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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 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. 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!



Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by 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:


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.

Online Gifted Education Learning Options

Online Gifted Education copy


Many factors come into play when considering the best options for educating a gifted student. Each one has their own preferences in how they like to learn, but the allure of online options include the opportunity to take challenging classes not offered at local schools, the ability to progress at their own speed, and collaborating with intellectual peers and mentors. Some students also prefer the peace and quiet gained from working in a solitary environment.

Online education is also beneficial to gifted students who live in rural areas where gifted programming and advanced courses are scarce, adaptable to the needs of twice-exceptional children, homeschool students and students who want to want to participate in blended learning. Of course, Internet access plays an important role for students who choose online options. A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Check out the links below for some of our participants favorite resources. Disclaimer – mention of any program during the chat or in this blog post should not be considered an endorsement.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:


For Frustrated Gifted Kids, A World of Online Opportunities (Audio available)

Distance Learning for Gifted Students: Outcomes for Elem, Middle, & HS Students

New Mathematics Program Developed by Stanford University Transforms Online Education


GHF Online from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth 

K12 Programs for Advanced Learners

Stanford Online High School

Online High Schools Attracting Elite Names

Independent Learning from Duke TIP

Gifted Learning Links from CTD at Northwestern University

Art of Problem Solving

How Are Teachers and Students Using Khan Academy?

By Not Challenging Gifted Kids, What Do We Risk Losing?

Gifted Adolescents’ Talent Development Through Distance Learning

Online G3

SIG Online Learning Program

Blended Learning Transforming Gifted Education

Learn Online with Duke TIP eStudies

UK: OLP Online Programme for Able Young Students

Cybraryman’s Blended Learning Page

Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences

Is Gifted Education Relevant at the High School Level?

This week’s gtchat considered whether or not gifted education is relevant at the high school level. Jen Merrill may have said it best, “A person is gifted from birth to death, regardless of educational setting, so yeah, it’s relevant at the HS level.”

During the chat, we explored various programming options for high schools and whether most secondary schools were equipped to handle highly and profoundly gifted children.  A full transcript may be found here.

Links: “Educational Opportunities for Gifted Students at the High School Level” VA Dept of Education

EPGY – Digital Education Solutions Developed by Stanford University

The Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) from William & Mary

National Curriculum Networking Conference Sessions & Handouts Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (Links by Subject)

Gifted Education Math & STEM ResourcesUsing Assessments to Differentiate Instruction” (pdf) by Dr. Susan K. Johnsen, Baylor University.

Creating a Continuum of K–12 Services for Gifted Learners” (pdf)

PBL and the Common Core: A Natural Partnership” (pdf) by Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher

Multidisciplinary Lesson Planning: A 21st-Century Approach to Teaching Gifted Learners” (pdf)

The Efficacy of Word within the Word for Gifted & Typically Developing Students” (pdf)

Pulling It All Together: A Synthesis Model for Differentiated Curriculum for the Gifted Learner” (pdf)

Socrates in the 21st Century: Inquiry Strategies to Address the #CCSS” (pdf)

Real-Word Assessment” “Speed + Peers = Gifted Thinking for Middle School” (pdf)

University of Cambridge (UK) NRICH Enriching Mathematics

The Math Forum Internet Mathematics Library (by grade level)

A Different Place … a place on the web to find differentiated activities in all content areas

Balanced Assessment in Mathematics” from Harvard Graduate School of Education

MIT Highlights for High School EPICS High School at Purdue University

Design Squad Nation (PBS)

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