools where early starts to the day proved difficult for most teens. It was an issue that followed many teens into adulthood. Many suggestions were offered on ways to get a teen to sleep. According to Dr. Jim Delisle, “A gifted teen’s greatest enemy is lack of sleep. Sleep is often not considered a priority for gifted adolescents. Resultant crankiness, listlessness, general “unattractiveness” are a direct result of this lack of sleep. The teen mind is often in overdrive – try to find methods of relaxation.”

How best can adults support sensible risk-taking regarding education? Risk-taking is a huge component in creativity! Teens should not shy away from actions for fear of appearing ‘different’.  They need to understand that being less than perfect is okay and not everyone is successful on the first attempt. (S. White) Learning to deal with failure and overcoming it are skills that can be learned during the teen years. Parents and teachers should both model how to cope with failure; be honest with their kids/students.

Many good strategies were discussed for developing self-advocacy in teens. Self-advocacy can be nurtured by allowing teens to experience natural consequences for their actions early on. Parents need to be less involved in ‘rescuing’ teens from academic issues and lend support to their teen. Jen Merrill suggested, “Start small. Encourage them to do things for themselves in public. Gradually work up to educational advocacy.”

The teen years can be a balancing act between ‘fitting in’ and intellectual authenticity with age-peers. It’s natural for teens to want to fit in with peer groups. Adults need to be understanding and give them some space to find their own way. Jeremy Bond, a parent, expressed it this way, “As with all teens, they should know you’ll always be there for support, but not to navigate things for them.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

This week, our sponsor GiftedandTalented.com gave away a scholarship for a 3-month subscription to their K-7 Math and Language Arts Combination Course. The winner was Virginia  Pratt, a teacher of gifted and talented students in South Carolina. GiftedandTalented.com was born out of Stanford’s EPGY. EPGY was led by Professor Patrick Suppes and they are honored to continue his legacy.  Virginia was able to answer the question – “During Patrick Suppes’ 64 years at Stanford, how many books did he publish?” (Answer: 34) Congratulations, Virginia and many thanks to GiftedandTalented.com!

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Tips for Parents: The Real World of Gifted Teens

Tips for Parents: Gifted . . . and Teenagers, too

10 Ways to Help Your Gifted Teen Get the Best Out of Secondary School

Parenting Gifted Teens

Parenting Gifted Children in Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom (pdf)

Deep Thinkers & Perfectionists: Getting to Know Your Gifted Teen

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense & Creative Adolescents Paperback (Amazon)

Parents of Gifted 3: Promote Sensible Risk-taking

Life Balance & Gifted Teens – an Oxymoron?

Sleep Deprivation and Teens

Exploring the Duality of the Gifted Teen

The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp & Ready for (Almost) Anything (Amazon)

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

%d bloggers like this: