Monday, April 30, 2012

I don't need fixing

One of my former self-advocacy students just posted on Facebook: 
I'm an introvert and I don't need fixing!

You may have seen this, but it's worth repeating . . . 
 (clink on the link above to learn how Carl King disproves these myths)
  1. Introverts don’t like to talk. 
  2. Introverts are shy. 
  3. Introverts are rude.
  4. Introverts don’t like people. 
  5. Introverts don’t like to go out in public. 
  6. Introverts always want to be alone. 
  7. Introverts are weird. 
  8. Introverts are aloof nerds. 
  9. Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
  10. Introverts can fix themselves and become extroverts. 
Linda Silverman reports that "about 60% of gifted children are introverted compared with 30% of the general population.  Approximately 75% of highly gifted children are introverted."  However introversion "is very likely to be misunderstood and 'corrected' in children by well-meaning adults."

As Carl King writes, "Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves".

Monday, April 23, 2012

Aimless Love

I shared this poem with my young friend, a gifted artist.  His response?  How could Billy Collins know exactly how I feel?  One key to self-advocacy is connecting with others who have similar intensities . . . knowing that you may be an outlier, but you’re not alone out there!  

Aimless Love

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

~ Billy Collins ~

For more on intensities and sensitivities check out Michael Piechowski’s book, 'Mellow Out' They Say. If I Only Could

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another story of chance

About a month ago I wrote about Gagne's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent and the impact of chance on the development of one's gifts into talents.

Today I was reminded of Annie, another student whose life course was changed by chance.

While her parents provided her with tons of enriching experiences, no one in the family was especially interested in music.  Then they moved to a new house with a much larger living room than they'd had before.  With room to spare, they agreed to babysit for a friend’s baby grand piano.  At first it just sat closed in the middle of the room.  But 9-year-old Annie’s curiosity got the better of her and one day she opened the lid and tried a few notes.  The attachment was immediate.  Before long she was spending hours on the piano bench, legs dangling, composing her own surprisingly complicated melodies.  Her parents agreed when she told them it was time for formal instruction!  By middle school she was competing in state music competitions.  By high school she was winning them . . . and a scholarship to the conservatory of music!

Right time + right place + right advocacy = talent development

Sunday, April 1, 2012


A response to the misconception that  
“Teaching gifted kids to self-advocate won’t work because we don’t offer that in our school."

If we don't, we must! It needs to be in the toolkit of every one who comes in contact with gifted children.

The best method is direct instruction in self-advocacy because it is the most efficient, effective, systematic, and continuous way to help students take charge of their own education.
And better yet . . . providing that instruction to a like-ability group of students assures a common knowledge base, peer networking, and a broader understanding of learner diversity. 

While schools are generally eager to address the needs of other outliers, all too often gifted students do not feel they have permission to ask for what they need. 

As Jim Delisle wrote in Gifted Child Today, 24 (1) 14-15, Winter 2001:
In our rush toward egalitarianism as regards the concept of giftedness, we have lost sight of what should be our primary vision – the gifted child who cries out for attention. 

With our help, the sky is their limit!