Blog Archives

Your Rainforest Mind with Guest, Paula Prober

gtchat 06282016 Rainforest

 

Do you long to drive a Ferrari at top speed on the open road, but find yourself always stuck on the freeway during rush hour? Do you wonder how you can feel like “not enough” and “too much” at the same time? Like the rain forest, are you sometimes intense, multilayered, colorful, creative, overwhelming, highly sensitive, complex, and/or idealistic? And, like the rain forest, have you met too many chainsaws? ~ Paula Prober, MS, MEd

For a change of pace, this week #gtchat discussed gifted adults – you know … the kids who grew up! Not surprisingly, many of the issues facing gifted youth are present long into adulthood. Author Paula Prober joined us to discuss her new book, Your Rainforest Mind, from GHF Press.

Your Rainforest Mind – also the name of Paula’s Blog – is a metaphor used to describe the gifted mind: complex, creative, sensitive, intense, lively, colorful and misunderstood. Paula finds that it helps people get what giftedness is without the stigma. She explained, “The rainforest is the most complex ecosystem. It has the ability to contribute in a big way. It is not better than others; just more complex.”

What strategies can be used to address heightened sensitivities; sometimes referred to as overexcitabilities? Paula suggested, “Self-acceptance, understanding, self-soothing, relaxation strategies, mindfulness and artistic expression” can all be used. Additional strategies mentioned by Paula included, “time in nature, spiritual practices, talking to a friend, or visualization of a container to hold emotions.” She also indicated that it is important to identify anxiety triggers such as noise, visuals, textures, criticism, empathy or family members. If necessary, you should attempt to reduce exposure to these things.

Positive outcomes are possible when Rainforest Mind adults learn to redirect their passion.  Paula pointed out first one must realize having lots of passions is not dysfunctional or shallow. Rather, it is more about multipotentiality. What this means for careers is that it’s okay to change paths over one’s lifetime; look for a job with variety depth  and challenge. Be creative in crafting a career that works for you. With regard to parenting, recognize that having a Rainforest Mind is a complex challenge on many levels. Paula also recommends keeping a journal of ideas so they don’t get lost, growing self-acceptance and prioritizing time for intellectual stimulation.

Perfectionism – a topic we’ve covered several times on chat – is a concern for Rainforest Minds. First and foremost, know the difference between healthy (intrinsic) and unhealthy (extrinsic) perfectionism. It is best to aim for harmony, balance, justice and precision; all associated with intrinsic perfectionism. A person needs to prioritize what’s worthy of striving for ‘perfect’ and what can just be excellent or even mediocre because it is not important. Extrinsic perfectionism comes from early pressure to achieve, please others, to not disappoint or from dysfunctional family behaviors.

Should adults consider being tested for giftedness if they were not identified as a child? In most cases, Paula told us that it is not necessary. Whether or not you possess a Rainforest Mind can generally be determined from traits. Also, tests are not always accurate. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

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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:

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults & Youth (Amazon)

Your Rainforest Mind (Paula’s Blog)

Your Rainforest Mind (Paula’s Website)

Understanding Your Rainforest Mind Counseling & Gifted Adults (pdf)

GHF Press

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

The “I” of the Beholder: A Guided Journey to the Essence of a Child Roeper (Amazon)

Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging across the Lifespan by Ellen Fiedler (Amazon)

Overexcitabilities — Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Quiet Revolution (Susan Cain – website)

It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change (Amazon)

Gifted Shmifted

Perfectionism’s Twin Sister

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

Living with Intensity (Amazon)

“Perfectionism” with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams (Amazon)

Puttylike: A Home for Multipotentialites!

Rebels at Work

Beautiful Imperfections

The Motivation for Perfectionism

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius (Amazon)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

“Perfectionism” with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

gtchat 05102016 Perfectionism

 

Our guest this week was one of our own #gtchat advisors, Lisa Van Gemert, chatting with us about perfectionism. Lisa Van Gemert is well-known in the gifted community for her keynote addresses, presentations and as a consultant to American Mensa. You can read more about Lisa at her website.

According to Lisa, “Perfectionism is a setting of unreasonably high expectations combined with a lack of self-love and includes an unhealthy concern for others’ opinions of one’s work. Perfectionists also typically overgeneralize failure, seeing it as a sign of catastrophic, systemic personal failure. They are often hyper-aware of how things could be & think that means that is how they must be.”

“Perfectionism is a setting of unreasonably high expectations combined with a lack of self-love and includes an unhealthy concern for others’ opinions of one’s work.”  ~ Lisa Van Gemert 

We learned there are different types of perfectionist gifted kids. They include those who avoid taking risks, those who continually try to perfect their work, or the overachiever. Lisa told us that kids aren’t always perfectionistic across the board and thus may appear meticulous at home but chaotic at school.

“Perfectionism is multidimensional. Recent research (Stoeber 2015) established self-prescribed, socially-prescribed & other-oriented.” ~ Dr. Cait Fuentes King

The relationship between perfectionism and underachievement is a complex one. “Perfectionists can underachieve when they fail to turn in work because it’s not at the level they wanted. Perfectionism can lead to hopelessness which is a straight ticket to underachievement. It is another word for misalignment and perfectionism is misalignment of goals with reality/desirability,” Lisa said.

The consequences of perfectionism are many. Lisa listed them as, “stress, decreased social acceptance, workaholicism, and a neglect of other interests. Also, fear, underachievement, anxiety, limited social interaction, limited risk taking, rigidity, eating disorders, self-harm,  and unhealthy dependence on external evaluation/acceptance.” Perfectionism can bring ‘living a full life’ to a halt; narrowing one’s focus to ‘not seeing forest for the trees’.

What strategies can be used to deal with perfectionism? Parents can serve as role models for their children; don’t insist on everything being absolutely perfect. Teachers can also consider task requirements and make modifications when necessary. Lisa suggested, “Let the child set his/her own goals, learn appropriate goal disengagement, and teach good self-talk. Avoiding authoritarian parenting is key. Make sure you let your kids see your own failures, mistakes and risks. Avoid only rewarding high grades. Sometimes we act like the lowest grade is in a different color ink. Celebrate risk taking and build risk-taking experiences into the family where it is safe.”

A transcript of this chat may 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:

Examining the Construct of Perfectionism: A Factor-Analytic Study (cgi)

Helpful Tips for Parents of Perfectionistic Gifted Learners

Voices of Perfectionism: Perfectionistic Gifted Adolescents in a Rural Middle School

Letting Go of Perfect: Overcoming Perfectionism in Kids (Amazon)

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control (Amazon)

What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: Real Deal on Perfectionism: Guide for Kids (Amazon)

Freeing Our Families from Perfectionism (Amazon)

You’ve Gotta Know When to Fold ‘Em: Goal Disengagement/Systemic Inflammation in Adolescence (Abstract)

Perfectionism: The Presentation

The Perils of Perfectionism

Lisa Van Gemert’s Website: Gifted Guru

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Developing Social Skills in Gifted Children

gtchat 04122016 Social Skills

 

“The day a child is identified as a gifted learner life changes for them and their families.” ~ Angie French

Social skills are necessary skills that allow children to get along with others; especially age-peers. These skills include self-control, good manners, and being able to cooperate, communicate and engage with others. These skills are not innate; they must be taught and gifted children are no exception. Too often adults mistakenly think all gifted children can develop social skills instinctively.

“Social skills is a huge area encompassing all the ways we get along with other people – parents, peers, teachers, etc. [They] include a vast array of “hidden” and “zero order” skills – things only noticed when they fail. GT kids may need extra help with social skills, as their peers might be few and far between ” ~ Dr. Peter Flom

Academic placement can affect social competency. Poor and inappropriate placement exacerbate its development. When gifted kids enter school without social skills, behavior can be misinterpreted as being spoiled rather than being bored and unchallenged. (Ruf)

Who should be responsible for teaching social skills – parents, schools, or both? Although both parents and schools need to teach social skills, it initially starts at home. Basic social skills need to be in place long before the child enters school. For gifted students, schools need to differentiate instruction taking asynchronous development and individual needs into consideration.

“Parents can be their safe place of acceptance. GT kids often feel different – being OK with self can help with social anxiety.” ~ Shanna Weber

The conversation then turned to where and how should social skills be taught in schools – regular classroom; pull-out sessions; with intellectual peers? Social skills can be incorporated into all phases of school life. Pull-out classes can deal with issues associated with giftedness. Regular classrooms provide the opportunity to practice social skills with age-peers. Particular skills may need to be taught when gifted kids are working with older intellectual peers; new circumstances. Margaret Thomas added an important reminder, “GT kids don’t want to be singled out, condescended to, or lumped with label of lacking emotional intelligence.”

“Let kids problem solve social issues. Don’t rescue them but guide them. Nudge them to get comfortable with uncomfortable.” ~ Valerie King

What are some things parents can do to teach social skills at home? Modeling good behavior at home is an important part of parenting. They can be vigilant in discussing the importance of other’s feelings (empathy) in response to one’s own behavior. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources and Sprite’s Site suggested, “Parents can role play possible situations with their children to try various outcomes.” Parents need to set clear rules and family standards; have high, but reasonable expectations. (Pfeiffer) They should look for signs of aggressive or anxious behavior; consider professional help when necessary. Carol Bainbridge, gifted expert at About.com, added, “Responses children get from parents, peers, and teachers helps them learn what is and isn’t appropriate social behavior.” A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

“Final thought: Just as we never stop learning, we never stop building social skills. Everyone can develop confidence with others.” ~ Jeremy Bond

 

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:

Highly Gifted Children & Peer Relationships

Raising a Well-Adjusted Gifted Child: Value of Promoting Social Intelligence

Social Skills

Social & Emotional Issues 

Teaching Social Skills to Young Gifted Children: Why & How

AUS: Behaviour, Emotions, Social Development: Gifted & Talented Children

How to Teach Social Skills to Gifted Kids

The Psychosocial Concerns & Needs of Gifted Students (pdf)

Tips for Parents of Gifted Children: What Most Parents Wish They had Known

How to Help Your Gifted Kid Thrive

The Relationship between Placement & Social Skills in Gifted Students (pdf)

Practical Strategies to Enhance Gifted Students Social & Emotional Skills

Turkey: A Qualitative Study to Understand the Social & Emotional Needs of Gifted Adolescents (pdf)

Develop Non-Cognitive Skills to Assure Students’ Success

Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners Role of Non-cognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance (pdf)

Early Identification of High-Ability Students: Clinical Assessment of Behavior (pdf)

Socioemotional Competencies, Cognitive Ability & Achievement in Gifted Students (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Socialization

Sprite’s Site: Making Connections

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids (Amazon)

Humanoid Robotics and Computer Avatars Could Help Treat Social Disorders

Hoagies Gifted: Social Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

Cybraryman’s Mental and Emotional Health Page

Cybraryman’s Social Skills Page

Living with Gifted Children from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Photo courtesy of morgueFile.  Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Many Faces of Gifted

gtchat 01122016 Many Faces of Gifted

 

The many faces of giftedness often look quite different depending on the characteristics used and who is making the judgement. Early on in the discussion, Jen Merrill, author and blogger at Laughing at Chaos,  pointed out appropriately so that we shouldn’t be looking at ‘types’ of giftedness but rather differences in ‘wiring’ or ‘strengths’ among gifted children.

Although arguments have been made for and against labeling gifted children, we considered the consequences which occur when children are mislabeled or not identified at all. Gifted children often ‘feel different’ from their age-peers and when not identified or mislabeled, they can feel confused. They may be placed in an inappropriate educational setting, miss valuable opportunities, or receive a medical misdiagnosis. According to Gail Post, Clinical Psychologist, “At worst, [it] could result in depression, despair, isolation; always feeling there is something wrong with them,”

What do we risk by equating ‘gifted’ only with high academic achievement? Many gifted children never achieve academically as their areas of strength may lay elsewhere. Talents outside the academic realm may never be realized if only academic achievement is considered. As Jeremy Bond expressed, “We risk getting it spectacularly wrong. Our most gifted leaders weren’t correlated with school “achievement” (whatever that is).”

Intellectual giftedness can get overlooked as well when considering twice-exceptional students and those from culturally different or diverse populations. Disabilities can be more visible and obstruct the viewpoint of adults responsible for identification. Too many educational professionals lack the necessary expertise in cultural differences & diverse populations. As #gtchat adviser, Krissy Venosdale, told us, “I honestly can’t think of a field in education where there is more bias, preconceived notions, misunderstandings than gifted.”

Highly gifted children are at particular risk for medical misdiagnosis that fails to recognize giftedness. Many areas such as ADHD share characteristics with giftedness making diagnosis difficult. Most medical professionals have had little to no training about gifted characteristics. A transcript of this chat may 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  1 AM (1.00) in the UK,  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. 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:

Many Faces of Giftedness: Lifting the Masks (Amazon)

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness via @MarianneKuz

Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts &Talents: Development, Relationships, School (Amazon)

Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children & Adults

Trading Beyond the Mark: Supporting the Genius of Disobedient Thought

The Faces of Gifted: A Resource for Educators & Parents

The Varied Faces of Gifted/Talented Students (pdf)

Many Faces of Gifted (PPT pdf) by Dr James T Webb

Revised Profiles of the Talented & Gifted 2010 (pdf) by Betts and Neihart

Changing Our View of Gifted Learners

GT Chat: Labels: Good, Bad, or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 3

Hoagies’ Gifted: Testing and Assessment

Cybraryman: Twice-Exceptional Children

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum: Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (downloadable guide)

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative: Reducing the Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop: Discovering the Depth and Breadth of Giftedness

Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop: Ages & Stages of Giftedness

 

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic Courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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