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How to Successfully Advocate for Your Gifted Child

You are probably reading this article to find out when your issues with your son or daughter will be over with. I hate to say this to you but advocating for your gifted child and teenager is a lifelong problem. Sometimes there is no pressure from your child or the school, and it is easy to keep your child engaged in learning. When the school your child attends is good enough, family stress is low and there are enough outside challenges in your child’s area of passion to just “let it be,” you can relax. But when things go south—when there is a mismatch between your son or daughter’s school that cannot be resolved—you can feel like you are underwater, being criticized by teachers, school specialists and the principal. Everyone is unhappy and frustrated. You have to advocate for your child or teenager or you will all drown.

Most often (about 95% of the time), parents who call me say their child has been given one of three labels, which are potent and experienced as criticisms:
    1.  Your child is on the autistic spectrum.
    2.  Your child has ADD.
    3.  Your child is spoiled.

In my experience working with gifted children and teenagers with emotional or behavioral problems, there is a serious lack of connection between the home and school. The teacher and student are both bored and frustrated. Emotional intensity of the student makes the teacher feel pressured and even marginalized—unimportant. Your son or daughter wants more and the teacher has no more to give, so they call in the “experts” and choose the diagnosis of the year. The school, as a team of paper pushers, makes up a protocol that is sure to fail because these experts actually don’t know what is not working for your child.

In most cases the problems gifted children demonstrate are the following.
    1.  Boredom.
    2.  Emotional intensity that is not dealt with in a positive way.
    3.  Social difficulties with mean peers and bullies.
    4.  Awkwardness with a teacher who is more distant than mother and who the child experiences as indifferent.

You need to see/identify the symptoms that suggest there are “gifted” problems in the classroom and find someone to help you with your son or daughter.
    1.  Not wanting to go to school.
    2.  Thinking that school is a waste of their precious time.
    3.  Playing alone on the school yard or reading at lunchtime in the library.
    4.  Fighting on the playground.
    5.  Not listening in class and being disruptive.
    6.  Not making friends at school who want to have playdates.

How to advocate:
    1.  Find an expert who understands gifted children and your struggle as a parent.
    2.  Read about gifted children.
    3.  Find parent support groups.
    4.  Find social groups for gifted children through activities.
    5.  Find social groups that are community focused.
    6.  Make suggestions to teachers.
    7.  Find a therapist to help you if you cannot make progress on your own.

Remember you can be successful. You need to find people who understand and are willing and able to help you. Stay away from the bad advice of mothers who are jealous that you have a gifted child and family members who are critical of you and act like they know it all.

Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 06:14PM by Registered CommenterBarbara Klein, Ph.D., Ed.D. | CommentsPost a Comment

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