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Want to know more about gifted children (or, as I like to call them, “kite kids”)? These resources I’ve compiled are a great place to start.
Free recorded presentations
Here are two I’ve found that provide great high-level overviews:
- One-hour Grand Rounds presentation about medical misdiagnosis at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health (speaker was the late James T. Webb, PhD, one of the most recognized experts on gifted children, and the founder of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted)
- One-hour overview of the inner, familial, educational and societal challenges of gifted children (presented by licensed psychologist and gifted expert Linda Silverman)
Invite an expert to present during one of your upcoming medical society events, Grand Rounds, or at any other speaking opportunity you may have through your work. Places to look for experts include:
- Gifted Development Center’s speakers’ bureau
- Workshops and presentations by executive function and 2e coach (and guru) Seth Perler
Books, publications and journals
“AAP National Conference: Focus on social-emotional needs of gifted children” (AAP News, Oct. 23, 2016)
“Gifted Children” by Steven Pfeiffer, PhD (excerpt from Translating Psychological Research Into Practice)
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression and Other Disorders by James T. Webb, PhD; Edward R. Amend, PsyD; and Paul Beljan, PsyD. There are many reasons to shatter misconceptions about giftedness; one of the most alarming is the frequency with which “kite kids” are misdiagnosed with behavioral, emotional and mental disorders. Much of this stems from unfamiliarity with their social-emotional traits, including:
- asynchronous development (higher-than-average intellect and average, or below-average, social-emotional development)
- five types of overexcitabilities, or intensities, identified by Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski in the 1960s (intellectual, sensual, emotional, imaginational and psychomotor)
As a result, some of these characteristics and behaviors are incorrectly attributed to pathology and disorder, rather than recognized as common traits of giftedness.
When a child has depression or an anxiety disorder of any kind, he must know what calm feels like before he can begin the process of achieving that state on his own. This can take time, explains Stuart Shanker, PhD, author of Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life. Each child is different, so what enables one child achieve a state of calm may do nothing to help another kid. In fact, it could have the opposite effect.
Also, if a child has significant social challenges, don’t try to tackle that until after addressing the child’s stressors.
Why? Because anxiety disorders and clinical depression are debilitating. In fact, he won’t even be able to access the information and skills stored in the prefrontal cortex when he’s in Fight, Flight or Freeze mode.
Dr. Shanker talks about this in Self-Reg. Social competencies guru Michelle Garcia Winner does, too. She’s the speech-language pathologist who created the Social Thinking® methodology and curriculum. (See below.)
With From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears, author Dan Peters, PhD, shows children how to overcome worry and fear using several easy-to-follow strategies. Kids can read the book themselves, or read along with a parent or other adult. Worriers learn how to create their very own “toolbox” of strategies to combat fear and anxiety, and conquer the Worry Monster at any time.
“Dr. Dan” is an expert on anxiety disorders and twice-exceptional (2e) children. In fact, as a kid, he struggled with anxiety himself, which he touches on this in the book. He explains how, even as an adult, he still has to silence the Worry Monster occasionally. I love that because it reinforces the all-important “progress; not perfection” message, and also helps kids realize this is a life skill.
Dr. Dan also has two companion resources for this book:
- The Warrior Workbook, which contains exercises and conversations designed to increase self-awareness and a deeper understanding some challenges that kids face.
- Make Your Worrier a Warrior, written for parents and teachers, provides useful and comforting methods to support kids who worry a lot. Adults often find that these strategies can help them effectively manage their own anxieties, too. 😉
Building social competencies
All of these “social skills” resources are part of the Social Thinking® Methodology that Michelle Garcia Winner, SLP, created.
4- to 7-year-old children: We Thinkers curriculum, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Each volume contains a curriculum book and five engaging storybooks to introduce young children to 10 language-based, social-learning concepts. The award-winning series also gives explicit instructions to help kids learn what the social world is all about!
5- to 10-year-olds: You Are a Social Detective! paired with the Superflex Social Thinking curriculum and the book Social Thinking and Me
For social success, it’s essential to understand how we impact each other. (This begins with observation.) People also expect others to help them feel calm and comfortable when they’re in each others’ presence. You are a Social Detective! kicks off this learning process. Social Thinking and Me (a two-book set) provides more in-depth information, and Superflex… A Social Thinking Superhero Curriculum motivates kids to develop strategies for social self-regulation.
For tweens-teens: Social Fortune or Social Fate
This book explains the Social-Emotional Chain Reaction through manga-illustrated, step-by-step teaching. Tween and teen readers learn how expected vs. unexpected behaviors impact the way others feel, react & respond. Strategy codes (inspired by computer-gaming codes) also help students learn social self-regulation strategies.
Professional societies and associations
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
- SENG’s Medical Misdiagnosis Initiative – contains links to articles, videos, physician interviews, free collateral materials, etc.
- SENG’s mental health provider directory – lists mental health providers who have experience working with gifted, talented and/or twice-exceptional individuals
- SENG’s continuing-education program – affordable, accredited home-study courses, webinars, and workshops at annual and mini-conferences; approved by the American Psychological Association
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Center for Psychology in Schools and Education, which includes:
- Gifted and Talent Development section
- STEM engagement section
- evidence-based teaching and learning tools
- Coalition for Psychology of High Performance page
- Center for Psychology in Schools and Education, which includes:
- National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
- Resources for university professionals, who help prepare our future psychologists, counselors, researchers, teachers and others
If that isn’t enough, see what neuroscientists have discovered
in recent years. (It’s pretty fascinating.)