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Starting a Gifted Parent Group

Gifted Parent Group


There are a multitude of reasons for starting a parent support group; not the least of which is advocating for an appropriate gifted education program as well as for peer support. The benefits are numerous … realizing you aren’t alone; strength in numbers; and providing a peer network for your children. As teacher Justin Schwamm said, “It can be VERY isolating to be parent of gifted child, especially in a smaller community.” Tracy Fisher, Board Member from TAGT, reminded us that parent groups can “partner with your school district and improve services.”

By starting an advocacy/support group, parents are modeling how to advocate; an important life skill for gifted children. Support groups are often a parent’s first source of information on giftedness and about programs at local schools. Parent groups can also provide activities for gifted children to bond with their intellectual peers outside school.

What is the difference between an advocacy group and a support group? We tend to think of advocacy when speaking of education and support for general parenting of gifted kids. Krissy Venosdale framed her response like this ~ “Advocacy is ‘I want you to understand.’ Support is ‘we understand each other’.”  Amy Harrington, SENG Board member, said, “Advocacy groups teach and guide while support groups foster discussion and relationship building.'” And this from Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia, “Some parent groups fill both roles – advocacy groups would lobby politicians, education, etc; support groups would care for members.” A full transcript can be found here.


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:


Special thanks to Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children; Margaret Keane of; and Rose Sero from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented for providing us with many of our links!


SENG Model Parent Groups

Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented “Parent Support Group Information

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented “Establishing a Parent Support Group

What Makes a Parent Group Successful? (pdf)

Supporting Gifted Education Through Advocacy (pdf)

Sample By-Laws for a Parent Advocacy Group (pdf)

NAGC Advocacy Toolkit (US)

NAGC “How to Start a Parent Support Group” brochure (pdf)

NAGC ‘Effective Advocates’ (pdf) Series of Articles

NAGC “Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards” (pdf)

NAGC Gifted Program Assessment Tool (pdf)

How Parent Advocacy Groups Can Make a Difference

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Starting & Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf – ebook)

Care & Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers & Parents

Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth: Parent Support Groups

From IEA Gifted Gifted Child Parent Support Groups

Guidelines for Running a Support Group (pdf) via

Gifted Ireland: Starting a Group

Good Practice Guidelines for Peer Led Family Support Groups (pdf)

Speak Ireland (monthly parent meet-ups)

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Effective Advocacy

Working Effectively as a Parent Association (pdf)

Creating and Facilitating Peer Support Groups (pdf)

Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education Starting a P.A.G.E. Affiliate

Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education P.A.G.E. Affiliate Resources

New Zealand ~ Effective Parent Support Groups: The Magic Ingredients (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

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

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Amazon)

Coppell Gifted Association (TX)

Additional State Resources:

Alabama Association for Gifted Children’s Parent Corner

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented Parent Institute

Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education Affiliate Program

California Association for the Gifted Parents’ Page

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented Affiliates Page

Connecticut Association for the Gifted Parent Handbook

Florida Gifted Network Parent Group Links

Georgia Association for Gifted Children Local Chapters

Illinois Association for Gifted Children Parent Affiliates

Indiana Association for the Gifted Parent Center

Iowa Talented and Gifted Association Families

Kansas Association for the Gifted, Talented and Creative Parent Resources

Kentucky Association for Gifted Education Family Links

Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education Information

Michigan Association for Gifted Education Chapters

Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented Local Chapters and Parent Groups

Mississippi Association for Gifted Children Parent Affiliate Groups

Gifted Association of Missouri Parent Resources

Montana AGATE Parent Support Groups

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay.

A Look Back at 2013 and #gtchat

gtchat rectangle

2013 proved to be a tremendous year for ‘Global’ #gtchat. Chat participants joined us from over 30 countries and 46 states. Our blog was visited over 12,000 times from 95 countries. Our Facebook page now has over 430 Likes. None of which would have been possible without the tremendous support we receive from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented ~ the Board of Directors; J.J. Colburn, Executive Director; Tracy Weinberg, Associate Director and the entire Staff.

TweetUp All NAGC 2013TAGT & Friends in Indianapolis

In addition to the weekly chats, we held 4 Tweet-Ups and 3 LIVE chats this year: in Pittsburgh at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education; in Louisville for the biennial conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children; in Indianapolis at the annual convention of the National Association for Gifted Children; and in Houston for the annual conference of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. It was a thrill to get to know in person so many of the folks we chat with each week!

Behind the scenes with Lisa Van Gemert, Dr. Brian Housand and Erik Schwinger waiting for #gtchat to start.

PAGE Conference in Pittsburgh

We are extremely happy about the many gifted organizations who have provided #gtchat with guests, retweets, interviews, promotion and words of encouragement. We want to thank Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, GT Voice (UK), IEA Gifted, SENG, Hoagies Gifted, Byrdseed Gifted, American Mensa, ESSDACK, Davidson’s Young Scholars, Venspired, GiftedNZ (New Zealand), Ingennios (Mexico), Gifted Resources Inc. (Australia), NAGC, WCGTC, European Council for High Ability (EU) and the Vietnam Association for Talent Development. Thank you also to our many guests who took the time to chat with us!

TAGT 2013 gtchatLIVE chat at TAGT

TAGT 2013 TweetUp 1

Plans are already being made to continue these successes in the New Year with exciting new guests both from within and outside the gifted community, joint chats with other educational chats on Twitter, and expansion of our presence on Twitter to include new formats to increase involvement of those not yet involved in chats.        (At left, Tweet-Up, Houston)

Join #gtchat on Friday, January 3rd at 7PM ET/6PM CT/Midnight UK/4th 11AM Australia (ET) to discuss what you would like to see in the coming year!

Meet Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz!

Calist head shot

Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz will be our first teen guest on #gtchat on June 21st at 7PM ET (US). It has been a long-standing request of many who participate in #gtchat to involve more students in our chats. We are excited that she has accepted our invitation to chat!

I first met Calista as a child quietly sitting at the back of the room at a STEM Advocacy meeting where her mother, Cynde Frederick, was speaking. She was folding origami birds; not something you would expect at a STEM meeting I thought. How wrong I was!

Calista is the founder and CEO of Origami Salami. Her interest in origami began with a gift ~ a beginner origami kit when she was 6 years old. The support to launch her company came from the Davidson Young Scholar Ambassador Program. They provided Calista with sound advice and inspiration on being a positive force in the world. She subsequently founded Folding for Good, a community outreach spin-off of Origami Salami which responded to the tragedy at Sandy Hook earlier this year with a special project – Operation Sandy Hook: Peace to You.

Origami, the ancient Japanese art of folding, has increasing applications in STEM fields as the patterns can be found in proteins, DNA, robotics and computers. It is used by NASA in the design of space telescopes, the Mars rover and space tethers. In medicine, it was used to develop a new heart stent. Calista uses her knowledge of paper folding to encourage other students to investigate the relationship between origami and science and become more involved in science careers.

Currently, Calista is a dual-enrollee at PA Cyber Charter School and Robert Morris University‘s School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science where she just finished her second year of college. She is also a member of the NASA Online Learning Community, a 2013 National Center for Women & Information Technology Aspirations in Computer Science Award Winner, a 2012 Kids are Heroes honoree, a violinist with the Three Rivers Young Peoples’ Orchestra in Pittsburgh, a nine-time State Taekwondo Champion, a volunteer at Animal Friends where she organizes Operation Happy Sock to make safe toys for shelter cats and has lobbied for gifted education in her state House of Representatives.

Learn more about Calista:

Wexford Teen Honored for Volunteerism

Interview with Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz  at

Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz at


2012 Service and Scholarship Award“, Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education, 2012 Annual Conference

Cyber Student, 16, Makes Impact at Robert Morris U Folding for Good

PA Cyber Student-Athlete Profile: Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz

Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz: A Davidson Young Scholar Making a Difference

Reaching New Heights in Gifted Education PAGE 2013 Conference


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented extends its thanks to PAGE (Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education) for hosting #gtchat at their Annual Conference in Pittsburgh.

Throughout the conference, all sessions were visited by the moderator and then tweeted for the benefit of conference attendees to enhance their experience, and for those who were unable to attend this year. Tweets included not only information from the presentations, but also background on each of the presenters as well as other presentations and projects in which they were involved.

PAGE provided the moderator with a central location at the conference to serve as a resource for anyone wanting to sign-up for and learn more about Twitter, prior to #gtchat on Friday. All of the information tweeted ~ including the keynote ~ can be searched on Twitter at #PAGE13 and clicking ‘All” at the top of the search results page.

A highlight of the conference was the keynote by Lisa Van Gemert, Youth Specialist with American Mensa. As a former teacher, administrator and parent of three gifted sons, her presentation, “The Five-Headed Dragon: Threats to Giftedness”, combined her wit and extraordinary life-experiences to connect with the audience in a deep, personal way. Twitter provided a unique record of Lisa’s keynote. If you ever have the opportunity to be at a conference with Lisa, make sure to attend her session. You’ll be glad you did!

PAGE Van Gemert Large

Lisa Van Gemert at PAGE Conference

Another popular presenter, East Carolina University Assistant Professor Dr. Brian Housand, spoke at two packed sessions about “Technology with Purpose: The Gifted Learner Connection”. Providing educators with practical tips on using technology in their classrooms, Brian reviewed a myriad of tools to enhance the quality of education necessary for today’s tech-savvy gifted student. As a member of Global #gtchat’s Advisory Board, he referred to the benefits of our Twitter chat in his presentation, noting the global collaboration which goes on each week.

Friend of #gtchat, Erik Schwinger of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, presented, “Get Out of the Classroom! The Value of Service Learning and Social Entrepreneurship.”  Erik explained that it is important to provide gifted students with avenues to make a positive impact in their communities. These experiences can become a venue for teaching executive skills such as leadership, task commitment, organization, civic responsibility and communication.

Behind the scenes with Lisa Van Gemert, Dr. Brian Housand and Erik Schwinger waiting for #gtchat to start.

Behind the scenes with Lisa Van Gemert, Dr. Brian Housand and Erik Schwinger waiting for #gtchat to start.

Global #gtchat would like to especially thank Mrs. Cynde Frederick for her role in bringing #gtchat to the PAGE Conference. Her forward-thinking involvement in conference planning included providing each attendee with a (sponsored) flash-drive loaded with materials from all the conference presentations including the new #gtchat flyer from TAGT. Cynde was also instrumental in holding the conference at Robert Morris University which provided free Wi-Fi to all attendees and technical support to presenters. This made connecting people to Twitter a simple process.

PAGE Cynde Frederick

Utilizing Twitter at conferences is a great way to extend the experience for conference attendees. With multiple sessions being offered, it is impossible to attend all of them; but easy to follow updates on Twitter. Saved hashtag searches can create a permanent record of tweets and the links they contain. Background information about presenters further enhances the value of tweeting your conference. So, consider Twitter when you’re planning your next conference!


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