Saturday, December 19, 2020

A Gifted Challenges update: The year that was 2020

It has been almost nine years since I started writing this blog. Fresh out of the blocks as newly launched college students, my children no longer needed my advocacy. My parental involvement in navigating their school's gifted policies was drawing to a close; so was my role as co-chair of the school district's gifted parent advocacy group. As a psychologist who also worked with gifted teens and adults, writing seemed like the next reasonable step. My hope was that a "blog" (offering informational and opinion pieces, rather than personal sharing) would provide another means of supporting families of gifted children, disseminating the latest information found online, and advocating in my own small way for the needs of the gifted. 

I never imagined that there would be so much to write about over the years! 

Gifted kids are STILL overlooked in the schools, weather complicated peer relations, and often perform well below their potential. Families continue to struggle - often alone and misunderstood. Over 200 blog posts later - along with additional articles published online and in newsletters, a book chapter, and numerous workshops - there still seems to be plenty of material! I was a bit distracted... ahem... by the chaos of this past year, and while I wrote fewer blog posts, and focused more on social justice, political divisiveness, and the Pandemic, I tried to tailor articles to the needs of gifted children and parents. I am so appreciative of the thousands of followers on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, where I share information from across the web related to social and emotional needs, gifted education, advocacy, child development, coping strategies psychological issues, and general education. 

Writing is a joy for me, and I hope that some of you find it useful. I have continued to steer clear of website ads or other marketing ploys. I also avoid sharing personal stories about myself or my children - even though, frankly, some of our past experiences leech into my writing. As many of you know, I am vocal about my opinions, such as the importance of ability grouping and acceleration, universal screening to identify gifted children who "don't look gifted," and sorting through the hype about popularized topics, such as growth mindset, grit, and differentiated instruction. I protect the confidentiality of my clients, and when I share anecdotes related to their personal lives, any identifying information is obscured.

Here is some of what I have been doing during this difficult, chaotic year:

1. Continuing to offer psychotherapy, parent coaching, and consultation to schools and parenting groups

2. Working on a book about the experience - both the joys and struggles - of parenting a gifted child

3. Offering zoom workshops for parents of gifted children

4. Considering sending out a newsletter to those of you on my email list. If you are not already on the list, please sign up

5. Planning to eventually transition from this Blogspot platform to something more mainstream, such as WordPress (although given my lack of tech skills, this may continue to take a back seat to more pressing goals!)

6. Oh, yes... and like all of you, just trying to "hang in there" and get through 2020.

Goodbye to 2020!

I hope that you have weathered this difficult, chaotic year as well as possible. Many of you have suffered devastating personal and financial losses, and even deaths in your families. Disappointments seem everpresent. It has been an endurance challenge for just about everyone, but I hope that you have been able to hang in there, and perhaps, even experience some positive, unexpected surprises... anything from reevaluating what is truly important to dressing down for work!. 

I wish you all the best for, hopefully, a year of relief, safety, health, and happiness. See you next year!

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