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Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Development

gtchat 10092015 Writing Your Own Script

 

This week, #gtchat welcomed Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and Mika Gustavson, MFT; authors of “Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Development”, the latest book in the GHF Press Perspectives In Gifted Homeschooling Series. It marks a departure from their previous focus of finding the right academic fit for a child in their first book Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child to guiding parents on how to facilitate the development of friendships for gifted and twice-exceptional children.

Making the Choice GHF

We began our discussion by considering why  gifted and twice-exceptional children struggle to find others with the same interests and how levels of friendship play a role. So often, age-peers do not share interests  with these kids due to asynchronous development and the less cited fact that true peers are scarce. Dave Mayer pointed out, “Many seek the same level of intensity regarding a concept or activity, not just mild interest or friendly amiability.” Thus, the gifted child will not relate well to others as well. The authors referenced the work of Miraca Gross in “Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship.

There are times when some parents have difficulty separating their own needs from those of their children. They must be honest with themselves; it’s not the child’s role to fulfill the aspirations of their parents. There are also parents who are gifted, but were never identified. Their dissatisfaction with the school system may stem from personal frustration and unmet needs as a child. Sometimes a simple open and honest dialog with your child can solve the problem.

Overexcitabilites and asynchronous development both play roles in the development of friendships. Mika told us, “One child may be on different levels emotionally, behaviorally, intellectually.” Corin added, “Not every child has the capacity to deal with meltdowns, intensities or other behavioral issues. Kids may also have conflicting needs – such as one who thrives on sensory input and another who is sensory sensitive.”

gtchat 10092015 Writing Your Own Script Graphic

So, what role should parent’s play in their gifted/2E kids’ friendships? Each child is unique with different needs that must be reflected in the parent’s participation in their lives. Many factors must be taken into consideration as Corin stated, “Factors including age, development, tired or not tired, sensory input, one-on-one or groups, hungry, etc. Don’t expect consistency.” Parents may need to act as facilitators by providing opportunities for intellectual peers to meet.  Jaime of Online G3 said, “Parents can model healthy relationships, with together time, alone time, and finding ways to connect on various levels.” As a child grows, these needs change and as Jen Merrill told us, “Eventually you have to back off; I’m kinda there now. Set up events and get outta the way.”

“Not every child has the capacity to deal with meltdowns, intensities or other behavioral issues. Kids may also have conflicting needs – such as one who thrives on sensory input and another who is sensory sensitive.” ~ Corin Barsily Goodwin

How can parents be sure they are encouraging independence in their child by the actions they take? It’s important to look for social growth in your child’s behavior. Mika said, “Remember this is about scaffolding – giving your child a hand up and the tools to become independent.” According to Corin, “Scaffolding is an investment in their future independence, really. Some folks believe that kids develop in lockstep, but that’s not true. Some develop evenly; many don’t. And that’s OK.” Care M. summed it up, “I think it’s a lot like being at the playground. Grit teeth, hope for best, be there to pick up the pieces if they fall off.” A transcript may 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 Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays Noon NZDT/10 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 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:

Defining Giftedness

Gifted Resources

Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2E)

Twice-Exceptional Issues

Parent Resources

4 Ways Executive Functioning Issues Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life

Friendship Patterns in Highly Gifted Children

Teaching Social Skills to Young Gifted Children: Why & How

A 5 Is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up! (Amazon)

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Asperger Syndrome & Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage & Meltdowns (Amazon)

Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families (Amazon)

Keys to Successfully Parenting the Gifted Child (Talent Igniter)

Leslie Graves’ Livebinder Gifted and 2E

Cybraryman’s Mental and Emotional Health

Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities A Layman’s Explanation  (Tolan)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: Making Connections 2

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Dabrowski Quote

 

Overexcitabilities was a topic that had not been discussed on #gtchat since October of 2012, and obviously one that needed revisited considering the overwhelming number of votes it received in our weekly poll.

Kazimierz Dąbrowski is a familiar name in the gifted community as well as in the field of psychology. His theories of Positive Disintegration and Overexcitabilites, although not originally posited for gifted individuals only, were adopted by gifted advocates and academics as a way to explain many of the behaviors they saw in the gifted; particularly the concept of overexcitabilities.

Dąbrowski died in 1980, but two men who worked with him, Michael Piechowski and William Tillier, are closely associated with his work; albeit with significantly different interpretations. For a historical perspective, links have been included with this post to more fully cover this debate as it was not covered during the chat.

So exactly who was  Kazimierz Dąbrowski and how did his theories come to influence the gifted community? He was a Polish psychologist, psychiatrist and physician who lived from 1902 to 1980. His theories, as mentioned above, serve as a framework for understanding certain gifted characteristics. Dąbrowski believed ability/intelligence plus overexcitability predicted the potential for higher-level development. (Lind) For an excellent review of his influence on gifted theory, see this article by Sharon Lind at the SENG website.

Interview with Dąbrowski recorded in October 1975 in Edmonton (Canada) by PJ Reece

Concentrating on overexcitabilities, there are 5 types: Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. Creative and gifted individuals appear to express overexcitabilities to a greater degree through increased intensity, awareness and sensitivity. These characteristics can often lead to misdiagnosis in gifted children by professionals unfamiliar and untrained in recognizing these traits.

Strategies have been developed for coping with overexcitabilities. Talking with and explaining the concept of overexcitabilities with those experiencing them tends to be a good coping strategy. In the case of children allowing them to ‘move’ and expend their energy in a safe and caring environment can be a huge benefit; especially in classroom settings. Provide stimulating and challenging coursework in educational settings for children with intellectual overexcitability can affect their lives in dramatic ways as well as prevent underachievement and boredom.

For a transcript of this chat, visit our Storify site.

 

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 NZDT/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 Page provides 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:

Interview with Prof. Kazimierz Dąbrowski 1975 (YouTube 22:38)

Five Unexpected Traits of Gifted Students  from Byrdseed Gifted

Dąbrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration & Giftedness: Overexcitability Research Findings (pdf)

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

Dąbrowski’s Over-excitabilities A Layman’s Explanation by Stephanie Tolan

Identifying Gifted Adolescents using Personality Characteristics: Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities (pdf)

Overexcitabilities & the Gifted Child from Duke TIP

Living with Intensity Understanding Giftedness through Dąbrowski’s Eyes

Overexcitabilities & Why They Matter for Gifted Kids

Overexcitabilities A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gifted Child (pdf)

Dąbrowski’s Theory & Existential Depression in Gifted Children & Adults (pdf) by Dr. James T. Webb

Relationships between Overexcitabilities, Big 5 Personality Traits & Giftedness in Adolescents via @sbkaufman

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities or Supersensitivities in Gifted Children

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Amazon)

Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration (Amazon)

Overexcitabilities & Sensitivities: Implications of Dabrowski’s TPD for Counseling the Gifted

Foundations for Understanding Social-Emotional Needs of Highly Gifted from Davidson Gifted

Mellow Out, They Say If I Only Could: Intensities & Sensitivities of the Young & Bright (Amazon)

Dąbrowski 201: Intro to Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration by William Tillier (pdf)

Point-Counter Point Piechowski and Tillier: Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration http://goo.gl/0bn3dV

Response to William Tillier’s “Conceptual differences between Piechowski and Dabrowski” (pdf)

Can Giftedness be Misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? Empirical Evidence (pdf)

Thank you to Leslie Graves (President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children), Dr. Brian Housand (NAGC Board of Directors, #gtchat Advisory Board, Amy Harrington (SENG Board of Directors), Jo Freitag (Gifted Resources), Corin Goodwin (Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum), Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis (SENG Director and Medical Liaison) , Amanda Morin, and Jerry Blumengarten (Cybraryman).

The OEQ 2 Inventory (pdf)

Gifted Articles: Overexcitability on Livebinders

Educating the Educator – Gifted Education (AUS): Overexcitability

Dąbrowski’s Theory of Overexcitabilities

Photo of Kazimierz Dąbrowski

The Intellectual and Emotional Experience of Being Gifted and Talented

Overexcitabilities and Asynchronicity and Perfectionism! Oh, My!

Gifted: Overexcitabilities and Asynchronicity

Nurturing the Gifted Mind: Intellectual Overexcitabilities

Understood.org

Save the Gifted

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Brochures

Reducing the Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis from SENG

How to Help Your Grade-Schooler Manage Overexcitement

How to Help Your Middle- or High-Schooler Manage Overexcitement

GHF: Tips from an Occupational Therapist

Overexcitabilities on Livebinders from Leslie Graves

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Yoga Page

WCGTC World Conference 2015

Sprite’s Site Do You Know the Dabrowski Dogs?

Sprite’s Site Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Sprite’s Site Travelling with the Dabrowski Dogs

Sprite’s Site Critical Thinking

Sprite’s Site Be Creative with the Dabrowski Dogs

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Unexpected Challenges of Being a Gifted Kid with Guest Ian Byrd

Unexpected Challenge copy

Photo Courtesy of morgueFile

Our guest this week was Ian Byrd of Byrdseed Gifted. Ian is a much sought after presenter at gifted conferences and a well-respected educator within the gifted community. His website, Byrdseed Gifted, and latest venture, Byrdseed.tv (subscription-based), are excellent resources for all classroom teachers. During this chat, we explored the challenges of being a gifted kid based on one of Ian’s presentations that he’ll be giving at this year’s TAGT Parent Conference in Fort Worth, TX in December.

Ian Byrd 2014

Ian Byrd

Contrary to society’s perception of gifted children, the challenges they face are numerous. As participants in the chat pointed out from personal experience, life can be lonely and full of anxiety for a gifted kid. Feelings of not fitting in with age peers, unrealistic expectations by teachers and adults in their lives, obsessive behaviors that are often misunderstood, and relentless boredom in school has a profound impact on their lives. Ian shared, “As I grew up, I became increasingly self-critical, felt that I wasn’t as great as people said, and  grew afraid of taking risks.”

According to Ian, “It’s easy to assume that giftedness will make problems simpler to solve or that being “smart” should make life easier. Giftedness can create over-thinking,perfectionism, and an overly-critical point of view. Simple problems become overly complex!” As the moderator pointed out, “Gifted kids are rarely told what to expect. Adults need to do a better job at facilitating the conversation – what is giftedness?” Often a gifted child is confused about why they feel so different from their peers which leads to further problems. Discussing giftedness in a positive manner can help a child’s self awareness. A full transcript may be found here.

As mentioned earlier, Ian will be presenting at the TAGT Annual Conference on December 4th and December 5th and at the Parent Conference on the 5th  as well. You can register for the Annual Conference or the Parent Conference at these links.

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:

Who is Ian Byrd? Ian’s Bio

“Self Control is a Limited Resource” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Amazon)

“Why Change is So Hard: Self-Control is Exhaustible”

“10 Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

“Make Your Class Cozy for Gifted Introverts” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

“Sensitivity in Gifted Kids” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

“Personality Development and the Gifted” (pdf) by Linda Silverman

“Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children & Evolution of Society” by Linda Silverman via SENG Gifted

“High Anxiety” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears (Amazon) by Dr. Dan Peters

“Understanding the High Energy of Gifted Kids” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Living with Intensity (Amazon)

Intensities at Byrdseed Gifted

Experience and Processing The Funnel and Cylinder Analogy of Giftedness

Future U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Will Require More Brain Than Brawn

“Asynchrony and X-Men” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Feeling Isolated by Choice

“Dino Obsession: Intellectual Overexcitabilities in Action” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

The Gifted Kids’ Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under (Amazon)

The Gifted Family – Transforming Chaos into Calm

When I asked Jen Merrill, author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? and the popular Jen Merrill Head Shotblog Laughing at Chaos, to co-moderate this chat; she seemed to think that we might be attempting to discuss the impossible. Her exact words were “And then we’ll be discussing the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch!”

 

If you’ve raised gifted kids, family life can often seem chaotic and not just because of the kids! The parents’ intensity plays a greater role than many of us like to admit. The term ‘multiple personalities’ takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the members of a gifted family. Attempting to bring calm to a world of chaos when you aren’t sure who is in charge can prove difficult.

Undaunted … we went ahead with the chat and were pleasantly surprised not only to see many new faces, but several folks we had not seen in years. It seems that chaos rules in many households where ‘apples haven’t fallen far from the tree’ and now reside under one roof! And participants had a lot to say … nearly 600 tweets in one hour … about a tweet every 6 seconds! A list of the questions posed at this week’s chat may be found here. A full transcript is at Storify.

Our first question addressed the issue of how asynchrony, when developmental levels of gifted children collide, affects family life in terms of sibling relationships and extended family. One of the first responses, “How does it NOT affect all of life?” from Mona Chicks, set the tone for most of the chat.

Life is indeed chaotic in the gifted family and most participants agreed, ‘calm’ is a refuge rarely achieved. As Jen noted, “It’s hard to plan when you don’t know what age/behavior will appear. Extended family may only see one ‘age’ or only see the kid outside his comfort zone. I think asynchrony causes the most pain with extended family that doesn’t ‘get it.’ Sometimes [you get] judgement when you most need acceptance.” Amy Harrington added, “Asynchrony is pervasive with no off switch. It is all consuming and mixed in with Overexcitabilities [OEs] can be entirely overwhelming at times.

We next considered, “What strategies can parents use to calm their own emotional intensities while dealing with their child’s OEs?” Pamela Price of Red, White and Grew, recommended that “Honestly? They need to IDENTIFY their own intensities and seek separate support for them, including their own counselor.” Angie French from TeachaGiftedKid added, “You must take care of yourself so you can be the best caretaker of the ones you love.” Susanne Thomas, new Online Education Director at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, had some sage advice for the group, “Finding your tribe. Hands down. Anyone that ‘gets’ it even in concept needs to be cultivated and cherished.

Additional questions included dealt with:

  • the added pressures that parents face as mediators for their child when behaviors don’t match cultural norms
  • how discrepancies in a child’d development affect educational options
  • what effect gifted parenting has on marital relationships and increased financial burdens due to such things as homeschooling and/or early college entrance

Our final question of the chat was meant to allow participants to express some of the unexpected joys they had experienced with their gifted child. Jen shared a recent newspaper article, Moving Picture: Libertyville Computer Whiz Has Big Plans, about her son and his intense interest in computers. Comments shared were truly inspiring!

  • It’s that moment when someone who had low expectations figures it out and is in AWE of his ability. Seeing the connections happen in his brain. Amazing!” Mona Chicks
  • I get to school him here, and help him make connections, and watch his face light!!” Care M. 
  • Knowing that if there’s more spirited, divergent and creative thinkers out there like her, humanity might have a hope!” Celeste of Oz
  • Saying ‘my kid can code in 4 languages!'” Susanne Thomas
  • An off the wall sense of humour. Watching them think – the brilliant leaps from go to OMG where did that come from???” Gluten – Free Mum
  • His humor and original jokes! Oh, the jokes he spontaneously makes up!” Celi Trépanier
  • Beyond joy about rediscovering his “old”, happier self. Proud of us for stepping up to plate as parents. Flip side of public judgment–enormous appreciation 4 strangers who genuinely like your kid.” tedra 
  • Constantly impressed with their insight, creativity, kindness, seeing new patterns.” Justin Schwamm 

Have you found your tribe? People who ‘get’ giftedness and how it affects your life? Consider joining us at Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented on Twitter and find your tribe! Each week we discuss timely topics related to gifted children, adults and education. Questions are posted the day before and an edited transcript is posted after each chat.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #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 byTAGT 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 in the Asynchronous Family” by Kathi Kearney

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child” Neville, Piechowski & Tolan, eds.

Off-the-charts cover

Educating Exceptional Children Chap. 10 Exceptional Gifts & Talents” (Excerpt – Google Books)

A Review of Research on Parents & Families of Gifted Children” (1983)

How Gifted Children Impact the Family

Parenting Strategies for Parents of Gifted Children

Family Counseling with the Gifted” Linda Silverman” (pdf)

Parenting a Gifted Child: Lessons from the Andrakas” (video)

An Interview with Therapist for the Gifted Family, Mika Gustavson” by Suki Wessling

The Burden of Raising a Gifted Kid

A Year of Small Gratitudes” from Jen Merrill

Serving Highly & Profoundly Gifted Learners”  (pdf) in the Gifted Education Communicator Winter 2009

Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at School and at Home (Amazon 8th Edition) by Barbara Clark

Facing the Challenges of Growing Up Gifted (audio) on NPR

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young & Bright by Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. (book)

Mellow Out Book Cover

Coping When Extended Family Doesn’t Get Giftedness by Lisa Conrad

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Sprite’s Site Post for New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour

 

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