National Parenting Gifted Children Week

supporting emotional needs of gifted children
Image via www.sengifted.com

It’s National Parenting Gifted Children week! Really? Really?! What genius plans something like this, an awareness campaign designed to call attention to the special learning and social-emotional needs of gifted and talented children, during the summer when the kids are out of school?

Granted our gifted kids might be driving us absolutely batty this time of year without school year schedules to keep life ordered combined with excitabilities and intensities and such, but it’s so much easier to, say, host a parent educational program, during the school year.

So anyway, while the teachers are traveling, working summer jobs or hanging out with their own children and administrators are doing whatever they do during the summer, let’s celebrate!

I have just one point to make followed by a lot of ranting. Feel free to skip the ranting, but read this:

Giftedness, like autism, exists on a spectrum. Gifted kids, especially those at the far end of the spectrum (extremely high ability, highly or profoundly gifted) have unique educational and social-emotional needs that are typically not met by via traditional curriculum in a standard classroom. When schools provide services for such students, those programs (if well-designed and implemented, at least) are educational interventions.

Would you suggest that your school stop offering the services of a speech therapist or social worker? Then for goodness sake, why are gifted programs on the chopping block when budgets get tight?

My kids are 12 and 14. I’m cynical and impatient, but I wasn’t always.

I was the parent who bit her tongue, not wanting to be that mom. I trusted the empty reassurances provided by the people who could have made things better.

And in turn, other times I came on too strong, tired of the patronizing responses when it came to my boys.

In terms of the larger gifted community (before Twitter and Facebook Groups), I hosted an annual salon with a featured expert speaker, I spoke up at a school board meeting. Even at the state level, I tried to fight the good fight for gifted kids, but the blind kids kicked my butt!

I’ve been told things a parent should never hear from a school teacher or administrator:

  • There’s nothing we can do to challenge him beyond what we have.
  • Don’t let him get too far ahead or he’ll be bored in class.
  • We wish there was a way for him to be challenged other than homeschooling.

And you know what? In Illinois, all those things are technically okay, because we don’t have a funded mandate for gifted services.

You know what else? We don’t have a national mandate, either.

Do you know how many federal education dollars went toward gifted education last year in the form of the Javits grant, the only federal program the specifically addresses the needs of the gifted and talented?

ZERO. none. zip. zilch. nada.

(On the bright side, one could accurately claim it’s twice as much as the year before.)

No wonder I’m bitter.

I’ll be honest, the situation is not going to get better anytime soon, but this doesn’t mean that parents of gifted children should simply let their kids be steamrolled. They need to unite, rise up and make noise.

And also, strongly consider homeschooling.

Regardless of your child’s abilities or the educational path you choose, remember you are your child’s best advocate.

</rant>

To read more about the challenges of parenting gifted children, I invite you to peruse the posts lovingly archived on the gifted tab above. These will bring you to other blogs where they were originally published. 

Happy NPCGW! Be sure to let me know how you’re celebrating. Leave a link in the comment section if you’ve written about this on your blog.

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Comments

  1. Melissa says

    I heard all three of those in a two minute period during my last conference with my younger son. We’re homeschooling now.So glad I found this. :) We got our Arduino in the mail last week and we’re playing with it. Such fun!

  2. Kim Moldofsky says

    Probably a good decision on your part. Keep me posted on your Arduino progress. We’ve only done the basic LED light thing so far. I need to buy more components, so we can play a bit more.

  3. Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) says

    I’m a gifted kid who was left behind because we moved school districts the year that gifted kids were pulled out into a special class. I was often bored in school but the gifted class was full of drama and weirdness so I’m not sure if I lost much. Now I am home schooling my daughter. She has never been tested or labelled as gifted or anything else. If you were doing the same, would you try to verify giftedness?

  4. kim/TheMakerMom says

    That’s a great question. I mostly advocate for testing (i.e. IQ testing or similar) if a child is not being served appropriately on an academic front. Teaches and administrators don’t care if YOU think you child is a genius, they want to see paperwork and numbers.The other reason I generally advocate for testing is when it’s required for admission to enrichment programs or organizations. And I don’t mean getting your 4 year-old into MENSA. I don’t really understand the point of that.Once you test, you have a “number” and have to deal with the consequences of that. Maybe it’s lower, many it’s higher, but either way, it’s hard to ignore, IMO.

  5. Terry for IAGC Gifted says

    Parenting gifted children involves more than school; that’s why summer is a fine time to celebrate. Join with others throughout Illinois as part of Illinois Association for Gifted Children; visit the website at http://www.iagcgifted.org/ See the list of parent affiliates and groups by navigating the menu: Membership > Parent Affiliates. Join a group near you, or start one…we have info to show you how. While the perfect solution for many, not everyone can homeschool, for their own reasons. But, we can all help each other…we’re not alone.

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