March 6, 2015

Parent U.: SENG Event Followup

Sande Tanner and Beth Collins provided two presentations at Acres Green Elementary School on Monday, March 2nd, 2015. Both Sande and Beth work at Acres Green: Sande is a 4th/5th grade Discovery teacher and Beth is the school psychologist. Highlights from their presentations and links to their presentations are included below.

Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Sande's presentation focused on Dabrowski's Theory of Five Overexcitabilities and specific parenting strategies parents can use to support children who exhibit each of them.

Download a copy of her full presentation here.

Here are some key parenting strategies:

Psychomotor  - Children who display overexcitabilities in the psychomotor arena need to constantly be on the move. In addition to giving them opportunities to take frequent breaks, parents can also observe and mention when to the child when he or she seems to be exhausted. This helps children start to recognize when they are overtired and develop the ability to self-regulate their behavior. Parents can also teach and model relaxation techniques, such as breathing and yoga.

Sensual - Children who have heightened sense will benefit most from removing the offensive stimuli, such as bright lights or loud noises. Providing these children with greater control over how their bedroom looks and feels helps them learn how to manage their responses to sensation.

Imagination - Children with strong imaginations prefer to stay in their own internal world. Provide them with outlet to express themselves and encourage them to share their work others. Children might also benefit from recording their creative ideas in a journal.

Intellectual - Children with this overexcitability are quickly identified by gifted programs and excel academically in school. Support them by providing cultivating their interests in other nonacademic areas.

Emotional - Children who are emotional are often described as being highly sensitive and having extremes of emotions. Help these children by finding ways for them to express their emotions in a productive and safe way, such as art or music.

Healthy Striving vs. Perfectionism

Beth's presentation focused on the issue of perfectionism, which is common with intellectually gifted kids. She discussed the neuroscience of how the brain works, especially in a fight or flight response. And more importantly, she discusses strategies to help children minimize the effect of being overly focused on being perfect, all the time.

Parents can also help by:

  • Sharing experiences of failure with their child
  • Recognizing that making mistakes is normal and universal
  • Praising children for good effort vs. their intelligence
  • Encourage children to try new things and engage in fun, noncompetitive activities.