What we're about
Welcome! We are a group of families with intellectually gifted children on the Westside of Los Angeles. We started this group because we were surprised to find very little in the way of a gifted community on the Westside. While all children are unique in their gifts and challenges, highly to profoundly gifted children often have a hard time finding true peers because of their asynchronous development. Our main goal is to facilitate long-lasting friendships and a supportive community among local member families, so we ask that members live on the Westside or be within a realistic driving distance to be able to meet with us regularly. Among our group, there is a significant and growing number of gifted homeschoolers and unschoolers, and we will gather regularly for parents' night out, monthly weekend park days, enrichment and field trips.
In addition to regularly scheduled parent meetings, we will also have occasional family activities and host special events like parent education seminars. For the homeschoolers in the group, we will have group activities, field trips and workshops. Parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children ages 0-17 are welcome to join (formal identification not necessary but it is helpful for screening purposes). For more info regarding how to identify giftedness based on characteristics, check out the information available at an excellent resource for gifted families, Hoagies' Gifted website (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/gifted_101.htm), or see the Gifted Development Center's Gifted Characteristics Scale (http://bit.ly/2oHu1YA)). Here is a link to a list of some helpful books on giftedness: Gifted Identity's Recommended Reading List (http://www.giftedidentity.com/resources/recommended-reading/).
This group is meant to be an active, in-person meet up for gifted families to connect. Therefore, we encourage members to attend at least one event within 30 days of joining. If you are interested in planning or hosting an event, please get in touch with us and we will help you coordinate.
One of the greatest challenges in childhood will be coping with the understanding of how different the gifted child is from their age-mates, and even from other gifted children. Finding ways for your gifted child to interact with true peers is one of the surest way to help them (and you might find the same goes for you, too!). Let's find a safe haven for gifted parents (yes, giftedness stays with you for your entire lifespan!) and children to feel accepted for who they are, intensities, sensitivities and all! We look forward to heart-to-heart talks amongst parents while our kids have fun and make new friends!
Educators often see giftedness as an advanced capacity to learn. But, as parents, we all know that this is a very narrow understanding of giftedness. Giftedness is a unique neurological difference that stays with you all your life. Intensity, sensitivity and overexcitability are primary characteristics of the highly gifted, often classified using psychiatrist Kazimierz Dabrowski’s “overexcitabilities” framework. The further along the IQ spectrum these children are, the more intense they are likely to be.
The gifted child is more aware, more sensitive and more capable of taking in life experience and therefore, more vulnerable. No matter how advanced their intellectual understanding is, it is likely to outstrip their emotional coping skills because of limited life experience. Gifted children have astounding educational, social, spiritual and emotional needs stemming from their intensity and asynchronous development. Sadly, it is painfully common that gifted people, their families, teachers and medical professionals are unaware of the special emotional needs of the gifted. For 2e children (intellectually gifted and have learning differences or disabilities), the duality of their exceptionality can be doubly challenging for their families and themselves.
Westside of Los Angeles Gifted is a parent volunteer-run organization. For the security and privacy of our members, we ask that you fill out our Meetup questionnaire to tell us more information about you and your family so we can verify that you are a parent of a gifted child. Once you become a member and we can confirm the above, you will be invited and added to our active Facebook page, a wonderful benefit of membership. Through the group, you will have access to information from our community including advice, social opportunities, professional resources and recommendations, recommended reading and more. If you have questions about your specific situation, this is the place to ask and receive feedback and support from our wonderfully supportive members.
PLEASE READ BEFORE JOINING. BY JOINING, YOU AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING:
1) Code of Conduct: We are an inclusive and diverse group and we ask that all of you remember that we are all doing our best for what's right for our own children. Members should be considerate of other members and be responsible for their own family's behavior and safety and help foster a friendly and nonviolent atmosphere. Please do not engage in bullying, harassment, flaming, or other aggressive behavior in person or online.
In order to maintain a positive community, we ask that children (and parents alike) please behave and communicate in a friendly and cooperative manner, respect everyone's differences, and be open to conflict resolution amongst yourselves. WLAG founders/moderators cannot act as mediators. Should a conflict arise (whether parent-parent, parent-child, child-child), the direct parties involved are responsible for conflict resolution. If circumstances arise while at a Meetup or on Facebook, we will intervene only if necessary in the interest of the group.
2) RSVPs: Please only RSVP if you truly intend to attend an event. Members who immediately sign up to hold a spot only to eventually back out are preventing other members from making plans and attending an event. While we understand that circumstances preventing attendance happen, please update your RSVP to give at least 24 HOURS NOTICE if you unable to attend an event to give people on the waiting list a chance to attend in your place. If you're going to be late, notify the organizer either by posting a comment or contacting the Event Organizer.
If there are multiple last-minute cancellations, they may be considered a "no show," as determined on an individual basis subject to the discretion of the Meetup Organizers. If you demonstrate three no shows within a time period of a year, you risk being removed from the group subject to the discretion of the Meetup organizers. Also, please do not show up to events without an RSVP. Some of our events may not have the capacity to include more than the attendance limits and in order to preserve good relationships with venues and vendors, we must adhere to this rule.
3) Advertising/Off-Topic or Inflammatory Posts/Research Recruitment: We do not allow members to post or message other members in order to advertise or sell products/services or build a customer base. Any off-topic posts (topics outside of those involving parenting and educating our children, giftedness and related subjects), derogatory or inflammatory posts, business or school promotion posts, research subject recruitment and the like will be deleted. Any person wishing to post/collect information as part of a research study must contact the admins who will review the request and post it if they feel it is appropriate. If you see any inappropriate posts, please message the organizers/moderators of our group know.
4) Confidentiality: Given the sensitive nature of this group, please keep what is posted (especially the location/date of Meetup events) as confidential and refrain from forwarding anything posted here without first receiving the original poster/organizer's permission.
5) Posting Events on Meetup: If you are interested in hosting or organizing an event, please contact the organizers for approval and so we can help you put it on our Meetup calendar.
6) Facebook Group Membership: One of the best benefits of our group is our online support group. We strive to screen all members prior to approval through approving only members of Meetup who have answered our questionnaire, friends of members or others we can confirm are really parents of gifted children (versus solicitors or bots). If your friends are trying to join the group, please send email email@example.com to let us know that you know the friend in real life so we can approve them.
Please check the Files section in our Facebook group for member-recommended gifted-friendly professionals, activities, enrichment, schools, homeschooling info, book lists for sensitive readers, etc.) that may be helpful to you.
Disclaimer of Liability:
By participating in events of Westside of Los Angeles Gifted, you hereby assume all risk and impose no liability to Westside of Los Angeles Gifted or any of its organizers, members and their guests.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to getting to know you and your families!