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Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Guest, Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

gtchat 02162016 Healthcare Providers

 

This week, #gtchat provided an insider’s look at Discussing Giftedness with Healthcare Providers with Marianne Kuzujanakis, M.D. M.P.H . Dr. Kuzujanakis, a pediatrician with a masters degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health and a homeschooler, is a former director of SENG and currently the Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for SENG.

Dr. Kuzujanakis explained why it is important for healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about ‘gifted’ issues, “Most kids see MDs more than 12 times before age 6. MDs are the first regular professionals to follow a child’s development. This need not be a missed opportunity. Some MDs are GT and are well versed in complexities of being gifted and talented. Others, however, are unaware of gifted issues and  miss chances to help; many harm kids in the process. The overall prevalence of GT (5-10%) rivals learning disabilities, asthma, and ADHD – topics discussed frequently in medical school; yet giftedness is rarely mentioned. Why? Many MDs and society believe in giftedness myths. She went on to say, “GT affects the whole child and lack of knowledge leads to misdiagnosis (under-diagnosis/over-diagnosis) or other medical diagnosis.”

What type of general information should a patient or parent be prepared to provide to MD/MH providers? Marianne explained, “It’s awkward for many parents to discuss GT with their doctor. They often feel like they’re boasting. Other parents feel MDs should care only for body; not mind. But science shows the importance of a mind-body connection in disease. GT involves all aspects of mind-body and it is important in diagnosis.  Unfortunately since medical doctors primarily address deficits and delays, parents need to be assertive about GT. This can be difficult for introverts.” She emphasized the importance to be specific. She told us, “Don’t say, “My child is gifted.” Say HOW he or she is gifted; matter-of-factly. Take care to first learn about GT yourself. Be collaborative. Take the team-player route. Confrontation rarely gets best response. Your goal should be to get the best support for your child.”

“Trust helps the parent/MD relationship to go a long way to identify real needs in your gifted child and prevent over-medicalization of childhood.”~ Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

Dr. Kuzujanakis suggested that parents “bring printed brochures and documents to appointments. Be a grassroots educator for GT. If your doctor isn’t open to discussion; find another doctor.  Many doctors are open to information provided by patients/parents in this media-driven world. Take advantage, but be cognizant of your MD’s time constraints.” She pointed out, “Doctors are trained to make a diagnosis to be reimbursed. Don’t rush to accept a diagnosis if you disagree. Parent often knows best. If necessary, seek a second opinion. Trust helps the parent/MD relationship to go a long way to identify real needs in your gifted child and prevent over-medicalization of childhood.”

Our discussion then turned to SENG’s Misdiagnosis Initiative. Dr. Kuzujanakis explained, “[The initiative] began after the AAP (American Academy of Pediatricians) approved ADHD medications for 4-yr-olds. Stimulates are now used even in toddlers. There is no medical school education on overexcitabilities or asynchrony. GT misdiagnosis is a global issue.” SENG has produced a brochure (see below) which is now available in 3 languages. In 2016, the SENG team will be presenting at the AAP’s National Conference and Dr. Dan Peters will be our team’s speaker. They will also be finishing up an article based on their Parent Survey research which involved over 3,500 parents. Marianne also announced that Great Potential Press plans to  publish the 2nd edition of Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis (book) late this year. Look for it by Christmas.

For more from this chat, check out the transcript 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  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (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:

Health Care Providers Know Little About Gifted Children

Where Does a Pediatric Doctor Fit in the Care of Gifted Children? By Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

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

The Role of Physicians in the Lives of Gifted Children

Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (Free Download)

Psychological Misdiagnosis of Gifted and Talented Children

Seeking Professional Help for Your Gifted Child

Professionals Specializing in Gifted

Developmental and Cognitive Characteristics of “High-Level Potentialities” (Highly Gifted) Children

Accurate Assessment? ADHD, Asperger’s Disorder & Other Misdiagnosis/Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children (pdf)

The Psychological Well-Being of Early Identified Gifted Children

Giftedness Myths

SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

Homeschooling: Not the Last Resort

Reducing Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis

SENG Decreasing Medical Misdiagnosis in Gifted Children (pdf) Free Brochure

Why Should I Have My Child Tested?

Tests, Tests, Tests

Psychologists Familiar with Testing the Gifted and Exceptionally Gifted

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative Webpage

Four GT-related Articles from Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis

SENG Liaisons

SENG Professionals Listing

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Photo courtesy of Flickr   CC BY 2.0

 

When the Gifted Child Hides Their Giftedness

gtchat 07102015 When Gifted Child Hides Giftedness

 

Most people are not aware that many gifted children at times hide their giftedness for various reasons. Although it can just be a phase as these kids enter the teen years and yearn to ‘fit in’ with age-peers, it often goes much deeper than that. It can become a life-long struggle. Sometimes gifted kids face ridicule about their abilities by classmates and it’s just easier to go into stealth mode. Lack of confidence and self-esteem can cause some gifted children to not believe they are gifted.

Early research focused on gifted girls as the ones who primarily hide their giftedness beginning in the pre-teen years. (Silverman, 2009). Further studies revealed that boys, too, will hide the fact that they are gifted in response to pressure from peers to excel in sports rather than academically. This happens most often in high school. (Betts/Neihart, 2010)

There are specific behaviors to look for if you suspect a gifted child may be hiding their gifts and talents. Adults should look for children who deny or discount obvious talent; often early dropping out of gifted programs or later from AP programs. They do not want to confront challenge. A child who is trying to hide their giftedness may suddenly change peer groups or appear to lack direction. (Betts/Neihart) They may disconnect from adults in their lives – teachers and parents.

Helping a gifted child to understand what being gifted is all about can help to counter their desire to fly under the radar and hide their giftedness. Adults need to talk to children that being gifted is not about being better than others, but simply different. They can be given opportunities to research what giftedness is on their own. Gifted children often respond to meeting and being mentored by gifted adults in their areas of interest.

Educators need to learn why a child might be hiding their giftedness and try to be understanding. They need to recognize ability and consider appropriate placement in advanced-level classes. School personnel need to provide counseling, diagnostic testing and propose alternative learning opportunities. Teachers can provide direct instruction on social skills for gifted students struggling in this area. School counselors can arrange support groups to discuss giftedness with students.

How can parents help their child when they hide their giftedness? Parents need to normalize the gifted experience; moderate praise; allow freedom to make life choices. They can encourage self-understanding and self-acceptance (Betts/Neihart) and provide opportunities for enrichment without offering extrinsic rewards or punishments. (Rivera) Parents need to learn about asynchronous development as social skills often lag behind academic achievement. They can teach social skills, but need to realize that the timing may not coincide with age-peers. A full transcript may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

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

Stealth Giftedness

What We Have Learned About Gifted Children (8)

Nurturing Giftedness in Young Children

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness

Profiles of the Gifted & Talented (1988)

Revised Profiles of the Gifted & Talented (pdf) (2010)

The Six Types of Gifted Child: The Underground

Ten Days of Stealth Giftedness: A Crash Course on Incognito Intelligence

The Tres Columnae Project

Gifted, Talented and Still Hiding Out

Felicity the Underground Gifted

Cybraryman’s Introverted Children Page

I Forgot to Socialize My Kids

Defining Underachievement

Is It a Cheetah?

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Under Achievers

Parenting Strategies to Motivate Underachieving Gifted Students

Five Relationships Any Gifted Kid Needs

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Giftedness Across the Lifespan: Do Gifted Children = Gifted Adults?

Giftedness Across the Lifespan

Our chat started with these sage words of advice from Jerry Blumengarten, “Giftedness does not disappear when one becomes an adult. You have to come to terms with yourself and the abilities you possess.”

In recent years, the criteria for defining giftedness has been rather contentious. However, for our discussion, it was soon realized that how giftedness is defined impacts how people view its continuance across the lifespan and whether or not it fades upon entry into adulthood. When society sees giftedness only as achievement, only those who continually achieve are recognized as gifted. Giftedness as a different way of thinking and viewing the world was more often seen as developing over one’s lifetime.

Most felt that it was important to recognize that giftedness was an ongoing process for many different reasons. Lack of awareness makes it difficult for gifted individuals to understand why they don’t “fit in”. Understanding the characteristics of giftedness helps one find peers and find satisfaction in the workplace. Many valuable contributions of gifted individuals may be lost to society due to impostor syndrome. Sensitivities may be misdiagnosed as mental health issues. Lisa Lauffer also pointed out, “It comes into play when becoming a parent. Understanding yourself as a person and parent [helps you to] understand your kids.”

Unresolved childhood issues can affect responses to social interactions for gifted adults. They can lead to troubled peer relations with friends, co-workers, spouses. Children who are never identified as gifted, but are … may be unaware of how intensities affect their lives.

What personality traits affect giftedness across the lifespan? Persistence, ambition, and intellectual energy are all personality traits that can affect giftedness. Adult giftedness is seen in complex analytical thinking, advanced empathy, quirky sense of humor, and perfectionism. (Prober) Gifted adults have multiple sensitivities, meticulous attention to detail and precision, and divergent thinking. (Webb, et al 2005) Krissy Venosdale expressed it this way, ” [It’s] being different than the norm … If you’re lucky, you learn to embrace that.” A transcript of our 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 Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT 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 2014-07-14About 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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Life-span Giftedness

Change Your Story, Change Your Life by Stephanie Tolan (Free download)

Giftedness Across a Lifespan

Optimum Intelligence: My Experience as a Too Gifted Adult via Hoagies Gifted

Gifted Children: What Happens When They Grow Up? (Part 1)

Gifted Lives: What Happens When Gifted Children Grow Up? (Part 2)

Gifted Children: Nurturing Genius

Can I Just be Not Gifted for a Little Bit?

I Really Can See You Finding Hidden Giftedness in Middle School Kids Who Otherwise Could Be Lost

Coming Out Gifted (pdf) by Lisa Erickson, MS, LMHC

The Gifted Identity Formation Model by Andrew Mahoney

Counseling Gifted Adults – A Case Study by Paula Prober via SENG

Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential (Amazon)

Life with Intensity: Gifted Kids become Gifted Adults by Mona Chicks

How Do We Begin to Talk about the “Gifted Lifetime?” by Pamela Price

The ‘Other’ Gifted Adult

Yes, but Where’s the Tree

Gifted for Life by Amy Harrington

Making the Choice to Manage Intensity

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Grown Ups by Jo Freitag

Embracing Gifted Me

Dealing with the Disads The Reality of Being a Gifted Adult

Gifted Grown Ups Blog Hop Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Gifted is not a label…it’s a Lifestyle

Albert Einstein Hero of Giftedness (pdf)

Appreciate Eccentricities & Embrace Quirks

Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging Across the Lifespan (Upcoming book from Great Potential Press)

 

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay. CC0 Public Domain

Procrastination and the Gifted Child

Procrastination copy

Procrastination is a widespread concern in the gifted community which affects young children, adolescents, and adults. It can affect school work, career development, and family life. Although procrastination does occur in the general populace, gifted individuals often experience it to a greater degree as a manifestation of their giftedness and in part because of higher expectations.

During our chat, participants expressed many reasons for procrastinating: they worked better under pressure, preferred to delay tasks that did not interest them, task initiation was stressful, multipotentiality made decision-making difficult, and everything had to be just right. However, author Christine Fonseca pointed out that there is also a positive aspect, “Procrastination can create an adrenal rush that makes ideas flow. There is a wonderful thing about being in the flow; what looks like procrastination is simply finding that.”

Janine Mac, a teacher in Canada, explained that “My gifted and talented students don’t need as much time as others. Starting and finishing early means more work [for them].” 

With regard to gifted children, chronic distractibility develops because too often they don’t need to pay attention in class. They are required to do things they already know how to do and have little interest in completing repetitive tasks. Gifted children with executive functioning issues may lack the skills to prioritize and complete assignments despite motivation. Impostor Syndrome may cause gifted students to delay completion of projects due to anxiety from feelings of inadequacy. Avoidance behavior in gifted children can signal deeper issues that should be recognized and addressed before a small problem becomes a major issue.

Jeremy Bond, writer and parent, stated “They’re not gifted in everything, so they procrastinate with the difficult things because they prefer the comfort of doing well.”

The consequences of procrastination can have pronounced effects on a gifted child. Inattention/distractibility leading to procrastination does not stop at the end of the school day & leads to conflict at home. Gifted children who have ADD can compensate in elementary school, but struggle when they reach the secondary level. An inability to get things finished can lead to mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Ultimately, procrastination can become a threat to career development & achievement.

Jeffrey Farley, a middle school teacher expressed this concern, “Biggest consequence of procrastinating I have seen is when perfectionism takes hold and time is too short to reach the vision.”

What can parents and teachers do to help their child or student with procrastination? Don’t assume a child is lazy because they procrastinate. They may be overwhelmed, overconfident, unchallenged. (Byrd) Try to stay positive when your child procrastinates on school assignments and do not lose your temper. Changes to the environment such as limiting distractions can aid in promoting task completion. Forget the “let’s get super organized” trap that requires a child to have to focus more on organizing rather than completing tasks. Be open to asking for help from other parents or appropriate school personnel – you’ll find you’re not alone. A full transcript can be found on our Storify page.

 

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Ten Reasons Why Your Gifted Child Procrastinates from Gifted Challenges

A Side Effect of Giftedness: Procrastination

The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook (Amazon)

Perfectionism: What’s Bad About Being Too Good? (Amazon)

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help

A Guide to Time Management

Does Your Gifted Child Have ADD (ADHD)?

Handbook of Giftedness in Children (Google Books) Pfeiffer

The Real Causes of Procrastination via ByrdseedGifted

Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination from Great Potential Press

Perfectionism, Procrastination & Perspicacity from PaulaProber

Grandparents’ Guide to Gifted Children (Google Books) from Great Potential Press

The Everything Parent’s Guide to Raising a Gifted Child (Google Books)

Taming the Procrastination Beast from Paula Prober

Highly Gifted Children with Attention Deficit Disorder by Lovecky (1991) from Davidson Gifted

The Procrastinator’s Guide to the Galaxy and Other Important Spots in the Universe

Giftedness and Procrastination Livebinder from Leslie Graves

How to Overcome Perfectionism & Procrastination

Procrastination—A Cry for Help

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