Currently in education one of the topics I see coming up in professional literature, staff development, and conference sessions is social/emotional learning (SEL) and the social/emotional needs of students. Of course this piqued my interest because in the field of giftedness we know the importance of the social/emotional realm.
What is the social/emotional realm? There are many broad definitions. According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions” (Retrieved from http://www.casel.org/what-is-sel/). For gifted children, youth, and adults the social/emotional realm may be much broader and their needs more unique.
As a SENG Model Parent Group (SMPG) facilitator I’ve talked with many parents who are seeking guidance and help regarding their student because of social/emotional needs they or others recognize. This often comes from the school when teachers notice the student isolating him/herself, acting aggressively toward others, or not fitting in. Each student is different as is each setting in which the student learns. Learning about the unique needs of your child and becoming their advocate is an important step for parents. Teachers are often willing to learn but have so many responsibilities they frequently do not have time to search for solutions for each individual child. Do not be afraid to advocate for your child’s needs and educate the teacher and school. Many teachers find that what helps one student often helps many students in the class and are grateful for the information you provide.
One organization that can help parents and teachers learn more about assisting a gifted child with social/emotional needs is Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, or SENG (www.sengifted.org). They have a myriad of resources available on their website, a monthly newsletter, and an annual conference, among other things. This year’s conference is SENG In Our Hands Chicago 2017 and is August 3-6 at the Chicago Marriott Naperville. Since it is close you may wish to attend to learn and meet others who may be experiencing the same things you are.
SENG has a number of articles in their library related to the topic of social/emotional needs of gifted children, youth, and adults. Several of the articles may be found at the following website:
The National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) offers a new book “The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know” published in June 2016.
Ian Byrd, a gifted adult and teacher, has information about social/emotional needs of gifted people on his website which is focused on helping others learn about gifted people. Here is the link to one of his articles: http://www.byrdseed.com/10-facts-about-social-emotional-needs-of-the-gifted/
Learning about the social/emotional needs of gifted children, youth, and adults is important for everyone-parents and teachers alike. The resources herein are just a starting place for your journey of learning more about the gifted children, youth, and adults you know.
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