January 2020. Does it seem as though it is the year 2020? Time seems to be flying by with the years coming and going one by one. At the start of this year there is disagreement as to whether the year 2020 is the start of the new decade or the end of the current decade. There are explanations for each side, some with scientific or mathematical facts and others without it. That is a question for students who are gifted to debate.
Regardless of the outcome of the decade question, we are now in a new year, and 20 years into this century. What is important to students who are gifted, their parents, and teachers? One thing that is very important for every student, parent, and teacher is advocacy. We advocate for ourselves, our children, or for others many times throughout the year.
Do you ever try to convince your boss to give you that particular Friday off so you can meet your friends for a long weekend away? Has your child ever tried to talk you into letting him go to school late so he could sleep in a little after a late night at some event? Have you ever tried to convince the principal to allow a particular student to take your class because you knew she was up to the challenge even though she was a year or two below the grade that normally takes the course? These are all examples of advocating for someone or something.
Advocacy has specific skills and approaches that must be learned in order to be most effective. Sometimes we, as parents, think our children should come with an owner’s manual with instructions, and advocacy should be an included topic. To help with that, below is a list of links with information about advocacy for parents, and teachers. You are welcome to explore links in both categories, but I listed them in the two categories in case you have little time to explore the information.
I would like to point out a few resources listed below. Several of the resources highlight advocating for students with disabilities. While gifted students do not usually have a disability (unless they are twice-exceptional), they have exceptional learning needs. Parents and teachers who work in special education with students with disabilities have a long history of developing and using advocacy skills. These skills and approaches are easily transferable and applicable to giftedness if one substitutes giftedness in place of disability. This applies to the resources below from Wrightslaw, and Rick Lavoie. Both are experts in the field of disabilities, and their writing applies to giftedness as much as disabilities.
As we start the new year, I encourage you to be positive, collaborate with others, and use your advocacy skills to work together so students who are gifted have an appropriate education in order to impact their world in extraordinary ways.
For Parents and Teachers
Gifted Advocacy-List of Resources and Links
Hoagies Gifted (2019)
Advocating for Your Child-Getting Started
Wrightslaw, Pamela Wright (2016)
Tips for Parents: Advocacy-Working with Your Child’s School
The Davidson Institute (2015)
Advocate for Your Child
From Emotions to Advocacy: The Parents’ Journey
Wrightslaw, Pamela Wright (2018)
Best Practices in Self-Advocacy Skill Building
Center for Parent Information and Resources (2018)
Advocating for Your Gifted Child
Institute for Educational Advancement (2017)
How Can I Advocate for My Gifted Child?
Gifted Today, Duke Blog, 2016
Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy-Parents
The Pacer Center (2010)
Advocating for Gifted Programs in Your Local Schools
Teaching Strategies That Advocate Your Students
Teachers as Advocates: If Not You-Who?
Julia Link Roberts and Del Siegel
Gifted Child Today, January 2012
Educators Must Believe in and Advocate for Their Students
The Edvocate, TED Talk by Rita Pierson
Introduction: The Teacher as Everyday Advocate
Fighting the Good Fight: How to Advocate for Your Students Without Losing Your Job
Rick Lavoie (2008)
Ask the Doctor