Dystopia

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

I had missed out on visiting Sprite’s Site on April Fools’ Day. Apparently the pranks played this year were not as original and well thought out as some of the previous years.
In 2010 and 2014 Sprite had claimed she could come into my dimension
and in 2012 Tweetil announced that he had swallowed a wormhole

This year the tricks had been restricted to whoopee cushions on chairs and Little Bully Black Dog sticking KICK ME signs on backs and then kicking everybody in the bottom whether or not they had a sign on them and calling them an April Fool if they protested.

No wonder the Pair O’Noids were still checking each other’s back every few minutes when I arrived a week later!

It was not only the Pair O’Noids who seemed to be out of sorts.
As Australia and the US approach elections another Sprite’s Site election is also due sometime in the next few months.

Caramel Cat has already announced his intention to again run for the Fat Cat Party and has been trumpeting his election promises. They sound like benefits for all on the surface but, when analysed, are found to only be benefits for Caramel Cat and his Fat Cat cronies.

Sprite is feeling concerned about the elections and about the state of the world.
It did not help that she had been studying some grim periods in World History and that, having studied George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Intellectual Dabrowski had made Sprite read Orwell’s 1984 and then suggested that she should also read Robert Westall’s  Futuretrack 5, Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

Sprite has always been concerned about how the leaders we elect behave and her own personal responsibility
She worries about the effects of climate change, broken promises from politicians, injustice to the indigenous peoples, and lack of compassion towards refugees, the elderly, the sick and the disadvantaged.
She is also made anxious by the Pair O’Noids whispered hints of conspiracies and a socially engineered return to a feudal system which benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.

“You have to stop Intellectual insisting that Sprite read all these dark dystopian future books!” Emotional Dabrowski said. “She is too young to worry about all that unpleasant stuff! It makes her feel sad and powerless.”

“It is a problem associated with Asynchronous Development” said Columbus Cheetah. “Sprite can understand those books and Intellectual insists that it is her duty to read them. And he is adamant that she must think about them critically and compare the worlds described in the stories with the conditions that she sees in the world.”

“She is not ready to deal with all the emotions these books stir up!” said Emotional.
“In fact I am not ready to go through it all with her yet either!”

“It feels like such a long time ago that she was reading Once upon a time” said Columbus “But it also feels like just yesterday!”

After the GHF December Blog Hop

afterghfdechop01

When I returned from the GHF December Blog Hop I found Sprite in a much better mood.

While she was taking her nap the Memory Elephant and the Giraffe had put up the Christmas lights and garlands.
The Dabrowski Dogs had defeated the Black Dogs in the chess match and the only sign of the Black Dogs was the greeting card and apology note on the pinboard.

The Dabrowski dogs were also too busy with other things to pester Sprite.
Psycho Motor had gone outside to bounce. Intellectual had gone to the library to investigate the background of various holiday traditions. Sensual was having a Lavender Lathers pamper session at the Paws for Poise grooming parlour bus.  
Emotional and Imaginational had gone to help with the Reading to Dogs program.
The Taste Tester dogs had sent a greeting card

The Twitter Bird carollers had begun rehearsing for their annual nativity play.
Oliver Moremouse and the other mice in the skirting boards were getting ready to celebrate.
Ginger Pony had been harnessed and was giving sleigh rides.

And the mystery of the vanished Christmas stockings/slippers had been solved. The Dabrowski Dogs had claimed them and hung them up hoping for some extra treats at Christmas time.

These are the blog posts I visited and the comments I left

Feeling Lighter ~ My Little Poppies (Cait Curley)
http://my-little-poppies.com/2014/12/feeling-lighter/
Everything is feeling lighter to me lately: parenting, homeschooling, even the holiday chaos. When I think back to this time last year, everything was just…well… heavier; life felt more challenging and stressful. What changed? In some respects, everything has changed.

My comment
I love your blog, Caitie! And so many of your descriptions bring back memories of our children at similar ages and our family life at those times!
Thank you for a beautifully written blog.
Wishing you all a very blessed and happy Christmas.

Gifted Children: Just Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes ~ Raising Tall Poppies (Celi Trepanier)
http://crushingtallpoppies.com/2014/12/15/gifted-children-just-pulling-the-wool-over-your-eyes/
With us sitting in the old, middle school desks and this teacher sitting in her chair facing us from in front of the class, she cocked back a bit with her arms folded across her chest and smugly announced with a truckload of retaliatory confidence and self-righteous pride, “oh, he is just pulling the wool over your eyes!”
My comment
Yes, I remember being told by a lady who had never met our children that one of them was ‘just saying/doing that to manipulate me’ and at first feeling bad because I thought she was right and then realizing that she was not right at all!
Thank you for a great blog, Celi!

Hawaiian Punch, Junk Food, and a (Holiday) Food Plan ~ A 2E Fox Revived (Carolyn Fox)
http://a2efoxrevived.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/hawaiian-punch-junk-food-and-holiday.html

You need a (holiday) food plan to tackle the candy canes and eggnog. The sheer volume of sugary stuff and food dyes/additives/flavorings is a nightmare for many 2e parents/kids, imho, which is magnified 10x or more during the holidays.
My comment
Thank you for a great list of suggestions for combating the problems associated with sugar and colouring laden holiday foods.
Have a delicious holiday season!

I love Christmas BUT… ~ Sprite’s Site (Jo Freitag)
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/i-love-christmas-but/
I suppose I should have predicted this happening in the build up to the holiday season; as it is a situation we have met before…

My comment
Just looking in to see how Sprite is feeling now…

Major Themes Related to My Research on Gifted/2E Kids and Bullying ~ RedWhiteandGrew (Pamela Price)

http://redwhiteandgrew.com/2014/12/15/ghf-blog-hop-major-themes-related-to-my-research-on-gifted2e-kids-and-bullying/
Many children may, when stressed, feel their overexcitabilties “fire up” in response. This can impede the logical, systemic calming down required for someone to address bullying by herself and gain a lasting, powerful sense of self-efficacy in the face of conflict. We need, as parents and educators, to work to help kids manage these OEs before a negative personal encounter. In short, we owe it to them to help develop their social skills in preparation for a negative encounter to build their resilience. We parents may also need to scaffold better socially those children who have OEs that are “off the charts,” managing their exposure to stressful or toxic situations or people and refrain from gaslighting them at the holidays.

My comment
Thank you, Pamela. I am looking forward to the publication of your book!
As Paula says you are giving an in depth approach to a difficult and far reaching topic.

Overexcitabilities and Asynchronicity and Perfectionism! Oh, My! ~Gifted Unschooling (Amy Harrington)
http://www.giftedunschooling.com/overexcitabilities/

Some of the most overwhelming aspects of raising gifted children are all the quirks, idiosyncrasies and discrepancies in abilities. Without a thorough understanding of what overexcitabilities are and how they impact a child’s experience in the world, parents and others close to the child may contemplate attaching a pathological disorder to try and explain away the difficult behaviors and outbursts that unfold in daily life. To contemplate matters more, asynchronicity creates a layer of confusion when a child whose physical age, intellectual age and social-emotional age conflict with his chronological age concurrently and in any given moment. But, let’s not stop there kindred spirits. Until we sprinkle in a heavy dose of perfectionism, we haven’t even touched the surface of how complicated living with gifted children can be.
My comment
Great post, Amy! A really good clear discussion about the OEs, asynchronous development and perfectionism and how they affect the everyday lives of the gifted.

Parenting and OEs: Is Sensitivity Your Child’s Super Power? ~ Through a Stronger Lens (Nicole Linn)
http://throughastrongerlens.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/ghf-blog-hop-parenting-and-oes-is.html
On a regular basis, the members of the family alternate between high levels of emotion, the need to move, and a desire to learn and do everything as often as possible. We each have various levels of sensory comfort and discomfort, and there is no shortage of imagination. It can make life interesting.
My comment
The Emotional OE is indeed a super power! Lesley Sword calls Emotional Intensity the Energy that Drives the Gifted Intellect and Dr Linda Silverman in her article Dabrowski’s Theory rates Emotional as “perhaps most important of the overexcitabilities
I really enjoyed reading this post – thank you Nicole!

Parenting Reality in the Land of Willful Ignorance ~ Homeschooling Hatters (Care Martin)
http://homeschoolinghatters.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/parenting-reality-in-land-of-willful.html
Every so often we run into folks who just don’t get what life is like at our house. They have an image of what a “gifted child” is in their head, and when our life doesn’t match that image, obviously it is because none of us are gifted. I wish, fairly frequently, that our lives matched that image, but they just don’t. However, the fact that we aren’t all bookworms who enjoy studying, who raise their hands first, or who don’t have parties, but instead have Socratic Conversations over weekends, while engaged in high-profile careers which allow us to have a housekeeper, and incredibly flexible hours so we’re mostly paid to just think… Well, people seem to not realize that no, that’s not what gifted (much less 2E!) is. At least, not by and large
My comment
It can be really hard when onlookers just don’t understand asynchronous development and OEs!
Thank you for a great blog, Care!

Raising a Kid Who’s Just Like You ~ Your Rainforest Mind (Paula Prober)
http://rainforestmind.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/parenting-gifted-kids-overexcitabilities/

What do you do when you’re excruciatingly sensitive, severely intense, outrageously curious, and wildly imaginative and you’re raising a kid who is JUST LIKE YOU? Do you– run away from home? Move to a state where marijuana is legal? Outsource your child to India? Create a reality TV show?
My comment
Love this post, Paula!
I did once write a series of posts about an imaginary reality show The Survivor – Gifted Island game -like a cross between Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race and the show about the camp for badly behaved teenagers.
It is played by teams of one parent, one teacher and one gifted or 2E kid.
You don’t get voted off the Island – you just have to stay there and survive and everybody gets to watch how you cope and laugh or cry about it.

This is a commentary post on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum December Blog Hop: Parenting OEs, 2Es and everything in between.

To read all the posts please visit http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/parenting-oes-2es/      

bloghopdec14

Donkeys live a long time 2

politics03

Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested that Sprite should read George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Although she is quite a bit younger than I was when we studied the book at school, it probably would have been suitable for her to read as a story or even to read as an historical allegory. We could have had some great discussions about the book from either of those angles.

However her exceptionally gifted mind and the promptings of the overexcitable Dabrowski dogs lead Sprite to combine the story with the articles she was reading in the newspapers and make some completely unexpected connections and internalise the issues and messages of the book.

I found that instead of talking about a simple story or an allegory we were discussing communism, socialism, democracy, personal and corporate responsibility, ethics and morals, politicians’ electoral promises, refugees, the environment and a number of other issues.

In fact the discussion became so complex and had so many aspects to it that I needed to make a quick mindmap and I will write a series of posts about it.

animalfarmmindmpa01

But one of the first issues that became apparent was that of Asynchronous Development.

Gifted children are often capable of reading and understanding and making further inferences from material that they are not mature enough to cope with emotionally.

We discussed this recently in a Twitter #GTChat session about locating age appropriate books for high ability learners
http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/locating-age-appropriate-books-for-high-ability-learners/

And the Hoagies Gifted Education Page July 2014 blog hop focused on Summer reading
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_summer_reading.htm

hoagieshopjulylogo

Hoagies have a section dedicated to reading at
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/reading_lists.htm

And I also found ERIC Guiding the gifted reader on the Hoagies site
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/e481.html

Asynchronous development is at the heart of the Columbus Group definition of giftedness and impacts every aspect of the life of a gifted child.
http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/isad/columbus-group 

Articles about it can be found at

SENG Asynchronous development
http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/asynchronous-developmen

Lisa Rivero Many ages at once
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-synthesis/201201/many-ages-once

columbusgroupdef

“Just tell me before we go on any further – why are you sitting in the Naughty Corner?” I asked Sprite.

“I put myself here because I am not being active in doing something when I can see things are not right or not fair” said Sprite.

“But in my own defence I have to say that I don’t know what I should be doing and there are just so many things wrong or not fair that I don’t even know where to start!”

“You and me – both!” I agreed

The Psych Owl Ogist 2

Tweet and Retweet arranged for a baby sitter to care for the Tweetlets and went to visit the Psych Owl ogist to discuss the results of the Tweetlets’ testing https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-psych-owl-ogist-1/

The Psych Owl ogist said that he had chosen to use the Ravens test because it was suitable for young Tweetlets and a good test of visual spatial ability which is very important for Twitter birds. He said that the Tweetlets had scored very highly indeed and added that, to give a complete picture and a more accurate score, a full battery of other tests could be done in future if required.

He showed Tweet and Retweet a diagram of the Bell Curve of IQ scores in the population and showed them how the higher the IQ was the smaller the percentage of the population it represented.
He cautioned that this could make it difficult for Tweetil and Tweetelle to fit in when they started FLOCK Ed as they may not find others who would understand them. He said it was very likely that they would choose older Tweetlets and adult Twitter birds for their friends.
“It is very important for them to find true peers who can be true friends and share thoughts and experiences with them at the depth they will seek” he said.
“I want you to read Prof Miraca Gross’ article ‘From the saddest sound to the D Major chord to see just how important this is!”
He also warned that they could be very disappointed with the introductory years of FLOCK Ed as they would be covering topics which they already understood.
“In most introductory classes they are still learning the nesty rhymes,” he told them.

“In fact,” the Psych owl ogist continued “it may not be wise to send them to the local flock.  You need to select a flock which will allow them to go far!
Tweetil has the intelligence, strength of character, spatial awareness, ability and vigour to be a future Leader of the Great Migrations!”

“See, I said he got it from you, Tweet!” said Retweet and added, for the benefit of the Psych Owl ogist, “There were several Leaders of the Great Migrations in Tweet’s family tree. Tweetelle is more like my family – they were mostly musicians, poets and dreamers.”

“Both Tweetlets are very gifted” said the Psych Owl ogist “but they are expressing it in different ways. It is very common for siblings to shine in different domains. Often, even when one Tweetlet is identified as gifted, the parents do not realise that the second Tweetlet is also gifted because they seem to be so different.”

“And poets, musicians and dreamers are just as important to the Twitter Bird species as the Leaders of the Great Migrations. We need the poets and musicians to record the history and the dreamers and visionaries to show what could be. Future migrations will traverse landscapes which are quite different from those seen now. It is your duty and challenge to do all that you are able to provide a warm, nurturing nest environment for the Tweetlets with exposure to the teachers and experiences that will encourage and enable their abilities.”

At this point the Psych Owl ogist produced a diagram of Professor Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model and pointed to the Environmental Catalysts section to demonstrate how the influence of the nest environment played its part in the development of the Tweetlets innate giftedness into fully developed talent.

“So it is all about a duty to develop the Tweetlets’ talents then?” asked Retweet. “That seems like a huge burden on us and also on the Tweetlets themselves!”

The Psych Owl ogist drew himself up to his full height and fluffed out his feathers.
“Good heavens, no!” he said “Talent development is very important but it is only one part of the story.
Giftedness is not only about what the IQ score is and what achievements are made.
It is about WHO the Tweetlets are!”

The Psych Owl ogist produced a series of giftedness definition flashcards.


“Here is some more reading for you.”

The moral sensitivity of gifted children and the evolution of society by Linda Kreger Silverman
http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/the-moral-sensitivity-of-gifted-children-and-the-evolution-of-society

“Even if Tweetil never gets to be a Leader of the Great Migrations he will still be a gifted Twitter Bird and even if Tweetelle spends her whole life nest making and raising Tweetlets she will not cease to be a gifted Twitter Bird!”

Marking time to the beat of their own drum

Tweet and Retweet followed the advice of the Infant Welfare sister and sought to provide enrichment activities for the Tweetlets.
They hired some musical instruments to see whether the Tweetlets would enjoy playing before investing large amounts on purchasing instruments.

And they set up a telescope for stargazing and an easel for painting which Tweetelle really enjoyed using.

But Tweetil kept on squawking “I’m bored! I want to go out and bounce with the dog!”
(The bouncing dog was Psycho Motor Dabrowski who was very eager to see the Tweetlets flying and came and bounced at the foot of the tree every day.)

So Arachnid installed a mini trampoline inside the nest.

The Flight 101 theory lessons continued and arts and crafts were incorporated.
They made leaf planes and seed helicopters and watched them fly. Tweetelle loved making leaf planes and even painted them different colours so they could play ‘See whose plane flies further’.

But Tweetil just wanted to fly himself!

Friends who visited the Tweet family during this time were very critical of the Tweets’ parenting. Some accused them of being ‘helicopter parents’ and hovering around their Tweetlets all the time like hummingbirds at a flower. Others accused them of ‘hot-housing’ and said that they were pushing the Tweetlets too hard.
Tweet and Retweet were filled with dread when Great Aunt Hashtag notified them of her intention to pay them another visit.

They replicated Galileo’s experiment by dropping seeds and nuts and feathers of different sizes and weights from the nest to learn about gravity and terminal velocity.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski suggested to Tweetil that the Galileo experiments could be made more interesting and enjoyable by aiming to hit a specific target with the nuts.
“You get one point for hitting that leaf, five points for it landing in a puddle,” said Psycho Motor “fifty points if it lands in a puddle and splashes someone and one hundred points if you can splash the old bird with the walking frame!”

You don’t need to be Imaginational Dabrowski to guess what happened next!

Flight School hits the Asynchrony speed bump

The Tweetlets were moving rapidly through the theory sections of Flight 101 and Arachnid  had set up the Web for them. But they were not having much success with the practical exercises.
They had mastered Flap – Flap – Flap but were not able to get enough power to get any lift when they jumped. (The course notes advised that they should only practice Flap – Flap – Jump inside the nest until they could get enough lift to Feel the Thermal and until they had covered Landing Procedures.)

Retweet was very concerned that the Tweetlets had reached a plateau and were not progressing and consulted the Maternal and Infant Welfare sister. She was surprised to find that the Tweetlets were in fact ahead of the expected development in several areas.
But the wise sister advised that the Tweetlets’ wing feathers were not yet sufficiently developed to allow flight. She informed Retweet that most Tweetlets that age had not even started the Flight 101 subject and were still listening to Nesty Rhymes. She was concerned to know whether the Tweetlets knew the most common Nesty Rhyme

Twitter, twitter little bird
How I wonder what you’ve heard
Sitting in your cosy nest
Eating food that you like best
Twitter, twitter little bird
How I wonder what you’ve heard

Retweet assured the wise sister that she and Tweet had sung the Nesty Rhymes to the Tweetlets often in the past when the Tweetlets could not go to sleep; and that they not only knew the rhymes but had grown so tired of hearing them that they had invented their own variations of them.

Twitter, twitter little bird
Let me tell you what I heard
Beyond the nest a world awaits
With wondrous sights and prospect gates
Twitter, twitter little bird
Let me tell you what I heard.

The wise sister expressed concern that singing variations of the Nesty Rhymes without sufficient repetition of the original and without authorisation from the education authorities  would cause confusion for the Tweetlets and that at least 10 repetitions were needed for mastery.
Retweet said that she thought the Tweetlets were quite bright because they had been able to recite the original after hearing it only two times and became bored with it after five repetitions.

Fortunately the wise sister was familiar with the notion that very young Tweetlets could already be displaying signs of giftedness and gave Retweet an article titled Bright versus Gifted from http://www.bownet.org/besgifted/brightvs.htm  to read.

She also stressed the Asynchronous Development of the gifted and cautioned that the Tweetlets may be physically unable to put into practice the things they were able to understand. Only time would provide the growth and development of their flight feathers which would to allow them to fly.

In the meantime the wise sister suggested perhaps they could provide some musical enhancement opportunities for the Tweetlets.

Nappies on Tweetlets

“How long will the Tweetlets be wearing nappies?” Sprite asked me.

My first thought was to reply “As long as they look cute wearing them!”

But then I realised it was a very good question which raised a number of issues and my quick flippant response was not a very satisfactory answer.

It begged the question “Why do the Tweetlets wear nappies anyway?”
Answer 1: “Because it looks cute and shows that they are the baby birds.”
Answer 2: “For the same reason as adult Twitter birds wear Easter bonnets and Melbourne Cup Day hats and fascinators”

And, of course, that line of questioning led us straight back to our discussion of anthropomorphism which began with Sprite’s question “Is Babar supposed to be an elephant? See Elephants in the Waiting Room  https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/elephants-in-the-waiting-room/

The second line of thought was ‘I could use this question as a starter for a discussion about toilet training and give some useful references to parenting blogs, such as Raising Children Network’ http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/toilet_training.html
and also Sue Larkey’s Toilet Training Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
 http://suelarkey.com.au/media/Tip_Sheet_-_Toilet_Training.pdf

This second line of thought also brought to mind the asynchronous development of gifted children and these excellent articles on the subject

Davidson Institute for Talent Development article
Martha Morelock Giftedness the view from within
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10172.aspx

SENG article
Asynchronous Development by Jean Goerss http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/asynchronous-developmen

Giftedness as asynchronous development by Stephanie Tolan http://www.stephanietolan.com/gt_as_asynch.htm

And the third issue that Sprite’s question raised was that of the depiction of the passage of time (or lack of it) in Sprite’s Site blog.
We have celebrated the wedding of Tweet and Retweet and now seen them lay egglets and hatch the Tweetlets, Tweetil and Tweetelle. And presumably we will follow the progress of the Tweetlets as they learn to fly and then as they fly away on migrations.
Sprite’s appearance has changed a little during the last three years; but that is mainly due to variation in the drawing and in the tools I am using to create the images.
Sprite’s age does not change; despite the fact that the blog has celebrated two birthdays
She has always been the same undisclosed age and she 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
So how do I reconcile the lack of consistency? Some characters on Sprite’s Site grow and change and some do not.
And how long will the Tweetlets be wearing nappies?