Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

My friend Judy Murcutt rang and told me she would be bringing me a teddy bear which had the same base as the persona dolls I am making. She said I could take it apart and use the frame to make another doll.

But, as with Felicity, when the bear arrived it was far too beautiful to deconstruct.
So I named her Bearnice and wrote her into the story.

Bernice’s story

There’s a bear in there!

It is the first day of the new school year and you, dear teacher, are meeting your class for the first time.
And one of the students is a bear – a very much alive bear in a folk art dress, jacket and apron, with an engaging smile and an intelligent sparkle in her eyes, carrying a basket of gingerbread men.
It must be a mistake of some kind. No teacher could be expected to teach a bear! You check with the admissions officer and are told “Oh, that is Bearnice.”

“What am I supposed to do with her?” you ask.

“You need to make sure she learns all that she is expected to learn in your grade this year”

“But she doesn’t speak the same language as we do!”
“You have taught students who have English as a Second Language in the past.”

So now you have a few options.
You could ignore Bearnice altogether – maybe she will just go away. But you wouldn’t do that, would you?

You could assume she must really be like all the other students (maybe she is just dressed up as a bear and when she is comfortable enough in the class she will remove the disguise) But in your heart you know that is not likely to happen. She really is a bear.

You could find out more about bears in general and Bearnice in particular. Learning about her needs, interests, abilities and passions may show you why she was put in your class.

You can learn from her and find out what you can do to help her fulfil her potential and complete whatever mission she has. Maybe she has something to contribute that could save the planet!

And here is the Message contained in the Story.
Some gifted or 2E twice exceptional students seem to be so different from the other students in the class.
You may have difficulty communicating with them for many different reasons.
They may be a long way ahead of the class in some areas and have gaps or weaknesses in other areas.
When you get to know the student personally you may find that they have specific areas of interest and specialized knowledge and a sense of being on a mission.

Spoiler Alert: Bearnice has an amazing wealth of knowledge about bees and a passionate interest in preserving the world’s bee populations!

The Memory Elephant in the Room


Photograph Jo Freitag 2015


Since the arrival of Edward the Autonomous  I have decided that I will definitely create a set of six persona dolls to represent the six students in Betts and Neihart’s Profiles of the Gifted and Talented and I will create a separate blog for the persona dolls. (More about all that soon in another post)

Then I decided to add the 5 Dabrowski dogs and the Perfectionist Poodle to the set.
My search for soft toy dogs or patterns to make them showed me several expensive options and then led to a large white dog with a Christmas hat and scarf for $3 sitting in a basket of toys at the back of an Op Shop. I did not buy him when I first saw him; but the more I thought about him, the more I thought he would be suitable.
So the following day I phoned the shop and yes, he was still there. So I took a bus ride to collect him.

On the way I passed another Op Shop and I spotted an elephant rocker sitting outside the shop. It did not have a price tag on it and I know that rocking horses can be very expensive. I went in and asked the price of the elephant.
“Elephant?” said the lady “I didn’t know we had an elephant!” (Just like when I found Felicity) She suggested a very reasonable price and I carried home my Memory Elephant as well as the white dog!


On the Gifted in Reel Life blog hop


I returned from the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Gifted in Reel Life blog hop  to find the place littered with empty popcorn boxes.
I was able to bring back a number of suggestions for films and books which depict gifted characters in a realistic way and also to make a mental note of some shows it would be better to avoid.

Here are the posts I visited on the blog hop and the comments I left or tried to leave.

The Change and Growth of Claudia Donovan ~ On a Tangent (Leah Spann)

Claudia is a fun character. She’s a wisecracking, tech-savvy prodigy, who has a habit of causing mischief. She also becomes, with the help of a set of excellent mentors, a competent, forward-thinking government agent, who saves the Warehouse and the world from certain disaster on multiple occasions. But the real reason that I like Claudia so very much and feel so strongly about her character as a representative of gifted individuals is not, surprisingly, any of that. Namely, the reason I find Claudia Donovan so compelling is because she is not that person when we first meet her.
My comment:
I do not know this show either but I love your account of the development of the character that you have seen during the series.
And I agree “I’m not my own age.” is a great description of asynchronous development!

Child Genius: How Media Distorts and Exploits Gifted Children ~ Gifted Unschooling (Amy Harrington)
With one new reality game show, gifted awareness has been set back as all the prevalent myths and stereotypes come to the forefront with Lifetimes’ “Child Genius.” Our anti-intellectual society will pat themselves on the back for believing that giftedness or worse, parenting gifted children, looks anything like what is portrayed on the show.
My comment:
It is really sad how much damage the media can do, By portraying inaccurately  and editing to give false impressions, they perpetuate the myths and stereotypes about giftedness. Thank you for a great post, Amy.

Columbo: Breaking Gifted Stereotypes ~ Eclectic Homeschooling (Amy Bowen)
I love how Columbo presents a picture of giftedness that isn’t stereotypical. Giftedness is often stereotyped as a geeky, socially-awkward individual that is obviously highly intelligent. Columbo very much goes against that stereotype and presents a picture of giftedness that often goes unrecognized.
My comment:
I really enjoyed watching Colombo! I loved his tenacity and attention to minute details under cover of his bumbling absentmindedness
“Just one more thing…”

The Extraordinary Empathy of a Data Analyzing Robot Youth Life Form ~ Bob Yamtich
If we could get back to 1985, we could more easily see a film called D.A.R.Y.L. about a Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform.
My comment:
I have not seen D.A.R.Y.L. but I think, judging by your great post, I would enjoy it!
Some movies on similar themes I have enjoyed are Bicentennial Man, I, robot and Short Circuit

Gifted in Reel Life ~ Sprite’s Site (Jo Freitag)
There are many films about gifted characters which can be used for discussion starters for parent groups, material for teacher training or professional development/in-service training or activities for gifted youth groups.
My comment:
Just calling in to deliver some more popcorn and tissues!

Gifted in “Reel” Life ~ Homeschooling Hatters (Care Martin)
Growing up, I had a pretty positive impression of gifted children, which I realize now is inherently incomplete and also grossly inaccurate. While I came out of it with the impression of incredible smarts and the ability to rules-lawyer out of anything… the notion of anything relating to overexcitabilities was left well behind – as was the notion that perhaps gifted is not something that is global. Like, just because you’re gifted doesn’t mean you’re as ridiculously strong in math as you are in language arts.

My comment: I was not able to leave a comment here bit would have said
Yes it is unfortunate that there are not more balanced portraits of gifted and 2E people to be seen in the media. Great post, Care!

Images of Giftedness ~ Christy’s Houseful of Chaos (Christy Knockleby)
To Me, Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt and Howards End by E. M. Forester are about giftedness too. The characters illustrate the moral sensitivity, the willingness to question those around and to see things differently that is, and I’ve read, common among many gifted people.
My comment:
Heightened sensitivity to moral issues is a characteristic of many gifted people and one which often makes it harder for them to fit in. Thank you for an interesting post and helpful SENG link.

In My Nightmares, I’m Theresa Wiggin ~ Gluten-Free Mum (Kathleen Humble)
I’ve been trying to come up with good introduction, something punchy, y’know. But I can’t. Closing my eyes I can hear my son avidly discussing trains with DH and my daughter thumping her fork on a table as she eats her breakfast. A few moments peace in order to coherently gather my thoughts, nope, not going to happen . . . oh well. It could be worse. I could be Theresa Wiggin.
My comment:
A great post, Kathleen! I have to admit I had not thought about the series from the POV of Theresa Wiggin!

Life with Lilo ~ Mommy Misadventures (Michelle Nguyen)
One of my favorite movies of all time, Lilo & Stitch took a much more personal tone when I realized how closely some of my daughter’s issues mirrored that of Lilo.
My comment:
Thank you for a great review post!

Lilo: Dabrowski’s Gifted Child in Reel Life ~ Scleratus Classical Academy (Anya Ward)
Around the time I was researching about gifted overexcitabilites I watched the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch to see if it was something that would be a good movie for the kids. As I watched it I was struck by how much this little girl was acting like the things I had been reading about. And while Disney may not have intended it that way, they were clearly portraying a gifted child with several, if not all, of Dabrowski’s overexcitabilites.
My comment:
Great post! It is so good to see giftedness and OEs shown in a non-stereotype way.

Quite Interesting ~ Our Life at Home (Stacey Adams)
I will admit that, at times, Stephen can come across as a condescending jerk. But this confession melted my heart. Retyping a book, out of his love for the mechanical workings of a typewriter, is exactly the sort of thing my son would do.
My comment:
I love Q.I. and yes it is a real pity that Stephen was made fun of in an inappropriate manner for sharing a personal story. Comedians need to be very careful – it is so easy to tip over the line between humour and cruelty/disrespect.

Reel Life This Ain’t ~ Laughing at Chaos (Jen Merrill)
People have told me for years that our lives here would make a great sitcom. That’s all well and good, but no one would believe it. A gifted or twice-exceptional family doesn’t transition well to a screen, big or little. Hobbies and jokes that few would get. Too nuanced, too much angst, not enough laugh track.
My comment:
Great post, Jen! I love The Incredibles too! And I agree that people in general would feel bored, confused or very uncomfortable if they watched an accurate show about gifted/2E people in REAL life, in REAL time span and without any editing to manipulate their opinions.

Rise: A Refreshing Dose of Gifted Reality ~ My Little Poppies (Caitlin Curley)
In this age of reality shows, many of which I believe to be potentially damaging to our nation’s youth, RISE was a refreshing dose of genuine reality. In this film you will not find exploitation, continuation of long-held stereotypes, voyeuristic competition- none of that. Rise is real, folks.
My comment:
This sounds like an excellent film – one I would very much like to see. Thank you for a great review!

That New Show About Kids Who Are “Geniuses”? Yeah, Let’s Talk About That ~ Red, White and Grew (Pamela Price)
Yes, by all means, let’s use a televised competition between underage gifted people to feed a culture’s insatiable desire for attention and status. Let’s pit kids against one another and let the winner take the spoils in videos that will last forever. While we are at it, let’s also make it easier for people to tease and bully gifted kids–a population vulnerable to bullying–by saying things like “if you’re so smart, why can’t you get on that Lifetime show and win some money?”
My comment:
To me the sad thing about reality TV shows and media articles in general is that so often they are edited to show the worst/most dramatic and may not be a truthful depiction of what was said and done.

Those Quirky Red Boots ~ Through a Stronger Lens (Nicole Linn)
When I first heard about the movie, my thoughts were, “Bradley Cooper and Sandra Bullock? Fun romantic comedy? Sure!”  Instead, I found a fairly accurate depiction of a highly gifted woman, living unapologetically in a world that just didn’t get her,
My comment:
I have not seen this movie and, judging by your great review, it is one that I would enjoy. And I like your advice to Care not to watch it on a day when you are feeling vulnerable but to save it for a “take me for who I am day”!

This is a commentary post on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum December Blog Hop: Gifted in Reel Life.
To read all the posts please visit


Gifted in Reel Life


I know I have not posted much here yet this year.
After the Christmas and New Year celebrations I have been busy updating both the Gifted Resources website and my personal website and setting up new pages for use in 2015.

Sprite and the others have been “helping” me (note the inverted commas).

By the time we started working on the Film Discussions page Intellectual Dabrowski  and P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle, were being pedantic and tiresome and Psycho Motor Dabrowski’s attention was waning.
Imaginational Dabrowski was thinking how good it would be to stop the updating work and watch some of the movies.

“Oh look, here’s my favourite movie of all time – Little Man Tate” said Sprite. “We could watch that first and then maybe Contact. I’ll get the popcorn.”
Next thing I knew Sprite had made herself comfortable, everyone had brought more films, snacks and a box of tissues for Emotional Dabrowski and they had all settled down (except Psycho Motor, who never settles down and Sensual who felt itchy) for a marathon viewing of films about gifted and 2E characters.

Films can be a powerful teaching tool and an effective springboard for generating discussion. I have developed and presented a series of discussions based on movies on topics relating to giftedness for education, encouragement and enjoyment for teachers, students, parents and anyone who lives or works with gifted people.

There are many films about gifted characters which can be used for discussion starters for parent groups, material for teacher training or professional development/in-service training or activities for gifted youth groups.
Suitable films include
Little Man Tate
A Beautiful Mind
The Incredibles
Top Kid
Finding Forrester
Rain Man
Good Will Hunting
Searching for Bobby Fischer
August Rush
October sky

I noticed that Psycho Motor Dabrowski was bouncing up and down in front of the GHF January Blog Hop sign.
So I left Sprite and co and set off to find out what other blogs had to say about ‘Gifted in Reel Life’.
“Bring home some more popcorn and tissues, please!” called Sprite.

If you would like to go on the blog hop too you will find all the links at