When offering services to parents of gifted children, I always
started by asking them to tell me about their child. This is because
I know that, while I may have theoretical knowledge about giftedness
and years of experience with gifted people, parents are the experts
on their gifted child. Parents know their child as professionals
and educators cannot and they often need to act as an interpreter
and advocate for their gifted child. They must also find the information
and support needed to validate their knowledge of their child and
this can require considerable effort on their part.
There are many reasons why parent/s consult a professional about
gifted children. You can see some of the
reasons parents have given in the past. No matter what the
reason, my approach is always the same. I listen to parent/s concerns
and gather knowledge about who the gifted child is, as an individual.
Although there are many common characteristics of giftedness,
the expression of these characteristics are unique in each child.
A partnership should be formed with the parent/s and the child
and also the school if required. This is because I have found the
team approach to be the most effective and successful. My first
step is always to give information about what is "normal for gifted".
With this knowledge, parents know what not to worry about. It
also forms a basis for advocacy for their gifted child in the
If only parents would trust what they know about their gifted
child and had access to useful information and practical strategies,
they could make appropriate choices for their children in education
and in life. Then there would be many more stories with a happy
ending and professionals such as myself would become redundant.
I could then retire to a little cottage by the sea. This
scenario has been my mission and my vision for many, many years.