The Ultimate Plan to Help Gifted Education, Part 2
(and Improve Education for All Kids in the Process)
by Kathleen Casper This article is from SENG. Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted is making this article into a five part series. Part two is below...
Educate gifted parents
Wouldn’t it be great if as soon as gifted traits are identified in children, their parents were given a resource list and access to parent groups so they were surrounded with support? Some schools provide information to families about gifted characteristics and needs when they identify students, but not every school does. And many doctors and other care providers are not equipped with enough resources themselves to adequately support parents of gifted children. In order to help parents help their children and the teachers and administrators who work with their children, the parents themselves need more knowledge.
Many parents do not even know enough about giftedness to know that their child is different than other children. This happens a lot when raising young kids. As new parents, we tend to think since we have never parented before, that maybe we just don’t know how to deal with the unique needs of our own children, when really our kids are different from others and may need additional support throughout their educational lives. Often, we don’t always know to ask for it. If we are not prepared to advocate for support for our gifted children early and often then our children lose ground quickly and the schools are not always going to catch on and step in like we would hope they would. Gifted children are sometimes lost in the shuffle and parents are the ones who can call the attention of the schools to the needs of their child better than anyone.
We need to find new parents and mention giftedness when we hear about things their little children are doing that sound like gifted traits. We need to reach out in parenting organizations and in parenting publications and blogs and mention gifted support resources, both locally and nationally. If there are events going on in your community such as trainings for gifted education or speakers that parents can attend, or just gifted issues that are affecting students in general, ask the local newspaper reporters to cover these events and issues so that giftedness is not a foreign word to your neighbors. When you visit your children’s doctors talk about gifted issues, when you see the dentist, talk about gifted issues, and ask them if you can leave articles or other resource lists for them to share with other parents.
Don’t forget the local foster care agencies and other organizations working with families who are traditionally left out of the information exchange. We have so many gifted children who are underserved by gifted education programs in the schools because their parents have no idea the programs even exist. The parents often don’t realize they need to be advocating for their child because the teachers and administrators do not understand gifted traits themselves.
We need to help other parents know what they can ask for and where to go for help We need to continue to educate ourselves so we can stand strong when we ask others to support our children.
Part 3: Educate teachers and administrators in schools about gifted children.