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Gifted Advocacy - How to be Your Child's Best Advocate

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Gifted Advocacy - How to be Your Child's Best Advocate

  1. 1. Webinar Series BE Your Child's Best Advocate “How to Support Your Exceptionally Able Child at Home and at School” Presented by Margaret Keane & Anna Giblin Supported by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, C.T.Y.I. & N.C.T.E.
  2. 2. SUMMARY  The love of learning - keeping up with your exceptionally able child  Negotiating the early years – preschool activities  Choosing a School  Home and school - the key partnership between teacher and parent  Transition from Home to Primary School  Transition from Primary School to Secondary  Home support – some helpful tips
  3. 3. Keeping up with your Exceptionally Able Child . . . “Is exhausting!” “Not always easy!” “Difficult for their Love of siblings!” Learning “So many questions!”
  4. 4. SPEED of Learning Get READY for the rollercoaster RIDE!
  5. 5. DEPTH of Learning Get READY to go DEEP!
  6. 6. The EARLY Years ✔ Get the information you need to effectively parent – READ, RESEARCH, TALK ✔ Learn about asynchrony in gifted children – accept that your child may be different to other kids their own age ✔ Allow for unscheduled time – “Dream & Play” time ✔ Let them be children ✔ Connect with other parents & families – create a support network for yourself & your child ✔ Encourage their passion ✗ Don't put too much emphasis on “fitting in” ✗ Don't stop reading to your exceptionally able child when they have become independent readers
  7. 7. Early Years Activities ✔ Provide enrichment ACTIVITIES  Museums & Galleries  Libraries  Local Heritage Sites  Online Resources  Gardening  Cookery  Nature Walks  Games  Sports – encourage physical activity  Play Detective – treasure trails  Make & Do ✔ Create a spirit of ADVENTURE out of the mundane! ✔ Family members can act as MENTORS
  8. 8. Which School?
  9. 9. Choosing a School ✔ Act early – look at enrolment, admissions policy, etc. ✔ Talk to other parents, teachers & pupils ✔ Check out Whole School Evaluations on the Department of Education's website ✔ Read the School's Policies ✔ View the School's website – ethos, school discipline, subjects taught, extra-curricular activities ✔ Visit the School, talk to the Principal ✔ Be clear about what type of education you want for your child ✔ Be realistic in your requirements ✔ Be careful of league tables published in newspapers – they only tell part of the story
  10. 10. Classrooms to Avoid! Whitmore (1980) identified ways in which a classroom can support underachievement:  LACK of RESPECT for individual child – their unique learning style and ability  STRONGLY COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT – continuous negative feedback regarding expected standards can reinforce feelings of inadequacy  INFLEXIBILITY and rigidity  UNREWARDING CURRICULUM – gifted learners need curriculum extension that challenges Source:
  11. 11. First Day! “She's already read all of her books – will she be bored?” HOME “What if he doesn't to make any friends?” “How will the teacher Primary cope with his constant questions?” “Will she sit still?” School
  12. 12. Preparing for “BIG” School ✔ Do Your Homework – talk to other parents ✔ Enrol your child early ✔ Get organised ✔ Be enthusiastic ✔ Visit the school with your child ✔ Practice – Let your child organise their bag, try on school uniform, etc. ✔ Involve Your Child – discuss their fears, anxieties and hopes ✔ Down time – make sure your child gets enough rest
  13. 13. The Expectation It's great. He's so excited about starting school next week!
  14. 14. One Week Later! Today we're going to learn the letters A and B.
  15. 15. Twos Weeks Later! You have to go! All BIG boys go to school!
  16. 16. Your child is badly behaved in school. Is My Child is badly She thinks I'm a there something wrong behaved in school bad Mother! at home? because he's bored! She thinks I'm a bad Teacher!
  17. 17. Don't Mention the B Word!!!! Me too! I'm bored!
  18. 18. The PARENT Advocate  MEET with Teacher early in school year  OFFER Supplementary materials  SUGGEST ways you can help at home  PROVIDE enrichment opportunities e.g. source speakers, competitions, etc.  BUILD a relationship with the Teacher and the School  Become a “VISIBLE” parent – volunteer  Note of THANKS at end of school year  JOIN Parents Association  Don't be afraid to ASK for help – NEPS, Learning Support
  19. 19. Parent Teacher Partnership
  20. 20. Parent Teacher MEETINGS ✔ Always request a SUITABLE time for unscheduled meeting giving the teacher time to prepare cover for her class ✔ PREPARATION is the key, so do your HOMEWORK ✔ Be CLEAR about what you want to achieve for your child and be REALISTIC ✔ Be SPECIFIC in the questions you ask – write them down beforehand ✔ Be COURTEOUS at all times, especially when there are differences of opinion ✔ Take someone with you, whether it's a PARTNER or trusted FRIEND ✔ Stay CALM ✔ Try to PRE-EMPT the teachers response if you can
  21. 21. Parent Teacher MEETINGS ✔ Familiarise yourself with the TERMINOLOGY that may be used ✔ Read the NCCA Guidelines on Teaching Exceptionally Able Students as a source of suggested STRATEGIES ✔ Know your child's CURRICULUM - ✔ Ask what you can do to HELP ✔ Be SOLUTION BASED, rather than problem focused ✔ Try to get agreement around TIME LINES ✔ At the end of the meeting, SUMMARISE any AGREEMENTS ✔ Afterwards CONFIRM any agreements in writing with a letter of THANKS
  22. 22. Strategies to Suggest  DIFFERENTIATION of school curriculum  PULL OUT programmes – children attend special classes usually taught by Learning Support Teacher  Resource Teacher comes into the CLASSROOM and provides enrichment activities for the high ability group  CURRICULUM COMPACTING – teacher holds a pre-test on a new subject to gauge what pre-knowledge students have, then can differentiate accordingly  ACCELERATION – can be done on a subject basis, rather than “grade skipping”  Examples of EXCELLENCE in Gifted Education Programmes:  Bunclody NS – More Able & Talented Programme (MAT)  SESS – Equality of Challenge Initiative  Carlow Gaelscoil – Daynuv/Giftedkids ICT Project
  23. 23. Onwards & UPWARDS
  24. 24. Transition to Secondary The DIFFICULTIES  More INDEPENDENCE – more RESPONSIBILITY  LOSS of security and possible support network  Missing FRIENDS  New RULES  Lots of TEACHERS – remembering names  ORGANISATIONAL Issues – timetable, more books, materials  SUBJECT Choice - daunting  HOMEWORK Anxieties – extra workload
  25. 25. Transition to Secondary The DIFFICULTIES  Having a LONGER day - exhausting  Managing EXTRACURRICULAR activities  The SCHOOLBAG Horrors  Perhaps moving to a MIXED school  Finding a PEER GROUP – dangers of UNDERACHIEVEMENT to “fit in” - particularly for girls  Possible FALLING levels of achievement – risk of underachievement  A good transition is crucial to academic ACHIEVEMENT and social emotional stability
  26. 26. Transition to Secondary Moving Up – The Experiences of First-Year Students in Post- Primary Education (ESRI Research 2004) SETTLING IN  Most children feel that have settled in within the first week  Quarter of students by the first month  One student in 6 take longer than a month THOSE MOST AT RISK OF EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES  Girls  Less confident students – low self esteem  Students from ethnic minorities/travellers
  27. 27. Transition to Secondary – How Primary Teachers can Help SEN Students ✔ Teach how to read a TIMETABLE (maths) ✔ Give different DUE DATES for assignments ✔ ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS – colour coding of books/copies ✔ TERMINOLOGY - Teach key words for specific subjects ✔ Use SPHE time to explore ISSUES around transition ✔ Attend OPEN EVENINGS in secondary schools (take photos to familiarise students) ✔ IDENTIFY key personnel – EXPLAIN their roles ✔ Begin recording HOMEWORK at the end of each lesson, rather than end of the day Source: S.E.S.S. As a primary teacher, how can I prepare students for transition to post- primary?
  28. 28. Transition to Secondary – How Primary Teachers can Help SEN Students ✔ Encourage parents to NOTIFY post primary of any special educational needs so that supports can be put in place prior to entry ✔ Be prepared for possible ENQUIRIES from post primary after enrolment ✔ Have a “GRADUATION” or leaving ceremony at the end of sixth class – signal to students that they are moving on Source: S.E.S.S. As a primary teacher, how can I prepare students for transition to post- primary?
  29. 29. Transition to Secondary – How Post Primary Schools can help SEN Students ✔ Organise OPEN DAYS for prospective pupils, their parents and staff ✔ IDENTIFY a contact person on your school staff who will COMMUNICATE with parents around SEN needs ✔ LIAISE with feeder schools around sharing information on any resource needs for specific students ✔ Provide INFORMATION packs – parents & students ✔ IDENTIFY and explain roles of key staff to parents & teachers ✔ INDUCTION activities during first week of enrolment ✔ Consider implementing a “BUDDY” system for first week Source: S.E.S.S. As a primary teacher, how can I prepare students for transition to post-primary?
  30. 30. Transition to Secondary – How Post Primary Schools can help SEN Students ✔ Find out if students with SEN needs need a type if MODIFIED entrance assessment ✔ NAME BADGES for teachers during the first few weeks ✔ Ensure that there is a formal system of COMMUNICATING specific students SEN needs to subject teachers ✔ EXPLAIN clearly classroom and general school organisation – timetables, homework journals, lockers ✔ Consider a “BEGINNING” ceremony ✔ Have clear ANITI-BULLYING policy and explain to students ✔ Be watchful of any new DIAGNOSIS ✔ Consider offering “TASTER” subjects in first year
  31. 31. Transition to Secondary – How PARENTS can Help ✔ ATTEND Open Days – encourage pre-entry contact to reduce child's anxiety ✔ FAMILIARISE yourself with your child's timetable and curriculum ✔ HELP them to get organised – colour coding/homework journal ✔ IDENTIFY the key staff in your child's school and understand their roles ✔ SUPPLY any documentation you have in relation to your child's abilities or learning challenges, e.g. NEPS or private educational assessments – to ensure a smooth transition of resources
  32. 32. Transition to Secondary – How PARENTS can Help ✔ ENCOURAGE your child to participate in extracurricular activities – opportunities to make friends ✔ Give GUIDANCE around subject selection – get additional information from school if required ✔ REPORT any concerns to school staff, e.g. bullying ✔ TALK to your child about their day but do not interrogate ✔ INVITE new friends round ✔ JOIN the parents association and VOLUNTEER to help at school events
  33. 33. REMEMBER: If your Child received any learning support or resource hours in Primary it won't necessarily follow that they will receive similar supports in Post Primary! The new school will need to re-apply so NOTIFY them prior to enrolment! Include any documentation that supports your request!
  34. 34. REALISTIC Expectations?
  35. 35. Potential High Achievement © Professor Deborah Eyre 2009 Source: What Really Works in Gifted and Talented Education by Professor Deborah Eyre
  36. 36. HOME Support is VITAL!
  37. 37. Filling in the Gaps  Irish Centre for Talented Youth  6 to 12 Years – Saturday Courses, nationwide  13 to 16 Years – Talent Search, D.C.U. - 3 week residential Summer course  Correspondence Courses  Online Learning  Websites  Online Gaming  Clubs & Voluntary Organisations  Competitions – Junior Inventor, Write a Novel, Texaco Art Competition  Find a Mentor
  38. 38. Home Support ✔ NURTURE don't push ✔ ACCEPT that your child may be different to others ✔ UNDERSTAND asynchronous development – it explains a lot ✗ DON'T push them to fit in ✔ Show GUIDANCE, ACCEPTANCE and UNDERSTANDING ✔ Have REALISTIC expectations regarding their academic achievements ✔ Praise the EFFORT not the ability ✔ Encourage their PASSION but introduce them to other activities too ✔ ENCOURAGE them to talk, share and laugh ✔ Help them find a PEER group ✔ Don't be afraid to ask for HELP during difficult times
  39. 39. Helpful Techniques ✔ Praise or punish the BEHAVIOUR not the child ✔ Encourage the child to EXPRESS their feelings ✔ Be clear about your EXPECTATIONS ✔ TOUCH your child e.g. hand on shoulder, reinforces the praise or the discipline ✔ Let them know that your TRUST them to act “wisely” or make the right choice ✔ ENCOURAGE gradual steps ✔ SHARE activities, give time ✔ Use “successive successes” when it comes to new activities or experiences – REWARD at each stage Source: Guiding the Gifted Child, James T. Webb et al 1994
  40. 40. MORE Input Please!
  41. 41. Dealing with the Constant questions ✔ Never be afraidto say you don't know – parents or teachers don't have to be experts – suggest ways you can explore this area together or independently ✔ If it's not a convenient time then say so, acknowledge the question and explain that you will get back to it later ✔ Follow through, exceptionally able children ALWAYS remember the important stuff – i.e. IMPORTANT to them!
  42. 42. The FEAR Factor
  43. 43. Dealing with Fears & Anxieties ✔ SOURCE of Fears – over excitabilities, intensities, asynchronous development ✔ ENCOURAGE your children to talk to you about their fears, dreams and hopes ✔ Use the power of IMAGINATION ✔ Use PROPS such as favourite cuddlies to help the child to talk ✔ Use RELAXATION techniques ✔ Use VISUALISATION techniques ✔ Create a SAFE place to share
  44. 44. You're Grounded for Life!
  45. 45. Setting Boundaries ✗ Don't get into a DEBATE with your exceptionally able child – chances are they will WIN! ✔ Set APPROPRIATE boundaries ✔ Ensure there are REALISTIC consequences to bad behaviour ✔ FOLLOW THROUGH ✔ Be CONSISTENT
  46. 46. WEBINAR Series NextWebinar coming in MAY 2010! Free to Parents & Teachers Introductory Online Seminars Download Recorded Webinars & Presentations  Characteristics of the Exceptionally Able – Faster, Earlier, Differently  How to be your Child’s Best Advocate – Supporting your Child at home and at School  Dual Exceptionality – Aspergers, Adhd, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Behavioural Issues  Educational Assessment  In Class Strategies – Differentiation, Enrichment, Acceleration, ICT Resources  Social & Emotional Sensitivities