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Transitioning to Adulthood ~ A Bumpy Ride for Gifted Kids

Every child is an individual and every child has needs. It’s no different for children identified as gifted or twice-exceptional.  But … how do we identify social-emotional needs of gifted children without pathologizing them?  Many GT kids are well-adjusted with minimal need for intervention, but others do have specific needs. Although clearly a point of contention among professionals, identifying the social-emotional needs of gifted children does not need to rise to the level of believing they are psychologically abnormal or unhealthy.

Those characteristics of giftedness that influence a child’s life do not suddenly disappear as they become adults; they grow right along with them. Childhood anxiety, asynchronous development, perfectionism, and more can manifest in adulthood. Gifted adults may have difficulty maintaining peer relationships due to a high level of internal drive (Webb), continued maturation differences well into their 20s, and existential depression.

Educators can guide gifted students as they endeavor to confront their ‘multipotentiality’ (Kerr) and bring focus into their lives regarding the direction they take in their academic careers. They can be extremely influential in the life of a gifted student by simply recognizing the nature of their needs and seeking professional development in how to meet those needs.

From the earliest years, gifted students recognize that they do not share the same concerns or abilities of their age-peers and the internal conflicts created because of this can affect their eventual transitioning into adulthood. Asynchronous development can be both positive and negative. Social-emotional needs and peer relations are most affected. Its effects are more pronounced in younger children and tend to lessen as they enter adulthood.

What challenges do twice-exceptional students face in transitioning to adulthood? Societal appreciation of what the ‘spectrum’ looks like is evolving. It is recognized as a ‘range’ of individual traits and abilities. There is growing acceptance that ability is not ‘all or nothing’; challenges exist and are variable.  The biggest challenge for twice-exceptional students is recognition that they exist and the second is the willingness of adults in their lives to learn about what it means and how to best help these kids to experience fulfillment in life.

Parents can help ease their gifted child’s transition into adulthood. The best strategies start with the premise that parents are trying to do their best and most sources of advice don’t generally apply to their child. Parents today benefit from the existence of organizations such as SENG, IEA, NAGC and the Texas Association for the  Gifted and Talented who provide parents with strategies for meeting the needs of their gifted children. 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:

Mexico’s Youngest Psychologist, Aspiring to Ease Gifted Students’ Transition to Adulthood

Young, Gifted and Likely to Suffer for It

Gifted Lives: What Happens When Gifted Children Grow Up (book)

How Being a Gifted Kid Affects You as an Adult

Gifted Children: What Happens When They Grow Up?

Gifted Lives: What Happens When Gifted Children Grow Up? (Part Two)

Asynchronous Transitioning to Adulthood

To Be a Gifted Adolescent (pdf)

Assertive or Arrogant? Why Gifted Teens Sometimes Get a Bad Rap

Transitioning from College to Work and Young Adulthood for the Twice-Exceptional Individual

Multipotentiality: Issues and Considerations for Career Planning

Mind Matters Podcast: Transitioning to Adulthood

The Gifted Kids Workbook (book)

Gifted Grownups: Young MC

Discovering the Gifted Ex-Child (Tolan)

Understanding the Gifted Self: If Only I Had Known

Gifted Children and Adults — Why Are They So Misunderstood?

Looking for an Adventure? Try Parenting a Gifted Kid

If Gifted = Asynchronous Development, then Gifted/Special Needs = Asynchrony Squared

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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The G Word Film

 

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Director/Producer Marc Smolowitz, Producer Ron Turiello and Danielle Holke to discuss their new film The G Word which seeks to answer the question, “Who gets to be ‘Gifted’ in America and why?”

The factors used to decide who is ‘gifted’ in America today are much the same as they have been for decades; factors shrouded in myths and prejudices that need to be exposed and corrected. In recent years, new research on neurodiversity and intelligence are expanding our perceptions on what giftedness entails. This information needs to inform policy decisions.

Where are some of the unlikely places ‘gifted’ people can be found? As our friends at the National Association for Gifted Children have said – there are no boundaries to giftedness. It crosses all economic, cultural, & gender identity sectors of our society. Gifted people are found at Ivy League schools as well as in prisons. They can be the superintendent or janitor at your child’s school.

“Failure for gifted people to thrive can come from a life of feeling out of sync, feeling like a misfit, and knowing one is an outlier. When one’s giftedness, quirks and all, are embraced and nurtured, giftedness thrives.” ~ Celi Trepanier, M.Ed.

Some ‘gifted’ people thrive while others don’t. Lack of early identification and misdiagnosis can place a child on the wrong path at the very beginning of their school careers. Perhaps surprising to some, where they live can affect availability of services. Rural schools with few identified GT students do not see gifted education as a priority when resources are limited.

“GT students often are singled out, ostracized, endure bullying because they learn, speak, focus, etc. differently than the norm in the general ed classroom. That may originate from peers, but it also may originate from teachers. It’s a painful experience kids can’t escape.” ~ Margaret Thomas

Many special education programs are unequipped to teach twice-exceptional students. In the past, too many decision/policy makers saw the disability before ability and the child as someone who needed to be fixed rather than support abilities. Lack of professional development in the area of twice-exceptionality has allowed myths to flourish that hinder the exceptional.

“I truly believe that twice-exceptional is the savior of gifted in the 2020s. Our nation is so focused on deficits this has allowed gifted to have a seat of the table again in ways it hasn’t in many years” ~ Marc Smolowitz

What are the risks of maintaining the status quo in gifted education for our society? If society continues to settle for the status quo, we fail our brightest children … their ability to succeed in life. Status quo is just that … stagnation … and society as a whole also loses the opportunity to progress. GT kids aren’t obligated to help society at large, but their contributions can make a difference.

There are many challenges which face gifted education in the next decade. Only 6 states in the U.S. actively support gifted education. Advocacy must be at the forefront. Including coursework in gifted education at the undergraduate level is imperative to cultivating new leadership, high quality research, and maintaining funding. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

We at #gtchat offer our congratulations to The G Word film, Marc Smolowitz, Ron Turiello and their entire crew for the completion of a successful Kickstarter in support of production of the film!

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:

Mind Matters Podcast: The G Word Film with guest, Marc Smolowitz (39:04)

Meet the Experts | Who Gets to be Gifted in America and Why? (Vimeo 12:13)

EXCEPTIONAL MINDS | A Story from the Forthcoming Documentary THE G WORD (Vimeo 8:31)

THE G WORD | 1st Promo (Vimeo 6:01)

Colin Seale On Being An Exception To The Rule (Vimeo 1:14)

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Discusses The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Vimeo 1:00)

Producer Ron Turiello Explains What’s So Important About THE G WORD (Vimeo 2:04)

Thoughtleaders and Experts Featured in THE G WORD (Vimeo :59)

ZIP CODE 85349 (San Luis, Arizona) (Vimeo 8:00)

My Family Still Calls Me Gabby (Vimeo 6:49)

Gifted Support Group: Hidden Challenges for Gifted and 2E Students (YouTube 26:22)

What is the Excellence Gap?

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students

Black Intelligence (Vimeo 8:36)

Filmmaker Explores Giftedness at FDL Ojibwe School

NAGC: Giftedness Knows No Boundaries

An Independent Filmmaker Highlights Gifted Students of San Luis

Bill to End Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners Gains Traction

Rural Communities Test Ways to Hook Gifted Students

Why Egalitarian Societies Need Gifted Education (YouTube 59:17)

The G Word Highlights NSD HiCap Program

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

Image courtesy of The G Word film

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

gtchat 09202018 Distracted

Understanding the nature of giftedness when complicated by distractibility is a complex issue and the discussions between participants at this week’s #gtchat were no exception. We were fortunate to have several psychologists well-versed in working with gifted individuals as well as education professionals to sort it out.

How do you know if distractibility is  just a characteristic of giftedness or ADD/ADHD? You may not know! ADD/ADHD must be diagnosed by a professional. If you are concerned about a child’s behavior, seek professional help. Both giftedness and ADD/ADHD share characteristics, but it’s important to avoid misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Gifted students may have ADD/ADHD but be able to compensate for it.

According to Dr. Gail Post, “ADHD causes more global problem with distraction and concentration, not just related to boredom, intensities, overexcitabilities. ADHD kids have little control over their distraction/poor concentration – not situation specific. They really suffer from it.” Dr. Scott Roseman explained, “Formal assessment of giftedness and ADHD differ in significant ways.  While assessment of giftedness focuses mainly on determination of higher level reasoning abilities, assessment of ADHD examines issues related to distractibility, impulsivity, and processing skills. While the gifted child may exhibit some of these qualities, as a function of their giftedness, it’s often when those qualities get in the way of learning & growth that further assessment should be considered to assess a dual diagnosis of Giftedness and ADHD.”

In response to a child’s distractibility, the response of  ‘over’ organizing by a concerned adult may prove to make matters worse. Over organization … such as separate folders for each subject … may overwhelm the distracted child causing even more issues or anxiety. Parents (and teachers) should try to find the ‘middle ground’ when attempting to organize a distracted child. Folders can be used but for more generalized subjects; such as, a completed homework folder, to do folder, and parent/teacher communications.

“The main disadvantage of “over” organization I see is when it is put in place by the parent and not the child. The child or adolescent has no “ownership” in the process and may grow too reliant on parental intervention and not develop effective organizational tools on their own.” ~ Scott Roseman, Ph.D.

Executive Functioning can play as intricate role in the life of a distracted yet gifted child. The lack of recognition by responsible adults that a GT child can have executive function deficits often exacerbates the situation. These are smart kids who struggle with behavior regulation and exercising cognitive flexibility. Although identified as GT, they may have trouble beginning tasks, maintaining attention, completing assignments, and unable to assess the feedback on their own behavior. Frustration levels can go through the roof. As the child progresses through school, academic requirements increase at the same time as social interactions take on greater significance. EF difficulties may not resolve themselves until the child reaches their mid-twenties.

What strategies can a teacher use to get a gifted student back on track? Teachers should consider authentic assessments to chart progress/regression through an ongoing process which takes into account the student’s abilities as well as challenges. Developing positive relationships is a good 1st step. They must ensure that the student is being sufficiently stimulated intellectually either within the classroom with differentiated instruction or through accelerative measures outlined in resources such as A Nation Empowered.

“I think you have to do lots of trial and error with strategies…visual prompts to get back on task or having a reward after a significant start to an assignment or discussing what the feedback means.” ~ Heather Vaughn, EdS, 

Once it is determined that the student is off track, any plan to bring them back on course must involve student input. Dr. Roseman suggested, “I suggest that the teacher start by asking the gifted student, in grade 3 and above to come up with their own plan to stay on task and then work together with them, examining the parts of the plan that work and the parts that don’t seem to work for them and revise. I believe that it helps the child to gain a better understanding of their  own dynamics and figure out strategies that work for them and those that don’t. The teacher can certainly suggest some strategies, but it is critical for the student to have input.”

“With my kids, what has worked is a combination of doing it for them if was really necessary until they could do it; letting them fail a little when stakes are low, and coaching them about the things not being organized has negative impact on.” ~ Kate Arms

Parents can help their highly distracted child get organized at home, too. They can make sure that the home environment limits distractions when their child is doing school work. This includes having a quiet workspace free from access to video games or television. If possible, provide study/work space solely for each child; not in a highly active part of the home such as the dining room table or shared spaces with siblings.  Parents need to model behavior which provides examples of how to stay organized in daily life.

“Pick your battles… But get them involved in devising a plan and incentives, prioritize, small goals to start with, make it fun!” ~ Gail Post, Ph.D.

Organization is a must-need skill and one that parents focus on much to the dismay of their distracted child. Involve the child in the organizing process. Be flexible; not all organizing tools or tips work for every child. Parents and teachers working together to implement strategies that take place at home and at school can be highly beneficial to the student in an effort to reduce distractions and get the student back on track. For more tips about organizing the highly distracted gifted child, check out the transcript of this week’s chat 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

Resources:

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help

Gifted Students & Disorganization (Reg. required)

This Child is a Classic ‘Absent-Minded Professor’

How to Raise a Gifted Child without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind

Organization Skills

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf)

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (bn ebook)

4 Smartphone Solutions to Keep Your Teen Organized

7 Ways to Teach Your Grade-Schooler Organization Skills

Exercise Is Surprisingly Effective At Boosting Executive Function

On Rainbows and Mantis Shrimp: A Layperson’s Perspective on ADHD & the Misdiagnosis of Gifted Brains

How to Help the Impulsive Disorganized Child

The Impulsive, Disorganized Child: Solutions for Parenting Kids with Executive Functioning Difficulties

Organizing the Gifted Learner

Organizing Einstein: Enhancing the Abilities of the Gifted Learner Part 1

Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner: An Overview (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Study Skills/Organization Page

Cybraryman’s ADHD/ADD Page

Sprite’s Site: Delta Dog

Sprite’s Site: Sprite on the Subject of Homework

Interruptions at Work Are Killing Your Productivity

ADDitude Magazine

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Are you ADD — or just gifted?

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Parent Support Groups – Meeting Needs

gtchat 07122018 Parent

It is undeniable that great parent support groups precede quality education and gifted programming is no different. When parents get involved, schools respond. Parenting gifted children is fraught with frustration at trying to get an appropriate education for their atypical child … something that should be available to all children. Professionals to whom parents for turn lack knowledge and information about gifted children which leads to inappropriate directions, misdiagnosis and a general lack of empathy to the situation parents find themselves.

When beginning an affiliate group, welcome parents, teachers and administrators, homeschooling parents into your group. You can achieve things like additional teachers and programs never seen before in your district. Parent Support Groups should think ‘big tent’ … there is strength in numbers. Bring all parties to the table; consider all viewpoints and work for consensus making sure you’re always going forward.

Many state and national gifted organizations can provide info and support to parents on starting a local support group. Working with schools to find other parents is best. If not, talk to your child; they know who’s in the gifted program. Parents can also connect at school events and in online groups. Remember that everything you do is for gifted children; to provide advocacy for appropriate educational programming and to support their parents.

What resources are available to parents to start a group? A simple online search can identify your state’s gifted organization. If you state doesn’t have one, check out websites outside your area for general information. Some great states include TX, CA, CT, IL, CO, GA, OH, MD and FL. Other organizations to check out include: SENG, NAGC, IEA Gifted, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Potential Plus UK, and European Council for High Ability.

Gifted parent groups organize first for educational goals, but soon look to meet the social-emotional needs of GT kids through peer networking and providing access to out of school opportunities. They need to keep the needs of their parents in mind by working together toward common goals and supporting the social-emotional needs of parent members as well.

What steps can be taken to ensure the continuation of the group over time? The average time commitment of parents usually only lasts 7 to 8 years – from identification to the early years of high school. No one wants to spend time building a group only to see gifted services fade over time. Parent support group should be constantly looking to recruit new members; those with younger children. Groups should provide leadership mentoring to ensure the continuation of the group. 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:

Starting & Supporting a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf)

Parent Support Groups at TAGT

Establish a Parent Support Group at TAGT

What Makes a Parent Group Successful (pdf)

NAGC Advocacy Tool Kit 

Resources from McKinney (TX) Gifted and Talented Alliance

SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPG)

What Can Parents’ Groups Do for Gifted Kids?

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

How Parent Advocacy Groups can Make a Difference

Start a Support Group for Parents of Gifted Kids

One Person Can Make a Difference

Power in Numbers: How Gifted Advocacy Parent Groups can Help You and Your Kids

Three Reasons to Join a Parent Support Group

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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