Acknowledging Diversity: Gifted is not a homogenous group

Better late than never!

New Zealand’s Gifted Awareness Blog Tour is held in June

www.nzcge.co.nz/blog_tour_2017

This year I volunteered to contribute a post for the blog tour but real life got in the way of my writing. I am living with my daughter and son in law and their Stumpy Tail Australian Cattle Dogs had a litter of puppies. Caring for the puppies took up a great deal of time both during the day and overnight. The pups liked to play and be fed at between 2.00am and 4.00am. We called it the ‘stupid o’clock session’!

In the past, when I lived in Rosebud, the folk at Sprite’s Site have gone down to the beach to wave ‘across the ditch’ to New Zealand

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/gifted-awareness-week-new-zealand/

But this year I am not living near the beach so they have to be content to hold up signs and send postcards and emails.

The theme for this year is Diversity.

It is a topic dear to the heart of the Sprite’s Site folk as they are a very diverse lot themselves.

The Psych-Owl –Ogist explained the concept to Retweet when she queried whether both her tweetlets could be gifted as they were so different from each other

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-psych-owl-ogist-6/

Gifted students come from every racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic group.

They can have differing profiles as described by Dr. Maureen Neihart and Dr. George Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented 2010
http://www.ingeniosus.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/PROFILES-BEST-REVISED-MATRIX-2010.pdf
Teachers would usually recognize gifted students with Successful profile, maybe the Creative ones and maybe the Autonomous Learners but may have more difficulty in recognizing the Underground, At Risk and 2E Twice Exceptional students as gifted.

The Persona Dolls from the Personas, Profiles and Portraits Blog https://jofreitag.wordpress.com/  are representatives of these profiles of giftedness

Columbus Cheetah is quick to point out that there are many myths about characteristics which contribute to the lack of understanding of the diversity present in gifted students. http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

Myths such as:
All gifted students will do well in school https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-3/

Gifted students are polite, well behaved and have neat handwriting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-4/

It is not possible to be gifted and have a disability https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-8/

All of these myths cause gifted students who do not fit those particular descriptions to be overlooked.

Gifted students also vary in the areas of giftedness and talent they have and come with varying personality types and varying types of intensity and sensitivity.

Sprite’s Site discussed the various types of giftedness in the post Gifted – How? https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/gifted-how/  which was a contribution to

Hoagiesgifted September 2014 Blog hop www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_gifted_how.htm

Because of this diversity in gifted students there is no single program which fits all of them.

Sprite’s Site discussed this:

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

I am very sorry that I did not manage to complete this post in time for the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour.
However the good news is that the excellent posts in the Tour can still be read at www.nzcge.co.nz/blog_tour_2017

 

Could Sprite be a Persona Doll?

spritedoll01

Recently I received a request from a teacher to answer some questions relating to giftedness to help her develop a persona doll for an assignment she was doing.

She supplied this information about persona dolls and the doll she intended to create.

“A persona doll is a doll developed by a practitioner/educator to enable children to gain an awareness and understanding of the richness and diversity of different backgrounds and lifestyles as well as to help children learn strategies for dealing with unfairness against themselves and others.
The dolls are given personalities, family and cultural backgrounds, likes and dislikes and the stories that are created around them enable children to explore positive and negative emotions.
To be able to develop one, I need to research and consult with children and their families to develop the persona doll identity and story. This is to avoid stereotypes and to provide an authentic representation of the children and their challenges.
I believe that developing a persona doll about giftedness can also be a way to advocate because children, families and educators where it will be shared will be cognizant of the current realities and difficulties faced by children that are gifted.”

I wrote a post about Persona Dolls for Gifted Resources blog at http://giftedresources.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/persona-dolls/

She then asked a large number of detailed questions about ethnic, socio-economic and cultural conditions and everyday life matters to help her build a unique and authentic persona for her doll.

She would have liked to ask the questions to my youngest child also, hoping to hear a child’s voice expressed. Our youngest is now in his late twenties; so was not able to provide the child voice.

After replying that gifted children can be found in every ethnic, socio-economic and religion group so she could choose whatever background she felt most comfortable to use when developing her persona doll; I answered the giftedness related questions and some of the everyday life issues questions using my twice exceptional blog character, Sprite, to personalise the answers.

I was delighted to find that I was able to give quite a detailed portrait of Sprite from references to posts in the blog. I provided this picture.

spritesitatdesk

Here are my replies to some of her questions.

ABOUT SPRITE

Name:  Sprite https://spritessite.wordpress.com/about-2/

Age: Not specified – a pre-teenager in middle – upper primary school but about six years ahead of age group for academic level

Cultural background: Australian

Gender: Female

Area of giftedness: Intellectually gifted with passionate interests in sciences (especially astronomy) https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/talkfest/ 
Hobbies are playing guitar and playing with her imaginary friends. All her toys have complicated back stories and she likes to make banners for them and set them up to stage protest marches https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/marches/

Is giftedness diagnosed? Sprite has been assessed as being in the exceptionally/profoundly gifted range http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/highly_profoundly.htm
by a psychologist with specialist knowledge of giftedness and her (unspecified) learning difficulties/different learning styles have been diagnosed by education consultants like the (fictitious) Dr. Ed Needs https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/

Sprite has a Visual Spatial Learner style of learning
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/visual-spatial-learners/
http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/vsl.htm

Sprite has a Memory Elephant. The Memory Elephant is a personification of memory and the Visual Spatial Learner’s style of thinking https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/memory-elephant/

Character traits

As with many gifted people Sprite is an introvert and has many intensities and sensitivities including Dabrowski’s Over excitabilities which are depicted as the Five Dabrowski Dogs and can be prone to depression depicted by the Black Dogs
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/about-the-characters/

I have checked whether my readers perceive Sprite in the way I intended to portray her and have found that they did

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/

Class or Socioeconomic Status

Gifted children come from every social class, socioeconomic and ethnic group and religious background. So how you depict your own Persona Doll is up to you and will influence your response to the cultural and lifestyle questions

For myths about giftedness see http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/columbuscheetah.htm

Languages spoken: Sprite speaks English (she would like to learn other languages)

Religion: Sprite is a Christian. Her faith is very important for her and she thinks very deeply about it and asks many questions. She has been asking questions about life and death, God, the universe, ecosystems, philosophy etc since she was very young.

What holidays does she celebrate? She celebrates Christmas https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/christmas/  and Easter https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/easter/ She wonders whether she should celebrate Halloween herself but the Dabrowski Dogs always dress up for it https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/halloween/ She also likes playing tricks on 1st April https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/april-fools-day
Socio-economic group: She is from a middle class socio-economic group neither extremely wealthy nor extremely poor

Sleep
Sprite, like many gifted children, has difficulty getting to sleep. Her brain is so active that she has trouble switching off. She is a perfectionist and will mentally review the happenings of the day and what she should/should not have done or said in the situations. She has a vivid imagination and is sure that the shadow on the wall is Leaping Attack Black Dog coming to get her.  She also has vivid dreams https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/all-the-dabrowski-dogs-part-3/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/perchance-to-dream/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/is-there-a-dimmer-switch-for-the-memory-elephant-2/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/visit-the-pyramids-with-the-memory-elephant/

Social/friendships issues

Sprite has trouble relating to children her own age as she has very different interests which she likes to discuss at great length https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/friendships/

Food
Sprite likes most foods and her favourite flavour is chocolate.
She has been fortunate enough to try food from many different cultures.
However because of sensual overexcitabilities she does not like some textures of food such as mushy or sloppy foods. So she likes to keep food of different types separate on the plate. She also does not like food that is very spicy or too acidic or too fatty. She is not allergic to any foods but knows that many people can be.

Her friend, the gifted Twitter Bird chick, Tweetelle, has become a ‘seedetarian’ for moral reasons https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/tweetelle-becomes-a-seedetarian/

Clothes
Sprite’s favourite colour is blue and her favourite clothes are a blue skirt or shorts and a blue tee shirt. Because of sensual over excitabilities she does not like scratchy materials and does not like tags left on her clothes or having seams on her socks.

Shoes are very important (see under Do you have a tailored program?) Her favourite shoes are her De Bono pillow soft pink slippers.

She does enjoy dressing up
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/avatar-album/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/avatar-album-2/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/portrait-of-sprite-at-her-p-party/

Does she have a tailored program?

Sprite’s Site blog is about finding the educational provisions that will be most suitable for Sprite as a twice exceptional student.
She needs to be challenged in her areas of strength and supported in her areas of weakness.
Feetspeak: 2E shoes is about planning programs that will be suitable for gifted students who also have a learning difficulty or different learning style using Edward De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning tool and road testing their effectiveness using Gagne’s DMGT model.
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.

http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/feetspeakforweb01.htm

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/casting-sprites-education-in-a-new-form-part-1/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/debono-6-action-shoes/

So could a Sprite Persona Doll be useful to advocate for the understanding of gifted or twice exceptional students? Imaginational Dabrowski and I think she could.

I began to consider the idea of buying a persona doll
http://www.persona-doll-training.org/ukresources.html
http://www.amazeworks.org/store/p_pdoll.html
and dressing it as my Sprite (I already have all the mini versions of De Bono’s 6 Action shoes and a mini plaster cast); or of sewing one myself.

I found sewing instructions here http://www.livingcrafts.com/blog/doll-room/a-doll-for-every-child

This is what I imagine a Sprite 2E twice exceptional persona doll would look like.

spritedoll