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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

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Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

gtchat 02092016 Parent Support Groups

Forming a gifted parents group is one of the first steps in forming a community within a school district; one of support as well as advocacy. The needs of the students in the community will determine the type of group formed. Parent groups are a great way of networking and sharing information about the local school environment for gifted. They can lend support to other parents  or even teachers who may need help in finding resources. Parenting gifted children can be a lonely and challenging experience without this type of support.

Parent groups who choose to act as a support for parents can provide resources such as speakers, book studies, and educational resources. They may decide to offer enrichment for students outside of school such as sponsoring academic competitions or activities like Super Saturdays, family weekend retreats, or clubs for chess or robotics. Advocacy groups are needed when a school does not provide adequate services for gifted students; if any at all.

There are organizations who seek to support parents in various ways. Many state gifted organizations have local affiliates for parents. The NAGC (U.S.) provides online resources in the form of information on starting parent groups. SENG is perhaps best well known for supporting parents with their SENG Model Parent Groups. Links to these organizations have been provided below.

How can parents find other parents who might be interested in joining a group? Your child can be a great resource; they will know who is in the gifted program at school. Many school districts will send home flyers (provided by parents) or mass emails to parents of their gifted students. As a reminder, Psychologist Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges pointed out, “Either type of group needs to have goals – otherwise [they] can turn into social group. Goals also help with group dynamics and reduce potential for conflict.” Social media is another way to meet parents and even form online groups.

In order to be recognized as a formal group by the local school district, parents need to know who and how to approach school officials. School administrators should be contacted first; then, gifted coordinators, principals, and special education directors depending on how gifted education is organized in the district or state. Having the support of an organization such as SENG can validate the existence of parent groups in some schools. It was also mentioned that PTA groups on occasion will form committees to serve the gifted population within a school. As with any communications between parents and schools, the conversation needs to be respectful and helpful to both parties. A transcript of this chat can 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  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (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 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:

Starting and Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf)

SENG Model Parent Groups 

SENG Online Parent Support Groups

Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model (book)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups (pdf)

Parent Support Groups at Vanderbilt

Starting a Gifted Parent Group

How Parents Can Support Gifted Children

The Nuts and Bolts of Forming a Parent Group

How Parent Advocacy Groups Can Make a Difference

AUS: Gifted Families Support Group Inc.

The Oxygen Mask: Gifted and 2e Parenting

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education: Parent Support Groups

TAGT Family Nights

Katy Parents of Gifted & Talented Students Wins Award

AUS: Support Groups Victoria

What Makes a Parent Group Successful?

MAGC: Starting & Sustaining a Parent Advocacy Group

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People (pdf)

Supporting Gifted Education through Advocacy

Cybraryman’s Gifted Parenting Resources

“Lazy” is a Four Letter Word. Don’t Use It in Front of Children

The Tres Columnae Project

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Image courtesy of MorgueFile.

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Coping with Isolation in the Gifted Community

gtchat 06262015 Isolation

Sometimes communication can be a bit tricky when you only have 140 characters with which to work. Clarity is often a casualty in conversation. This week at #gtchat, we gained a new appreciation for the limitations imposed by using a micro-blogging platform to discuss a nuanced topic like ‘isolation’. Although the intent of several questions was to consider isolation within community, some participants in the chat interpreted it to be isolation from the greater community. Facilitation of comments that sometimes can feel like a flash mob of words at the rate of a 500 tweets in an hour is difficult at best and sometimes near impossible. However, I and TAGT are pleased to provide a forum where all viewpoints are heard and valued.

Members of the gifted community often experience feelings of isolation. The scarcity of identification in any one geographical area may impede an individual’s discovery of the gifted community. So, too, diversity on the intellectual spectrum may lead to unintended isolation within the community. Isolation can also be a choice. Gifted people may become uncomfortable with those they feel don’t understand them; they tire of pretense.

Teachers of gifted students can face many obstacles when attempting to interact or collaborate with colleagues. Many people outside of education do not realize that myths about gifted education and giftedness in general can affect teachers of gifted, too. Teachers in gifted programs are often excluded in the decision-making process regarding their students as well as in the identification process.

How can teachers and parents help their gifted kids overcome isolation and find their tribe? Time for peer interaction among gifted students needs to be allotted every day. Extra-curricular activities such as creative and academic competitions can be a good way to overcome isolation. Teachers and parents can provide opportunities for gifted kids to work with older students and mentors.

Parents, too,  may experience feelings of isolation. To help with this situation, they should seek out other parents with gifted children as there is strength in numbers. They can also form support groups. Parent volunteers often meet and build networks when supporting their children at school. Many parents report finding online support and friendship when isolation is due to geographical reasons.

Finally, we turned our attention to whether or not isolation always implies loneliness. Are there positive aspects to isolation? Many members of the gifted community report finding solace in isolation; time for intellectual rest. In regard to children, it is important for adults to determine a child’s feelings; is it solitude or loneliness? They may be seeking ‘alone’ time for a reason. For more from this chat, a transcript may be found at Storify.

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Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 Challenges of Being Gifted in a Rural Community

Gifted Isolation or Gifted Community?

AUS: Multi-level Selective Classes for Gifted Students (pdf)

UK: Exploring Aspects of Participation in an International Online Network for Gifted Students – A Research in Progress

Understanding and Encouraging the Exceptionally Gifted (1985)

Friendship Factors in Gifted Children

Why Parents of Gifted Children Feel Isolated and Alone

Helping the Introverted and Talented Child

Intellectual Giftedness at Wikipedia (see Isolation)

Dabrowski’s Theory & Existential Depression in Gifted Children & Adults

Discussion on Genius & Intelligence: Interview with Arthur Jensen (slideshare)

Factors in the Social Adjustment & Social Acceptability of Extremely Gifted Children

Are Rural Needs Different in Gifted Education?

Myths, Arguments and Red Herrings…

I’ll Trade You One Gifted Child

Gifted Conferences, Events and Gatherings

My Gifted Child Wants More Friends: What Can I Do? (Slideshare)

Why do I need to make friends? (YouTube)

Belonging and Gifted Children

Just A Little Less Worse

So Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion

The Legend of the Pink Monkey

Feeling Isolated…by choice

The Most Powerful 8 Minutes for Student Engagement

Gifted Online Communities…

Finding Your Community

Gifted Students at Risk

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Biennial Conference

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour 2015

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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