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Kathleen Fischer Address’ the Needs of Gifted Kids

February 10, 2012

Did you miss the symposium?  check out the video of the event: 

On Saturday, February 4th CGA’s Educational Symposium provided an opportunity for parents in the community to gain a better understanding of the social and emotional needs of their GT students.  Kathleen Fischer, as the Keynote Speaker, highlighted various attributes of gifted children as well as presented strategies for working with them to help fulfill their best potential.

Most importantly her talk began with the question: “What is gifted anyway?”   It emphasized that whether you are using the Federal definition of gifted or the many variations from various professional studies, the most important point to make is that your child is a kid first and gifted second.  She went on to give examples of various studies that describe gifted as a ‘frame of mind’ or as others have described ‘intensities’ or ‘over-excitabilities’.  The over excitabilities can then be broken down into further categories; for example:

  •  Psychomotor – aided by allowing movement in the classroom
  • Sensual – various sensitivities to food, noise, and the environment
  • Intellectual – an eagerness to learn
  • Imaginational – creativity
  • Emotional – strong feelings toward either positive or negative experiences

She goes on to note that the stronger these over excitabilities are, the less welcome they are among peers and teachers unless they too are of above average ability.  Adding that bright kids sense their differences and they can pick up on their sensitivity.  Along with these hypersensitivities she notes other attributes including:

  • Boredom – Essentially they feel they already know the material or it is not being presented in an engaging way.
  • Perfectionism – which can then turn into pressure
  • Need for Praise – Noting parents should reinforce the steps rather than praising the outcome.
  • Isolation – How do we help them connect?  Suggesting that we help them find peers and make the right connections.  This might not necessarily be students of the same age or gender.
  • Sense of Fairness and Justice – Gifted students think reasonably because they think things through with an excellent sense of compassion.
  • Consuming Curiosity – drive to know more
  • Multipotentiality – They often have more than one thing they are good at and as parents our job is to help them keep a balance and allow down time; noting creativity often happens in the down time.
  • Fears – Gifted kids often blow things way out of proportion and these fears can be troubling to them for days.  Parents should offer opportunities for their child to talk through their fears.
  • Androgyny- both stereotypical female and male behaviors or interests.

She emphasized that the more we look at bright kids and what we know about them, we realized that we need to know more.  As parents eager to help and guide our students, information like this provides invaluable tools to support our students; most notably their eagerness to learn.   As Fischer identifies, their love of learning – ‘That is the gift’.

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