Monthly Archives: April 2013

I Won’t Try to Fix You

By Lisa Hartwig

Lisa is the mother of 3 gifted children and lives outside of San Francisco.

Four years ago, I sat in the library of my children’s school and said a small prayer.

“Please don’t let that happen to us,” I thought.

I was listening to a psychiatrist talk about anxiety. He said that during adolescence a child’s hormones can amplify stress and anxiety, causing depression. As predicted, the hormones came, my son’s anxiety got worse and he became depressed.

Maybe I should have been more proactive and made choices for my son that would have reduced his stress and anxiety. Instead, we let him make choices that satisfied some of his personal ambitions but exacerbated his anxiety. We let him leave his support system and travel across the country to go to boarding school. The move fulfilled his desire to explore new interests, have new experiences and challenge himself. It also made his undiagnosed depression worse.

Read more on what Lisa did to help her son

Gifted Children at Home and in the Classroom

IEA hosts monthly Gifted Child Parent Support Group meetings throughout the school year. These meetings are intended to provide support and community in the midst of the joys and challenges of raising a gifted child. At the April 2013 meeting, parent speaker Sharon Duncan presented “Gifted Children at Home and in the Classroom.” This post offers a few of the many highlights from Sharon’s talk.

Gifted Children at Home

Gifted individuals are gifted 24-7. This means that innate characteristics of these children appear both at home and in the classroom.

Gifted individuals are gifted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that innate characteristics of these children appear both at home and in the classroom.

The innate characteristics of gifted children appear in both the classroom and at home. Two of these characteristics, as Sharon points out, are perfectionism and intense intellectual interest.

Perfectionism is a common trait among gifted children, and it can be quite a challenge to deal with at school and at home for both children and their parents. “Learning to fail and learning it is okay not to be perfect are some of the best gifts we can give these kids,” Sharon explains. She suggests playing games of chance with your children to help them learn what it “feels” like not to win.

It is also important to teach our gifted children balance; but as Sharon points out, balance can be very difficult to achieve. Our children have deep, intense intellectual and/or creative interests, and they want to pour all of their energy into what they love doing. While this drive is part of their gift and may lead them to amazing success, they also need to learn how to calm themselves and how not to get themselves into overwhelming situations. Thus, Sharon suggests encouraging your kids to go out and do something physically active when they feel tense or allowing them some down time alone.

See our tips on how to help your gifted youth in school here!

Coping with Tragedy: The Gifted Child’s “What Ifs”

By Elizabeth D. Jones

Elizabeth Jones is the President and Founder of The Institute for Educational Advancement. She has worked with gifted and special needs children and their families for more than 20 years. Her current work emphasizes advocacy and the development and administration of specialized programs for underserved youth. She also consults with gifted children and their families to help them find solutions to meet each child’s intellectual, physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs.

Tragedies make us feel helpless. As adults looking for answers, dealing with heartache and trying to process what has happened, it is vital that we honor the fears and concerns of our children, as well. This can be extremely difficult when we don’t understand the events ourselves. It is hard to grasp entering into a conversation with our children without knowing the answers to who, what, why and if it will happen again.

Children can be extremely affected by catastrophes, whether acts of nature or human infliction. They see adults as the gatekeepers to their safety; but when the adults in a child’s world have no control over a tragedy occurring, children often lose their sense of security. They just cannot understand why.

Read more about common fears and stresses surrounding many gifted youth here

IEA Blog Anniversary – Top 5 Posts of the Year

birthday_decorationsMarch marked the first anniversary of the Institute for Educational Advancement blog! We launched this blog to provide resources and information about giftedness, to share stories of gifted individuals, and to keep everyone updated on what is happening at IEA. To celebrate, we wanted to share the most popular posts of the last year in case you missed any of them.

See the 5 most viewed posts here!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Valerie

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. The Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship program – mentioned in this story – awards highly gifted applicants with a four-year scholarship to a high school that fits their individual, intellectual and personal needs.


Valerie D.
Caroline D. Bradley Scholar
Class of 2010

IEA’s Caroline D. Bradley (CDB) Scholarship was created with kids like Valerie Ding in mind.

As a high school sophomore, Valerie has already found her own success. “I particularly appreciate the vast number of rigorous, advanced science and math courses that my school offers, and I can’t express how much I enjoy being able to interact with a diverse group of intellectual and hard-working peers (two other CDB Scholars, for example) on a daily basis. Every class is an absolute pleasure to take part in, and the flourishing clubs and activities have really helped me realize who I fundamentally am. As the student leader of Mu Alpha Theta, Math Team, and Science Olympiad, I can confidently say that my school—and, of course, the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship itself—has allowed me to make a much bigger impact in my community.”

Read more of Valerie’s story here!