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Beyond Academics: Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted

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Meet the social emotional needs of the gifted child. Gain awareness of those needs, how they differ from other children, and how they are the same. Gain insight into your own effect on those needs, as a teacher and/or as a parent.

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Beyond Academics: Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted

  1. 1. Beyond Academics: Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted By Carolyn Kottmeyer ©2005-2014 Carolyn Kottmeyer
  2. 2. Who am I?  Carolyn Kottmeyer, a.k.a. Mrs. Hoagie  Director, Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page  Hoagies’ Gifted Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter  ERIC EC  NO paid advertisements  Board Member, SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted)  Parent of two profoundly gifted young adults
  3. 3. Who are you?  Why are you here?  Parent?  Teacher?  Administrator / Counselor  Outside professional?  What do you hope to take from this session?
  4. 4. Needs of the Gifted…  Academic needs  Advanced classes  Subject or grade acceleration  … at least 13 options  A Nation Deceived www.nationdeceived.org  Social / Emotional needs  Positive social interactions  Not teased, bullied, excluded  Friendships…  Acceptance!
  5. 5. Unshelved By Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum ©2003 Overdue Media LLC
  6. 6. Have you ever heard…?  The gifted child must learn to…  Get along  Fit in  Play with  Work with  … his / her age peers…  … “normal” kids…
  7. 7. Have You EVER Heard…?  The other children must learn to…  Get along  Fit in  Play with  Work with  … THE GIFTED CHILD???
  8. 8. Why???  Must the “fitting” always be done by the gifted child?  Are the gifted child’s needs and feelings never considered?  What does this do to social / emotional development of the gifted child?
  9. 9. When…?  After 6 straight games of Candyland, when does the 5-year-old gifted child get his “peers” to play Battleship with him?  Who will act in the gifted child’s elaborate play acting…  Or even hold still long enough to hear the parts??
  10. 10. Terman…  “Precocity unavoidably complicates the problem of social adjustment. The child of eight years with a mentality of twelve or fourteen is faced with a situation almost inconceivably difficult. In order to adjust normally, such a child has to have an exceptionally well-balanced personality and be well nigh a social genius. The higher the IQ, the more acute the problem.” (Louis Terman, 1931)
  11. 11. Social / Emotional Needs  Acceptance  Kids: Classmates  Adults: Teachers, Parents  Friends  Two-way relationships  Similar level of friendship
  12. 12. Pitfalls of Social Development  “Of all the special problems of general conduct which the most intelligent children face, I will mention five, which beset them in early years and may lead to habits subversive of fine leadership: (1) to find enough hard and interesting work at school; (2) to suffer fools gladly; (3) to keep from becoming negativistic toward authority; (4) to keep from becoming hermits; (5) to avoid the formation of habits of extreme chicanery” -- Leta S. Hollingworth, Children Above 180 IQ, Origin and Development, 1942
  13. 13. Social Development  Social Development  “a deep, comfortable level of self-acceptance that leads to true friendship with others” (Silverman, 1992) ¹  Socialization  “the ability to adapt to the needs of the group”
  14. 14. Successful Social Development  Self acceptance  Freedom to be themselves  “Children need to be aware of and accept their own extreme reactions and emotions without shame or embarrassment.” (Rivero, 2002)
  15. 15. Successful Social Development  Friends with similar interests, intensities  Adult acceptance  Must be allowed to learn and play with other children like them  Must know there are others like them – they are NOT alone
  16. 16. Successful Social Development  Make sure kids have social interaction ALONG with appropriate academics  Early college kids still need kid social time  Don’t go AWAY to college until you can experience ALL of college  Maybe Graduate School
  17. 17. Imagine… “Imagine that you live [where] everyone is convinced that in order for children to have appropriate social adjustment they must be grouped with children who are of similar height. That way no one feels bigger or smaller than anyone else and it is easier to play team sports. You happen to be extremely short. In fact, you are in the bottom two percentile in height, so you have been grouped with children three years younger than you who are the same height. You are nine years old and they are six. You will be with this group for the next twelve years. There is no way out of the situation because everyone on this planet agrees that this is best for your social adjustment. What does this feel like to you? What do you do to survive? (Linda Silverman, 1993)
  18. 18. Gifted Children are thought…  Immature  Crying / tantrums / over-sensitive  Unsocial  Refusing to play with classmates  Shy  Prefer solitary play / reading
  19. 19. May Be More Mature!  Prefer complex games  Detailed role playing  Searching for new experiences  Sensitive / empathetic  Seeking deeper friendships  Often turn to books  When age peers / classmates don’t meet their needs…
  20. 20. Who lacks maturity?  The child who can adjust her play to fit other kids in her class for an hour, a day, or a week, but eventually has a tantrum in frustration?  The child who sits and reads while the other kids play, because she has nothing in common with age “peers?”  The child who prefers the company of older children or adults?
  21. 21. Hollingworth…  “To have the intelligence of an adult and the emotions of a child combined in a childish body is to encounter certain difficulties.”  “The years between four and nine are probably the most likely to be beset with problems.” (Leta S. Hollingworth)
  22. 22. What is a “Peer”?  Dictionary definition: “One that has equal standing with another”  Psychological definition: “Those at a similar level of behavioral complexity”  Where do these definitions mention having the same birth year?
  23. 23. Who are YOUR Peers?  People who share your interests  Hobbies / Passions  Children / Gifted Children  Job  Were all YOUR peers born the same year you were?
  24. 24. Who are gifted child’s peers?  People they have something in common with  Classmates in APPROPRIATE level academic classes  People who share their hobbies  People who work in their passion areas
  25. 25. A Gifted Child’s Story  Throughout her life, the child has sought out older friends  At two, her best friend & constant companion was 13 months older  By four, her friends were 6. She yearned for a “best friend” (her words) at an age when other children engage in parallel play  At 11, her best friends were 14-15 year old gifted kids from her middle school… she told her parents that “these are the kids I will graduate with.”  At times when she could not find a friend, she sought out adults, parents of neighbor children!
  26. 26. Gross’ Factors of Friendship  1 – Play Partner  Shares toys and games, includes you  2 – People to chat to  Lot of friends, likes the same TV and music, very popular with other kids  3 – Help and encouragement  Shares sense of humour, helps you, talks about things that worry you, encourages
  27. 27. Factors of Friendship  4 – Intimacy / empathy  Shares your hopes and dreams, understands your deepest feelings, feels the same about things that are important, wants to be with you when they are lonely or happy  Many adults do not reach this level  What happens when gifted kids / teens DO?
  28. 28. Factors of Friendship  5 – Fidelity – the sure shelter  Accepts you for what you are, will be honest about what they think about you, will keep on being your friend even if you quarrel, won’t talk about you behind your back  Many people NEVER reach this level of friendship…
  29. 29. Gifted Friendships  Significant differences found between average and gifted / highly gifted children  Significant differences also found between girls and boys  Girls friendship concepts appear 2 - 4 years ahead of boys  Most significant at third grade, decreasing later
  30. 30. Gifted Friendships  No significant differences were found between gifted and highly gifted children BUT…
  31. 31. Gifted Friendships  Significant differences found in small sampling of exceptionally / profoundly gifted children, compared to gifted / highly gifted children…  Very small sample – 34 eg/pg children  More research needed
  32. 32. A Sure Shelter…  “A faithful friend is a sure shelter; whoever finds one has found a rare treasure.” (Ecclesiasticus, 6:14)  Rare means exceptional, incomparable… but it also means “scarce”
  33. 33. Thanks to Miraca Gross  “From “play partner” to “sure shelter” How conceptions of friendship differ between average ability, moderately gifted and highly gifted children”  www.hoagiesgifted.org/play_partner.htm
  34. 34. We are not alone! Not our kids, Not us.
  35. 35. How to find friends? (Younger)  Other young gifted children  Older children  “Mother’s Helper”  Specific friends for specific types of play  Swing / bike / etc. with age peer  Talk about books with older child  Work on science projects with adult friend
  36. 36. How to find friends? (Older)  Other gifted children  Talent Searches  www.hoagiesgifted.org/talent_search.htm  Elementary, middle and high school programs  Fall testing for following summer’s programs  Out of level testing
  37. 37. Friends in Person  Hobby groups  Adult groups often accept competent youngsters with (and later without) adult companion  Chess  Remote Control (RC) planes  Museum aids  Religion / Bible study  Lots more…
  38. 38. Friends in Person  Gifted Conferences  State conferences  National Conferences  SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted)  Beyond IQ – Boston area  Davidson Young Scholars
  39. 39. Friends in Person  Parent Connections  Mailing Lists  TAGFAM / TAGMAX / TAGPDQ  GT-Families / Gt-Special  Facebook Pages and Groups  Hoagies’ Gifted Education FB Page  SENG, NAGC  Gifted Homeschoolers Forum  Lots of others, big and small
  40. 40. Electronic Friends  Internet  Mailing lists  Facebook/Google groups  Text / Skype / Google Chat  …with real-life friends  …with kids of your e-friends  Minecraft
  41. 41. Electronic Friends  Safe teen chat spaces  Sheroes - She-heroes, based on appreciation of Tamora Pierce books – girls / young women  Haven – founded by a gifted Canadian teen  CTY Cogito – “Connecting young thinkers around the world”  Online communities  With parental supervision!  10 Safer communities… bit.ly/qkInjI  ScuttlePad, Togetherville, WhatsWhat.me…
  42. 42. True Friend  Someone at the same level of friendship  Shares interests of gifted child  Maybe not the same age  May even be an adult…  Maybe not the same level of giftedness  But these would be ideal…  Sometimes difficult to find  Even more difficult when outgrown!
  43. 43. How many friends?  Average children tend to have more friends  Popularity counts  Gifted children tend to have 1 or 2 deeper friendships  Early change to considering friends qualitatively  And that’s OK!
  44. 44. Introvert  Recharges alone, with self and surroundings  Prefers a small group to a party  Enjoys spending time alone  May find it difficult to share feelings  Prefers to watch first, mentally rehearse  Strong sense of personal space
  45. 45. Extravert  Recharges from others  Enjoys a group rather than being overwhelmed  Drained by being alone  Lets you know what he thinks and feels  Frequently interjects, doesn’t mind interruptions  Needs verbal input and approval
  46. 46. Shy or Outgoing?  Not necessarily tied to introvert / extravert  Can be shy and extraverted, or  Outgoing and introverted  May be changed / outgrown  Best not to force change
  47. 47. Gifted: Introvert or Extravert?  General population*  70% Extravert  30% Introvert  Gifted population inverse…  30% Extravert  70% Introvert  *Controversial: some research suggests 50/50
  48. 48. Gifted: Introvert or Extravert?  Exceptionally Gifted population is said to be 80%+ Introverted!  Though many do not seem introverted when they’re in a comfortable group of eg/pg friends…  And that’s OK!
  49. 49. Gifted = Asynchronous Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. – The Columbus Group, 1991
  50. 50. Multiple ages…  Physical age  Eye development, coordination, experience  Mental age  Academics, subjects of interest  Asynchronous academic levels  Emotional age  Varies, usually in between…  Spiritual age
  51. 51. Emotion… “Emotion cannot be treated separately from intellectual awareness or physical development. All three intertwine and influence each other.” -- Annemarie Roeper, 1981
  52. 52. Physical vs. Mental Age  Gifted child of IQ 130 is mentally similar to average child…  Physical age 5 = mental age 6.5  Physical age 9 = mental age 11.7  But without the life experiences…  Maybe…  Gifted children often experience and understand much younger
  53. 53. Physical vs. Mental Age  Disparity becomes more dramatic as IQ increases…  Exceptionally gifted 5 = mental age 7.7  Profoundly gifted age 5 = mental age 9  “But people don’t know your mental age, and don’t acknowledge you for your mind, or talk to you like your mental age.”  Highly gifted high school student, age 11
  54. 54. Emotional Age  Usually between mental and physical age  Often closer to mental age than physical age  Varies, depending on activity, situation, how tired… lots of factors
  55. 55. Emotional Support  Model positive values  Be optimistic  Treat their concerns as real  Volunteer…  Food collection  Reading programs  Gear support to the child’s concerns
  56. 56. Spiritual Age  The 5 year old who wants to help all homeless people get off the streets  The 6 year old who chooses to become vegetarian, to save the animals  The 11 year old who wonders why she exists in this world!  Existential depression…
  57. 57. Spiritual  Higher level of morality  Disturbed by social injustice  Deep philosophical questions  At surprisingly young age! www.stephanietolan.com/spirituality.htm
  58. 58. Spiritual Support  Treat their questions as real  Listen!  Discuss  Or find people to discuss with them  Pastor, rabbi, adult friend  Not necessarily in YOUR religion
  59. 59. Difficult expectations  Parents expectations are often closer to mental age  Sometimes punish the gifted for “acting their age”  “Current age” neon forehead sign!  Gifted children need the chance to think at their own levels as much as they need the chance to play at their own levels
  60. 60. Difficult expectations  School expectations are almost universally closer to physical age  Many punish the gifted for preferring older students, subjects, activities, curriculum  Hold back or worse, try to “fix” the child  Gifted children need the chance to think at their own levels as much as they need the chance to play at their own levels
  61. 61. Most Difficult Expectations  The gifted child often expects far more of himself than he can deliver  8 year old brain, working through 5 year old hands… frustration!  11 year old social conscience in 6 year old mind…  Sees the injustice, but considered too young to take action…  Sometimes develops intense fears
  62. 62. Social Emotional Pitfalls…
  63. 63. Outdoor Play!  Our generation had more outdoor free play time; Our kids have more screen time  Outdoor free play linked to Creativity, Self-esteem, Independence & autonomy, Sensory development, Social interaction, more!  Lack of outdoor play linked to violence and anti-social behaviors  Solution: Geocaching!  www.hoagiesgifted.org/geocaching.htm
  64. 64. Underachievement Mindset  Teachers and parents may create perfectionism / underachievement  Early praise for being smart, rather than for effort  When things eventually get challenging, kids think they can’t do it because they aren’t smart enough!
  65. 65. Positive Praise  Praise for effort, not result  All kids should have to work at academics  Appropriate level work!  Praise for specifics  I like how you described the characters…  Not: Great job on this assignment
  66. 66. Appropriate Difficulty  ALL children need schoolwork that challenges them  Without challenge children don’t learn…  Hard work  Study skills  Failure, and recover from failure
  67. 67. Mindset, by Carol Dweck  Fixed mindset  I must be perfect (or people won’t like me)  Failure = lack of competence or potential  Don’t want to work to improve weakness  Because it means admitting weakness!  Variable mindset  Willing to admit failures  And work to improve and try again
  68. 68. The Wrong Thing…  Forcing the gifted child to be someone she is not may cause…  Hiding her true “self”  Perfectionism  Underachievement  Imposter syndrome  Low self-esteem  Depression, or worse
  69. 69. Perfectionism  Never happy with less than perfect results  Endless corrections  Never finished even simplest tasks  Often doesn’t recognize own efforts as “good enough”  Sometimes frozen by the imperfection
  70. 70. Perfectionism  Adult expectations, or self-expectations don’t meet up with reality…  Asynchrony – 9 year-old ideas, but 6 year-old hands to complete the ideas… frustration!  Learning disabilities, but the understanding of “what could be”
  71. 71. Help the Perfectionist  Model…  Mistakes  Spilt milk!  Imperfection  Realistic goals  Good enough for the situation  Offer support… unconditionally  Unconditional love
  72. 72. Fear of Perfectionist…  After years of praise for little effort, when the perfectionist isn’t producing perfect results at more difficult tasks, he may fear rejection from those who love or respect him, since he can no longer provide “perfect” results…
  73. 73. Underachievement  Task problems  Doesn’t care about task  Not interesting enough to focus on  Boredom (the forbidden word)  Fear of failing  Failing by choice is easier than failing by accident  Fear of success
  74. 74. Underachievement Support  Model expected behavior  Watch yourself for…  Procrastination  Smoke / Drink  Complaining about job / life  Don’t rescue  Natural consequences
  75. 75. Imposter Syndrome  More common in gifted females, but occurs in gifted males too!  If I do something well…  Accident or chance  If I do something poorly…  My fault – didn’t try hard enough  Fear of “being caught”  …so they don’t try!
  76. 76. Over-sensitivities  Gifted children take in ALL senses faster  Academics  Hearing, sight, taste, touch  May be “over” sensitive…  Tags in shirts, seams in socks  Loud noises / too much silence  Bright lights / too much darkness  Crowded spaces / loneliness
  77. 77. Social / Emotional Needs  The needs of the gifted child are the same as any other child…  Peers with similar interests  Friends at similar levels of friendship  Acceptance for who THEY are  Not who others think they should be  Not necessarily what their physical age prescribes!
  78. 78. Gifted Children Need…  To be children!  Carefree and fun and safe  Unconditional love of parents  To be themselves!!  Learn at their own level and pace  Play their own games  Accepted by friends, school, church, society…
  79. 79. Gifted Children… “Gifted children are not better or faster than others, nor do they necessarily excel in the usually considered areas. They are basically different from other children… They have special awareness. They are concerned with the complexities of the world.” -- Annemarie Roeper, 1986
  80. 80. Professional Development  GERRIC Professional Development Package for Teachers  Identify the gifted & talented students in your class or school, and differentiate the curriculum to respond to their individual learning needs.  Decide which students may benefit from various forms of ability or interest grouping, and which may possibly be candidates for one or more of the many forms of academic acceleration.  Explore a wide range of issues in the cognitive and social-emotional development of gifted students.  https://education.arts.unsw.edu.au/about-us/gerric/resources/pd-package/
  81. 81. Internet Resources  SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted)  SENGifted.org  Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page  Pages on Social Emotional, Underachiever, Perfection, Imposter Syndrome, ….  HoagiesGifted.org  Stephanie Tolan  Non-fiction articles, fiction for gifted children / young adults  StephanieTolan.com
  82. 82. Print Resources: Kids/Parents  Smart Teens' Guide to Living with Intensity: How to Get More Out of Life and Learning  A Parent's Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense and Creative Adolescents  Both by Lisa Rivero  Being Smart About Gifted Children  By Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster  Gifted Kids Survival Guides (10 and under, Teen)  Both by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle  101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids  By Christine Fonseca
  83. 83. Print Resources  Counseling the Gifted and Talented  Linda Silverman, editor  Annemarie Roeper: Selected Writings and Speeches  Understanding Our Gifted  Social/Emotional, Volume 14, Issue 3  Mindset  Carol Dweck
  84. 84. Beyond Academics: Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted Thank you for caring!
  85. 85. Socialization…  “Many well-meaning persons speak of such efforts as “socializing the child,” but it is probably not in this way that the very gifted can be socialized.” -- Leta S. Hollingworth, Children Above 180 IQ, Origin and Development, 1942
  86. 86. Secret Weapon – IQ to grade Ag e IQ 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12. 0 13.0 14. 0 15.0 16. 0 100 4.0 5.0 K.0 6.0 1.0 7.0 2.0 8.0 3.0 9.0 4.0 10.0 5.0 11.0 6.0 12.0 7.0 13.0 8.0 14.0 9.0 15.0 10.0 16.0 11.0 130 5.2 K.2 6.5 1.5 7.8 2.8 9.1 4.1 10.4 5.4 11.7 6.7 13.0 8.0 14.3 9.3 15.6 10.6 16.9 11.9 18.2 13.2 19.5 14.5 20.8 15.8 160 6.4 1.4 8.0 3.0 9.6 4.6 11.2 6.2 12.8 7.8 14.4 9.4 16.0 11.0 17.6 12.6 19.2 14.2 20.8 15.8 22.4 17.4 24.0 19.0 25.6 20.6

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