Each child is unique. By the very nature of the profession you chose, you have a helper’s heart; you want every kid to have a sense of self-worth and the tools to reach her potential.

Students with special needs often have more difficulty getting to – and staying at – that point, but it’s always something to work toward. This applies to gifted children too. (I call them kite kids.)

Every teacher, school counselor and administrator, should be familiar with their common traits and have a general understanding about how they’re wired differently. (It’s very different from a high achiever.)

Basic knowledge about asychronous development and overexcitabilities are particularly important. Not only are the traits associated with these phenomenons frequently misunderstood, they’re too often misdiagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder, OCD, ODD and Asperger’s.

This knowledge help schools identify kite kids earlier and gives you insight about how to respond to their unique needs.

Recognizing the indicators when they’re present isn’t always easy, particularly if the child is twice-exceptional (gifted + a disability); however, that foundational knowledge really helps. And when challenges arise, there’s a much greater likelihood of connecting the dots.

Like any child with special needs, recognizing – and addressing – issues, as they arise, should be a partnership.

“Teachers have one of the most important roles in children’s lives,” says Sally Krisel, director of innovative and advanced programs for Hall County Schools in Gainesville, Ga., and current NAGC president. “Therefore, it’s important for parents and teachers to have an open and ongoing dialogue about what each other are observing – and to make adjustments as appropriate.”

States and local districts vary widely in terms of screening, funding and providing special education for kite kids. There are, however, steps that teachers, administrators, and school counselors can take, even in states where funding and formal programs aren’t available.

To learn more, see the resources I’ve compiled for school teachers, counselors and administrators.

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