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Living With and Managing Intensity

Intense gifted behaviors are expressed in many ways and often misinterpreted by professionals who lack training in recognizing them as related to giftedness. Intense behaviors for gifted individuals may include emotional outbursts, preferring to be alone, excessive talking, stubbornness, being ‘bossy’, or even appearing conceited.

Why shouldn’t these intense behaviors be pathologized in gifted children? Giftedness is not an illness. It should be understood; not diagnosed. Pathologizing gifted behavior can lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate responses can harm the child. Pathologizing typical behavior for a gifted child can make the child feel there is something wrong with them; that they are somehow abnormal.

Asynchronous development, many ages at once, can exacerbate feelings associated with the maturing process. It’s essential that adults … parents, teachers, professionals … respect the child’s feelings regardless of chronological age.

Teachers can seek professional development about giftedness and how it relates to academics and SEL independently. They can develop a plan in advance (GIEP/IEP); watch for escalation patterns or signs of impending situation; and be prepared to take action such as removing student to a neutral setting. Teachers can advocate for modifications to the student’s learning experience and respect student voice.

Parents should actively build strong parent-child relationship based on respect, authentic conversation on intense emotions, empathy, and time spent together. They should refrain from threatening language keeping own emotions in check, learn to listen and anticipate intense situations, and practice their responses in advance.

What are some important factors when choosing a mental health professional? When looking for a mental health professional for assessment or counseling, parents should meet alone with them before introducing their child. They need to feel comfortable talking to them. It’s essential that mental health professionals self-identify as having worked with gifted individuals and have specific training in understanding giftedness.

A transcript of this chat can 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:

Where’s the Off Switch?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

The Intensity of Giftedness

Best Tips for Parents of a GT Child

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

Why Can’t They Loosen Up? Intensities of Gifted Youth

The Intrinsic Intensity of the Gifted Child

Living with Intensity Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (GPP)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (2nd ed.)

Parenting Gifted Kids is an Emotional Rollercoaster Here’s How to Find Great Peace

Befriending Anxiety to Reach Potential: Strategies to Empower Our Gifted Youth

Supporting Students with Gifted-Talented Potential In High Need Schools: A Portraiture Study (pdf)

The Bright Side of Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Giftedness and Intensity

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children (pdf)

Helping Gifted Children Cope with Intense Emotions

Giftedness and Intensity/Complexity

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth

Coping with Emotional Intensity (pdf)

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society (Silverman)

Talented and Gifted Presentation by Jim Delisle (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: GT Chat Labels: Good, Bad or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities and Theory of Positive Disintegration

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Overexcitabilities (OEs)

The Columbus Group

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright (website)

Living & Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Parenting Emotionally Intense Gifted Children

 

Photo #1 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #2 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #3 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #4 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #5 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Optimizing Asynchronous Development

gtchat 05102018 Asynchronous

The term asynchronous development was originally conceptualized by a group known as the Columbus Group. It is widely accepted today relating to gifted children. The Columbus Group defined asynchronous development as children whose inner experiences and awareness due to intellect and intensities were qualitatively different from the norm. They believed parenting, teaching and counseling required modifications in order for gifted children to develop optimally.

It is important to understand giftedness through the lens of asynchronous development. Initially, gifted children may not comprehend the role of asynchronous development in their lives on a very personal level. They need guidance. Society’s expectations of how a child should act and how a smart child should act put undue pressure on these kids that can have severe consequences for them and society.

There are paradoxes presented by asynchronous development. It can, but not in all cases, mean a child can achieve at levels well beyond what is expected for their chronological age. Asynchronous development may result in a child being placed in an academically appropriate place that fails to accommodate their social-emotional needs.

How does asynchronous development affect the behavioral and emotional aspects of giftedness? Once a child is identified as gifted, society tends to judge them solely on their achievements and how they perform without regard to social-emotional aspects. It can create a wildly different life experience for the gifted child; one that lacks the understanding and empathy of adults.

Adults can support a gifted child’s asynchronous development so that they aren’t overwhelmed by their ability to perceive the complexity of the world around them. Ideally, a gifted child’s social-emotional needs will be respected in conjunction with their gifts and talents. Recognizing the need is a good first step. Adults need to be hyper-aware of each gifted child’s unique challenges and develop individualized education plans that address the whole child.

Where can parents seek information about asynchronous development? One of the best books for parents is “Off the Charts.” It’s a compilation of works; many by members of the Columbus Group. The NAGC, SENG and IEA Gifted have extensive resources for parents seeking information on asynchronous development. State organizations may have additional local info as well. 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:

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (Amazon)

Definition of Asynchronous Development in Children

Asynchronous Development: An Alternate View of Giftedness

Asynchronous Development in Gifted Kids

Many Ages at Once

The Neural Plasticity of Giftedness

Giftedness: The View from Within

Asynchronous Development

Asynchronous Development (NAGC)

UK: The Misidentification & Misdiagnosis of Gifted Children

Gifted Children Do Exist Here’s What Happen when We Deny It 

What I Want You to Know about My Gifted Son

Supporting Gifted Children

Parent Hot Sheet: Asynchronous Development (pdf) (NAGC)

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Asynchronous Development

The Columbus Group

Sprite’s Site: Beginning the Journey – Gifted 101

Giftedness As Asynchronous Development

4 Fabulous Ways for Kids to Pamper Mom on Mother’s Day

Image courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Strong-Willed Gifted Child

gtchat 05242016 Strong Willed Child

 

Strong-willed gifted children can appear oppositional and fail to respond to traditional behavior interventions. They are characterized as uncooperative, stubborn, defiant, rebellious and arrogant. They can also be thought of as passionate, idealistic, and emotionally intense. Due to asynchronous development, gifted children may have a deep understanding of a problem but lack ability to deal with it.

A gifted child’s behavior is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed by professionals. Many characteristics of giftedness may appear similar to mental health and few professionals have training in gifted issues. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate and ineffectual treatments which make matters worse.

Traditional behavior strategies don’t work because the underlying causes for the behavior are atypical for their age. A gifted child’s refusal to comply is often the result of deeply held yet inconsistent beliefs and feelings of injustice.

What info could be shared with teachers to help them understand this behavior as it relates to giftedness? Few teachers have a background in gifted education; basic information is a good place to start. Teachers need to know that gifted students don’t always know what they are good at; guidance may be needed to direct students to a place of understanding.

Scaffolding, a technique used in teaching, can be applied to helping gifted children deal with their emotions. It is a way to provide positive, but temporary support to a child during an emotional impasse; and can foster emotional growth as it leads to a positive, non-argumentative resolution of behavior issues. Scaffolding with gifted children promotes self-esteem and self-efficacy with long-term impact on reducing negative behavior. (Malonai 2016)

What positive steps can parents & teachers take to help strong-willed gifted children thrive? Parents can help their child discover who they are, their strengths by providing opportunities for recognizing personal strengths. Teachers can encourage students to follow their passions through school activities that challenge and validate them. Both parents & teachers need to provide positive supports before issues arise; celebrate good behavior when demonstrated. A transcript of this chat can be 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 Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 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.

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:

7 Ways to Help Your Strong-Willed Gifted Child Thrive

5 Discipline Tips for When Time-Outs Don’t Work

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children

Gifted Children: Mood Issues with Gifted Child

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers (Amazon)

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

The Strong Willed Child, Limit Testing & Why Giftedness Matters

Are Strong-Willed Children Gifted?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Amazon)

Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy & Successful Gifted Children (Amazon)

Emotional Regulation and the Gifted Child 

Laughing at Chaos: Real Life Scaffolding 

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster

 

Photo courtesy morgueFile  CC BY 2.0   Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Stigma of Giftedness

gtchat 05172016 Stigma

 

A social stigma is a discrediting stereotype placed on individuals with attributes that deviates from norm; exactly what often happens to children identified as gifted. They figure out quite quickly that they will be treated differently by adults; sometimes with unfair expectations.

 

gtchat 05172016 Stigma Image 1

Gifted children may manipulate information about themselves to ensure they still have normal social relationships (Cross/Coleman 1993).  The stigma can extend to parents of gifted children cutting them off from support offered other parents because their children are ‘different’.

 

gtchat 05172016 Stigma Image 2

Gifted students are known to employ strategies to avoid the stigma associated with giftedness. Invisible strategies include ‘not’ saying a test is easy; ‘not’ volunteering answers; asking questions when answer is known; or not telling their age when they’ve been accelerated. More visible strategies include being the class clown, obnoxious behavior, or dressing outside current styles. Disidentifying strategies include feigned interest in small talk; acting silly; asking absurd questions (Coffey). Past studies have shown gifted students becoming highly involved in extracurricular activities to ‘fit in’. (Coleman 1985)

gtchat 05172016 Stigma Image 3

There are potentially negative outcomes of avoidance behavior related to the stigma of giftedness. When kids feel different and don’t know why, it can lead to feelings of abnormality. A gifted child may hide their giftedness to ‘fit in’ socially with age-peers and this can lead to underachievement. Parents are affected, too. They tend to shy away from sharing about their child’s accomplishments.

gtchat 05172016 Stigma Image 4

What can parents do to help their child cope with the stigma associated with giftedness? Parents can explain what giftedness is and its characteristics so their child isn’t confused about feeling different. They should provide opportunities for children to associate with intellectual peers in an appropriate environment. Parents may also need to seek counseling or therapy if they believe their child’s well-being is adversely affected. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat 05172016 Stigma Image 5

 

 

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 Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 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.

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:

The Stigma of a Gifted Child

Support for Parents of Gifted &Talented Children in Western Melbourne (Thesis p. 77 – pdf)

Coping with the Stigma of Giftedness (pdf)

The Social & Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids (pdf)

Possible Stigma of the Gifted Label

Is Being Gifted a Social Handicap?

25 Years of Research on the Lived Experience of Being Gifted in School

Giftedness & Genetics: The Emergenic Epigenetic Model & Its Implications (pdf)

Talent Development in Economically Disadvantaged Populations (pdf)

The Unique Inner Lives of Gifted Children (pdf)

The Social Cognition of Gifted Adolescents in School: Managing the Stigma of Giftedness

The Bipolar Spectrum and The Artistic Temperament: The Effects of Treatment on Exceptional Artistic Talent (pdf)

Laughing at Chaos: I DON’T Brag about My Gifted Kid

Sprite’s Site: GT Chat: Labels: Good, Bad, or Simply Wrong

Academically Gifted Students’ Perceived Interpersonal Competence and Peer Relationships (pdf)

Gifted Kids Shape their Personalities as per Social Stigma 

The Talent of Being Inconvenient: On the Societal Functions of Giftedness (pdf)

A Gifted Child is Not a Perfect Child – So Why is There Still a Stigma?

Possible Stigma of the Gifted Label

Pathologizing and Stigmatizing: The Misdiagnosis of Gifted People

Special thanks to Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, for her extensive list of additional links for this week’s #gtchat.

Photo courtesy of morgueFile. Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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