Asking for Help – A Guest Expert Panel Q&A session

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

The Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop for October 2015 looks at How and When to Ask For Help
www.HoagiesGifted.org/blog_hop_asking_for_help.htm

Who can help gifted and 2E students and how and when should we seek help?
From school administrators, teachers and coaches, mentors and leaders? From counsellors or therapists? From state &/or federal government? From humankind? From the Universe? From family and friends and other members of the gifted community? Who helps or has helped you and how? How did you seek them or reach them or find them? What difference did it make?

To address these questions we have assembled a panel of experts from Sprite’s Site.
Paula, the Physicist, will answer questions about the role of a mentor.
Dr. Ed Needs, the Education Consultant, will be joining the session via Skype.
Columbus Cheetah will speak about the myths surrounding gifted and 2E students.
The Psych-Owl-Ogist will address issues relating to identification and testing and social/emotional issues.
Twitter Bird Retweet, mother of gifted tweetlets, will speak about the support available from Parent Support Groups.
A representative from the government was invited but sent a note of apology and referred the audience to their website.
Intellectual Dabrowski was not one of the invited experts but offered to share his extensive knowledge.

The format will be Question and Answer to preselected questions.
At the end of the session the audience will have an opportunity to ask their questions in the Comments section at the end of this post.

Question 1: How can you identify gifted students and where can you go for testing?
Psych-Owl-Ogist: There are checklists which can be completed by teachers and parents and various other ways of recording observations which can help to identify gifted students.
However if you need an I.Q. test administered you need to find a psychologist or education consultant who is qualified and registered to administer the test. And it is important to choose a person who specialises in working with gifted people.
The main tests are the Stanford Binet and the WISC. For articles and discussions about the comparisons between these and other tests see http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/identification.htm 
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/testing.htm

Dr Ed Needs: Some education consultants are also qualified and registered to administer these tests as well as academic achievement level testing. They can also give testing to show areas of strength/weakness and detect possible learning difficulties and give the necessary recommendations, therapy and support.

Intellectual Dabrowski: If you are looking for psychologists and education consultants in Australia who have a special interest in giftedness see Gifted Resources list at http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/psychedcons.htm

Question 2 (To Retweet): Where have you found helpful advice for raising your gifted tweetlets?

Retweet: The Psych-Owl-Ogist tested the tweetlets and gave us helpful advice about social emotional issues. And he helped us work through decisions about our parenting.
I have also found that joining a parent support group for parents of gifted tweetlets has been helpful because I am able to discuss things with those parents which most of my friends and even some of the members of our extended family do not understand.
Since we decided to continue NEST Ed rather than sending the tweetlets to fly with the local flock we have found much helpful information from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum
and from the local NEST Ed group.

Intellectual Dabrowski: For more information about Parenting and Parent Groups see
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/parenting.htm
http://giftedparentingsupport.blogspot.com.au/

Question 3: I have been told that acceleration is harmful for gifted students. What does the panel think about this?

Columbus Cheetah: I will answer that question. It is one of the myths about giftedness that acceleration is harmful for gifted students. I discuss this and other myths about giftedness on Gifted Resources website at http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

Intellectual Dabrowski: For more information about Acceleration and the Iowa Acceleration Scales see http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/acceleration.htm
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_acceleration.htm

Question 4 (To Paula): Paula, you are a Physicist and a Mentor for Sprite. How are you able to assist Sprite in your role as mentor?

Paula: Like Sprite I am twice exceptional. I have overcome the same learning difficulties that Sprite has and have earned tertiary degrees. I also share a love of astronomy with Sprite. So I am able to relate to her and understand her areas of interest and the struggles she has. Often I can offer advice from my own experience. Also I am a person who is not her parent or teacher so sometimes she finds it easier to confide in me.
As a 2E student Sprite sometimes needs special provisions, accommodations or concessions but is often embarrassed by the need to ask for help.
I know that Sprite finds it difficult to ask for help and I am encouraging her to ask for and accept the help she needs. I am also trying to help her overcome the negative effects of perfectionism while retaining the positive aspects of it

Intellectual Dabrowski: More information about mentors  http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/mentors.htm 

Question 5 (To all panel members): Do you have a role as an advocate to help the gifted?
Paula: Whenever you speak up to increase awareness or explain issues you are acting as an advocate. Sometimes I speak to groups such as this about the characteristics and social emotional issues associated with gifted and 2E students and my role as a mentor.

Dr Ed Needs: I advocate for gifted and 2E students by giving recommendations for the educational provisions they need. Sometimes this involves being present as an advocate for the student during parent/teacher meetings. I also speak at conferences and write articles which are widely distributed.
One of the most important ways I act as an advocate is by giving parents and guardians the information, support and encouragement they need to advocate for their children.
And I also encourage the students to advocate for themselves and request the provisions they need in a respectful manner.

Columbus Cheetah: I act as a Myth Buster and as an advocate for acceleration, appropriate education in terms of pace, level, depth and breadth and for time spent with true peers rather than age peers.

Psych-Owl-Ogist: My advocacy is very similar in form to that of my esteemed colleague Dr Ed Needs.

Retweet: I allow my story to be told in the hope that it will help others who are in the same situation as me.

Intellectual Dabrowski: For more information about advocacy read

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/advocacy-just-ask-sprite-and-co/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/advocacy/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/advocacy-2/

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_advocacy.htm

This is a post for the Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop for October 2015 How and When to Ask For Help.

To read more about this topic please visit
www.HoagiesGifted.org/blog_hop_asking_for_help.htm

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Gifted Grown Ups

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There was an argument in progress in front of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum October Blog Hop sign.
“You go on the blog hop – you are the gifted one!”
“No, you go! The tweetlets inherited their giftedness from you!”
The usually lovey-dovey Twitter Bird couple, Tweet and Retweet,   were debating about who should go on the blog hop and neither of them were prepared to acknowledge their own giftedness.

It is so often the way!
People seem happy to acknowledge their children’s giftedness and to advocate for their needs to be met; while not recognizing, acknowledging or affirming their own giftedness and needs.

In fact a strange thing happened at the meeting I had to discuss Dr Ed Needs’ recommendations with Sprite’s teacher.

asterisks

I had been very concerned about the meeting because I remembered previous meetings and attempts to advocate for suitable provisions for Sprite’s education
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-meeting/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/de-bonos-6-action-shoes-9-one-size-shoe-cover-system/

I had gathered lots of information to take to the meeting including the results of Sprite’s testing and Dr Ed Needs recommendations

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And I had been mentally rehearsing the conversation.

The conversation always went well in my mind until we inevitably came to the point where the teacher would say with a hint of a sneer in her voice
“So how do you know about all this? Are you a gifted person too?”
And I would mentally try out different possible replies.
I felt that I needed to affirm my own giftedness as my work is based in helping people to recognize and affirm giftedness and seek the provisions, supports and resources they need for their children and themselves.

But what if affirming my giftedness just confirmed to her that I was the crazy, over sensitive, perfectionist cheetah mama lady with no obvious giftedness and no formal qualifications who just thought the sun shone out of her precious child?

All I do would be able to do would be to show her Gagne’s DMGT innate giftedness to fully developed talents road diagram.

ghfbloghopoct1403
I could tell her that, because of a combination of circumstances and some bad choices, I had not completed my journey across the path; although I was and still am gifted and that I just wanted the most suitable opportunities to be available for others.
And also that giftedness is not always synonymous with achievement

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I would show her again the Columbus Group definition of giftedness and talk to her about the myths surrounding giftedness and Columbus Cheetah’s myth busting efforts  and I would give her the One Page to Tell information sheet  emphasizing the particular needs of the gifted and the possible causes of underachievement.

asterisks

But, as I said, a strange thing happened at the meeting.
We were not very far into the discussion (nowhere near the point where my authority to speak on such matters would be challenged) when the teacher said
“I have been doing some PD on gifted and 2E students and I have been reading a lot.
I have learned a lot about myself in the process.”

It is so often the way!
I have seen teachers leave the room in tears at gifted conferences when they realised that the speaker was describing not only their students but also the teachers themselves.

“I realize now,” she continued, “that I was a gifted child and I never had any special provisions made for me.
I know more now about the modifications needed for teaching gifted and 2E students.
Sprite is very fortunate to have you advocating for her”

This is a post for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum October Blog Hop: Gifted Grown Ups.
Please join us on the hop and read and comment on the posts.
To find all the posts in the hop please follow the links at http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/gifted-grown-ups/

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Advocacy – Just ask Sprite and co

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Sprite had just completed a session with Dr Ed Needs, the Education Consultant, regarding her education requirements as a 2E twice exceptional student and now had recommendations for challenging her giftedness and extra support provisions for her areas of difference and difficulty. Dr Needs had stated that he would be available to advocate for Sprite by discussing the measures with the school if necessary.

“He said that I would need to learn how to advocate for myself too” Sprite said “What did he mean by that?”

“Well” I said “It means that you need to learn how to talk about what you need  in a respectful manner . For instance if you want to make mind maps and sketches when you are told to take notes you could tell the teacher that is what you are doing so that she will know you are paying attention and not just doodling.”

We have talked about Advocacy for Sprite before

Advocacy https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/advocacy/

Advocacy 2 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/advocacy-2/

The meeting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-meeting/

But advocacy is not confined to talking to schools.

It can also be raising awareness of issues and tackling myths about giftedness.

Columbus Cheetah advocates for the gifted by myth busting
http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

Advocacy can also be explaining giftedness and the associated asynchrony and intensities to family and friends.
Retweet has encountered the need for this when dealing with Great Aunt Hashtag and her friends but has not always been brave enough to speak up.

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/when-extended-family-dont-get-giftedness/

Whenever you speak up to increase awareness or explain issues you are acting as an advocate.

This post is part of the Hoagies Gifted October Blog Hop: Gifted advocacy
Links to all the posts in the blog hop can be found at
www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_advocacy.htm
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Donkeys live a long time 5: Intermission

artists

I returned to Sprite’s Site after a short time away in which I had been busy with updating the pages on my personal website
Creating Challenge http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/creatingchallenge.htm

52 Illustrations Challenge http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/52illustrations.htm

My Sky 365 Challenge http://www.giftedresources.org/jo/mysky.htm

I found that Sprite and company had been busy also. They were temporarily distracted from their concerns about George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
They were preparing for World Art Drop Day on 2 September 2014.
http://mrjakeparker.com/art-drop-day
I told them that I am planning to participate in World Art Drop Day too and was considering where to leave a picture for someone to find and how I could give a clue about the location via Facebook or Twitter.

They were also creating art which featured dots for International Dot Day on 15 September 2014 http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/
Sprite reminded me that she had enjoyed Dot Day in the past https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/international-dot-day-15-september-2010/  and that Intellectual Dabrowski had insisted that she should put the date on the calendar the Memory Elephant gave her so that she would not miss the event. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/keeping-calendars/
dotday150914

But, if I thought that Sprite had forgotten about the Animal Farm discussions, I was wrong!
“We haven’t finished talking about Animal Farm yet!” she said.

“No and we have not re- evaluated your learning plan either” I said “Last time we talked about it was at The Meeting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-meeting/

“But I have already been tested and have an education plan” said Sprite “Why do I need any more?”

“Well” I said. “Situations change. It is just the same as being remeasured when you are fitted for new shoes. It is like going to the doctor regularly for a check up if you have high blood pressure and have been given a prescription – you need to check that the medication is still working and nothing has changed.”

“Do you have high blood pressure?” asked Sprite. “Does that mean you are going to die?”

“I’m fine” I said “I am not planning on dying any time soon but everybody will die sometime”
“Will I die when you die?” Sprite asked.

I have had conversations about death and life after death with many people.
I have talked about death with a two year old when her grandpa died and we found an empty spider skin. I have talked about heaven with a three year old and infinity with a five year old.

But I had never contemplated having a discussion about the likelihood or otherwise of a fictional character living after the author’s death with said fictional character.
“I don’t know!” I said.

Best Australian Blogs 2013 No 12: Stories

bestblogssignstories

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“I knew where to take people to show them Sprite’s Site social media activity” said Sprite “But how do I show them where to find the storytelling to illustrate the writing on the blog?”

“If you had been more attentive to your Latin studies” said Intellectual Dabrowski “you would be able to read the sign and see that the stories are all around you in all the blog posts!”

There are several series of posts which tell stories about Sprite and the other characters. Some have already been gathered into Youblisher booklets or told on Storyjumper, Little Bird Tales or other online story writing programs. Others can be read by reading all the posts in a particular tag.

spritesitread02

Perchance to dream http://www.youblisher.com/p/36792-Perchance-to-dream/

If only If only http://www.storyjumper.com/book/index/5746162/jofrei

You can read about the character of Sprite at About Sprite
I took the opportunity to find out whether my readers understood Sprite in the way I hoped I was depicting her at
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/gifted-island-challenge-2-getting-to-know-myself-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/gifted-island-challenge-2-getting-to-know-myself-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends-the-results-are-in/

Most of the storylines on the blog are about Sprite and are used to help provide information about 2E Twice Exceptional students who are both gifted and have some learning difficulty or learning style difference and to give links to helpful resources.

Sprite’s giftedness is apparent in her thirst for knowledge and love of research and experiments  and in the deep, sometimes existential type questions she asks.
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/elephants-in-the-waiting-room/

Storylines on the blog often deal with trying to find ideal provisions for Sprite’s education and advocating for her
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/advocacy/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-meeting/

spritesitread05
A main theme is using De Bono’s Six Action Shoes as a planning tool to find programs that will be suitable for gifted students who also have a learning difficulty or different learning style.
Sprite is always depicted as having an injured left ankle and needing to wear different shoes on each foot to illustrate the concept that she needs different educational provisions for both her giftedness and her disability.

The De Bono’s Six Action Shoes posts can be found here
Orange gumboots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/orange-gumboots/
Pink slippers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/pink-slippers/
Grey sneakers https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/grey-sneakers/
Blue formal shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/blue-formal-shoes/
Purple riding boots https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/
Brown brogues https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/brown-brogues/
More shoes https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/more-shoes/
Plaster cast https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/

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The Survivor –Gifted Island series has not been made into a booklet yet but here are the links to the posts in the correct order.
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/survivor-gifted-island/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/survivor-gifted-island-2/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/gtstoogies-15-april/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/onto-the-island-and-into-the-fish-bowl/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/reality-check/
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/gifted-island-challenge-for-reward-1-personalise-your-tent/
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/gifted-island-testing-testing/
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/meanwhile-back-on-gifted-island/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/gifted-island-challenge-2-getting-to-know-myself-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/gifted-island-challenge-2-getting-to-know-myself-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends-the-results-are-in/

Sprite has both a heightened sense of justice and a vivid imagination.
She loves to set up her soft toys with placards and hold protest marches
Feetspeak Unfair to Sprite march
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/the-protest-march/
Please remember campaign
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/please-remember-campaign/
Cruel is not cool – support for anti-bullying campaign
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/cruel-is-not-cool/
March for the tree octopus
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/march-for-the-tree-octopus/

“And that is only some of the stories about Sprite” said Intellectual Dabrowski.
“There are also plenty of stories about the other characters.”

Vote for Sprite’s Site (and as many other great Australian blogs as you like) by clicking on the Vote for Me button in the sidebar of the blog. But you can only vote once: so be sure to make the vote count. Sprite’s Site is on Page 4 O-S.
If you have entered Sprite’s Site by following a link to a specific post you will need to click on the Sprite’s Site header to see the sidebar.

The Meeting

The meeting with Sprite’s school went reasonably well, as far as I could tell at the time. However, as I think back over it, I am having some concerns.

They explained that there had been several staff changes because of teachers moving interstate, suddenly leaving because of serious health issues or going on maternity or long service leave; and that there had consequently been changes to the programs that the school offered. The new teachers were still getting to know the students and would find suitable solutions soon.

The handover had not been very smooth but then… given that some of the teachers had left suddenly …that was understandable.

I reminded them about the course of action we had embarked on to find the ideal education for Sprite for her journey along Gagne’s DMGT road
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/gagne-dmgt-model/
from innate giftedness to fully developed talent using the De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning method and they agreed we would continue to use it.

However they said Sprite should receive more testing in just the same way you would need to be remeasured when being fitted for new shoes.
Sprite has been subjected to testing in numerous ways by psychologists, therapists and education consultants and found to be both exceptionally gifted and to have specific learning difficulties.
I did wonder whether they were stalling for time and why they could not use the results of all the testing she had received so far.

I made a mental note to myself to reread Derrin Cramer’s blog post Do you need to test again?
 http://derrin-thebrightside.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/do-you-need-to-test-again.html

I was also reminded of my own words of a few weeks previous https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/advocacy/

They were made into a photo quote by Mary St George at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51965108@N05/7621345972/in/pool-1680413@N20

And it appears in an album of Gifted Education Photo Quotes at
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1680413@N20/pool/with/7621345972/#photo_7621345972

Various programs and assistive technology measures have been tried with varying degrees of success. You can see these represented by the different types of footwear Sprite wears and you can see by her body language how her comfort and optimism levels vary!

It is one thing to find out which are the best shoes for the DMGT Road but quite another to find ones that will be a good fit.

They said they would review Sprite’s needs but were rather vague about what provisions they could offer.

One thing which did concern me was that they seemed to be emphasizing the deficits and discussing those. They talked about a number of remedial measures, study skills sessions and social/emotion support but did not speak about challenging Sprite at appropriate depth and level in her areas of strength.
Most of the measures suggested sounded like Pink Slipper – (Do what is caring, compassionate and comforting) plans. Although Sprite loves her pink slippers she needs more of the Brown Brogue (Do the most sensible thing) and Grey Sneaker (Investigate) plans at this stage.
Maybe in the future she will be able to manage the Blue Formal Shoes and Leadership Purple Riding Boots type of plans.

I stressed that they should recognise Sprite’s giftedness even while they were trying to remediate the problems and they repeated that they would review the matter.

I left them with a link to a collection of articles and websites at https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/new-zealand-gifted-awareness-week-2012-tba-post-4-part-3/

We set a date for a future meeting in a month’s time.

********************************************

The day after the meeting Sprite came home wearing one orange gumboot.

I recognised this as representing the Orange Gumboot (Emergency measures) plan.
It appeared to be a stop gap measure to attempt to address Sprite’s giftedness which had not taken into account her difficulties. When that became apparent she had been told to just put on one orange gumboot and hop until they thought of something suitable.

Overprikkelbaar!

I went back to Sprite’s Site confident that Intellectual Dabrowski would approve of the fact that I had finished reading Derrin Cramer’s excellent book Beginner’s Guide to Life on the Bright Side and posted a review on Gifted Resources Blog http://giftedresources.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/beginners-guide-to-life-on-the-bright-side/

However Intellectual was not particularly impressed.
His only comment was “About time too!
You need to get up to the school straight away to talk about Sprite’s needs. There have been staffing changes. Some of her favourite teachers have gone. Some of the support programs are not being funded now. The provisions for the gifted students have been cut right back too. I am helping her all I can; but all this compensating is really tiring work!”

And it is not just me saying that. Dr Linda Silverman has written an article titled The Two-Edged Sword of Compensation: How the Gifted Cope with Learning Difficulties” http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/Two-edged%20sword%20of%20compensation.pdf

Intellectual was overseeing Sprite’s homework and sighing with exasperation.
“Look at what you have written.

“It should be Rob Head, the artist, has painted 9 steps in the background of the picture. If I were the artist I would paint animals on the steps.

You need the commas after Head and artist because they are nouns in apposition.
It should be ‘If I were’ because it is in the subjunctive.
The artist’s name is Rob Head and why did you write six when I told you it was nine?

Do I have to go right back to ‘a bat and a ball and a dog with a tail’ and ‘keep the cushions on the bed’?”

Sprite sighed too. “I do appreciate Intellectual’s help” she said “But I do wish he would not be so harsh and dogmatic and patronising when he talks to me!”

“When he gets too picky and pushy you could call him by his Dutch name” I said and whispered it into Sprite’s ear.

Sprite giggled with delight. “Overprikkelbaar! Overprikkelbaar!” she said to Intellectual.

“Yes, yes, very funny!” muttered Intellectual. ” Too easily irritated! I know the Dutch people use that name.

Why do you think Emotional went to the P Party https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/p-party/ dressed as a Prickly Porcupine?

And, for that matter, why do you think Imaginational thinks he is a Baa-Lamb?”