Blog Archives

Trauma Informed Approaches to Educating GT Students

This week, #gtchat welcomed Alessa Giampaolo Keener as our guest to chat about Trauma Informed Approaches to educating GT Students in the era of COVID19 and the effects of physical distancing when quarantined. Alessa holds a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University; a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Lehigh University, and a Certificate in Special Education Advocacy from the William & Mary Law School. She homeschooled her two children from Kindergarten into college. Throughout her years of homeschooling, she embraced a child-led learning approach, with an emphasis on social-emotional development and community-based learning.

Responses to the pandemic by GT students are as unique as the students themselves. They may share the experiences of other students, but many will do so on a deeper level. Parents and teachers of GT students have reported challenging behaviors based on students’ depth and breadth of knowledge about #COVID19. Many parents are now seeing behaviors first hand – boredom with busy work; and prior because of mastery of material being assigned by schools, refusal to complete assignments.

What is a Trauma Informed Approach for crisis ‘at-home’ schooling? The idea of a Trauma Informed Approach to crisis has been used in the past, but for many different reasons. In general, a Trauma Informed Approach takes into consideration safety; trustworthiness & transparency; peer support; collaboration & mutuality; empowerment & choice; and cultural, historical and gender issues. (CDC)

A GT child’s intensity can be overwhelming under normal circumstances; both at home and in the classroom. When you combine these two environments, it is imperative to set healthy boundaries. Parents and GT teachers want to provide the best education they can for these kids. It’s important for kids to feel safe; first & foremost.

What strategies can be used to help twice-exceptional kids succeed with online classes? Twice-exceptional students need to be recognized and understood that accommodations must go well beyond the traditional classroom walls. If IEPs or 504 plans are in place, they should be followed even now. Parents should seek advice from available school staff if they are having difficulty at home. It is a stressful time for everyone and not a time to shy away from asking for help when needed.

It is important to watch for signs of trauma now and in the days ahead. It should be expected that we are in for a long disruption of our children’s education. Parents need to be vigilant in monitoring their children’s mental health. The signs of trauma may manifest in different ways as we all adjust to life in these extraordinary times. Children may display aggressive behavior or be verbally abusive toward adults and authority figures. Parents should watch for physical ailments, sleeping difficulty, or even nightmares.

The message can be straight forward for younger students, but more nuanced for older ones. Different ages will respond in different ways and this is especially true when taking asynchronous development into account. It’s important to reinforce the message that a person can grow from struggle and it need not result in lower expectations. There are assets to be gained when overcoming adversity. In the era of COVID19, we should embrace a mindset of promoting resiliency and the value of beating the odds. Lessons learned today will be invaluable throughout the remainder of our children’s lives. A transcript of this chat is available 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:

DIY Ways to Meet a Child’s Sensory Needs at Home

SENGinar: Gifted School-At-Home During COVID19 – Using a Trauma Informed Approach to Support the Social-Emotional Needs of Your Children

NAGC TIP Sheet: Supporting Your Gifted Child During COVID-19 (pdf)

Center for Healthy Minds: COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit and Resources

NAGC: COVID-19 & Anxiety in Gifted Children

Healing the Heart: Helping Children Manage Toxic Stress and Trauma (Vimeo)

Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm

Childhood Trauma, Psychotherapy, Courage, and Your Gifted Self

The Trauma of the Gifted Child (Dissertation)

Understanding Children’s Reactions to Trauma (2002)

Resilience and Gifted Children (Kerr)

Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events? (2004)

Trauma: A Call for Collaboration (Bachtel)

Helping Your Child Manage Stress through Mindfulness (pdf Kane)

Infographic: 6 Guiding Principles to a Trauma-Informed Approach

Hand in Hand Homeschool: #COVID19 Resources

Texas Gifted Education Family Network: GT in the Time of #COVID19

Mind Matters Podcast: The Stresses of Sheltering in Place (Audio 34:20)

Fringy Bit: Trauma Interventions

The 10 Best Apps to Help You Focus and Block Distractions

Sprite’s Site: Traditions Old and New

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo courtesy of Alessa Giampaolo Keener.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Parenting GT Kids in Extraordinary Times

Parents of GT children know it’s important to be honest and this is true when discussing COVID19. However, using age-appropriate language is still important. Many, not all, experience strong emotional reactions due to their depth of knowledge. The old KWL approach is a good starting point – “what do you know?”; “what do you want to know?”; and “what have you learned?”. Don’t fudge the facts. If you don’t know the answer, take time to see out trusted sources of information. Encourage older children to seek information and then discuss it with them. Help them distinguish fact from fiction.

How do parents maintain stability in our own lives in such unpredictable times? As adults, there’s a good chance we have already had uncertain/unpredictable circumstances in life. You can draw on personal experience with some modifications. Strive to stay positive, monitor your own anxiety, and practice self-compassion. One should maintain structure in your daily life, but be flexible when needed. Be thoughtful when talking to children. Look for opportunities to laugh and engage in fun activities.

There are strategies parents of GT kids can use to cope with life during a pandemic. Practically every expert recommends maintaining routines; getting up in the morning, preparing for the day ahead, regular meal times, exercise and play, completing school assignments, keeping in touch with friends and family. Be positive and reassure your kids that this will not last forever. Monitor your child’s mental health and seek help if necessary. Take time to educate your child on the importance of physical distancing, hand-washing, and being mindful of their physical health.

For many families, tackling education at home is a new experience. A good first strategy is to assess where your child is at educationally; their strengths and weaknesses. This may be an opportunity to accelerate their learning. So often parents of GT children seek individualized educational opportunities. Now can be the time to put ideas into action. Develop an education plan ‘with’ your child. Seek expert advice and see teachers as partners in the process.

How can parents rethink the pandemic as an unexpected opportunity? It’s easy to be stressed and overwhelmed by expectations of being the perfect parent – breadwinner, teacher, activities director. It’s also possible to see this as a time to be present in our children’s lives. In ordinary times, we all have time constraints that leave less time for kids. Spend time with them; no excuses. Make time to make good memories. Model the importance of giving back and paying it forward. Parents can teach their children mindfulness meditation, the power of taking deep breaths, and the importance of responding rather than reacting to situations. (Mahoney; 2020)

What can parents do to prepare their children for a Brave New World? Creating an atmosphere of love by connecting with family and friends can protect children from PTSD that will inevitably follow. Engage in frank discussions about how our world has changed & how to be problem solvers. Parents should use this time to prepare their children for life after an extended isolation period. Adopt new parenting strategies – teach kids the importance of working through uncomfortable feelings; cultivating compassion and connections; managing thoughts. (Mahoney; 2020)

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:

Suddenly Homeschooling: Resources for Parents of Gifted Children

Parenting in a Pandemic: Duke Experts on Helping Your Kids – And Yourselves

NAGC: Supporting Your Gifted Child during COVID-19 (pdf)

Parenting in a Pandemic

‘We’re all stressed out’: Parenting in a Pandemic Puts Additional Stress on Families, Children

Parenting Pandemic Style

Resources for Families during the Coronavirus Pandemic

How Parenting in a Pandemic is an Unexpected Opportunity

Cut Yourself Some Slack, Parenting in a Pandemic is a Rough Gig

How to Answer 7 Big Questions Kids have about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Modifications of Parenting Time during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stuck at Home: Parent Hacks for Homeschooling, Social Connection and More

Parenting Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips for Parents

Parenting in a Pandemic: 4 Tips for Survival

Parenting Right Now Is Really Hard

Give Yourself ‘Grace’ — and 7 Other Tips from Teachers to Homeschooling Families

Parental Bandwidth in the Time of Coronavirus (How to cope when your emotional resources are in short supply)

More Reading, More Cuddles, And Less Stress

Discipline Looks Different in a Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 56: Surviving and Thriving in Quarantine

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 57: The Stresses of Sheltering in Place

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 58: Preparing for Post-Pandemic Recovery

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 33: Note to Self – Be Nice to Me

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Alternatives to Traditional Education

Many families, not just those with gifted children, believe their children are not only unchallenged in school; but, unprepared for the challenges of life upon graduation whether they go on to college or the workforce. A recent study found that students are not given “grade-appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement, and teachers with high expectations.” Once students are in middle school and high school; they express lack of interest or belief that subject matter is relevant to them. This leads to lack of engagement in school work and ultimately motivation to complete work.

Many parents find a lack of available programs for their children and too often negative attitudes toward gifted education in public schools. Lack of funding and poor teacher preparation can inhibit intellectual stimulation and growth for gifted students.

Every student is different. Some gifted students thrive in an online environment especially when their interests align with areas of study enhanced by online activities, mentoring, and collaborating with other gifted students. A major issue with using online options is using it as a ‘substitute’ for teaching. Students still need their learning to be facilitated by a qualified teacher or subject expert.

What resources are available for twice-exceptional students outside traditional schooling? There are several new options for twice-exceptional students depending on the nature of their needs. Parents may opt to homeschool or use online schools for their children. Private schools such as Flex School specialize in twice-exceptional students. However, not all private schools are able to the needs of these students. Parents may also consider creating a micro-school with the help of an educational professional where several families join together to hire teachers for a small groups of students with particular needs.

In the past, the reason for homeschooling was not generally based solely on academic needs. Today, organizations based specifically on gifted homeschooling, such as GHF Learners, provide resources for families. Homeschool organizations can provide networking opportunities for students and families, educational materials, online classes, and information for both gifted and #2ekids.

Unschooling can be a viable option for GT students, but there are many factors that should be considered first including a firm understanding of what it is and is not. Unschooling requires a strong support system of dedicated adults and resources. When considering unschooling, parents should consider their commitment regarding time, resources, potential facilitators and mentors to guide students. A transcript of the 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 1PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/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.

Resources:

The Opportunity Myth: What Students Can Show Us about How School is Letting Them Down – and How to Fix It

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Reaching ‘School Skeptics’ Through High-Challenge Interventions

Using Virtual Learning for Gifted Children

How to Determine if Traditional Education Isn’t Working for Your Child

Smart Children Left Behind: 4 High School Alternatives for Gifted Students

Distance Education in Rural High Schools as a Solution to the Dropout Problem among Gifted Students

School for the Gifted: Looking for Extra Challenge

Gifted with Learning Issues

Networks – Special Schools & Programs

Gifted Children and Non-Traditional Educational Choices

An Unconventional Education

Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Your child is gifted … now what?

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling (book)

Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget (book)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children

gtchat 02152018 Boost GHF

The term ‘twice-exceptional children’ covers a group of gifted children with high intellectual ability, but also with learning differences; differences which may confound both teachers and parents at first. They often require a more aggressive educational plan to provide supports beyond strictly academic interventions. This week #gtchat welcomed Kelly Hirt, author of Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children from GHF Press.

“While both groups (gifted and twice-exceptional) have high IQs, 2e learners possess unevenly dispersed strengths. Their giftedness can mask their disabilities or the opposite when their disabilities prevent them from reaching their potential. ~ Kelly Hirt

Kelly Hirt is a public school teacher with a MA in Curriculum Development, homeschooling parent, blogger, and writer of both fiction and nonfiction works. She has taught elementary school for twenty-five years in Washington State. During that time she served as a student teacher mentor, district level trainer and an active member during leadership teams and curriculum adoption reviews.

‘Intensities’ and ‘asynchronous development’ are both possible attributions of gifted and twice-exceptional but not necessarily. In fact, intensities as described by Dabrowski were not intended to be attributable to ‘gifted’ only. Dabrowski’s categorized intensities involved heightened sensitivities in areas such as intellect, emotions, imagination; among others. Asynchronous development, first described by the Columbus Group, involved being ‘many ages at once’.

“2e children are often impacted by more than one OE (overexcitabilities). Often the higher IQ, there is a greater asynchronous development and a greater impact from their intensities.” ~ Kelly Hirt

Within the general education community, there is little awareness about what exactly twice-exceptionality is and how to intervene on behalf of these children. Advocacy most often falls to parents. As with gifted education, little to no coursework is required of education majors at the undergraduate level. Because both conditions may mask each other, it is important to understand twice-exceptionality at a very deep level. It’s important to advocate for twice-exceptional children because too few responsible adults do. And let’s not forget we are talking about exceptional kids who can profoundly benefit from caring and appropriate accommodations.

“2e children are complex and many educators still do not understand them. When 2e kids are unseen and underserved, behaviors, frustration, and self-esteem issues can often follow.” ~ Kelly Hirt

What steps can parents take once they learn their child is identified as twice-exceptional? Take time to experience relief; to acknowledge that you do, in fact, know your child best. Understand that you have faced challenges as a parent that other parents may not comprehend. Once identified, educate yourself about twice-exceptionality. Find other parents or organizations which can support you and your child.

What is ‘Boost’ and how can educators implement it in schools and homeschooling? As Kelly’s title tells us, Boost presents 12 ways to effectively lift up twice-exceptional children with dignity and compassion. Boost encompasses strategies respectful of the twice-exceptional child and recognizes the need to have multiple approaches/tools in the parents’ and teachers’ toolboxes.

Educators should have access to professional development which provides information about twice-exceptionality and strategies to engage these students both academically and emotionally. Educators and parent-educators would benefit from learning about best practices in both special education and gifted education. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

We also encourage you to Check out TAGT’s Gifted Plus Equity Conference in June which includes 2E sessions.

Boost TAGT Gifted Plus Conference

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 2 PM NZST/Noon 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 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:

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children (Amazon)

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum)

My Twice Baked Potato (Blog)

My Twice Baked Potato: About Kelly

Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development (GHF Press) (Amazon)

Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism (Amazon)

Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits (Amazon)

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

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential (Amazon)

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling  (GHF Press) (Amazon) https://goo.gl/uIfTyI

GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

2e Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

The Twice-Exceptional Dilemma (pdf)

GHF: Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e)

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Page

GHF: Twice Exceptional (2e) Issues

GHF Bloghop: Gifted 2E Kids: What Makes Them Twice-Exceptional

Sprite’s Site: 2E Is

GHF: Living with Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: What Makes Them 2E?

Hoagies’ Bloghop : 2e Kids

GHF Online

If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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