Community can be defined so many different ways. A group of people with common stories, struggles, or experiences. Sharing a common place or interest. Community could be substituted for tribe, fraternity, fellowship, group, communion, connection, network, social system, etc. So, how many communities are you part of? More importantly, does your gifted child fit in your local community?
“If your child marches to a different beat, a different drummer, you might just have to go along with that music. Help them achieve what’s important to them.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Often, gifted individuals do not always fit. The description of the square peg and round hole is another analogy comparable to the above-quoted reference to a different drummer. Sometimes it takes time for us to find our “tribe.” It is easier for us as adults because we have had more time. But, for some gifted children they need more support. Even some gifted adults need support. And, in some communities parents of gifted need support too. Have you found gifted support in your community for your child or for you as a parent of a gifted child? It is important that we support our society’s gifted children for who they are and help them achieve their goals.
It is important that we support our child’s need for community. And, it is important that we as parents of gifted support our own need for community. Sadly, many have no clue on where to find that community. Not every campus has gifted classes or programs or parent support groups. Not every district has SENG support groups. Many parents are told their child is gifted but then nothing else. Some parents find out about their child’s giftedness through private doctors and do not know how to navigate the educational system. Thus, it is critical that those of us who have found supportive gifted community spread the word.
I admit, as a trained school psychologist, I was not told much about gifted education or gifted support groups. I learned as a parent and by coincidence. The assistant principal who was also the gifted coordinator was going through training for gifted certification and happened to use our son as an example in a discussion. The presenter gave her the name of Texas Parents of Profoundly Gifted (TPPG) and instructed her to have us apply. That Monday, she gave me a personal note with a name, website, and email address. I was floored! The application was completed and sent off within the week. And, I treasure the support we have received and continue to receive from them. But, I got lucky. Some parents aren’t that lucky.
If you can’t find a local support community then you need to turn online. I admit that in addition to a state level support from TPPG, I have many online gifted support communities. Hoagies’ Gifted has an extensive list of gifted online support covering blogs, social networking sites, podcasts, mailing lists and more. You do not have to be on Facebook to find online support. There are mailing lists and blogs. And, there are even gifted camps and retreats. If you are on Facebook, search the terms gifted or Mensans or poppies and you’ll find groups. Although many schools do not know of these groups, hopefully, those of us in the gifted community will continue to share our resources for the better of our greater community.
Here are some great places for finding a gifted community:
- PG Retreat
- Davidson Young Scholars (DYS)
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
- Duke TIP
- Northwestern University’s Center for Talented Development (CTD)
- Stanford Univeristy Education Program for Gifted Children (EPGY)
- John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
- National Association for Gifted Children
- Families of the Talented & Gifted
- Gifted Homeschoolers Forum
- Athena’s Advanced Academy
- Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)
- Mensa for Kids
The organizations listed above are not exhaustive. However, for a parent who knew of no support or very little, this will hopefully help you find a community for you and your child. In addition, the above organizations could also be helpful to schools in informing students or parents. If you are looking for summer gifted programs, then check out the lists given by Hoagies’ and Davidson as they have extensive lists. I know the school year is now starting, but you can use these lists to help for planning and budgeting for next summer.
Additional reads on Community:
- A Kid’s Guide to Building Great Communities from the Canadian Institute of Planners
- The Psychology of Communities: 4 Factors That Create a Sense of Community from David Spinks
- Promoting Gifted Education in Your Community from Kristen Stephens
- How Finding the Right Community Can Help Your Creativity from Jory Mackay
- Goodreads book list on the issues of giftedness from the Gifted Children and Adults: Finding A Community group
- World Council for Gifted and Talented Children has an international list of organizations and conferences
- Center for Parent Information and Resources has an interactive map to find a center in your state
This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “Community.” I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.
Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser: