A number of parents have been asking about how to work with their school to get their gifted children through the rest of the school year. Their children have experienced any number of difficulties in the classroom or school and are starting to mentally check out. Many children have been bullied by peers and teachers, have been told they are not smart and must do all the homework that is well below their ability level, have had their contributions to class discussions and activities belittled in front of the class, and have been told to ‘handle it’ on their own. Spring break is a month and a half away, and it seems like forever until June. The parents are seeking any type of help for their children so they can be engaged in a positive school environment until June. They feel alone and helpless because oftentimes the school is not willing to talk about options such as teacher differentiation or gifted programming. There is more concern with staying on the curricular schedule than meeting children’s needs.
Sadly, this is all too common. One of the best ways to work through these difficulties is for parents to talk with other parents of gifted children so they learn they are not alone. My conversations with parents are often periodic, lengthy, and worthwhile. Aside from suggestions gleaned from other parents who have walked the same path, the knowledge that their child and family are not abnormal, and the support from others who truly understand is life changing both for the parents and child. Often, during the conversations the parents share their story and simply by talking about it with someone who understands they figure out a few things they can do and a path forward-at least as a place to start again to take action to help their children.
I encourage parents and gifted children and youth to find someone who knows your situation and who has walked that path; perhaps another parent of a gifted child, or a fellow student you think or know is gifted-even if they are in a different grade. Initiate a conversation by introducing yourself and simply asking a question or for help dealing with a situation. I know it is difficult to talk to others who do not understand gifted children; even family members oftentimes don’t understand. In fact, they and others may ridicule you for being concerned because of the myth that gifted children don’t have to worry about working hard in school because everything comes easy to them. If you don’t know where to begin or who to contact the folks at WATG are a good place to start. From there they can help locate someone in your area and/or who has experienced your situation and connect the two of you. If you wish to ask a question or seek someone to talk with feel free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your message will be sent to the appropriate person and a connection will be made. It’s a starting point to help your gifted child and your family. You are not alone!
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