Blog Archives

Parents and Teachers: Finding Common Ground

gtchat 08092016 Parent Teacher

 

This week, we were joined at #gtchat by 3 educators of gifted children; Angie French, Heather Cachat, and Jeff Shoemaker. Angie is a GT Specialist for K-4 in Houston, Texas. Heather is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for 5/6 in Ohio and a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator. Jeff is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for grades 5-8 in Lima, Ohio and OAGC Teacher Division Chair Elect. Heather and Jeff are Co-Moderators of #ohiogtchat on Sundays.

It’s no secret that parent-teacher relationships can often be strained; but even more so with parents of gifted children. As students begin to return to school, we took a look at ways to improve the relationship in a non-confrontational setting exploring ways to help all parties to work together for their children and students.

It was pointed out by the moderator that most teachers do not have a strong knowledge-base on which to draw about needs of gifted children. However, parents often don’t realize the restrictions and responsibilities placed on teachers today by their school administrations. This lack of knowledge can lead to misunderstandings. In addition, Jeff commented about the reluctance of teachers to acknowledge that parents usually know their child best. Friction can also be the result of competing goals and different perspectives of what is best for the child.

There are strategies which teachers can use to increase positive engagement with parents. Teachers need to renew their communication toolboxes each new school year; not rely on antiquated tools. They can seek out professional development regarding gifted education not provided at the undergraduate level. Heather suggested that teachers, “Validate their concerns. Parents need to know that teachers sincerely take them seriously.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, said, “Listening. Putting aside assumptions. Not dismissing parents – especially moms – like they’re all crazies or helicopter parents.Work on problem solving *together* as allies instead of antagonists.”

Parents can also work to forge a productive relationship with their child’s teacher. Heather told us, “Acknowledge the work teachers are doing with your child. Don’t talk yourself out of reaching out to your child’s teacher.” Jeremy Bond, a parent in CT, said, “Establish from the outset how you want to communicate and what you hope to learn about their classroom.” It can be beneficial to provide teachers with an information portfolio of the child’s behaviors (academic/social/emotional) outside of school.

The parent-teacher relationship can affect student achievement. Kids, especially gifted kids, are highly cognizant of parent-teacher relationships. Adults need to be aware of emotional repercussions that may result due to their actions and work to prevent any negative reactions. Mutual respect by all parties can enhance and propel student achievement.

Can technology bridge the parent-teacher communication gap? New technologies can only help when everyone understands how to use the tools available. Not every new piece of technology is right in every situation. Be aware of cultural concerns and the availability of whatever tech is chosen. (See ‘suggestions’ in the links below.)

Clearly, good parent-teacher relationships will have a positive effect on a child’s educational experience. All parties must be committed to continually improving this relationship. When a parent or teacher does not believe this is occurring, they should take steps to seek assistance. This may include working with school administrators, counselors, or outside advocates. The most important thing is to keep the best interests of the student in the forefront of all discussions. A transcript of this 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 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:

Parent-Teacher Conference Worksheet (download)

What Can Be Done To Improve Parent-Teacher Communication?

New Teachers: Working With Parents

Gifted 101 for Teachers New to Gifted Students

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (YouTube 31:00)

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (Handout – pdf)

Why Don’t Teachers and Parents See Eye to Eye about Gifted Children?

5 Strategies for Building Effective Parent-Teacher Partnerships … From a Parent’s Perspective

Six Tips for Communicating with Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

Back to School Blues: Why Gifted Teens Dread Returning to School

How Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning OutcomesHow Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning Outcomes

5 Keys to Forging Strong Parent Engagement

Districts Work to Bolster Parent Involvement

Harvard Family Research Proj: Parent–Teacher Conf Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers & Parents (pdf)

How to Turn Parents into Partners

It’s Time to Revamp Parent-Teacher Conference: Include the Child! (pdf)

Talking Points: Talking with Teachers about Your Gifted Child (pdf)

Choosing a Parent-Teacher Communication App

Gifted Son Being Punished by Teacher

Influence of Student–Teacher and Parent–Teacher Relationships on Lower Achieving Readers’ Engagement and Achievement in the Primary Grades

Periscope: 5 Tips for Working with Parents with Lisa Dabbs

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child (Perspectives in Gifted Homeschooling) (Amazon)

Overcoming the Barriers to Effective Teacher-Parent Partnership (audio 11:07)

Overcoming the Biggest Barriers to Effective Parent Teacher Relationships

9 Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Communication in the Digital Age

Communication Apps (availability; not recommendations):

Remind App

ClassDojo

Periscope

Canvas

Bloomz

Class Messenger

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Where’s the ‘OFF’ Button? Helping Parents of Young Gifted Children

gtchat 06212016 OFF Button

 

Parenting young gifted children can be a challenge! This week we looked at the intensities these kids bring into the world around them. It’s often lamented that they do not fit into society’s notion of how children should act or react. Parents describe them as ‘more’ in every aspect of their lives and it can be exhausting for everyone involved. So … where is that ‘off’ button and do you really want to push it?

One of the first telltale signs of giftedness is a child’s extremely early proclivity to ask questions; a lot of questions. And not just simple questions. Oftentimes, asynchronous development leads to highly intuitive and complex questioning of practically everything. Parents quickly realize that the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture is a false dichotomy. The best way to foster their child’s giftedness is to nurture nature and provide them with an exceptional learning environment in which those questions can be answered; no matter how often or how many. As author Christine Fonseca tells us, “we must remind ourselves that they are curious; and that’s a good thing!”

 

gtchat OFF Button Fonseca

 

In their book BLOOM, authors Dr. Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young compare intense children to flowers in a garden. Consider the quote below from the introduction when thinking about your gifted child.

 

gtchat OFF Button Roses

 

The intensity experienced by young gifted children extends beyond their insatiable curiosity and unfortunately can affect their relationships with adults as well as age-peers. The fact that they are labeled as gifted cannot be an excuse for bad behavior. One of the most important lessons we need to teach our children is how to optimize interpersonal relationships in a way that benefits all involved.

To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

A characteristic such as bossiness is viewed as highly unfavorable; especially when directed towards teachers or other adults. Young children who are highly intelligent may not yet understand the nuance between being bossy and  qualities associated with leadership.  Gifted children often have a wide breadth of knowledge leading them to be criticized as a ‘know-it-all’. It’s important to guide them to know how to temper their approach to those around them. Gifted kids need to harness their abilities and learn to appreciate others’ viewpoints.

Navigating age-peer relationships with kids who don’t understand their intensity can be a source of angst for a gifted child. To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

Sleep is often a major concern for parents of gifted children. Some research suggests that gifted children need less sleep; but they still need sleep and so do their parents! As with most advice on parenting, it rarely works for gifted kids. It is usually a case of trial and error to find what works best for each child. And sometimes; nothing works. If and when it begins to affect everyday life … inability to complete school assignments, being habitually late to school, displaying inappropriate emotional responses … a parent may need to consult a professional who is familiar with giftedness for help. Otherwise, the risk of misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate interventions.

Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different.

It’s important to not assume that young gifted children understand the nature of giftedness. It’s more than just being smart. Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different. It is experiencing life in a way that doesn’t always conform to social norms.

Does it ever get better? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Gifted kids do grow up. They will probably continue to be intense, but they have the maturity to deal with it. Yes, it does get better. There is hope for a good night’s sleep. You may eventually even miss those early years! 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:

Giftedness & Emotional Intensity

Don’t Ride the Wave 

The “Up” Side to Being Intense

The “Up” Side to Being Intense (Part 2)

Tips for Working with Emotional Intensity

Dino Obsession: Intellectual Overexcitability In Action

Channeling Intensity Through Creative Expression

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Gifted Children: Emotionally Immature or Emotionally Intense?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students (Amazon)

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (Amazon)

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? (Amazon)

BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry & Over-the-Top Kids

Tips to Help Your Gifted Child Fall Asleep

Sprite’s Site: Memory Elephant in Overdrive

Sprite’s Site: Talkfest

Sprite’s Site: Perchance to Dream

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Cybraryman’s Dealing with Children Page

Cybraryman’s Sleep Page

Cybraryman’s Parenting Gifted Children Page

Strategies for Dealing with Overexcitabilities

Young Gifted Children

Laughing at Chaos Blog

Storynory (Free Audio Stories)

Living and Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities OR “I Can’t Help It – I’m Overexcitable!” (pdf)

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Young Gifted Children

Davidson Institute: FAQs about Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children

Picture courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Holiday Survival Tactics for the Gifted Family

gtchat 12182015 Holiday Survival Tactics

 

The holidays are stressful for many people, but they can be especially difficult for the gifted family. It was explained in simplest terms during this week’s chat by Tracy Fisher, school board member and new grandmother,  “Everyone is INTENSE!”

As we were reminded by Jerry Blumengarten, aka Cybraryman, it is a season celebrated by many cultures.

Cybraryman Holiday 2015

The disruption in their daily routine and the high expectations of others can wreak havoc in gifted families. Marianne Kuzujanakis, pediatrician and homeschooler, also pointed out, “Stress points for GT families: Routines lost. OE’s. Anxiety. 2E issues. Developmental asynchrony. Introversion. Food allergies!!” Empathy for the less fortunate and concerns for world peace often contribute to anxiety in the way gifted children feel. Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, added, “I’d also note that this time of year can be incredibly stressful for gt folks who *don’t* celebrate Xmas.”

There are ways to reduce the stress that have proved successful. Pre-plan activities and remember to include ‘down time’ to reduce potentially stressful situations from occurring. Do not overextend yourself. It’s better to say “no” than to disappoint others. Schedules should be kept as normal as possible.

Dealing with relatives who don’t ‘get’ gifted can be an everyday struggle that becomes worse during the holidays. If possible, ignore behavior in the moment; but resolve the issue later in a more relaxed setting. Explanations, however, may need to be made if comments are made directly to your child.

How do differing abilities shape family dynamics; PG/2e/gifted? Parents need to understand that all gifted children do not react to stress in the same way. Many gifted kids had an affinity for one another at family gatherings; however, differences can influence behavior. Age plays a role, too; dynamics change as kids got older.

When unforeseen situations arise, a plan needs to be in place. Gifted children need to be given ‘space’ and ‘time’ to de-escalate when overwhelmed. Try to remove your child from frustrating situations if possible; understand that overexcitabilities are real. As hosts, we should also provide these ‘safe’ havens for our guests as well.

Finally, we asked the question, “How can we help our children thrive during the holidays?” Creating new family traditions can help. Answer any questions that arise openly and honestly. Share your beliefs, but value your children’s opinion as well. Exposure to holiday traditions of different cultures can help children to appreciate the season. A transcript of this week’s chat can 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 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 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:

Parenting Gifted Children through the Holidays

Have a Happy [not exasperating] Holiday

Activities for Gifted Children during the Holidays

Holiday stress: What Parents of Gifted Children Need to Know

Holiday Stress & Gifted Families with Jade Rivera

Surviving the Holidays with a House Full of Gifted Folks

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Surviving the Holidays

How to Strip Your Holidays Naked

Surviving the Holidays

4 Ideas to Engage Your Child during Holidays

GHF Blog Hop: Surviving & Thriving at the Holidays with a Gifted/2E Kid

Dear Parents: Here’s How to Survive & Thrive at the Holidays via @redwhiteandgrew 

Sprite’s Site: Sprite’s 2010 Christmas List

Sprite’s Site: When Extended Family Don’t Get Giftedness

Sprite’s Site: I love Christmas BUT…

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

High Costs of Raising Gifted Children

gtchat 11202015 High Cost Gifted Children

Raising children today is an expensive proposition for any parent; but, perhaps even more so for parents of children identified as gifted. At this week’s chat, we discussed primarily economic factors; but many people expressed concerns related to social and emotional costs. It was noted that this as well as several other related topics will have to be considered in upcoming chats.

One of the first expenses encountered by parents can be that of out-of-school testing; either to dispute in-school testing or to provide testing that the school is unwilling to do for a wide variety of reasons. Testing may include both intelligence testing, mental health testing; etc. Also, it often needs to be repeated if initially done early, when the child enters the teen years. Financially, testing can cost thousands of dollars and involve travel expenses to distant testing facilities. These costs can be out of reach for many families.

When advocacy fails resulting in a gifted child not receiving an appropriate education, many parents turn to homeschooling, charter schools, private schools or residential schools. There are some schools for the profoundly gifted in the U.S. which are free or low-cost, but available seats are few and far between. Again, these options are not feasible for all parents.

Homeschoolers often must provide their own curriculum and with gifted children this can mean buying multiple years’ worth of materials every year. Add to this loss of income for a parent provider, extracurricular activities, online classes; and you can see how quickly expenses can add up. Private and charter schools can mean added transportation costs.

Parents of gifted children are always looking for ways to enrich and supplement their child’s education regardless of where they attend school. These costs can include summer camps, online coursework, tutoring, additional reading materials, and educational games/toys.

The chat then turned to the question of costs associated with Early College. A form of acceleration, there are costs of which many people were not aware. Besides the fact that college expenses can come years earlier than anticipated; there are issues pertaining to differences in the awarding of scholarships (merit scholarships are rarely offered to a transfer student), qualifying for financial aid, and loss of child support in the case of divorce. Age-related costs include transportation costs (student not old enough to drive), participation in field trips and college abroad programs (parents generally need to accompany student), work-study (student not old enough to work), and even using campus health centers.

The costs of providing for the many needs of a gifted child do come with a price tag, and  it often can be very high. Although gifted children may be more expensive to raise than their age peers, #gtchat has provided links below to articles with practical advice on how to mitigate those expenses and find the best solutions to finding appropriate educational and enrichment opportunities for your child. A transcript of this 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 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 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:

The Hidden Costs of Having a Gifted Child

How Do You Raise a Prodigy?

Additional Child Support for Extraordinary Expenses in New Jersey

An Accelerated Journey

How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Child Prodigy?

The Cost of Raising a Gifted Child (Video 21:41)

It Pays to Have a Smart Child, but It Can Cost, Too

Olympians’ Parents Pay the Cost of Achieving Gold

Gifted Children: Myths & Realities (Amazon)

17 Wishes for Making Parenting Gifted Easier

How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Child Star?

What Can Child Support Be Used For?

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

%d bloggers like this: