Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gifted Advocates … Why We Bond

“2010 has proven to be a year of growth, learning and global collaboration. Your support, participation, questioning, ideas and passion have ignited new life into the advocacy movement on behalf of these bright and creative students.”
~ Deborah Mersino, Ingeniosus and #gtchat


Gifted advocates often discuss the need for gifted children to engage in true peer interaction; both in school and out. Why is that so important? Because it has been shown that these kids thrive and grow exponentially when allowed to learn and socialize with others who are ‘on the same wave-length’! They can bounce ideas off each other and they can be comfortable in the knowledge that classmates truly understand them.

The same can be said for gifted advocates! Through the magic of the Internet and social media networks, gifted advocates find solace and friendship with those of like-minds. Many gifted parents and advocates were often isolated in the past and found their ability to make a difference … well … overwhelming. Today not only can parents and those who advocate for their children within a school district join together, but that bonding takes place at the global level. Talk about inspiration and collaboration and cooperation!

There are those in the gifted community who shun social media. Some are technophobes; some are grounded in a past era; some are protective of their intellectual property; and some don’t believe they have the time to engage in online activities. Their choices must be respected. The work these folks do at the local level is invaluable. We must therefore work together – both online and off - to bridge any barriers to forming a vibrant community dedicated to the children we care so much about. This is what ‘social-networking’ is all about!

Practicality is another reason gifted advocates as well as parents must consider bonding online. In a world and time when economic issues place so many constraints on personal budgets, advocates are often forced to pick and choose how and when they will meet and collaborate. The Internet, however, provides a near-perfect solution to this obstacle through online conferences. They are convenient, can take place at virtually any time or place, and provide a platform for all levels of expertise. Many more people can be involved in such experiences thus enriching the knowledge-base of all community participants.

The same goes for the local level where organizing meetings online provides excellent opportunities for gifted parents to meet without the hassle of traveling to a physical meeting place. Forget finding a suitable location, refreshments, finding a babysitter, coordinating schedules, and dealing with weather-related issues. This may require a training session or two on whatever platform you choose, but it is well worth it. Exchange of information instantly becomes 24/7 and easily accessed without having to print out hard copies of everything.

Final thoughts … global bonding provides us with new ideas, fresh perspectives, a ready-made set of FAQ’s based on years of experience, emotional support and encouragement, access to the latest and greatest in gifted research, and sometimes … just sometimes … a shoulder to cry on. How can you say ‘no’ to all that?

Let us commit to growing our community of parents, advocates, researchers, and educators as we strive to make a difference in the lives of children who will make a difference in our world!

4 comments:

  1. Great post Lisa! Thanks to #gtchat and all the wonderful people who paticipate in it, 2010 was an inspiring year for gifted advocates in Ireland. Not only those of us who are active online, but those with whom we interact and share with offline. It has been the catalyst for, what I hope and believe, will be a movement of real change here. Happy Birthday #gtchat and thank you to #gtchatters around the globe. Here's to an exciting 2011!

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  2. Wow! What an excellent post! Thank you, Lisa for being such a firecracker enthusiast! Your vision and gumption has been so critical to all of our efforts. We are fortunate to have you. I concur with all of your wise thoughts here. Here's to growing and nurturing parents' needs in 2011! Gracious thanks, Deborah

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  3. As a parent advocating on a school and district level in the context of advocating for my own children, connecting with gifted advocates through social media has been wonderful. I have found resources that increase my confidence when bringing information to the attention of professionals in the system. Connecting with teachers and administrators has given me insight into their perspectives. My sense of isolation has diminished. I am a better advocate because of these connections.

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  4. Very true. It is so important to get lots of perspectives and also to simply have the opportunity to connect (especially if it isn't readily available--and geography isn't the only issue!) I hope that social networking will help strengthen local GT communities as well, so folks can know they are out there.

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