This is my final post in this series. I hope that you have gained some knowledge about Gifted children. I know that I have. So that you see all of the posts together, I will repost the links in one post today.
Let’s get down to business of this post.
What is an advocate? According to Dictionary.com:
–verb (used with object)1. to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
–noun2. a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually followed by of ): an advocate of peace.3. a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.4. a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law
Here in Ohio and many other places Gifted Education is in danger of being unfunded by state governments. I watch the news, and read blogs and emails all the time where teachers are being laid off and programs are closing because of a lack of funds. I am glad that here in Ohio we have some great leaders fighting the funding battles in our state capital (Ann Sheldon and Pat Naveau just to name a few; I know there are others as well). I know that you have great leaders in your state as well. If you would like to read some updates from Ohio click here.
Nationally, The TALENT Act (was introduced in the House (H.R. 1674) and Senate (S.857) by Representatives Elton Gallegly (CA-24) and Donald Payne (NJ-10) and Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Bob Casey (PA)) is a piece of legislation that will help to nationally fund Gifted Education. If you want to read more about it check out The TALENT Act.
Now how we be advocates in the classroom and home for our gifted children? Here is what I think:
1. Parents introduce summer camps. I believe summer camps are awesome for gifted children. These camps can allow gifted child to see that there are people like them. They can meet new people and have some great experiences. I know that some camps can be expensive, so look to see if your school has any scholarships available. Also ask the camp directors to see if there are any camp scholarships available to help offset the cost.
2. Parents get informed. Join the parent associations like Ohio Association for Gifted Children, or the National Association for Gifted Children. By joining these groups you will receive support from other parents who have some of the struggles raising gifted children as you do. They will also give you some ideas on how to parent our child or help you to get connected with other agencies to help your child succeed.
3. Teachers need to challenge. Teachers need to give them instruction that will push them to succeed. We also need to be their advocate when they need some help in the regular classroom.
4. Gifted Intervention Specialists (GIS) should be a resource for regular classroom teachers. GIS should be available for classroom resources and additional instruction. GIS could offer to give professional development to other teachers on topics such as differentiation, choice boards, or written education plans (WEPs).
5. GIS and parents should be in contact. Communication is important in education. Start a GIS/Parent/Gifted Children association in your school or school district. This will help to keep the communication flowing. Use social media like Facebook groups, twitter, google groups,wiki-pages, or blogs to help support parent/GIS communication.
So based on the definition above, are you an advocate for gifted children? If not, find a parent support group near you, or talk to your child’s GIS and team up for support. Here is some information from the parent page of the OAGC, and the parent page from the NAGC. This could help jump-start something in your school or in your home. According to the OAGC’s parent page:
The parent division offers many opportunities for parents to meet and discuss common issues. Each October, OAGC holds a conference during which there is a parent fair offering sessions, roundtable discussions, information tables and more. There are many established local parent groups which are affiliates of OAGC. We also have a listserv specific to the parent division. You only need to join the parent division of OAGC in order to become a recipient of the listserv.
I hope that you take a moment and see an opportunity to be an advocate for your child or for someone else’s.