Friday Letters From Leslie – Friday, January 26, 2018
WARNING: Parenting a Gifted Child May Be Hazardous to Your (Mental) Health , (http://thegraysonschool.org/parenting-gifted-child/) written by Jill Williford Wurman, Director of Research at the Grayson School, well captures the intensity (and at times loneliness) of parenting a gifted child. While there is little research about parenting gifted children, there is a large body of literature about the experience of parenting children with exceptionalities (i.e., those that are developmentally different from the norm), which gifted children certainly are. One of the few studies conducted did find that parents of gifted children experience levels of anxiety at a rate similar to parents of developmentally delayed children.
At Roeper, Giftedness is the asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive ability and heightened intensity combine to create an inner experience and awareness that are different from the norm (Roeper Admissions, www.roeper.org). Public perception of giftedness often focuses on the advanced cognitive ability, and in fact many gifted programs are designed solely to foster eminence in areas of strength. What we recognize at Roeper is that the impact of asynchronous development (i.e. possessing different developmental levels at the same time) often results in the experience of angst for the child and parents. Our program at the Lower School is intentionally designed to focus on the whole child – not just the academic and cognitive aspects of development. Providing a non-competitive environment, student choice in course selection and learning objectives, and a focus on collaboration and interdependence, are ways in which we address social and emotional growth. Our goal is that students develop understanding and acceptance of all aspects of the self, and begin developing strategies to live in balance and harmony with themselves and the world.
The National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) offers a variety of parent resources to increase understanding and advocacy of the precocity, complexity, and intensity of our gifted children. The attached link provides information and additional resources regarding asynchronous development: NAGC Tip Sheet — Asynchronous Development.
As we move ahead in the school year we will continue to focus on maximizing the potential of each child in the areas of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral development. On February 13, at 7pm in the Children’s Library, we will be hosting a Parent Forum to discuss social emotional development of our gifted students. In collaboration with the Roeper Parent Council (RPC), the movie Angst will be shown on March 21, and Screenagers will be shown on April 12, both at 6:30 in the Multipurpose room. Gifted children are certainly exceptional, so much so that they qualify for Special Education supports in some states. Your partnership and support of our program and students is appreciated, as we work together to provide our students with the skills to know themselves and joyfully contribute to the world.
Best to all,