The Reality of Raising Gifted Kids: What Should be on your Radar Facilitated by: Angela Atchison, Certified School Psychologist and Wendy Mullins, Mental Health Consultant and Certified School Psychologist What is giftedness? What does giftedness look like? Myths and misperceptions of giftedness Strategies in raising gifted kids Oldham County Schools Gifted and Talented Educational Services (GATES) The Oldham County Board of Education is committed to supporting the needs of children who have been identified as possessing the ability to perform at exceptionally high levels. These children are identified and provided services based on criteria outlined in 704 KAR 3:285. Each school in the district has a Gifted and Talented Educational Services (GATES) Coordinator who facilitates service delivery for identified students. The school coordinator acts as a resource for the school staff providing specific instructional assistance for the teachers and providing information on special projects and activities for gifted and talented students. The district has two resource teachers who provide consultation and collaborative services to teachers and GATES coordinators. There are students whose intellectual capacity, rate of learning, and potential for creative contributions demand experiences apart from, but connected to, the regular classroom. We are committed to the belief that these gifted students require guidance in discovering, challenging, and realizing their potential. Under this philosophy it becomes the responsibility of the entire staff, in partnership with parents and the school system, to meet the needs of gifted students. Oldham County Schools website, 2011 OC GATES Goals Our goals for gifted and talented education in the Oldham County School district are: To provide each child with a differentiated, appropriate educational experience in order to help him/her achieve maximum potential To aid each child in understanding and coping more successfully with his/her unique talents and in demonstrating a positive regard for his/her own talents and contributions of others To assist each child in becoming self-disciplined and responsible for his/her class work and behavior To make each year a positive learning experience for each child What is giftedness? • The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as “Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)] In Kentucky KRS 157.200(1)(n) includes within the definition of "exceptional children" a category of "exceptional students" who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, psychosocial or leadership skills, or in the visual or performing arts. Oldham County Schools website , 2011 What areas of giftedness are identified in Kentucky? • • • • • General intellectual ability Specific academic aptitude Creative or divergent thinking ability Psychosocial or leadership ability Visual or performing arts ability How are students identified for Gifted and Talented Services in Oldham County • Students are monitored in primary grades for possible formal identification in grade 4. The district also administers an assessment (CogAT) for all students in grades 3 and 6 in order to find students who may qualify for services. Building level coordinators and staff also monitor students and refer for identification on an on-going basis throughout the school year for all grade levels. • The student is first nominated by a staff member or parent. The building level coordinator begins gathering data on the student using the district guidelines. In many instances, assessments are administered to gather additional data about the student's abilities. The building level GATES committees monitor nominated students and once they feel that the data collected meets the identifying criteria the student is sent to the district identification committee for review. The district identification committee reviews student nominations and referrals, makes an identification decision and then notifies the parent and building level coordinator. State regulation outlines criteria needed for identification for each area of giftedness. The • What does it mean to be gifted? • It DEPENDS on the state and local criteria • Experts do not always agree on precisely what defines giftedness • High achievement does not necessarily equate with giftedness • There is not one answer Scaled Std score Score %iles Broad Description 19 18 17 16 145 140 135 130 99.87 99.61 99.01 98 15 14 13 125 120 115 95 91 84 Strength or Well Developed or Superior 12 11 10 9 8 110 105 100 95 90 75 63 50 37 25 High Average 7 6 5 85 80 73 16 9 4 4 3 2 1 70 65 60 55 2 1 .4 .13 Strength Or Above Average Qualitative description Exceptional Strength or Very Well Developed or Very Superior or Excellent Stanine Standard deviation +3 9 +2 8 7 +1 6 Average Weakness Or Below Average Average 5 Low Average 4 Weakness or Poorly developed or Below average 3 Exceptional Weakness or Very Poorly Developed or Far Below Average 0 -1 2 -2 1 -3 -4 Adapted from Satller Qualitatively – what does Giftedness look like? What do you see? Characteristics of the Gifted (taken from the Bright vs. Gifted handout (Oldham County Schools) Silly ideas does not seem to pay attention, but tests well may love learning, but hate school Knows curriculum before taught Intense highly curious 1-2 repetitions for mastery Invents Initiates projects seems to just know read before pre-school Creates highly self-critical creates a new design good guesser high vocabulary draws inferences manipulates information Keenly observant seeks out information perfectionist thrives on complexity prefers company of other gifted or adults Manipulates information asks deep probing questions shows strong feelings/opinions mentally and physically involved Myth? All children are “Gifted”? Every child has attributes or qualities that make them that special, unique person, but not everyone is by definition “gifted” – a person who shows exceptional ability in one or more areas. Why is it important to explore myths? Perspective is the lens through which we see, act and react to the world and others and is based on our thinking and belief system. When we choose our lens based on false information, then our actions and reactions to the world and others may not produce the results we expect or want. Myth? Gifted Children are evenly developed? • Some children are identified as being gifted in multiple area, while others are identified gifted in one area. • Gifted children exhibit areas of personal strength and weakness • Sometimes Giftedness is paired with asynchronous development • Some children are identified as twice exceptional Asynchronous development or Twice Exceptional Students with giftedness have areas of weakness and strength, just as typical peers do. Some students with giftedness also have an area of (potential) disability – – – – ADHD Anxiety/Depression Learning Disability Social/Emotional/Behavi oral Disorder Myth? Students with bad grades or low school performance are not gifted? Gifted students, like any other student, can be underachievers. Some students may be bored with the material, the peers, the presentation, the teacher, the subject. Some students mask their skills to fit in with others. Some students learn, but do not feel compelled to complete the classroom or homework. Some students may have arrived at a class where they are required (for the first time) to put forth effort in learning and they do not know how to handle that. Myth? Gifted students are gifted – they do not need anything from us (adults, parents, teachers). Gifted students are first and foremost students who can benefit from adult guidance. A student who is gifted in one area may need additional support in areas of weakness. Stresses in Parenting the Gifted Child No manual included Want to do things “right” Want child to have a better experience than self Recognize that child is gifted in one area but struggling in another area Do not feel like child’s needs are being met and not sure how to meet those needs – and do not want to be “that” parent to get needs met Trying to meet youth’s needs through extra curricular activities Having no one who understands to talk to and support you How can we reduce parent stress? Continue to build your knowledge base about your child’s giftedness Identify areas of concern and develop a positive plan to address Find support through other parents, school staff, outside providers Positive and Consistent Parenting – including structure and boundaries at home Help self, family and student develop a balance Use and model positive Coping Strategies Build Autonomy Having children = dealing with what comes up Parenting is not a matter of having nothing “come up” (issues/problems), but dealing with whatever “comes up” So, being an effective parent does not mean that nothing “comes up”, being an effective parent means developing a positive, effective plan for dealing with whatever “comes up” and teaching your child to do the same When faced with a situation • Step back from the situation (change your perspective) • Write down specific concern • What things about the situation do you have control or influence over, what do you not have control over • Write down thoughts you are thinking about concern and what you feel with those thoughts • Are the thoughts rational, real/true, healthy? • Using the rational healthy thoughts, what are some possible solutions to the problem – may seek advice or feedback from trusted others • What are the implications of implementing the solutions for yourself, the student, the family Nuggets Actively Listen Be flexible – model flexibility Be mindful of your own perspective and the perspective of others Be open to changing you perspective if you find it is inaccurate or ineffective Think outside the box for solutions Communicate respectfully and effectively Know that sometimes the first solution is not the most effective and we can choose to change What do Youth with giftedness want their teachers and parents to know? When child identified as gifted – “Nothing changes…..Enjoy them for who they are.”(age 13) “Start to get information. Most people get identified, but don’t know that this means the emotional side of like is just as important as the academic side….” (age 14) “Start asking questions. Is there a special program or class?....” (Shultz, 2011) What do you think is the most important thing that parents do not know about being a gifted kid? “There is a lot of pressure on kids who are GT. They are expected to know everything ….Most GT kids put a lot of pressure on themselves since they really don’t know what being GT is really all about.” (age 14) “Stress. Most GT kids are expected to do more. This includes work in regular classes, depth in answers, and helping other kids who don’t understand by tutoring This stress is really painfull.” (age 14) (Shultz, 2011) What do you wish parents would say to GT kids? “I love you for who you are not what other people expect you to do and be.” (age 14) “Go ahead, make mistakes…Make a mess…..Try something new and wee what happens….sometimes good enough is good enough.” (age 14) “It’s just a label. This doesn’t make you better than other people. It shows you are different and that you need different things to be happy and content. (Age 13). (Shultz, 2011) What do you wish parents would do with their GT kids? “Try new things and grow together in adventures. Read with me and share the story. Help me try to overcome my fears, and maybe yours too. (age 13) “Teach me how to get other people to take me seriously…..” (age 12) “Help your GT kid feel like a regular human being. Trying to be the best or perfect only paralyzes us and we stop taking chances out of fear.” (age 14) (Shultz, 2011) Pitfalls When a gifted student does not want to follow their gift even when provided opportunities When a gifted student “fails” When a gifted student is unmotivated to work within the system When a gifted student is too caught up in the system When a gifted student chooses to not work to their potential Resources • Hoagies Gifted Education Page; http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/ • Kentucky Association for Gifted Education; http://www.wku.edu/kage/ • National Association for Gifted Children; www.nagc.org/ • Supporting Emotional needs of the Gifted (SENG); http://www.sengifted.org/ • 2e – Twice Exceptional Newsletter; http://www.2enewsletter.com/welcome%20page .htm References Common myths about gifted students. (2000, October). Retrieved from http:// www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/fact/myths.html Kunkel, M., Chapa, B., Patterson, G., & Walling, D. (1992). Experience of giftedness: Eight great gripes six years later. Roeper Review, 15(1), 10-14. NAGC. Common gifted education myths. Retrieved from http://nagc.org/ commonmyths.aspx "Oldham County Schools Web." Oldham County Schools. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. http://www.oldham.kyschools.us/ocsws/index.php?option=com_content. Schultz, R. (2011). Note to teachers:A few pointers for parents. Teaching for High Potential, 16. Retrieved from www.nagc.org.