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  • February 03, 2024 12:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) who struggle in school get lots of negative feedback. As a result, their self-esteem is battered as early as second grade. Adding insult to injury, many parents may get caught up pushing their children to work harder to make top grades. This adds another layer of negativity at home.

    I lost my perspective when my son was struggling in high school. At times, I found myself thinking that he was lazy and just didn’t care. I was focused on monitoring his homework, hoping he would make better grades. I met him at the front door every day when he came home from school and asked, “Did you bring home your books and assignments?” I never bothered to ask him how his day went.

    When he started avoiding me at the front door, by going in through the basement, a light bulb went on. I had lost sight of my most important duties as a parent: loving my son and building his self-esteem.

    We should all be investing in our children’s emotional bank account. Your job as a parent is to keep the most important things in mind: nurturing your child’s self-esteem and maintaining a strong relationship with him or her. Your loving relationship may one day save your child’s life.

    Investing In and Nurturing Our Children

    Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (#CommissionsEarned) and other best-selling books, coined the phrase “emotional bank account,” and Russell Barkley, Ph.D., recently used it in one of his top 10 tips for grandparents of children with ADHD. Just as we make regular deposits into our savings account, so we have money when times get tough, adding to our children’s emotional bank account serves the same purpose. Are you making deposits, or emptying his account?

    Offer lots of positive statements and fun activities. Catch your child being good. When you do, say, “Great job. You put all your dirty clothes in the hamper.” “You’re getting better at making up your bed.” “Thank you for taking out the garbage!” “You make me proud. You’ve been reading that book for a long time, and you didn’t give up when there were words you didn’t know!” Find joy again in spending time with your child. Enjoy a special meal, just the two of you, with no nagging. Attend a concert or sporting event together. Let your child teach you a video game.

    Reframe negative thoughts about your child. When your child struggles, stop and look at her in a new light, focusing on her strengths and talents. Remember that your child’s traits, which may not be valued in school, may be useful in the work world. Here are a few examples of reframing: Bossiness may be an indication of potential leadership skills. Hyperactivity may mean that your child can approach workplace projects with high energy and the ability to work longer on more projects. A strong-willed child brings tenacity to his job and career. And who knows? Maybe an argumentative child will one day be a great lawyer.

    Recruit others to help you. Parents alone can’t fill this bank account, so enlist willing siblings, grandparents, relatives, friends, co-workers, coaches, teachers, or members of your religious group. If parents are lucky, grandparents can be their strongest and most helpful allies. By calling weekly via “FaceTime,” grandparents can be active in the child’s life when distance separates them.

    Believe in the goodness of your child, encourage her, and show affection. Hugs, pats on the back, or holding her on your lap gives the child a sense of self worth. Take photos of your child when she is engaged in happy activities, and hang them on the refrigerator.

    Identify and facilitate your child’s interests and talents. If your son is interested in sports, music, dance, drama, or debate, make certain he has a chance to participate in those joyful activities. The successes he will achieve doing something he loves put deposits in his emotional bank account.

    Ensure your child’s school success. If your child is struggling and stressed by school, be a persistent detective and advocate. Work with the school to figure out what is causing the struggles. Up to 50 percent of our children with ADHD also have learning disabilities that are overlooked

  • January 27, 2024 1:41 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    SENGYouth programs are a new opportunity for the younger SENG Family Members to participate in curated online classes from SENG Partners and engage with other gifted and 2e kids from around the world. The first class, taking place on February 13, is full, but you can sign up for the waitlist. Click here for details. Additional classes will be coming later in the year.

  • January 24, 2024 6:52 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Applications are open now to be a Teen Fellow for the spring 2024 - winter 2025 session at the CAC (Chicago Architecture Center). This three-semester program is offered at no cost to selected participants, and gives incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors the chance to explore architecture and design careers, earn college credit and work alongside industry professionals.

    Click here for complete details and application information.

  • January 24, 2024 1:16 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The following is from the SENG - Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted - 1/24/24 email newsletter. SENG offers a wide variety of resources on its website, webinars, mini-conferences, and its annual conference. See their website for complete details on the call for proposals.

    Ahoy, SENG Community!

    Get ready to ride the waves of knowledge and adventure at our upcoming 2024 Annual Conference, happening July 11-13, 2024, in the vibrant city of Berkeley, California! With the theme "Sailing into the Future: Community, Advocacy & Adventure," we're charting a course into an ocean of opportunities.

    • Keynote Speakers: We're beyond excited to welcome Paula Prober and Dr. Frank C. Worrell to steer our ship as our esteemed keynote speakers. They're like the captains of our yacht, guiding us through the sea of knowledge with their incredible insights.
    • Call for Proposals: Are you an educator, parent, clinician, gifted adult, advocate, entrepreneur, researcher, or practitioner with a knack for navigating the waters of gifted communities, advocacy and adventures? We want you aboard! Submit your proposal for a 75-minute breakout session or a 2-hour workshop by January 31st, 2024. Remember, spots are as coveted as a sunny day at sea, so make sure your proposal shines like the sun!
    • Why Present? This is your chance to share your compass – your ideas and experiences – with a diverse and engaged community. Let's make waves together in the realms of our gifted community.
    • Conference Highlights: Besides our captivating sessions and workshops, expect networking opportunities as vast as the ocean. Mingle with fellow enthusiasts, learn from the best, and enjoy the beautiful Berkeley breeze.

    Don't miss this chance to dock your ideas at SENG's 2024 Annual Conference. Let's set sail together into a future filled with community, advocacy, and adventure. We can't wait to see what treasures you'll bring on board!

    Smooth Sailing,

    SENG Conference Committee

    P.S. Got questions or need help navigating the proposal process? Drop us a line, and we'll be your lighthouse guiding you through!

    Key Points to Remember:

    • Submit your proposal by January 31st, 2024.
    • Join us in Berkeley, July 11-13, 2024.
    • Let's sail into the future together!

  • January 16, 2024 8:58 AM | Katherine Peterson (Administrator)

    From the IAGC newsletter . . . 

    Are you a newer teacher or PLC?  

    Trying to differentiate for advanced learners on-the-go?    

    Let the IAGC help you and your PLC get set for your next lesson or unit! 

    2 Hours PD credit

    Please sign up for:

    Educator PD Hour: Curriculum Extension Workshop for New(er) Teachers

    When: 01/29/2024  4pm-6pm  CST
    Where: virtual -- join us from school or home!


    Educator PD Hour: Curriculum Extension Workshop for New(er) Teachers

    Monday January 29, 2024

    4:00pm -6:00pm


    Work smarter, not harder!

    Join IAGC Board Members and Gifted Coordinators Denise Kuchta, Deanna Markos, and Lindsay Sudol for an afternoon workshop of ELA and MATH Lesson Planning for your Advanced Students.  

    If you are new(er) to the classroom, new to teaching gifted, or new to differentiation, or if you are struggling with what to offer your advanced students when they say they have "finished", then this workshop is for you!

    We will spend time together reviewing best practice strategies and then divide into breakout rooms according to your selected content area to tier your next lesson. 

    Invite your PLC so you can collaborate, share resources and ideas, and apply new strategies to your current unit.  Finish the workshop with a new extension of your  curriculum that you can use tomorrow!

    2 PD hours 

    Click here for complete details and registration.

  • December 20, 2023 10:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Caregiver Blog -

    “Throughout the college application process, I learned the importance of surrounding myself with people and environments that set me up for success.”

    My senior year in high school was one of my life’s most joyful, exciting — but stressful — periods. I am a huge planner and pride myself on working hard to achieve my goals. While these qualities are often beneficial, they can make tasks like narrowing down a college list and filling out applications challenging. On top of this, I have ADHD and dyslexia. Though I am very confident in my abilities, adapting to new environments, people, and expectations often requires a steep learning curve and involves a few mishaps.

    Throughout the college application process, I learned the importance of surrounding myself with people and environments that set me up for success. Here’s more advice for neurodivergent students evaluating and applying to colleges.

    1. Plan Ahead

    My first piece of advice is to plan as far ahead as possible! My college search began sophomore year when I set up a meeting with my college admissions counselor. No major plans were made, but I gained a basic understanding of when and how I would apply to schools.

    2. Take Standardized Tests Early

    I took the ACT for the first time the summer before my junior year. I highly recommend doing this. This gives you time to practice and make room for improvement. It also ensures you have testing accommodations in place. Fortunately, I am a good (albeit slow) test taker and eligible for extra time because of my ADHD. Alternatively, you may opt to apply to test-optional colleges and use the time to focus on other application parts.

    3. Gather Research

    Beyond taking the ACT, most of my prep work before senior year comprised attending college information sessions, researching schools, and brainstorming essay ideas. I gathered as much information as possible on the universities’ academics, costs, and accommodation programs. However, finding a strong and collaborative student community was my most important job. By the spring of junior year, I had compiled my list of colleges and ranked the University of Notre Dame as my top choice.

    4. Brainstorm Essay Ideas

    I began drafting a Common App essay the summer before senior year. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm ideas before you start writing. Great ideas do not happen overnight.

    5. Get Feedback

    Ask others to read your essays and offer feedback. I love storytelling, but my grammar is never great. One friend had the opposite problem, so we helped each other; I brainstormed ideas for him, and he fixed all my comma errors. Trading also prevented me from procrastinating.

    6. Pick a Writing Strategy

    Find a writing strategy for your college essay that works with how your brain thinks. If you are unsure, take a creative writing class. My essay was closer to poetry than an academic essay. I tried to have a strong narrative and told unique stories from my life, such as hanging a wagon in a Magnolia tree, traveling to see a solar eclipse, learning life lessons at summer camp, and being admitted into a secret theater society.

    7. Give Yourself Grace

    Be sure to give yourself grace. I am very grateful to attend Notre Dame. However, I’ve learned that no matter how hard I work, some things don’t end up as I imagined. During my recent search for a summer internship, I didn’t receive interviews for several large companies I absolutely loved and had networked with for months. The waiting game was so tough. Though I was disappointed, I kept putting myself out there, talked to other companies, and applied for jobs. I eventually did receive an amazing offer unexpectedly from one conversation at a career fair with a small boutique consulting firm. The company completely changed my perspective on the industry, and I made a very different decision than I initially thought I would.

    8. Keep An Open Mind

    Good can be found in all places. I imagined myself at Notre Dame and have loved my college years. At the same time, my summer internship completely took me by surprise, and yet, I know it will be a fantastic experience. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of openness and perseverance. Remember that, as a student with learning differences and ADHD you have had to work especially hard to find your place in the world. I am fully confident that by prioritizing a supportive community, planning, and having an open mind, you will find yourself surrounded by amazing opportunities and people better than you can imagine.

    Meaghan Northup grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, where she is studying Business Analytics and French.

  • December 16, 2023 8:47 AM | Katherine Peterson (Administrator)

    Are you a teacher or know someone in education who is interested in improving teaching strategies for gifted education, advanced learning strategies, and high level differentiation?  The Illinois Association for Gifted Children (IAGC) is offering Foundations for Teaching Advanced Learners in Todays Classroom starting January 17, 2024.  PD and SH hours offered.  Here are the details: 

  • December 12, 2023 11:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Every holiday season, we face a persistent challenge: how to respond to family members who don’t understand ADHD and yet feel compelled to share their discipline and parenting advice (often loudly). While every family dynamic is unique, here are some general strategies plus scripts for handling a wide range of common problems with obtuse relatives.

    “Ugh, there he goes again with his tantrums.”

    “Why can’t your child just sit still?”

    “You’re just making excuses for her bad behavior.”

    “This wouldn’t be happening if you actually disciplined your kid.”

    Ever, in the history of parenting, has a family member’s unwelcome advice or unsympathetic judgment made life easier for a child or their caregivers? Nope. For many of us, rampant misunderstandings, fear of being judged, short tempers, and even unspoken disapproval make spending time with some relatives stressful and frustrating. And bitter family disputes over ADHD are typically the last thing on Earth you want yourself or your child to endure during the holidays — or ever. Yet here you are, facing the possibility once again.

    For many families, cutting off contact is not a viable solution. The fact is that we don’t get to pick our family members, and many of us value and relish family customs and traditions that we hope to preserve for our kids. That necessitates positive (or at least tolerable) relationships with far-flung relatives.

    If you anticipate biting comments and unhelpful feedback from these family members, here are several strategies — from practicing self-advocacy to educating others about ADHD — that can help you and leave your child feeling buoyed rather than bullied by family members.

    Family Dynamics: ADHD and the Extended Family Experience

    Though no two families are alike, these problems, feelings, and concerns often come up when dealing with unsupportive relatives who don’t understand ADHD:

    • Misunderstanding and misinterpretations: Family members may perceive your child’s ADHD symptoms and traits, like distractibility and hyperactivity, as misbehavior and bad manners. They may not understand (or may refuse to accept) that these are characteristics of ADHD, a neurological disorder.
    • Judgement and embarrassment: You might be blamed — directly or indirectly — for your child’s behaviors at a family gathering, which only fans the flames of stress if your child is having a particularly hard time.
    • ShameChallenging family settings and judgement from relatives may leave you feeling like your child is flawed. Your child might also start to feel ashamed — a core experience for individuals with ADHD.
    • Guilt: Relatives might guilt-trip you over how you’re raising your child, but you might also lay the guilt on yourself for “failing” to control your child.
    • Behavioral dysregulation: Meltdowns and tantrums are never fun, especially when they creep up during family gatherings, subjecting you and your child to disapproving stares and worse.
    • Emotional dysregulation and anxiety: Negative experiences with relatives can make it difficult to think about family events without feeling overwhelmed or hopeless.
    • Denial and magical thinking: Assuming that family problems will sort themselves out rarely works and often leads to frustration.

    Dealing with Difficult Family Members

    How should parents respond when one or more of these challenges disrupts a family gathering or relationship? And how can we fortify our family relationships when ADHD is in the picture?

    1.  Educate the family about ADHD

    • Give concrete information. Emphasize that ADHD is a neurological condition that impacts functioning. While treatments are used to help manage symptoms and behavioral challenges, ADHD can’t be overcome with sheer willpower, corporal punishments, or a specific parenting style. Explain how ADHD manifests in your child with specific examples (e.g. he has trouble sitting still during meals). It might help to share an ADHD information pamphlet and to direct your family to other authoritative resources.
    • Engage in productive discussions. Stay positive and inviting as you talk to your relatives about ADHD. Say, “Uncle Mark, I know it’s frustrating for you when my daughter looks away as you’re talking to her, but that behavior stems from her ADHD. Her mind wanders off. Please just gently remind her to stay with you. That’s how ADHD is for some people.”
    • Emphasize the importance of support. Remind your family that negative reactions seldom help your child, especially in the middle of a meltdown or tantrum. Support goes a long way toward defusing situations and helping ADHD families feel welcome and valued.

    2. Defuse conflicts and behavioral disruptions

    • Focus on the goal. Remember that you want to get along with your family. When tempers flare, stay calm and speak in a neutral voice. Say, “This is our family dinner. Can we change the subject or hit the reset button? Let’s take a deep breath.”
    • Find allies. Align yourself with family members who support you and can help you in difficult family situations. They may be able to help calm your child down if they’re having a tough time.
    • Cope ahead. If you know you’ll be facing a challenging situation, prepare tools and strategies in advance. For example, if it’s a 3-hour car ride to grandma’s, think about taking breaks on the road, packing snacks and toys in the car, and other ways to keep everyone calm. Call grandma ahead of time and let her know that your kids (and you) will need a break when you arrive.

    3.  Practice self-advocacy
    • Find opportune moments to take the lead and communicate with family members about your concerns. Gently discuss better ways to handle challenging situations. You can say, “Aunt Betsy, do you have a moment to talk? I want you to know that when you judge my child, it makes him feel bad, and it makes me feel bad. My child has ADHD, and he’s doing his best. What may be more helpful is if you ignore the behavior or discuss it with me privately.”
    • Collaborate by inviting rather than demanding. Try to meet your family members where they are. Say, “Uncle Pedro, I know you like to dine quietly at the dinner table, but my children are rather noisy. They’re not that way because of my parenting style; they’re just bubbly. What would help? Can the kids get up from their seats earlier? Can all of the children be seated somewhere else?”

    4. Develop self-awareness

    • Practice mindfulnessPay attention to your thoughts and feelings, especially in tough family situations. Acknowledging your feelings can help you avoid getting swept up in the moment and determine appropriate, productive ways to respond.
    • Practice self-careTake care of your physical, mental, and emotional health — key factors in building resilience against life’s stressors (like family problems). With ADHD, that might mean seeking a therapist for yourself and your child.

    5. Don’t take interactions too personally

    Easier said than done, but the more you practice this (along with mindfulness) the sooner you’ll recognize that a family member’s reactions have more to do with them than they do with you or your child. This realization will make it easier to brush off passive-aggressive comments, eye-rolls, sighs, and other reactions from family members. A sense of humor also helps.

    Approaches and Example Scripts for Common Scenarios

    • Well-meaning but unsolicited parenting advice offered in front of your child: Invite your family member to have a conversation. Calmly share your observations and try not to put them on the defensive. “I would love to run something by you — I know that you love me and my child. It’s so clear that you want the best for us. But in those moments when you say X in front of my son, it’s not helpful to us. I do appreciate your ideas, but I would prefer if you brought them to me privately.”
    • “You’re pulling the ADHD card as an excuse for bad behavior:” It’s possible that your family member might not realize how judgmental and hurtful their comments sound. Talk to them about how their comments make you feel and do your best to explain your child’s ADHD symptoms. Remind them that your child is doing their best. This may also be a good time to practice not taking comments personally. In and out of the family, there always will be people who pass judgement — and you aren’t obligated to engage with them!
    • Your child picks up on differential treatment. Validate your child’s feelings and offer your presence. Talk through some ways your child can practice self-advocacy and self-care after being with family. If there’s a particularly problematic family member, find a time to talk to them about their actions.
    • “I struggled, too, but I turned out OK without any help:” It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to get through to family members who make these types of comments. But shifting tactics can work. Focus on the family member’s concern over the ADHD label. They might be able to relate, for example, to difficulties with getting started on homework or procrastinating until the last minute.
    • “Why can’t you just go with the flow?” Not all family members appreciate and respect the importance of your child’s reliable routine, and understand that departing from it can lead to serious consequences. Everyone has the right to their own lifestyle, and while explanations are not necessary, they can help defuse tough situations in the heat of the moment. Prior to a family gathering, for example, tell the host that you’ll be leaving at a certain time and that you’ll be taking breaks with your child throughout. “We know that you have different expectations, but this is important to us. It’s how our family functions best.”
    Mold these guidelines to your family and its circumstances, and remember that it will take lots of patience and persistence to see results. Stay positive in the process and try reframing difficult family moments as opportunities to use your coping skills and strategies to solve problems and create a healthy family dynamic.

  • October 11, 2023 7:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ADHD misconceptions are not only plentiful, they are enormously threatening to the mental and emotional health of people with ADHD because they cause delayed or missed diagnoses, feelings of shame, and dangerous behaviors. We asked our audience members what myths they would eradicate about ADHD if given the chance.

    ADHD misconceptions are as persistent as they are pernicious — inflicting emotional and psychological damage on those (diagnosed and undiagnosed) individuals with ADHD who face (and face down) the myths.

    Recently, we asked ADDitude readers to share the ADHD stereotypes they would most like to eradicate if given the opportunity. Read their answers below and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

    ADHD Misconceptions and Myths That Must Go

    “I would eradicate the notion that ADHD is ‘just a behavioral problem,’ and the idea that kids just need to be punished. It pains me that people truly believe this because they end up traumatizing neurodivergent children and punishing them for a true disability/mental health concern.” — Ashley

    “I strive to eradicate the idea that those suffering from ADHD are lazy. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was in my mid-20s, so growing up a lot of my behavior was labeled as lazy — especially when it came to getting started on school assignments or keeping my room clean. In reality, I was experiencing paralyzing anxiety prior to getting started on a task. Even today, after educating myself on my symptoms, I still hear that voice in my head telling me there’s nothing wrong with me and that I’m just lazy. This myth has been the most detrimental.” — Anonymous

    “I would eradicate the myth that this is a ‘deficit disorder.’ People with ADHD have enormous amounts of focusing ability and attention for what is important and engaging to them. As a teacher, I now think of this as feedback for my own teaching – make it more interesting, exciting, fun, and engaging and I will capture ALL of my students. It has changed my pedagogy not demonizing the students in my room no matter what their differences.” — Anonymous

    “If I could eradicate one myth about ADHD, it would be the idea that medication is not needed to help treat ADHD symptoms. ADHD medications have such a bad stigma around them that, as a recently diagnosed adult with ADHD, I am afraid to admit to people that I am medicated with a stimulant. People make assumptions that those who take stimulants are drug seekers or they do not actually have ADHD — they just need to try harder, stop being lazy, get over it, etc. When the correct medication is used to treat someone’s ADHD symptoms, it can be (and has been) life changing in more ways than one.” —Anonymous

  • September 21, 2023 5:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ADHD Parenting

    Your child’s teacher spends five to six hours with him each day. She doesn’t know him like you do, but she sees things you can’t — or won’t. Here’s advice from real parents and teachers who found ways to work together that really benefited everyone.

    1. Start with Respect

    2. Communicate Openly — and Often

    3. Be Accountable

    5. Be Persistent

    6. Involve the Whole Team

    7.  Celebrate Success

    8.  Get Involved

    9.  Be the Expert on Your Child

    10.  Use Technology

    11.  Teach Kids to Self-Advocate

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