Blog Archives

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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Parent Support Groups – Meeting Needs

gtchat 07122018 Parent

It is undeniable that great parent support groups precede quality education and gifted programming is no different. When parents get involved, schools respond. Parenting gifted children is fraught with frustration at trying to get an appropriate education for their atypical child … something that should be available to all children. Professionals to whom parents for turn lack knowledge and information about gifted children which leads to inappropriate directions, misdiagnosis and a general lack of empathy to the situation parents find themselves.

When beginning an affiliate group, welcome parents, teachers and administrators, homeschooling parents into your group. You can achieve things like additional teachers and programs never seen before in your district. Parent Support Groups should think ‘big tent’ … there is strength in numbers. Bring all parties to the table; consider all viewpoints and work for consensus making sure you’re always going forward.

Many state and national gifted organizations can provide info and support to parents on starting a local support group. Working with schools to find other parents is best. If not, talk to your child; they know who’s in the gifted program. Parents can also connect at school events and in online groups. Remember that everything you do is for gifted children; to provide advocacy for appropriate educational programming and to support their parents.

What resources are available to parents to start a group? A simple online search can identify your state’s gifted organization. If you state doesn’t have one, check out websites outside your area for general information. Some great states include TX, CA, CT, IL, CO, GA, OH, MD and FL. Other organizations to check out include: SENG, NAGC, IEA Gifted, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Potential Plus UK, and European Council for High Ability.

Gifted parent groups organize first for educational goals, but soon look to meet the social-emotional needs of GT kids through peer networking and providing access to out of school opportunities. They need to keep the needs of their parents in mind by working together toward common goals and supporting the social-emotional needs of parent members as well.

What steps can be taken to ensure the continuation of the group over time? The average time commitment of parents usually only lasts 7 to 8 years – from identification to the early years of high school. No one wants to spend time building a group only to see gifted services fade over time. Parent support group should be constantly looking to recruit new members; those with younger children. Groups should provide leadership mentoring to ensure the continuation of the group. 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.

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:

Starting & Supporting a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf)

Parent Support Groups at TAGT

Establish a Parent Support Group at TAGT

What Makes a Parent Group Successful (pdf)

NAGC Advocacy Tool Kit 

Resources from McKinney (TX) Gifted and Talented Alliance

SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPG)

What Can Parents’ Groups Do for Gifted Kids?

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

How Parent Advocacy Groups can Make a Difference

Start a Support Group for Parents of Gifted Kids

One Person Can Make a Difference

Power in Numbers: How Gifted Advocacy Parent Groups can Help You and Your Kids

Three Reasons to Join a Parent Support Group

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

What to Do When Friends & Family Don’t Get Gifted

gtchat 12072017 Friends

Any parent of a gifted child will tell you friends and family can unfortunately make a difficult situation worse with insensitive comments. There are strategies available to mitigate negative comments and actions.

Varying abilities can play a role in family dynamics. When talking about abilities, all family members should be considered; parents as well as siblings. It’s fairly common to have a range of abilities within the same family. Issues may arise between gifted and highly gifted or twice-exceptional siblings. If parents present as 2E or highly gifted, it can also make a difference.

There are times when a child’s giftedness will become more of an issue than normal. These can include the first day of school, school transitions, or graduation when a child has been accelerated and age differences are accentuated. Holidays involving extended family also make for tense situations at a time when sensitivities are already on overload.

Insensitive comments can come from both friends and strangers. Hopefully, very young children do not hear them because most often they will understand the intent. It helps to talk about what it means to be gifted with the child; not ‘better than’, but ‘better at.’ (Delisle)

There are strategies parents can use to respond to envious comments from other adults. They can attempt to educate others about what giftedness is and isn’t. There were many resources shared during this chat and included in the links below. In the end, it may be in everyone’s best interest to ignore comments not made in the presence of the child.

Where can parents find support in resolving issues with friends and family? Initially, parents should look for support locally; either in the form of existing groups of gifted parents or by forming such a group. Most kids know who is in the gifted program at their school. Also, state and national gifted organizations have parent divisions. Well known groups supporting parents include SENG and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. 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 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:

My Child is Gifted and I Can’t Talk about Him

The Truth about ‘Gifted’ Versus High-Achieving Students

Why You Still Don’t Believe That You’re Gifted

What Does Gifted Look Like? Clearing Up Your Confusion

Family Life with Gifted Children

Tips for Parents: How Gifted Children Impact the Family

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (Amazon)

What I Want You to Know about my Gifted Son

10 Facts You May Not Know About Gifted Children But Should

What to Say (and What Not to Say) When You Meet the Parents of a Gifted Child

I’m Not Bragging When I Say My Child is Gifted

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

Envy and Your Gifted Child

Envy and Giftedness: Are We Underestimating the Effects of Envy?

My Child is Gifted: Do You Think I’m Bragging Now?

GHF Brochures

Sprite’s Site: Surviving the Holidays

Sprite’s Site: Surviving the Christmas Season

Sprite’s Site: I Love Christmas But …

Living with Gifted Children

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

Are All Children Gifted?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay and Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners

gtchat 09192017 Self Advocacy

The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners was recently released by Free Spirit Publishing and we were excited to have the author, Deb Douglas, as our guest this week on #gtchat. It proved to be a much needed topic and drew many new participants to the chat.

One of the greatest impediments to self-advocacy for gifted learners are the adults who become over-involved. Far too often, parents and teachers are so used to advocating when kids are young; they don’t know when to stop.

gtchat Self Advocacy DD1

Self-advocacy is a part of growing up. A key benefit of teaching gifted learners to self-advocate is that it has a profound effect on a student’s later success. Gifted people in general use self-advocacy techniques throughout their lives; but they must learn them first.

Like all students, gifted learners’ educational experiences should ensure continual growth in academics and socially. They should be taught to advocate for experiences they truly want and will use.

gtchat Self Advocacy DD2

What should students consider when self-assessing their own needs prior to self-advocacy? Self-assessment needs to start early and develop into a continual process throughout their time in school. It should be combined with determining personal goals and how to meet them.

Parents play an important role in helping students become successful self-advocates. Parents are their child’s first role model. They should be consistent, positive, and empathetic to child’s needs. Students will find success as self-advocates when parents learn to allow their child to take the lead when ready.

gtchat Self Advocacy DD3

Students should first create an Action Plan. They go hand in hand with setting goals and deciding how they will be reached. Action plans should list necessary steps and a realistic timeline to reach goals. A transcript of this chat may be found at our Storify page.

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 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 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 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:

Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners: Teaching the 4 Essential Steps to Success (Amazon)

Empower Gifted Learners to Advocate for Themselves

GT Carpe Diem

About GT Carpe Diem Consultant, Deb Douglas

Deb Douglas’ Speaker/Author Brochure (pdf)

GT Carpe Diem Workshop Brochure (pdf)

GT Carpe Diem Self-Advocacy

About Deb Douglas (Free Spirit Publishing)

GT Carpe Diem (Facebook)

Four Simple Steps to Self-Advocacy

Pre-Conference: Empowering Gifted Students’ Self-Advocacy at WATG 2017

What Makes You Unique – Fostering an Ongoing, Honest, Factual Dialogue (pdf p.23)

Living with Intensity Understanding Sensitivity, Excitability & Emotional Development of Gifted (Amazon)

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social & Emotional Needs (Amazon)

Smart Teens’ Guide to Living with Intensity: How to Get More Out of Life and Learning (Amazon)

More Than a Test Score: Teens Talk About Being Gifted, Talented, or Otherwise Extra-Ordinary (Amazon)

Sprite’s Site: Boredom Bingo

Letting Go While Holding On and Changing BLAH to AHHHHH! (pdf) Courtesy of NAGC

Re-Forming Gifted Education: How Parents and Teachers Can Match the Program to the Child (Amazon)

Self-advocacy for Gifted Teens and Tweens: How to Help Gifted Teens Take Control of their Classroom Experience

Stepping Back from Overparenting: A Stanford Dean’s Perspective (Podcast 21:46)

Title graphic courtesy of Lisa Conard.

Photo and all other graphics courtesy of Deb Douglas.

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