There are ongoing discussions on how gifted children are not supported in their K-12 experience. Let’s take that one step further and acknowledge there are those that are not even identified. They quietly make it through the curriculum. They get labeled as lazy or not motivated as under achievers. They are identified as trouble makers or with Significant Identifiable Emotional Disability (not all students identified this way are gifted). They drop out of school physically or figuratively just going through the motions. They are involved with youth corrections.
These children/youth know they are different. They know they do not fit in. They are starved for understanding, constructive stimulus; ways to express what they are experiencing what is in their minds and all their senses. They now they are smart as many things are coming so easily. They are bored. They do not see the relevance in what is being presented in the classroom. They do not understand why others do not get them. They are curious and need stimulation. They will find ways to satisfy their needs.
Empowering students to determine their educational experience with guidance and coaching by educators can engage them. They can then self-identify their needs and express their strengths. They can begin to understand that failing and trying again is a positive process, just like when they learned to walk. They can learn how to learn, develop critical thinking, practice their creativity and apply their imagination.
We can accomplish this with curriculum that develops life skills, interpersonal skills, self-management skills — much like home economics and shop or sports. We can design and include educotherapy curriculum that allow them to understand themselves (their characteristics, values, beliefs, culture, community); overcome the dual messages they have received, the angst they feel with existential depression, perfectionism, expectations of themselves and by others, intensities, overexcitabilites and the chaos with so some many ideas and extensive input; develop their abilities, strategies for managing their intensities and overexcitabilites and balance; express their talents for personal pleasure and/or to contribute to the world; and connect with others like them, those around them daily, and the big picture.
We need to act also to help those that missing in action and now are adults (young or old) that recognize they are different, have frustrations (translated to lifestyle, physical discomfort, emotional diagnosis, etc.), have blended in or…. Providing information within the different “treatment” systems of how their natural characteristics are contributing to their internal chaos and their options for expressing themselves and having the experience of their choice.
This post is done as part of the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour.
For additional information and a list of the posts for the week, check here.