A Critical Call to Action: Parental and Community Partnerships

Potential giftedness in racially, culturally, ethnically, and linguistically different (RCELD) children as well as children with multiple exceptionalities (2e) are often overlooked or misinterpreted (Henfield et al., 2014). As a parent, then, being aware of common gifted characteristics is especially important (Luckey Goudelock, 2019) as is understanding their nature and needs. Seminal research by Dr. Mary Frasier and her colleagues at the University of Georgia explains how traits and behaviors can look different in different populations (Frasier et al., 1995). Parent and community members need to understand the nature and needs of RCELD and 2e children in order to partner with schools.

The Data

Parents play a critical advocacy role for their RCELD and 2e children, and they need support to fulfill this role.

  • Children need exposure to peers who share their interests and passions, which further ignites their intellectual growth and love of learning (Amend & Joerg, 2019).
  • Most gifted children socialize and make friends with those more related to their mental age rather than their chronological age (Cross, 2011).
  • Parents and teachers do not always see eye-to-eye when it comes to behavior concerns because the behavior may vary depending on the environment (Thompson & Winsler, 2018).
  • Families of gifted children often feel that they do not relate to families of nongifted children mainly due to their unique academic needs. Consequently, parents of gifted children find it difficult to access support groups within gifted or other communities (Jolly & Matthews, 2013).

Recommendations

Children can grow socially, emotionally, and cognitively in settings intentionally in supporting RCELD students with policies procedures and instruments (Ford, 2015). Parents can use the following recommendations to identify creative and personal strategies to better support their children’s growth.

  • Model and explain how to move forward after making mistakes (Amend & Joerg, 2019).
  • Reflect on the stressful moments with other parents of gifted and 2e children. This interaction may provide comfort in talking to other parents with similar experiences (Zanetti et al., 2019).
  • Demonstrate comfort with personal strengths and weaknesses to help children become comfortable with their own giftedness and areas of weakness (Amend & Joerg, 2019).
  • Participate in enrichment programs to broaden interests within a community where students feel emotionally safe and accepted. Invitational learning is culturally responsive; it includes compassion, empathy, and a focus on justice for students (Ford, 2015).

Resources to Learn More

  • Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (https://www.sengifted.org/)
  • National Association for Gifted Children (https://nagc.org)
  • Our Gifted (https://ourgifted.com/)
  • Lived Experiences of Parents of Gifted Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Struggle to Find Appropriate Educational Experiences (2015 article in Gifted Child Quarterly https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0016986215592193)
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References

Amend, E. R. & Joerg, M. (2019). Talking with your child about giftedness. National Association of Gifted Children. http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Parent%20CK/NAGC%20TIP%20Sheet-Talking%20with%20Your%20Child%20About%20Giftedness.pdf.

Cross, T. L. (2011). Competing with myths about the social and emotional development of gifted students. https://www.sengifted.org/post/competing-with-myths-about-the-social-and-emotional-development-of-gifted-students

Ford, D. (2015). Culturally responsive gifted classrooms for culturally different students: A focus on invitational learning. Gifted Child Today, 38(1), 67-69. https://doi.org/10.1177/1076217514556697

Frasier, M. M., Martin, D., Garcia, J., Finley, V. S., Frank, E., Krisel, S., & King, L. L. (1995, September). A new window for looking at gifted children. https://nrcgt.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/953/2015/04/rm95222.pdf.

Henfield, M. S., Washington, A. R., & Byrd, J. A. (2014). Addressing academic and opportunity gaps impacting gifted Black males: Implications for school counselors. Gifted Child Today, 37, 147–154. https://doi.org/10.1177/1076217514530118

Jolly, J. L., & Matthews, M. S. (2013). Homeschooling the gifted, A parent’s perspective. Gifted Child Quarterly, 57(2), 121-134. https://doi.org/10.1177/0016986212469999

Luckey Goudelock, J. D., (2019). Parenting high-ability African American children: Navigating the two-edged sword of giftedness. Parenting For High Potential, 8(2). National Association for Gifted Children. https://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Parenting%20for%20High%20Potential%20June%202019.pdf.

Thompson, B., & Winsler, A. (2018). Parent-teacher agreement on social skills and behavior problems among ethnically diverse preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48. 3163–3175 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3570-5 Zanetti, M. A., Gualdi, G., & Cascianelli, M. (Eds.). (2019). Understanding Giftedness: A guide for parents and educators. Routledge.

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