The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners was recently released by Free Spirit Publishing and we were excited to have the author, Deb Douglas, as our guest this week on #gtchat. It proved to be a much needed topic and drew many new participants to the chat.
One of the greatest impediments to self-advocacy for gifted learners are the adults who become over-involved. Far too often, parents and teachers are so used to advocating when kids are young; they don’t know when to stop.
Self-advocacy is a part of growing up. A key benefit of teaching gifted learners to self-advocate is that it has a profound effect on a student’s later success. Gifted people in general use self-advocacy techniques throughout their lives; but they must learn them first.
Like all students, gifted learners’ educational experiences should ensure continual growth in academics and socially. They should be taught to advocate for experiences they truly want and will use.
What should students consider when self-assessing their own needs prior to self-advocacy? Self-assessment needs to start early and develop into a continual process throughout their time in school. It should be combined with determining personal goals and how to meet them.
Parents play an important role in helping students become successful self-advocates. Parents are their child’s first role model. They should be consistent, positive, and empathetic to child’s needs. Students will find success as self-advocates when parents learn to allow their child to take the lead when ready.
Students should first create an Action Plan. They go hand in hand with setting goals and deciding how they will be reached. Action plans should list necessary steps and a realistic timeline to reach goals. A transcript of this chat may be found at our Storify page.
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 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 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.
About Deb Douglas (Free Spirit Publishing)
GT Carpe Diem (Facebook)
Letting Go While Holding On and Changing BLAH to AHHHHH! (pdf) Courtesy of NAGC
Stepping Back from Overparenting: A Stanford Dean’s Perspective (Podcast 21:46)
Title graphic courtesy of Lisa Conard.
Photo and all other graphics courtesy of Deb Douglas.
The idea of a Bill of Rights for Gifted Children is nothing new. As early as 2000, various versions of such a statement have been around. But why do they need one? The general perception that gifted kids have it all … they don’t. Ask any parent; any gifted adult … they need a bill of rights. Without national policies regarding gifted education, gifted students must be protected from myths and misperceptions. A bill of rights is for some the only way they can have a basis for advocacy; both at school & in society at large.
There are consequences for not having a bill of rights for gifted kids. Gifted children continually face misinformation about what it means to be gifted; consequences can be devastating. Lacking a bill of rights, gifted kids have little support to grow and experience success.
What rights should gifted children be accorded? Gifted children have a right to learn something new every day and at the same time to be able to fail without fear of repercussions. Gifted children have a right to chart their own course based on their passions; not the a path planned by someone else. Gifted children have a right to be respected for their abilities; not ridiculed.
Gifted students’ rights can be intentionally or unintentionally violated. Gifted students’ rights are frequently violated by being required to do extra work rather than differentiated assignments. Their rights can be minimized by comments beginning with “if you’re so smart, why can’t you …”. Twice exceptional students’ rights are ignored when disabilities are addressed, but abilities neglected. Teachers must be vigilant in recognizing when gifted students are mistreated and/or bullied by age peers and intervene.
Should children identified as gifted be expected to have a greater sense of social responsibility? A level of social responsibility should be cultivated in all children; but expectations for gifted children must be individualized based on the child. Placing extraordinary expectations can backfire when gifted kids are made to feel overly responsible for curing the world’s ills. Take a moment and check out the links below to several versions of a bill of rights for these kids. A transcript may be found at Storify.
Gifted Kids’ Bill of Rights (Lingen 2000)
The Gifted Students’ Bill of Rights (Shaine 2014)
Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights (Siegel 2007)
Turn the Myths Around: A Gifted Child’s Bill of Rights (pdf Duncan and Haase 2013)
Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education (1997) (pdf)
The Law on Gifted Education (2005) (pdf)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Some may wonder why we would even have to consider teaching persistence to gifted students; but, in fact, many characteristics of gifted children can actually contribute to a lack of persistence. If not challenged early on, gifted students never learn persistence because they don’t have to in the elementary years. When the work does get challenging in later years, they begin to question their own ability.
The role of ‘frustration tolerance’ can come into play for a gifted student. Many gifted students lack the ability to tolerate being frustrated in the face of challenge. they need to learn and understand how to put some space between a challenge and how to respond.
Perfectionism also affects some gifted students who seem to lack persistence. Coping with wanting everything to always be perfect may cause a child to give up if they can’t achieve perfection. The idea of seeing something through that isn’t their ‘best’ may seem impossible; which is where the teacher comes in. As Carol Bainbridge told us, “Fear of imperfection is paralyzing to some gt kids. Better to not try at all than to try and not be perfect.”
Scaffolding can be used to help the student who is struggling with persistence. Simply supporting a child in knowing where ‘to start’ can lead many to succeed. Gifted children are not gifted in all subjects; individual attention to support weaknesses is a good start.
What are some coping skills students need to meet life’s challenges and adversity? Gifted students need to realize the importance of their ability to think; to problem solve; to figure things out. They can use self-talk to remove negative thoughts and begin to believe in themselves and abilities.
Parents and teachers can help gifted students have a realistic understanding of their own abilities.Parents must first have realistic expectations of their child and understand that they may not excel in all areas. Teachers can nurture a child to understand what they are good at and how to develop their talent. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.
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 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/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.
Ed Week: 5 Ways Gifted Students Learn Differently (tiered subscription)
Photo courtesy of MorgueFile
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.