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The Purple Goldfish Theory: What Your Child Already Knows about Being Gifted

gtchat 08232018 Goldfish

Jamie Uphold, Gifted Youth Programs Manager for American Mensa, joined us at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT to chat about her “The Purple Goldfish Theory: What Your Child Already Knows about Being Gifted.” She described her role at American Mensa, “I’m a (recovering) educator with a passion for gifted youth. Now, I create programs, curate resources, and perform outreach for gifted youth.”

Jamie wrote an excellent follow-up blog post describing the theory on Mensa’s blog. In the post, Jaime writes, “Gifted kids are like purple goldfish. They spend all day swimming along in school with all the other goldfish. But unlike the other fish, they are purple — and they swim backward! They know they’re different from the other kids. No one has to tell them; they realize it on their own. And while purple goldfish know they are different, they don’t necessarily know they are gifted.”

Gifted children learn what it means to be gifted in many different ways. Many do not question the concept until they are identified at school and enter their school’s gifted program. They know they are different from other students around them. How knowledgeable their parent is about what it means to be ‘gifted’ and how they share what they know can have a powerful impact on their child.

Parents sometimes wonder if they should even tell their child they are gifted. Dr. Gail Post, Clinical Psychologist, stated emphatically, “Yes – it validates, provides clarity and perspective on what they already suspect and don’t understand. [Parents] need to explain it carefully, ensuring they [the child] don’t assume they are better than others, or take on undue burdens.” Jamie explained, “The value is in understanding how their brain is wired differently; not in an assessment received from a test. Information, for them, is received and perceived differently than their peers.” Telling a child they are gifted and/or talented should be accompanied by the ‘perspective’ as related by Dr. Jim Delisle that they at ‘better at’ rather than ‘better than’ their age-peers . Jamie believes that “early and honest communication about giftedness can mean the difference between arrogance and understanding.”

How should information about a child’s giftedness be shared with their educational team? If a gifted IEP is mandated, a formal process for sharing information through formal regular meetings with the team and a general understanding of who to contact will already be in place. The sharing of information is highly dependent on the personnel with whom you were sharing the information. Some teachers are more receptive and knowledgeable; making the whole process smoother. Jamie implored parents, “Don’t assume that teachers know what your child needs. They often don’t get the information necessary to make those assessments until later in the year. Simple outreach sparks dialogue.There’s no one-size-fits all approach. Every gifted child is different and has different needs. Giftedness doesn’t fit into neat check-boxes.”

What are the challenges of being ‘purple’ (gifted)? Jamie stated, “It’s hard to be the smartest kid in the room. Kids want to fit in, and GT kids often don’t — they think deeper, react stronger, and don’t transition as quickly. None of these traits are preferable in traditional school settings.” Being gifted is too often about simply being viewed as ‘smart’ when it’s usually much more complicated;  it’s a ‘marching to the beat of a different drummer’ scenario. GT kids can be teased and bullied by other kids and adults to the point of wanting to hide their abilities or ignore them. This can lead to emotional challenges as they get older.

Justine Hughes, educator in Auckland, New Zealand,  warned, “the quote that “All kids are gifted they just unwrap their gifts at different times” has become a dangerous mantra leading to needs not being met. Jamie added, “How many of those kids would return that gift if they could, just to be ‘normal’?”

There are many resources to help children learn about being gifted and for parents on raising a gifted child. Great organizations include American Mensa, Mensa for Kids, Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT), NAGC, SENG, Davidson Gifted, Hoagies Gifted, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, the Institute for Educational Advancement, the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education, and WCGTC.

Gifted children need to associate with intellectual peers whether at school or socially regardless of what anyone else says. This doesn’t mean exclusively; but it must be a major consideration. They need to be challenged in the early years academically. Without it; they will have difficulty later on and it can result in innumerable problems.

“Purple goldfish have extra challenges. Often people assume that a gifted kid, and by extension their parents, have it easy when it’s often the exact opposite. Gifted children can struggle with social norming and are sometimes in stages of development and emotional maturity that make it harder to bond with their peers. Statistically, gifted individuals are 1 out of 100; this means that 99 percent of their peers are different from them. And this is before we add any additional diagnoses. It’s hard to be a purple goldfish! And these kids nevertheless want to find other purple goldfish – their people.” ~ Jamie Uphold, American Mensa 

Check out the transcript of this chat at Wakelet to see what else chat participants said parents need to remember most about having a purple goldfish. Then, refer to the resources below which were shared during the chat!

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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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:

Mensa for Kids (website)

American Mensa (website)

Inspiring Self-Efficacy in Gifted Kids

Coloring Outside the Lines – Growing Up Gifted

Jim Delisle Presentation – Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Children

Identity Development in Intellectually Gifted Students

How to Create a Gifted Individualized Education Plan

Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

Unexpected Challenges of Being a Gifted Kid

Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

Growing Resilient Gifted Kids

Cybraryman’s Growth Mindset Page

Should we tell them they’re gifted? Should we tell them how gifted?

Resources from Jamie’s blog post:

Pros and Cons of Telling Children They Are Gifted

Is My Child Gifted?

What to say to your gifted child…about being gifted 

Is your kid really gifted? Probably not

Should we tell them they’re gifted? Should we tell them how gifted?

Talking about Giftedness: The Elephant in the Room

Your Kids Are Gifted. Should You Tell Them?

Image and graphics courtesy of American Mensa.

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Best Movies & Television for Inspiring Gifted Kids

gtchat 06142018 Movies

This week at #gtchat, we explored movies and television that inspire gifted kids. They can portray gifted children in a negative light. Negativity, however, is often in the eye of the beholder. Movies and television programs reflect popular culture; and for that reason portray gifted children in a way they feel meets their audience’s expectations. Those which show gifted children in a one-dimensional light – smart kid who’s socially inept; the perfect student; a child regarded only for their contributions to society … these are negative portrayals.

What’s the downside of movies and television portraying gifted children only as geniuses or nerds? Kids are kids; they process what they see on the big and small screen. Gifted children rarely receive guidance on how to perceive these images and many adopt negative responses to being seen only for their intelligence or talents. When gifted children believe that they are only appreciated for their brain power, it can affect not only their behavior towards others but also their self-image. A poor self-image can lead to mental health issues and worse.

When gifted children see kids like themselves valued by society in films and television, they will benefit in how they see themselves and how they interact with others. Self-worth is a powerful motivator to be successful, respectful, and empathetic toward others. It improves their quality of life and of those around them; with family members, schoolmates, and teachers.

“When gifted kids see an “average” child in film or on television, they don’t see a reflection of themselves. They see someone with whom they can’t identify. This contributes to a sense separateness & increases feelings of isolation. Representation does the opposite.” ~ Jeffrey Farley, M.Ed., District Special Programs Coordinator, Beaumont ISD

When integrated into a gifted curriculum, movies and television can be a powerful teaching tool to guide students; to project role-models; to inspire creativity; to promote social consciousness. Using film and television in the classroom requires careful scrutiny of resources prior to their use. Teachers should be cognizant of individual needs of their students.

Many are fans of the recent movie, “Gifted”. They did a good job of portraying a multi-dimensional character in a highly relatable situation in a realistic way. It was obvious they knew their subject matter. Another film, Incredibles 2, debuts this week. The original, The Incredibles, has been a favorite of parents. Many films in the scifi genre include gifted children. They can often provide kids with a positive role-model.

Please check out our resources listed below! A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet which includes many great suggestions for movies and television programs that can inspire gifted children.

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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

Movie: Gifted (2017) (Preview YouTube 2:34)

Movie: The Incredibles (Trailer YouTube 2:24)

Movie: The Incredibles 2 (Trailer YouTube 2:16)

Reel Life this Ain’t

Sprite’s Site: Gifted in Reel Life

Columbo: Breaking Gifted Stereotypes

Movies Featuring Gifted Kids (and Adults!)

25 of Our Favorite Gifted Kid Movies

Giftedness in the Media

Film Producer Seeks Honest Portrayal of Growing Up Gifted

10 Movies Gifted Children Will Love

Gifted Role Models in Literature and Film

The Impact of Popular Culture on Gifted Children

Cinematherapy in Gifted Education Identity Development: Integrating the Arts through STEM-Themed Movies (pdf)

Using Movies to Guide: Teachers and Counselors Collaborating to Support Gifted Students (pdf)

Fostering The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children through Guided Viewing of Film

The Literacy Shed: Alma

Sprite’s Site: Googlebox

Sprite’s Site: Googlebox 2

Cybraryman’s Teaching with Movies Page

Observations on Gifted the Movie

AUS: Gifted Resources Film Discussion Series

Duke TIP: A Look at the Movie “Gifted”

GHF: Gifted in Reel Life

Image used with permission

 

Chat image courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

 

Sibling Rivalry in Gifted Families

gtchat 05032018 Siblings

 

ALL children need to feel valued regardless of ability. It is a delicate balancing act. Parents must often be there for siblings when one is identified for a particular gifted program and another one is not. Gifted rivalry is not accidental. It’s important to realize intentions and counseling siblings is an important parental responsibility. It can extend to the selection of colleges, participation in academic competitions and affect acceleration decisions.

What role does ‘asynchronous development’ play in gifted sibling rivalry? It can dramatically change a child’s place in the family; such as when a younger child surpasses an older sibling academically (think Young Sheldon). This can affect decisions about acceleration. Asynchronous development can ultimately cause excessive stress on parents who themselves may not be able to ‘keep up’ with their child’s intellectual progress. Younger children who are profoundly gifted may be confused or feel constrained by what they can do socially because of their chronological age.

To minimize sibling rivalries, parents can avoid comparisons, emphasize strengths, reminding child of their uniqueness, and not give more privileges to one child over the other. Furthermore, they can be minimized by not assuming that problems will arise, teaching ‘fair’ doesn’t mean equal, and remembering that not all strengths and talents are either academics or sports. Parents can try their best to spend quality time with each child; providing companionship and time alone with each one.

What can parents do to build positive and cooperative relationships in the gifted family? They can value their child’s point of view as a way to encourage cooperation and value the strengths and weaknesses of each child while acknowledging their differences.

Schools can offer resources to parents of gifted children with mixed abilities. They can suggest parents utilize school guidance counselors and enlist a favorite teacher when necessary to encourage a student to model good behavior at home. Finally, schools should maintain a positive parent-school relationship by offering resources to parents such as providing opportunities for gifted children to explore interests and passions. A transcript 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

When One Child Is Gifted: Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

How Gifted Children Impact the Family

A Gifted Child Increases Sibling Rivalry, Study Finds

The Effects of Sibling Competition

Comparing Gifted and Non-Gifted Sibling Perceptions of Family Relations (pdf 1982)

Gifted and Non-Gifted Siblings: How Conventional Wisdom is Wrong

The Social World of Gifted Children and Youth (pdf)

When One Sibling is More “Gifted” Than the Other

Tempo: Guidance & Counseling of Gifted Students

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Siblings of Twice-Exceptional Children

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Congrats, Your Kid is Gifted…But What About Her Sibling?

Keeping the Family Balance

Setting Boundaries for Gifted Siblings

Sibling Relationships in Families with Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay    CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

gtchat 04262018 Social Emotional

Gifted and talented students’ social-emotional needs are often exacerbated by asynchronous development which necessitates an awareness of each child’s needs. These include the ability to socialize, work with others, and to be self-aware. Their interpersonal needs include peer relations, relations with parents and gifted and non-gifted siblings.

Many gifted children frequently experience the negative consequences of stress and perfectionism as related to the social-emotional characteristics associated with giftedness. Overexcitabilities combined with high intellect and asynchronous development can result in emotional frustration, misbehavior when ability fails to match aspirations, and overall inability to cope with day-to-day functioning.

In today’s political and educational climate, advocacy by parents and educators is paramount to preserving and expanding services. In an era of changing mindsets over the need for provision of services for our most vulnerable students, education of the public and school administrators about the needs of GT students has garnered new importance. The role of professional development should be expanded to address the social-emotional needs of gifted and talented students as it relates to academic success.

The premise for the choice of a specific educational model should be based on the needs of GT students from year to year and be flexible. Check out a previous #gtchat here >>> with extensive resources. Many models exist and new ones are being developed. Educators should research models based on the overall needs of their classroom.

Supports should be based on an individualized plan – all gifted and talented children deserve to be supported as well as challenged in the classroom. Educators can take the first step by learning about the social emotional needs of their particular students.

How can GT educators and professionals support parents of GT and/or 2E students? GT/2E students are more intense intellectually and emotionally. Educators and professionals may need to provide parents with interventions that can be used at home. Parents need information about how the role of giftedness plays in a child’s overall well-being to mitigate their own fear of failing as a parent. 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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

Links:

The Casper Assessment for Social Emotional Skills (CASES) for K-12 Students

Casper Assessment for Social Emotional Skills (CASES) Rubric (pdf)

Brains on Fire: The Multinodality of Gifted Thinkers

Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice (Amazon)

Characteristics and Problems of the Gifted: Neural Propagation Depth and Flow Motivation as a Model of Intelligence and Creativity (pdf)

Vulnerabilities of Highly Gifted Children (1984)

What is Social-emotional Learning? (APA)

Social / Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

Social-Emotional Learning and the Gifted Child

The Aspen Institute: National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Cultivating the Social–emotional Imagination in Gifted Education: Insights from Educational Neuroscience

Thesis: Social and Emotional Learning Needs of Gifted Students (pdf)

When Gifted Kids Get to Exhale

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted: 30 Essays on Giftedness, 30 Years of SENG (Amazon)

SENG

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends (Amazon)

Heightened Multifaceted Sensitivity of Gifted Students (pdf)

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT: Models of Gifted Education

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Over-Excitabilities A Layman’s Explanation

Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (Amazon)

Five Unexpected Intensities of Gifted Students

Gifted and Creative Services Australia: Articles and Handouts

“Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship

Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use (Revised & Updated Third Edition) (Amazon)

Teaching Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom: Practical Recommendations and Interventions (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Social and Emotional Learning #SEL Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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