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Topic Archives: Giftedness

After the Denial: What to do if your child didn’t get into the gifted program

January 11, 2017

by Dr. Wendy Matthews Were you disappointed to learn that your child didn’t qualify for your school’s gifted program? Does this fly in the face of anything you know to be true about your child’s capabilities and needs for additional enrichment? If your child was not accepted, you still have options. First, you need to decide whether you are sure the program is right for your child. Do some research. Learn about: (a) the quality of the program, (b) the amount of time involved, and (c) potential programming conflicts. Try to get a sense of the trade-offs for your child and for your family. Consider, too, the time, financial resources, and emotional reserves required of you to advocate for your child…. Read More

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Give Her Wings

May 18, 2016

By Nancy Weinstein Last weekend my daughter flew. It was her Bat Mitzvah, and she owned it from start to finish. From her preparation, to planning the party, to conducting the service, to showing the grace and poise as a hostess that one rarely sees in a 13 year old. Unlike most parents on such a special occasion, I didn’t cry. I glowed. I had cried too many tears already. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” At times I think my daughter is the strongest person I know. But getting to this point wasn’t easy. At her one year physical, the pediatrician tried to offer solace by telling me, “The most difficult children often turn into the most interesting adults.” It was… Read More

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What If Your Biggest Weakness Became Your Strength?

February 24, 2016

By Mindprint Staff Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd turned to his bi-partisan panel debating over what outrageous remark might knock Trump out of contention. He posed the question, “What if everything we thought was his weakness is actually a strength?” And then he went to commercial. Not a bad move for live TV when you don’t want to answer the question. But for the rest of us, maybe it is an important question we want to answer: Can we turn our weaknesses into strengths? And if so, what does it take? Virgin CEO Richard Branson wrote in his 2012 book that his struggles with dyslexia became his greatest strength. It taught him how to be an efficient manager which he believes was crucial to his… Read More

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It’s Creativity, Mom

July 30, 2015

  By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or the middle of February, at some point a parent stands before her child’s messy room and has to make a decision. And 9 times out of 10, the solution is simple: close the door. From the hall, the mess is gone. To clean or not to clean, is not really the question. The question is how the child finds a matching pair of socks, her homework, and earbuds beneath the upper layer of clothes, books, and unidentified objects. I do have one confession, however. My own desk is a mess. My office? Pretty clean, in the sense that a small toddler could be let loose on the… Read More

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It’s Time for Parents to Change the Conversation…

March 20, 2015

By Nancy Weinstein As parents we really need to stop saying: the teacher, the curriculum, the lesson, or the test is bad. Really, we’ve just got to stop. The reality is that most teachers are highly competent. Most curricula are well-vetted and well-written. Most administrators put a lot of care into selecting the materials they believe will work best for their students. So don’t immediately assume the worst of our educators. Instead, consider starting with the assumption that the instruction is probably fine, but for whatever reason it is not working well for your child. Believe me, I’m not suggesting that you allow your child to struggle or be bored without asking for accountability. Quite the contrary. I’m simply suggesting a shift… Read More

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Too Gifted: When It’s Not a Back-door Brag

January 23, 2015

By Sarah Vander Schaaff One of my favorite lines form “30 Rock” is when Jenna tries to explain the concept of back-door bragging, giving this example: It’s hard for me to watch ‘American Idol’ because I have perfect pitch. And so it might seem when parents of a profoundly gifted child talk about the problems they have finding the right stimulation, peer groups, and emotional support for their child who, from the outside, is just “too perfect” for everyday life. But the concerns are just as deep, and at times frustrating or painful, for parents of the profoundly gifted as they are for the rest of us. At the end of the day, we all want our children to reach… Read More

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Know Your Child: Attention

November 13, 2014

  If there is one cognitive skill Americans are familiar with it is this week’s topic: attention. And that is largely because concerns about attention and, specifically, the diagnosis of ADHD have risen over the years. According to the CDC, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4-17, or 11%, had been diagnosed with ADHD in 2011.  That is up from 7.8% in 2003. While all cognitive skills are important, this one plays a particularly big role in our contemporary lives. Attention Attention is the ability to initiate and maintain focus for learning, work, and behavior control. It is a skill in the cognitive domain of executive functions. In the shoes of a child with an attention weakness Most people… Read More

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The Curse of the Gifted Class

June 10, 2014

By Nancy Weinstein The United States is failing its gifted students. And despite the national weariness for standardized testing, the answer lies in a test. But it’s a test you can’t study for; would never tie to teacher performance; doesn’t require billions to fund, and thanks to advances in technology, can be taken anywhere in about an hour. I’m referring to cognitive assessments, the uncontested, most reliable measure of a student’s learning strengths and weaknesses and the best way to engage learners of all abilities. Back in the day, these assessments were called IQ tests and there was a notion that when it came to smarts, you either “had it” or “you didn’t.” Thanks to a better understanding of neuroplasticity,… Read More

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It Ain’t Easy Being Gifted

May 2, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Is there a way to talk about young people being “gifted” and not enter a territory fraught with debate? From what I’ve been reading recently, there are not only arguments about how we define “giftedness” but arguments about the arguments. For parents, the identification matters in a practical sense if they are trying to understand how their state identifies and fosters students with unique abilities. And it matters to our society, in a practical sense, if we are hoping to identify and encourage the next generation of leaders, innovators, and artists. But in the emotional and less quantifiable ways, it matters when we consider that there are many young people who possess the potential for giftedness… Read More

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What are we searching for?

February 28, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff I’m not sure any of us would want to explain a recent log of Google searches, a trail that out of context might make us out to be anything from hypochondriacs, stalkers, or really, really devoted bargain hunters. But perhaps as parents the most sensitive searches we make relate to our children. Last month, The New York Times published a piece by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, “Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?” (January 18, 2014) that revealed an apparent gender-based fear in parental Google searches. According to Stephens-Davidowitz, “Parents are two and a half times more likely to ask, “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?”” And the trend holds, he says, for other queries… Read More

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