YOU MUST REGISTER W/BIGFOOT'S 1ST TO ATTEND (info. below), then RSVP here to see who else from our Meetup might attend with you!
Bigfoot's Art Studio offers lots of great art/cartooning/gaming/radio/software/Anime/Cosplay and more classes each month. See all the details HERE.
R C GIFTED CHILDREN MEETUPS & PARENT SUPPORT
IS THIS GROUP FOR GIFTED CHILDREN ONLY? Although our group's primary mission is to offer social and emotional support to gifted children who often have special needs in these areas, we are not only a gifted group. Other families or children who may identify with our group are; those who homeschool and are looking for an inclusive and accepting group for socialization and enrichment opportunities, those who prioritize social emotional health and growth, children who are highly sensitive or highly creative, have unique or intense interests, have been bullied or just have difficulty connecting with peers, and more... And so, although our group has been formed to support gifted families, any family who feels they would benefit from what our group uniquely has to offer, for whatever reason, is warmly welcome to join us!
THE MISSION OF OUR GROUP IS to bring gifted children, tweens, and teens and their families together with other gifted families, to provide a safe place for the entire family where they are around true peers who understand them and accept them. For more information about gifted children and their unique social and emotional needs see this article.
AREN'T ALL CHILDREN GIFTED?
All children are special and have unique gifts to offer the world, but not all children are "gifted." Gifted children are born with a unique physiological makeup that reaches far beyond an IQ score or specific talent. Inherent and heightened mental and emotional intensities and sensitivities envelope the whole gifted child, often resulting in a need for special approaches to parenting, education, and counseling. Gifted children experience the world in a unique and highly sensitive way, they have an "over-awareness" of everything, including world and sociological issues at a very young age, but do not posses the emotional maturity to deal with these realities - asynchrony - as a result many gifted children struggle with early, and often life long, issues of anxiety and existential depression. They see, feel, and act in the world differently than other children and are usually aware of this, often resulting in added social implications. They experience high sensitivity and sensory perception and can display subsequent behavioral intensities which are often mislabeled as disobedience, ADHD, and other learning, behavioral, and psychological disorders. Asynchronous development - the disconnect between mental and emotional maturity in the gifted child - can be frustrating or at least confusing to parents, teachers, and onlookers, and is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Most gifted children are divergent thinkers, this trait that may be valued in an adult who's "out of the box" thinking leads to a new invention, is often seen as disobedience, defiance, or non-conformism in the gifted child.
ARE YOU A PARENT OF A GIFTED CHILD? Is your child intelligent, sensitive and/or intense and compassionate, but sometimes has a difficult time dealing with their emotions or social situations? Do your child's intense interests, sensitivities, and unique way of looking at the world at times puzzle you or others, or make it hard for them to fit in? Are you looking for friends for your child that will understand them and accept them and parents who will understand what you are going through? Then our group may be the right one for you. We are a group of "Gifted Families" with children in public, private, homeschooling and unschooling environments. We are accepting of all forms of education, as our main focus as a group is on the social and emotional health and growth of our children.
AS THE ORGANIZER OF THE GROUP I am also a parent of a gifted daughter, (age 9 then, 15 now) who was bullied in school because of her "uniqueness," I found it difficult to find local support and resources when my daughter started experiencing some of the unique social and emotional issues that can go along with being a gifted child. I tried to find a gifted or bullying support group in our area but could not find one, so I thought I would try and start one myself. I have spent the last 6 years educating myself on this new "gifted world." I have found some great resources that offer information and support for parents of gifted children.
One of the articles I found in my search for answers was an article interviewing a teacher of gifted children for over 26 years, who was also part of a study back in the 70's to develop a program to fit the needs of gifted children in the public school system. An excerpt from that article is below, it sums up the article nicely and also describes the mission of our Meetup group:
"In trying to help determine the type of program to develop for the gifted in the district, many models were explored. Some of the earliest research on the effectiveness of gifted programs was difficult to interpret, as it seemed that whatever format was used showed gains for the gifted, not just in their intellectual pursuits, but in their social and emotional growth. A conclusion that was drawn from this was that just by putting gifted students with their peers, they thrived. I definitely witnessed that during my 26 years of teaching gifted students in several different programs. They need a peer group who accepts them, understands them, values them, and challenges them. It can be lonely to be the “only.”
Another gifted professional talks about what can happen when a gifted child is not supported, understood, or accepted: "Because I have seen too many gifted and highly sensitive children (HSC's) whose depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem prevent them from expressing whatever talents they have. The gifts are there.... How can we tell if a child is gifted or say he or she is if that child is too afraid to ask questions, too upset to learn big words, or too depressed to have a subtle sense of humor?"
The quotes in the two paragraphs above, are something I agree with wholeheartedly and have witnessed personally. This Meetup group and the true peers and friendships my daughter has found, have been a key part to her recovering from extreme emotional bullying in the public schools, and debilitating anxiety and depression. It has also helped her to grow her self esteem and an acceptance and positive awareness of her uniquely gifted traits.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO START SHARING AND GAINING SUPPORT from other gifted families in your area, please consider joining our group! If you need immediate or further support or resources, you can find links to gifted related websites, articles, blogs and more under the "Pages" tab at the top of our Meetup page. Private Proactive Parenting Coaching for parents of gifted, sensitive, creative or other unique children is also available by appointment. Yearly membership dues of $29.50 are required to attend Meetups after your 30 day trial period (see how you can attend all Meetups but not have to pay future years dues below), and are greatly needed and appreciated. They are used to help pay the expenses of running our Meetup group. To become exempt from paying future years dues, just request of the Organizer to become an Event Organizer, then schedule and host or co-host at least 6 Meetups in your 1st year (your exemption will start in your 2nd year), you can retain your exempt status by doing the same in the following years of your membership. This can be as easy as inviting others, through a Meetup listing, to join you on a family outing or meet you at a favorite venue! By attending a Meetup, or better yet scheduling a new Meetup yourself, you personally can be a great support, and help our Meetup stay active and truly supportive! (You may contact the Organizer if you need assistance creating your first Meetup.) Reaching out by attending a Meetup or creating your own, is a great way to share support with other gifted families in our area, a friendship with your child or the experience you have to share as a parent, just may be the support another member of the group is needing at the time :).
We look forward to meeting another family going through some of the same things we are, and to growing a group of friends who will support us as we raise our very unique children and help them reach their highest potential socially, emotionally, and academically.
For more resources you can visit our Proactive Parenting Blog in support of the unique social, emotional, and educational needs of gifted, highly sensitive, highly creative & other unique children, or take a look at our coaching website at The Proactive Parenting Coach where you can learn to identify the need behind your child's negative or confusing emotions and behaviors, and to better identify, understand and support their unique social, emotional, and educational needs, by requesting a private coaching session. My daughter Abbey has her own website at Cartoon Dreamer, where we share more about her story, the gifted and bullying organizations we support, and how she is now sharing her own creative passion in hopes of helping other kids like her who; are gifted, highly sensitive, highly creative, have been bullied, or just have a hard time fitting in, to know that "they are awesome just the way they are, and that although you may be a little different, you are never alone."
Hugs, Julie & Family - Meetup Founder and Organizer, Homeschooling Mom, Gifted Advocate, Life, Relationship, Family & Proactive Parenting Coach.
Abbey & I wrote a little 12-page fully-illustrated eBook called "Anna Is Gifted." Abbey did all of the illustrations for the book. It is a book for gifted children, their parents and anyone who knows a gifted child. It is written from the perspective of a young gifted child and is written in a way that helps us understand how it "feels" to grow up gifted. Emotional and sensory sensitivities and intensities along with other uniquely gifted traits can leave gifted kids feeling overwhelmed, and alone. Anna Is Gifted lets them know that they are not alone in their struggles, that what they feel is normal for their "sensitive and unique makeup," and that "being gifted is actually awesome!" Footnotes to each page let parents of gifted children see what inherently gifted traits and subsequent needs lie behind their child's confusing or troubling behaviors.
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