Blog Archives

The Role of Environment in Parenting Gifted Kids

The Role of Environment in Parenting Gifted Kids

There are many aspects of an environment created within the family which can affect a gifted child’s development beginning with the emotional bond between parent and child. This family environment encompasses parental and sibling relationships as well as a family’s finances. Important factors also include the family’s living space and the learning environment within the family.

Family dynamics involve a wide-range range issues such as the presence of parents or even multiple generations, divorce or loss of a parent, and financial considerations. A child’s development can be affected by a parent’s employment status which may involve relocation or available time spent with children, and accessibility to academic resources. Family dynamics are highly influenced by the parents’ mental health and educational attainment, Also, the family’s cultural background and belief system may strongly influence a child development.

Gifted children, like all children, need a nurturing and supportive home environment to support their mental health. An environment conducive to good mental health requires parents to be present in their child’s life, aware of issues which may affect their child’s mental health, and an understanding of healthy child development in general. How families respond to stress and trauma, encourage independence in their children, or balance family tensions can all affect a gifted child’s mental health.

Families with multiple gifted members may encompass a wide range of characteristics  including those who are extremely inquisitive, highly sensitive or possibly out-of-sync with peers. Although genetics has proven to have a strong influence on intellectual potential, the gifted child development if highly influenced by family values, goals and lifestyle. Parenting styles should encourage independence by finding a  balance between permissiveness and authority, providing unstructured time, utilizing positive discipline, and access to enrichment opportunities.

Parents can strive to provide a supportive environment at home only to find that their child’s school environment may override their best intentions. Parents need to be aware of a school’s climate, take time to get involved in child’s school through volunteering and advocacy, and develop positive relationships with teachers and school personnel. They can encourage their child to participate in opportunities available at school, help their child find peer networks, and when necessary consider alternatives to traditional education strategies (i.e., homeschooling, Microschools).

Home-school relationships are an intricate part of encouraging student well-being and academic excellence. Strategies need to address SEL learning, cognitive development, and positive peer relationships at school. GT kids need opportunities beyond those normally experienced in the regular classroom. Teachers can collaborate with and look to expertise from parents to help in providing these educational opportunities.

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/10AM AEST/1AM 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.

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:

Biological and Environmental Influences on Intelligence (YouTube 3:40) | UT Austin

Environmental Influences on Intelligence

A Neurocomputational Model of Developmental Trajectories of Gifted Children under a Polygenic Model: When are Gifted Children held Back by Poor Environments? | National Institutes of Health

Family Environment and Social Development in Gifted Students (Abstract Only) | Gifted Child Quarterly

Considerations and Strategies for Parenting the Gifted Child | The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented

Parenting the Gifted and Talented Child: A Qualitative Inquiry of the Perceptions of Mothers Regarding their Unique Experiences in Raising Gifted and Talented Children (pdf Doctoral Dissertation LSU)

Bright but Bored: Optimising the Environment for Gifted Children (pdf) | Australian Journal of Early Childhood

Creating the Ideal Learning Environment for Gifted and Talented Students

The Joy and the Challenge: Parenting Gifted Children Readings and Resources (pdf)

Ten Suggestions for Parents of Gifted Children (pdf Webb)

Creativity, Motivation to Learn, Family Environment, and Giftedness: A Comparative Study

15 Ways to Help Gifted Students Thrive in School (pdf)

The Home Environment of Gifted Puerto Rican Children: Family Factors Which Support High Achievement (pdf)

Stimulating Gifted Toddlers and Preschoolers at Home

Optimal Environment for the Gifted Child

How to Nurture Your Gifted Child

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Intelligence

Childhood Environment affects Brain Growth and Function, a Series of New Studies Finds (2012)

Intelligence and How Environment Affects It

Activities for Gifted Toddlers: Finding Enrichment Opportunities for a Young Gifted Child

Early-Life Environment Influences Brain Growth and Behavior

Effect of Environmental Factors on Intelligence Quotient of Children | Industrial Psychiatry Journal

How Parents Can Support Gifted Children (Silverman) | Child Development Institute

Beyond Bloom: Revisiting Environmental Factors That Enhance or Impede Talent Development (pdf) | American Psychological Association

Synaptic Pruning Mechanisms in Learning (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Child Development Page

Cybraryman’s Early Literacy Page

Word Gap | Wikipedia

Lead Crime Hypothesis | Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Pixabay    Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Supporting Exhausted Parents during the Pandemic

We’ve covered similar topics over the past 10 months, but the seemingly unending crisis of #COVID19 has taken a toll on parents. Parents are struggling with isolation, uncertainty, and sadness on a daily basis. Exhaustion is a constant reminder that things have only gotten worse and any ‘end in sight’ scenario is an elusive goal. They are constantly confronting child care and school closures, juggling work schedules, coping with  family illness.

Parents of GT children face the same societal issues they’ve always faced: that raising a gifted and/or talented child is a breeze. They’ll do fine on their own. They’re smart; they’ll figure things out. The problem with that when in the midst of a global pandemic is that indeed they do figure things out; they know the stakes are high even at a very young age. With understanding can come a rash of mental health issues – anxiety, depression, increased contemplation of suicide, drug use.

What unique issues result from exhaustion for parents of twice-exceptional kids? Even in the best of times, parents of these kids are keenly aware of a need for adequate sleep to have extended patience and understanding with their child. Some parents have reported their child’s opposition of inability to comply with mask mandates and social distancing requests. Sensitivity issues are high on the list of  needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

How can schools help exhausted parents? Outreach to parents is essential. Informing parents well in advance to changes in school closures is particularly helpful. Extending mental health professional information and counseling via school counselors and support staff when necessary can be welcome relief for many parents. Parents should have a seat at the table when discussing safety concerns and mitigation efforts during in-school learning.

There is an endless supply of online advice for exhausted  parents … some of it excellent and some of it simply insulting. Traditional self-care actions may not be practical for many parents. This pandemic has called into question many traditional parenting strategies, but parents are learning to expect imperfection, expect to be interrupted, and don’t worry about complaining (you have a right to do so). Parenting in a pandemic has taught parents to appreciate their children, realize that schedules are not the end-all, and that spending time together can be a godsend. Building relationships has never been more important.

What positive aspects to parenting in a pandemic have you experienced that might inspire others? Many, many parents of gifted children have reported that their kids are thriving both academically and personally without worries about bullying and boredom in school. Families are seeing positive changes in children who are learning important life skills while at home, enjoying family time, and learning lessons taught by parents they wouldn’t have learned at school.

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 NZDT/Noon AEDT/Midnight 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.

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 Parental Burnout Crisis has Reached a Tipping Point

The Burnout is Real: Coping with Pandemic Parenting and Redefining Self-care

5 Bright Spots from Our Crappy Year of Pandemic Parenting

Your Year in Pandemic Parenting (Audio 52:00) | KQED

Some Autistic People can’t Tolerate Face Masks Here’s How We’re Managing with our Son (may require subscription) | Washington Post

How to Reclaim a Positive Mental Attitude while Parenting in a Pandemic

Support for Kids with ADHD during the Pandemic  

Pandemic Parenting

Parenting in a Pandemic

The Brave New World of Parenting in the Pandemic | Psychology Today

Parenting in a time of #COVID-19 | The Lancet

Parenting During the Pandemic

Parenting During a Pandemic: How Parents Can Cope With Added Strains Due to the Covid Crisis (Audio 49:51)

Certain Parenting Behaviors Associated with Positive Changes in Well-being during COVID-19 Pandemic

Marina Gomberg says Parenting Fatigue is Real, so much so that She can’t even Finish this Headl …

7 Beliefs about Parenting That No Longer Serve Parents after the Pandemic

TX: New Parenting Website Aimed at Helping during Pandemic and Beyond

A Guide to Riding out the Rest of the Pandemic: Parenting in a Pinch

Study Examines Day-to-day Parenting Behavior during COVID-19 Restrictions

Parenting in a Pandemic takes Patience, Creativity

Helping Parents and Caregivers Cope with the Mental Health Challenges of Parenting during a Pandemic

Stress and Parenting during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Psychosocial Impact on Children | NIH

A Trauma Psychologist on the Stress of ‘Relentless Parenting’ During COVID-19 (Video 8:09)

The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce it: Rapid Review of the Evidence

Overwhelmed? You Are Not Alone | Psychology Today

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Gifted Introvert

It’s no surprise that we would chat about introverts at #gtchat! Some characteristics of introverts include preferring to work on their own rather than in large groups; may have limited, but deep interests; and need time alone to recharge. Introverts may exhibit deep concentration and appear absorbed in their thoughts; are reserved, deliberate and prefer one-on-one communication; and can become irritated when they don’t have enough ‘alone time’. Introverts form strong (but few) relationships, are generally self-sufficient, self-actualizing, and high achievers.

There are many misconceptions about those who are introverts; it is a choice, it can be ‘fixed’, it is simply being shy. Introverts may appear bored, but are simply deep in thought. They may seem socially awkward, but are not interested in their surroundings. Others may view introverts as judgmental when they have no opinion about the situation or person.

What is the relationship between giftedness and being introverted? Gifted individuals can be introverts or extroverts. Some research suggests a higher proportion of the gifted population is introverted. (Gallagher, 1990; Hoehn & Birely, 1988)  Being identified as gifted and possibly being introverted is a relationship; the characteristics of thoughtfulness, introspection, deliberateness, reflection, hard work, and confidence compliment gifted individuals. Gifted introverts tend to think before they speak, consider who they are speaking to first, do not crave attention, ‘enjoy’ time alone, prefer quality rather than numerous friendships, and pay attention to others.

Gifted introverts tend to think before they speak, consider who they are speaking to first, do not crave attention, ‘enjoy’ time alone, prefer quality rather than numerous friendships, and pay attention to others. Strategies which support introverted students include allowing thinking time, flexible seating, providing personal space, allow students to work in small groups or pairs, or consider interest-based assignments. Additional strategies can include providing opportunities for self-paced learning, independent study, the option to provide responses in writing, or encourage self-reflection.

What strategies can teachers use for online learning for introverted students? It might seem that online learning would be ideal for introverted students, but this is not always the case. Being on ZOOM or Teams all day long may be just as overwhelming. Zoom fatigue can be a real problem. When introverted students are confronted with technical issues and disruptions in Internet connections can add to their anxiety. Teachers can allow for additional breaks for introverted students, permit students to be on mute during discussions, or allow them to turn off their cameras while online.

Parenting an introvert requires understanding that they aren’t going to change, need their personal space and quiet time (especially after a long day at school), and does not need to have a lot of friends to be happy. An introverted gifted child needs opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom, work on projects of interest, and to make friends on their own terms.

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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/Midnight 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.

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:

Companion Website to Susan Cain’s Book Quiet

The Quiet Personality Test (Sign-up required)

Introvert, Dear (Online Community of Introverts)  

Go Away; I’m Introverting

Introverts, Extroverts, and Social Distancing

The Anxieties of Introversion

Understanding the Gifted Introvert

Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted (pdf) | Center for Gifted Education – College of William and Mary

High Ability: The Gifted Introvert

Talent Development Resources: Introversion, Sensitivity, Shyness – Are They the Same?

The Happy Introvert: A Wild and Crazy Guide to Celebrating Your True Self (Kindle)

Make Your Class Cozy for Gifted Introverts

Gifted Introverts and Extroverts

Introvert Social Needs and Preferences

The Overlooked Significant Population – Introverts

Which One Is You?: 4 Types of Introverts and Self-Care Tips to Be Your Own Hero

Living a Quiet Life

Extroverts (and Introverts, too) Face Quarantine Challenges

The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World (book)

Building a Strong Relationship With Your Introverted Child

Here’s What You Need to Know If You’re the Parent of an Introvert

Responding to Introverted and Shy Students: Best Practice Guidelines for Educators and Advisors | Open Journal of Nursing

6 Informal Assessments to Engage Introverted Students: Creating Accessible Classrooms for Introverted Students, Online or In Person

5 Ways Virtual Classrooms Help Introverts

Teaching Introverted Students: A Guide for Educators and Parents

How to Understand and Work with Introverted Students

Introverts Aren’t Actually Better at Social Distancing

Chat: The Introvert’s Secret Remote Weapon – Leading by Typing during the Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Introverted Students Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Parenting Twice-Exceptional Kids

Twice-exceptional (2E) children are considered gifted with learning differences which need support. While differences may be subtle; remarkable strengths can mask significant weaknesses and lead to misdiagnosis. These students may require aggressive IEPs/GEIPs which address both academic interventions with modifications to ensure intellectually stimulating curriculum & instruction as well as social-emotional needs. Twice-exceptional students can have a wide discrepancy between verbal and written work. They may have strong academic skills, but lack executive function skills. These students can understand social cues and context, but often lack skills to engage with age-peers. This can lead to frustration and emotional setbacks. They may exhibit rigid thinking, extraordinary task commitment to things that interest them, while also lacking resiliency and belief in their own abilities.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that 2E kids are simply lazy, stubborn and don’t want to learn, or can’t learn. This generally stems from a lack of information about twice-exceptionality. Too many educational professionals believe that a student can’t be intellectually gifted and have learning deficits; that it’s an oxymoron. There is a perception in education that deficits should be considered before strengths when in fact, they need to be addressed simultaneously.

What does the research say about neurodiversity? Neurodiversity, once only thought of as Autism Spectrum Disorder, now includes ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, Asperger’s Syndrome, tics, and ASD. Neurodiversity, as a concept, views individuals with differences in brain functioning and behavioral traits as part of the normal population. (Stanford Neurodiversity Project) The Neurodiversity Movement is based on the idea that every brain is different and is dedicated to eliminating stigmas regarding neurological differences.

Identification by professionals with experience and training in twice-exceptionality can lay the foundation for supporting 2E learners in the classroom and providing effective models of service. Twice-exceptional students need intellectually challenging curriculum while scaffolding for weaknesses and respecting their sensitivities. Strategies can include using verbal vs written work and allowing movement in the classroom. It may be necessary to rethink differentiation as covered in teacher prep courses from one of correcting weaknesses to how do we support strengths? All strategies should be evidence-based, research-based, and strength based while being respectful of the student.

Parents of young #2ekids must realize they are facing challenges other parents are not. It’s important they become educated about twice-exceptionality and connect with other parents of 2Es. When necessary, parents should seek professionals who have experience with twice-exceptional kids. While sometimes difficult, work to develop a strong home to school support system. Advocacy usually falls to parents. Document strengths as well as discrepancies of work and play both at home and school in writing. Record or take minutes at all school meetings.  

How has the Pandemic affected parenting 2E kids? The challenges facing parents of #2ekids cannot be minimized. Helping their children comprehend & process the effects of the Pandemic, deal with lack of access to educational accommodations, and address social-emotional needs; all take a toll. Parents need to remember self-care first. They are their child’s best, and sometimes only role-model.

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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/Midnight 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.

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:

Neurodiversity: Yes, Advocate…But Also, Celebrate! | Stanford Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Neurodiversity, Giftedness, and Aesthetic Perceptual Judgment of Music in Children with Autism

Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life (book)

Understanding Twice-Exceptional Learners: Connecting Research to Practice (book)

2e 101: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding and Supporting Twice-Exceptional Children (Webinar: Email Required) | ADDitude Magazine

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

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children (book)

Understanding Twice Exceptional Kids

When Bright Kids Struggle: The World of the Twice Exceptional Child

Twice-Exceptional Children: Why Making Friends Is Hard and How to Support Them

Twice-Exceptional Gifted Students: Needs, Challenges, and Questions to Ponder | ResearchGate

Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties (book)

Twice-Exceptionality: Parents’ Perspectives on 2e Identification | Roeper Review

Equity for Twice-Exceptional Students | Psychology Today

The Extraordinary, Personal Journey of a Twice-Exceptional Child | GHF Learners

Self-Perceptions of Twice-Exceptional Students: The Influence of Labels and Educational Placement on Self-Concept for G/LD Post-Secondary Students (Thesis – pdf)

We Tried Normal – 2e Family Stories: Chapter 4

Resources for 2e Families & Teachers During Pandemic

Additional Resources:

Twice-Exceptional Smart Kids with Learning Differences

Joys and Challenges of Twice-Exceptional Kids

Twice-Exceptional Kids with Guests from the Bright Not Broken Lorna Wing Institute

What is Twice Exceptional?

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children

Neurodiversity: The Movement | Psychology Today

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (book)

Neurodiversity: Neurodiversity | East Carolina University Libraries

Neurodiversity Studies A New Critical Paradigm (book) | Routledge

Celebrating Neurodiversity in the Classroom | The Atlantic

The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students (book)

Finding the Right School Fit for Your 2e Child | Summit Center

Twice-Exceptionality: Teachers’ Awareness and Training and Their Effects on the Academic, Social and Emotional Outcomes of Students (Thesis)

Boost the Potential of Twice-Exceptional Learners in the Classroom

Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm

Cybraryman’s Twice Exceptional Children Page

Davidson Institute: Stealth Dyslexia

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

%d bloggers like this: