Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Challenges in Meeting the Social Needs of a Gifted Child : A Parent's Perspective

I'm very excited to be a part of The National Parenting Gifted Children Week blog tour hosted by SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted).  SENG is an invaluable resource for parents and educators and to celebrate, they are offering a free NPGCW ebook - The Joy and the Challenge: Parenting Gifted Children. You can view the entire schedule of the blog tour which runs from 7/17-7/23 by visiting the NPGCW Facebook Event page or SENG's website. 
There are many challenges in raising a gifted child which made it difficult in narrowing down my topic for this post.  I had wanted to delve into the emotional and intellectual areas too, but I think that I'll let some of the other bloggers, like Christine Fonseca, share their knowledge.  I will focus this post on social challenges that my eldest son, who is now ten, has faced over the years. 
As a young child my son had an easy time walking up to complete strangers and inviting them over to play.  He would give them our address and happily say they were welcome anytime.  He craved the social interaction of children and adults.  My youngest who is five has been following in his older brother's footsteps, but seems to be a bit more shy with adults at times.  Anyway I remember when my eldest was around five and we were shopping in K-mart before the start of Kindergarten. He saw a boy his age wearing a Star Wars shirt and struck up a conversation with him.  The boy's mom was near and I got to talking with her about where the kids were going to school and we exchanged phone numbers.  We later set up a playdate and their friendship lasted a year or so (it might have lasted longer if they went to the same school).  As my son started Kindergarten, he started to realize that he wasn't like most of the kids in his class.  His interests were not typical for his age.  He loved learning about geography, flags of the world and using various symbols for secret code breaking.  The one thing that helped him deal with not being challenged in Kindergarten was an understanding teacher who set up a globe center and my son was able to share his passion with fellow classmates.  The social mismatch only intensified with the following school year when he was subject accelerated in ELA to second grade.  I think this made him stand out to his peers even more and he really couldn't connect long enough with the kids in the first grade class or second grade class.
As a result of his unhappiness at school that year, I went online searching for anything and everything I could read on giftedness and how to help my child cope.  I found SENG articles, the Davidson Institute and it's Young Scholars program, and the NAGC.  After finding an online discussion board run by the Davidson Institute, I felt that I wasn't alone and that my son needed to have that feeling as well.  I completed the lengthy Young Scholars application for my son and after he was accepted, he was able to e-mail other members, join discussions on bulletin boards and later went to a gathering at a local museum and met other kids like himself.  There are other talent development programs out there to help gifted children.  Here is a list of just a few others I know of : Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, and Duke Talent Identification Program.
Having academic peers in school is very important.  My son finally met some when he went to a self-contained gifted classroom for fourth grade and this year in a fifth grade GATE classroom. 
You can also find social groups for your child based on his/her interests.  My son fell in love with birdwatching so I went online and found a local youth birding group- the Delaware Dunlins- where he met enthusiastic adult leaders and kids that shared his passion for birding.  Other activities such as role playing have been helpful in getting boys from our parent's group together for social interaction. 
Lastly, don't forget playdates planned by parents and/or kids!  Playdates aren't just for preschoolers!  Playdates have been very important for both of my sons, but especially for my eldest when he was having a rough time dealing with fifth grade cliques this past year.  Having friends to interact with outside of school was very important for him to feel that there were people who liked him.   
I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you want to share some ways in which you have taken on the challenge of meeting the social needs of your child, I'd love to read it in my comment section! 
Thanks for reading and enjoy the blog tour this week! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Winner of 101 Success Secrets For Gifted Kids Book Giveaway!

Thank you again to Christine Fonseca for stopping by our little blog to share some secrets from her newly released book - 101 Success Secrets For Gifted Kids!  She was so generous to offer a signed copy of her book to go along with her blog tour guest post and after having some issues with blogger last week in which one of the two comments was lost (luckily I remembered who commented- Lisa Potts- Thank you again!), we have a winner for the giveaway.  My little son picked the name out of a baseball cap and chose Lisa's name, but after e-mailing Lisa, she said that she won a copy on another blog and wanted it to go to my other commenter. 

So the winner of the giveaway is...Jim Bourey!

Thank you also to all of you who stopped by to read Christine's guest post!  We have had lots of activity here from around the world, which is so exciting! 

I had planned on doing a review with oldest son's help, but don't have time today. I still hope to have a review and share more secrets from the book later this week.  Our Parents of Gifted Children Resource Group is also having a parent/kid meeting on Monday 5/23 at 6:30pm at the Dover Newsstand to discuss 101 Success Secrets For Gifted Kids.  We will be focusing on chapters 1 and 2 since they are available online ( and  If you are in the area, please stop by! :) 

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaching Kids About Giftedness: A Look at a Few Success Secrets with Christine Fonseca

I have the pleasure this month to host a stop on Christine Fonseca's blog tour for her newly released book- 101 Success Secrets For Gifted Kids.  I'm so excited to be participating because it is the first gifted kids handbook, in my opinion, that truly explains what giftedness is and doesn't just give kids a list of characteristics which may or may not "fit" who they are.  Even though it is suggested for ages 8-12, I found my adult self getting so many helpful pieces of advice, particularly the hula hoop technique, which I'll let Christine explain.  So without further ado, here is Christine Fonseca's guest post!

Thanks, Monica, for hosting this leg of the tour. Monica asked me to talk a bit about the success secrets in the first two chapters of 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids - the ones the help kids understand what it means to be gifted.
Perfect! These are some of my favorite tips.
I am a firm believer in teaching both kids and adults to fully embrace everything it means to be gifted – the good, the bad, and the stressful. Towards that end, the first twenty tips or so are all about understanding and accepting everything it means to be gifted.
Here are a few of my favorites from the opening chapters (you can preview the opening chapters on the Prufrock website (chapter 1) and on my site (chapter 2)

·         Giftedness isn’t something you choose. It’s how you are
·         Not all gifted kids are high achievers.
·         Embrace your giftedness.
·         Your brain can lie to you.
·         The only thing you can really control is you.
·         Remember to take care of yourself.
·         Believe in yourself.

Some of these tips include specific strategies to help kids learn and use the success secret. A couple of my favorites – Tips for  Reaching Your Potential (part of Embrace your Giftedness) and the Hula Hoop Technique (Part of The Only Thing you can really Control Is You).
In the Tips for Reaching Your Potential, kids are reminded to learn all about themselves, even the parts that they don’t like so much. They are also taught ways to broaden their life experiences and embracing all it means to be gifted. Things like doing something creative every day, and making an effort to learn something new are fabulous ways to come closer to reaching your true potential.
The Hula Hoop technique is one of my true favorites. With this strategy, kids are given a visual way to separate the things they can control – their feelings, thoughts, and actions, from the things they cannot control – everything else. This technique is about learning to discern how we feel about things, and focusing only on that which we can control is very empowering for kids and comes up over and over through the various tips in the book.

My goal for 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids was perfectly summarized in a recent review:
101 Success Secrets is full of the secrets we've been meaning to tell our kids, and trying to tell our kids, and hoping to tell our kids!

~ Carolyn K (Mrs. Hoagie)

It is sincerely my hope that the book opens up the lines of communication between parents, teachers and kids and helps our youth reach their potential!
Thanks Monica, for letting me share a few of the tips that makes this book so special to me.

Thank you Christine for writing such a powerful book for gifted children and the adults in their lives!  Every page is filled with helpful advice, tips, and suggestions for gifted kids and you can win a free signed copy of 101 Success Secrets For Gifted Kids by leaving a comment and your e-mail addy below.  The contest ends Tues., May 17th, 10pm EST when the winner will be chosen randomly (name in hat type, I'm not up on the computer random selector stuff) and announced on Wed., May 18th.  I'll also share some more of my favorite secrets from Christine's book (perhaps even having my 10 yr. old son write some). 

In the meantime, please visit Christine Fonseca online at her following links:

Find me on Facebook or Twitter
Order the book.
Read an excerpt here.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Wind Blowing In Change

I had hoped to post last month, but alas I'm a day late. Things have been a bit busy with the Parents of Gifted Children Resource Group which is a good thing! At the meeting in February, we had Ms. Murrian as a guest speaker on perfectionism in gifted students. We had new parents attending and lots of lively discussion on what local schools are doing or not doing in regards to gifted programs. This leads us up to the organization of this month's meeting which is sure to be lively one on Strategies for Advocacy for Gifted Programs. Dr. Jeanne Paynter, Gifted and Talented Education Specialist from the Maryland State Dept. of Ed., will be our guest speaker and then we will have an open forum to discuss our next steps to improve gifted education in Delaware. Now is the time to make your voice be heard! We are inviting parents, teachers, ed. administrators, legislators, and anyone interested in advocacy for gifted students. Please plan on attending Wed., March 23rd, 6:30-8:30pm, in the LGI room at William Henry Middle School, Dover. If you can help with our advertising efforts, please let me know so I can send you flyers.

As some of our readers know, Delaware does not require criteria/methods for identifying gifted students, there is no mandate for gifted education, and there isn't a mandate for gifted ed. teacher training. You can find out more by going to the Davidson Institute's database and clicking on Delaware on the U.S. map ( If you are not in Delaware, why not check out your own state to see how they are serving gifted students.

Please help in our efforts to bring positive change to gifted students in Delaware! We are sure to make a difference if we join together. This statement reminds me of something Robin Schader said in a NAGC webinar. She mentioned that one parent advocating for a child is considered a "nut", two parents are a "nut with a friend", but 3 or more parents are on their way to make a difference and being heard, they just need to have good ideas and information.

Feel free to comment and I hope to see you on March 23rd!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A New Year and The Power of Social Media

With one week left in this month, I thought it was time to write a new post. A lot has been going on with the Parents of Gifted Children Resource Group and hopefully things will be getting even busier! This is a good thing and I'm looking forward to the events that are in the works in the upcoming months.
We had a successful January 19th meeting with six parents attending (one of them a new member from Sussex county) and I went home with my head swimming with lots of ideas on how to expand our group. One of those ways was to create a Facebook page for our group and just after I did that I got over 70 hits on this blog! Talk about the power of social media!
As soon as I get the details of our February meeting set, I'll be planning on advertising in the local newspapers (which you can now do online and for free!) and contacting the schools' gifted programs to have meeting flyers sent home. I'm also going to try and post flyers in the library, book store, and perhaps get an ad in the Odyssey of the Mind program. If you have other ideas on how to promote our group or the meeting just leave a comment.
Twitter is another way to connect with people which I still haven't gotten the hang of, but I intend to keep trying. I've been going onto #gtchat on Fridays at 7pm (there is also a noon chat), which is hosted by Deborah Mersino of Now that I know how to go onto (Thank you to for blogging about it) for #gtchat, it should make it much easier to follow and comment. It is so wild to be a part of a global chat and you come away with a sense of comraderie and energy to keep you going in your advocacy efforts.
Please come back next month for further developments in the Parents of Gifted Children Resource Group!

Thanks for reading,