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Living With and Managing Intensity

Intense gifted behaviors are expressed in many ways and often misinterpreted by professionals who lack training in recognizing them as related to giftedness. Intense behaviors for gifted individuals may include emotional outbursts, preferring to be alone, excessive talking, stubbornness, being ‘bossy’, or even appearing conceited.

Why shouldn’t these intense behaviors be pathologized in gifted children? Giftedness is not an illness. It should be understood; not diagnosed. Pathologizing gifted behavior can lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate responses can harm the child. Pathologizing typical behavior for a gifted child can make the child feel there is something wrong with them; that they are somehow abnormal.

Asynchronous development, many ages at once, can exacerbate feelings associated with the maturing process. It’s essential that adults … parents, teachers, professionals … respect the child’s feelings regardless of chronological age.

Teachers can seek professional development about giftedness and how it relates to academics and SEL independently. They can develop a plan in advance (GIEP/IEP); watch for escalation patterns or signs of impending situation; and be prepared to take action such as removing student to a neutral setting. Teachers can advocate for modifications to the student’s learning experience and respect student voice.

Parents should actively build strong parent-child relationship based on respect, authentic conversation on intense emotions, empathy, and time spent together. They should refrain from threatening language keeping own emotions in check, learn to listen and anticipate intense situations, and practice their responses in advance.

What are some important factors when choosing a mental health professional? When looking for a mental health professional for assessment or counseling, parents should meet alone with them before introducing their child. They need to feel comfortable talking to them. It’s essential that mental health professionals self-identify as having worked with gifted individuals and have specific training in understanding giftedness.

A transcript of this chat can 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:

Where’s the Off Switch?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

The Intensity of Giftedness

Best Tips for Parents of a GT Child

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

Why Can’t They Loosen Up? Intensities of Gifted Youth

The Intrinsic Intensity of the Gifted Child

Living with Intensity Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (GPP)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (2nd ed.)

Parenting Gifted Kids is an Emotional Rollercoaster Here’s How to Find Great Peace

Befriending Anxiety to Reach Potential: Strategies to Empower Our Gifted Youth

Supporting Students with Gifted-Talented Potential In High Need Schools: A Portraiture Study (pdf)

The Bright Side of Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Giftedness and Intensity

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children (pdf)

Helping Gifted Children Cope with Intense Emotions

Giftedness and Intensity/Complexity

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth

Coping with Emotional Intensity (pdf)

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society (Silverman)

Talented and Gifted Presentation by Jim Delisle (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: GT Chat Labels: Good, Bad or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities and Theory of Positive Disintegration

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Overexcitabilities (OEs)

The Columbus Group

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright (website)

Living & Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Parenting Emotionally Intense Gifted Children

 

Photo #1 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #2 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #3 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #4 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #5 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Best Tips for Parents of a GT Child

 

Parenting and specifically parenting gifted children has changed dramatically over the past several decades due to the resources and camaraderie afforded by social media. Online groups provide a sense of community for parents of gifted kids who were once separated both geographically as well as socially. Today parents don’t have to make the journey alone. In recent years, parents have also benefited by learning about ways to get together in real life at conferences and regional meetups that were once unknown. Parents can also access much needed information and advice on their own schedule. The convenience of online resources available 24/7 cannot be overlooked.

Parenting is often based on one’s own life experiences, but the challenges of life in today’s world can be very different than they were a generation ago. Parents should seek out current advice whenever possible. The role of asynchronous development can’t be minimized when dealing with life’s big transitions. It differentiates the experiences most gifted children face when transitioning to new educational experiences and meeting life’s milestones. Parents should build a strong emotional bond with their gifted children early in life and consider themselves as partners in the transition process. Each child is an individual with unique attributes and challenges which play a role in that process.

What steps can parents take if they suspect their child is twice-exceptional? A twice-exceptional child will exhibit both abilities and disabilities; strengths and weaknesses at the same time. It is easy for even professionals to misdiagnose these kids. Parents should seek help from those familiar with giftedness. Understanding the needs of twice-exceptional children is a necessary step toward being successful in life. Parents are the first and best advocates. Knowledge about twice-exceptionalism is a powerful tool. Twice-exceptionality is a challenge, but not a roadblock. Once accommodated, 2e kids can lead productive and successful lives. Being proactive in diagnosis and seeking help is the first step.

When should parents seek professional help regarding their gifted child? When that behavior impacts their lives in any significant way, parents should at the least consider a professional diagnosis. When children enter the school system, parents are often guided to seek professional help regarding concerns they might not see in a home setting.  If parents see sudden changes in behavior, a decline in school work, or issues with interpersonal relationships between their child and others; they should seek professional intervention.

What should a parent who is experiencing difficulty getting educational services for their gifted child do? Although it shouldn’t be the case, parents often find themselves on the opposite side of educational priorities from their child’s school personnel. It’s important to document everything in writing. Know that the school will be doing the same. It may not seem fair, but parents need to keep their cool when advocating on behalf of their child. Patience can be beneficial in getting the best educational placement as well as serving as a role model for their child. There are many factors – positive and negative – weighed by a school district in providing services to an identified gifted child. Parents need to be aware of the school’s philosophy on GT education and the availability of resources.

Being the parent of a gifted child has its ups and downs, but things really do eventually work out. The ‘little lawyer’ in elementary school turned defiant teen in high school will one day be your best friend. Networking with other parents of gifted children is a great way to save your sanity, know that you aren’t alone, and provide for ‘strength in numbers’ when working with schools to provide the highest quality of education for your child.

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 2PM 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 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:

My Son Is A ‘Gifted Child’ Here’s Why Raising Him Has Been Anything But Easy

For Gifted Kids, Better to be Hands-on or -off?

Understanding Your Gifted Child From the Inside Out: A Guide to the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids (Delisle)

The Social-Emotional Well-Being of the Gifted Child and Perceptions of Parent and Teacher Social Support (pdf)

Twice-Exceptional College Students Identified as Gifted and Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Case Study (pdf)

A Middle School Survival Guide for The Parents of Gifted Children

Gifted Resource Center

Wonderschooling: Living in a World of Input Overload

Grayson School Blog: The Intrinsic Intensity of the Gifted Child

Hoagie’s Gifted Education Page: Parents of Gifted Children

Tips for Handling Gifted Children: For Parents and Teachers

Why Being Gifted Isn’t Always a Gift

When Gifted Kids Move: Tips for Parents and Districts

What Most Parents of Gifted Children Wish They had Known about College Planning

Choices Exclude: The Existential Burden of Multipotentiality

TAGT Resources for Parents

NAGC Resources for Parents

SENG

When Your Gifted Child Disappoints

Twice Exceptional: Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities Considerations Packet

Parent–Teacher Conflict Related to Student Abilities: The Impact on Students and the Family–School Partnership (pdf)

Gifted Development Center

Cybraryman’s Gifted Parenting Page

Cybraryman’s Twice Exceptional Children Page

Cybraryman’s SEL Page

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

Parents of Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Kids Facebook Group

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

Crushing Tall Poppies (blog)

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Disciplining Smart Kids

 

43 participants and attendees from 22 states, D.C., and 5 countries joined us this week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT on Twitter to discuss disciplining smart kids!

So often, discipline is confused with punishment which should not be the intent. Discipline should serve as a teachable moment. Gifted children know when others are trying to control them. They will better appreciate attempts to show them alternative ways to behave.

Gifted children can be a challenge to discipline. They are astute observers of others’ behavior and are ready to apply that knowledge to their own situation. In most cases, gifted children are fully aware of how they should behave; but still are kids. Their knowledge base alone necessitates that their parent/teacher ‘be prepared’ to answer questions.

Asynchronous development – many ages at once – has a pronounced effect on behavior for gifted children. Maturity and intellect are often out of synch. Their ‘want to dos’ far exceed doing what is expected of them for their age. It is not something the gifted child may have control over and may not even recognize when they are younger; especially if they haven’t been identified yet. Asynchronous behavior can be a sign of giftedness; even before identification as gifted.

How can discipline issues in the classroom be prevented? Communication – honest and explicit statement of what is considered appropriate classroom behavior can go a long way in preventing discipline issues. Recognition and understanding of gifted characteristics can also head off inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Build a teacher-student relationship where the teacher can serve as mentor and role-model for their students.

Parents can reduce negative behaviors at home by providing a loving and caring atmosphere that values children as members of the family. They should build a relationship with their child built on honesty, respect for their opinions, and on quality time spent together. Parents can keep the lines of communication open and positive with school personnel and share concerns before an issue arises.

What are some strategies involved in using positive discipline? Strategies for positive discipline should include expressing clear expectations, involving their child in developing expectations, and taking the child’s feelings and abilities into consideration. Positive discipline should be about teaching behavioral skills, adults serving as role models, and remembering to express positive reinforcement whenever possible. The transcript may be read 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 2PM 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 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.

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

Resources:

Discipline and the Gifted Child

Four Ways to Reduce Behavior Problems

Disciplining Gifted Children

How to Discipline your Gifted Child

Tips for Parents: Positive Discipline for Gifted Children

How to Not Argue with Your Gifted Child​​

Our Take on Positive Discipline: From Stickers and Star Charts to Dean’s List

Want to Have Your Heart Broken? Take a Close Look at an Angry Gifted Kid

Gentle Gifted Parenting Defusing Tantrums and Meltdowns with Love

Fostering Self-Discipline

Description of Parents Knowledge of the Nature and Needs of Gifted Children and Their Parenting Styles (pdf)

Managing Life with a Challenging Child: What to Do when Your Gifted but Difficult Child is Driving You Crazy

Today’s Disruptors Can be Tomorrow’s Innovators

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

gtchat 09202018 Distracted

Understanding the nature of giftedness when complicated by distractibility is a complex issue and the discussions between participants at this week’s #gtchat were no exception. We were fortunate to have several psychologists well-versed in working with gifted individuals as well as education professionals to sort it out.

How do you know if distractibility is  just a characteristic of giftedness or ADD/ADHD? You may not know! ADD/ADHD must be diagnosed by a professional. If you are concerned about a child’s behavior, seek professional help. Both giftedness and ADD/ADHD share characteristics, but it’s important to avoid misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Gifted students may have ADD/ADHD but be able to compensate for it.

According to Dr. Gail Post, “ADHD causes more global problem with distraction and concentration, not just related to boredom, intensities, overexcitabilities. ADHD kids have little control over their distraction/poor concentration – not situation specific. They really suffer from it.” Dr. Scott Roseman explained, “Formal assessment of giftedness and ADHD differ in significant ways.  While assessment of giftedness focuses mainly on determination of higher level reasoning abilities, assessment of ADHD examines issues related to distractibility, impulsivity, and processing skills. While the gifted child may exhibit some of these qualities, as a function of their giftedness, it’s often when those qualities get in the way of learning & growth that further assessment should be considered to assess a dual diagnosis of Giftedness and ADHD.”

In response to a child’s distractibility, the response of  ‘over’ organizing by a concerned adult may prove to make matters worse. Over organization … such as separate folders for each subject … may overwhelm the distracted child causing even more issues or anxiety. Parents (and teachers) should try to find the ‘middle ground’ when attempting to organize a distracted child. Folders can be used but for more generalized subjects; such as, a completed homework folder, to do folder, and parent/teacher communications.

“The main disadvantage of “over” organization I see is when it is put in place by the parent and not the child. The child or adolescent has no “ownership” in the process and may grow too reliant on parental intervention and not develop effective organizational tools on their own.” ~ Scott Roseman, Ph.D.

Executive Functioning can play as intricate role in the life of a distracted yet gifted child. The lack of recognition by responsible adults that a GT child can have executive function deficits often exacerbates the situation. These are smart kids who struggle with behavior regulation and exercising cognitive flexibility. Although identified as GT, they may have trouble beginning tasks, maintaining attention, completing assignments, and unable to assess the feedback on their own behavior. Frustration levels can go through the roof. As the child progresses through school, academic requirements increase at the same time as social interactions take on greater significance. EF difficulties may not resolve themselves until the child reaches their mid-twenties.

What strategies can a teacher use to get a gifted student back on track? Teachers should consider authentic assessments to chart progress/regression through an ongoing process which takes into account the student’s abilities as well as challenges. Developing positive relationships is a good 1st step. They must ensure that the student is being sufficiently stimulated intellectually either within the classroom with differentiated instruction or through accelerative measures outlined in resources such as A Nation Empowered.

“I think you have to do lots of trial and error with strategies…visual prompts to get back on task or having a reward after a significant start to an assignment or discussing what the feedback means.” ~ Heather Vaughn, EdS, 

Once it is determined that the student is off track, any plan to bring them back on course must involve student input. Dr. Roseman suggested, “I suggest that the teacher start by asking the gifted student, in grade 3 and above to come up with their own plan to stay on task and then work together with them, examining the parts of the plan that work and the parts that don’t seem to work for them and revise. I believe that it helps the child to gain a better understanding of their  own dynamics and figure out strategies that work for them and those that don’t. The teacher can certainly suggest some strategies, but it is critical for the student to have input.”

“With my kids, what has worked is a combination of doing it for them if was really necessary until they could do it; letting them fail a little when stakes are low, and coaching them about the things not being organized has negative impact on.” ~ Kate Arms

Parents can help their highly distracted child get organized at home, too. They can make sure that the home environment limits distractions when their child is doing school work. This includes having a quiet workspace free from access to video games or television. If possible, provide study/work space solely for each child; not in a highly active part of the home such as the dining room table or shared spaces with siblings.  Parents need to model behavior which provides examples of how to stay organized in daily life.

“Pick your battles… But get them involved in devising a plan and incentives, prioritize, small goals to start with, make it fun!” ~ Gail Post, Ph.D.

Organization is a must-need skill and one that parents focus on much to the dismay of their distracted child. Involve the child in the organizing process. Be flexible; not all organizing tools or tips work for every child. Parents and teachers working together to implement strategies that take place at home and at school can be highly beneficial to the student in an effort to reduce distractions and get the student back on track. For more tips about organizing the highly distracted gifted child, check out the transcript of this week’s chat 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.

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

Resources:

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help

Gifted Students & Disorganization (Reg. required)

This Child is a Classic ‘Absent-Minded Professor’

How to Raise a Gifted Child without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind

Organization Skills

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf)

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (bn ebook)

4 Smartphone Solutions to Keep Your Teen Organized

7 Ways to Teach Your Grade-Schooler Organization Skills

Exercise Is Surprisingly Effective At Boosting Executive Function

On Rainbows and Mantis Shrimp: A Layperson’s Perspective on ADHD & the Misdiagnosis of Gifted Brains

How to Help the Impulsive Disorganized Child

The Impulsive, Disorganized Child: Solutions for Parenting Kids with Executive Functioning Difficulties

Organizing the Gifted Learner

Organizing Einstein: Enhancing the Abilities of the Gifted Learner Part 1

Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner: An Overview (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Study Skills/Organization Page

Cybraryman’s ADHD/ADD Page

Sprite’s Site: Delta Dog

Sprite’s Site: Sprite on the Subject of Homework

Interruptions at Work Are Killing Your Productivity

ADDitude Magazine

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Are you ADD — or just gifted?

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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